My baby, Henry ... today you turned 16-months old.
You continue to grow by leaps and bounds and every month, you astonish me with the new things you are capable of doing. Last month, you were content to eat food off of your booster chair tray using your fingers. This month, you have started eating off a plate and insist on using a fork.
Yesterday, after you watched your brother and sisters eating bowls of cereal, you animatedly pointed at them - pointed at the cupboard - and made it quite clear that you too, wanted a bowl of cereal. With milk. And a spoon. Considering it's only been within the past 18-months that I have poured bowls of cereal with milk and handed your siblings spoons, I believe that it is quite exemplary that a baby who was not yet 16-months old, was able to eat an entire bowl of Cheerios, without spilling nary a drop.
We moved our large kitchen table out to the garage this month and in it's place, we have moved in the children's arts and crafts table that all six of us now huddle around at meal time.
The decision to move our larger table out to the garage was facilitated after I watched you, one one too many occasions, scurry on top of the table and then unsteadily walk from the table ON TO OUR COUNTERS, three feet off the ground. Now, you are perfectly content to sit at the small table and enjoy your meals - just like one of the big kids. Which truth be told, you think you are.
You do everything in your power to keep up with the triplets, Henry.
You are forever watching what they do and repeating back to me the things that you have learned from them (and them from I). You are learning to speak and will say "Hi!" and "Bye!" while waving your pudgy little hand, enthusiastically. Although you are speaking more than the triplets were at your age, you are sleeping far less. Despite my best efforts at trying to get you on a schedule during the day, your siblings part-time school program wreaked havoc on your daily routine. But now that everyone is in school for a longer stretch, I hope to eliminate your brief catnaps in the stroller or carseat, and lunches on the fly that consisted of Goldfish crackers and raisins from a Snacktrap and whatever else I could scrounge out from my backpack.
You are still nursing two to three times a day and whenever I hold you close, I will whisper, "Oh my baby. My baby, my baby!" It is for this reason that whenever you wake up from a nap or are feeling especially cuddly, you will stretch your arms out to me and say, "Oh my baby. MY BABY. MY BABY!" I think it's the cutest thing I've ever experienced in my whole life.
You are such a love bug and you adore dolls. When William received a new Woody doll from the movie "Toy Story" for his birthday, you zoned in on it. You wanted that doll. You needed that doll. You would not rest until you had that doll and you would run around after your brother and cry until he would finally relent and let you play (although never a moment before I would bribe him with stickers for being a good sharer and frozen yogurt that he would eat straight from the tube.)
When we returned home from our trip to Palm Springs, I rushed out and bought you your very own Woody doll and three weeks later, you still haven't put it down for more than five minutes.
Whenever we go out, you have a firm grasp on Woody. You will stagger up to various strangers when we are waiting for your siblings during swimming lessons or gymnastics and sticking your doll out, you'll smile and declare, "WOODY!" And then you'll laugh and stagger away.
You received your second hair cut this month and didn't even flinch when the stylist trimmed your sideburns (can a baby have sideburns?!) with electric clippers.
You went on a hike through the beautiful mountains of San Jacinto at an elevation of 10,804 feet above mean sea level.
You saw Disney on Ice and nearly jumped out of my lap with excitement when the cast of Toy Story made their appearance.
You have experienced what it feels like to sit in a drawer ...
And stand in a corner.
This morning you spent a rainy election day with your father and I, at the polls, while we cast our vote for the 44th President of the United States. It's a monumental day in history because on this day that you turned 16-months old, a black man won the highest political office in our country.
At the tender young age of 16-months ... I see so much potential in you, Henry.
When I was a little girl growing up, segregation had only ended 15 years prior.
When I attended school in Massachusetts, I distinctly remember that black children from the City were bused in to our district in an effort to desegregate the schools and provide equal educational opportunities.
When I attended school in South Carolina, I distinctly remember that although they were used by children of all races, there were pairings of identically sized water fountains, spaced by three feet, a remanant of the racial discrimination that once existed in our 50-year old school.
It hasn't been a particularly easy road, but our nation has come a long way and for that I am extremely proud.
I hope that growing up in this family you will learn love, respect, discipline and tolerance. I hope that you will have the courage to grow and become the person that you were meant to be.
I hope that if you see something you want in life, you will know what it takes to succeed.
And I hope that you have the resolve and confidence to reach whatever goals you establish.
But mostly, I hope that this world is good and kind to you.
For you will always be my baby.