Parenting Henri

this is about henri, and the parenting thereof

Snapshot 2012/07/31

I can’t seem to muster up the brainpower/ambition to write a real blog post about Henri, despite the fact that he continues to be the most amazing kid ever… However, I figure I can at least handle a bulleted list so we have some record of what he’s like during this critical “almost not an only child anymore” time period.  So, here goes:

HENRI at 4 years, 109 days, 6 hrs & 42 minutes

  • Physical Appearance.  Well, most notably, Henri currently has a shaved head.  A week or so ago, he took it upon himself to cut the front of his hair himself, the natural consequence of which was that we shaved his head that night.  (I’ve also hid the scissors for the time being.)  I can’t say that either Dada or I were very surprised; after all, I did the same thing when I was Henri’s age.  And I’m pretty sure Henri learned his lesson as he later stated, and I quote, “With my head shaved I look like an alien. Damn, I shouldn’t have shaved my head.”
  • Favorite Pastimes.  I’ve been working with Henri to play independently for most of the day (good transition for the coming days/years when my attention will no longer be solely focused on him), and I find that he {still} chooses cars & trucks 95.5% of the time.  However, he does love to dress up–yesterday, he was a character named “girly girl” who wore pink high heels, a turquoise beanie, and a raccoon sleep mask as a headband.  Very metro.  When he does have Dada’s help/attention, Legos are the favorite along with board games coming in a close second.
  • Bedtime Routine.  Another facet of independence (read: bone of contention) we’ve been working on is Henri getting himself ready for bed–pajamas, teeth & pottying.  At the beginning of the summer, I came up with the plan for us to help him with “one” task, while he did the other two.  This proved to be quite a challenge because–until very recently–he was scared to go in either the bathroom or his bedroom alone.  Well, we followed that plan for a while, which was like pulling out our own hair strand by strand.  But, magically, after being gone on vacay for a couple of weeks, we returned home and basically just started saying it was time for bed, he needed to get his p.j.’s, etc. and–he does it!  Most of the time.  Sometimes he does it without us telling him ten times or more, too!
  • Speaking of Pottying…  Henri still refuses to bear the responsibility of putting his pee “where it goes.”  Though he has a little more success with the pooping.  Emphasis on “little.”  Seeing as we’ve tried all known approaches to potty training this child, we’ve now resorted to literally not caring whether or not he’s successful in any way.  (Note: this is *almost* the polar opposite of pretending to not care” whether or not he’s successful, as–in that instance–you’re still in supercharged “I care more about this than my kid does” mode.)  Seriously, my only strategy at this point is reminding myself daily that I shouldn’t worry about something that will eventually take care of itself.  <–still one of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever taken.  While this doesn’t make potty training go by any quicker (or at all), it does keep me at a safe distance from the issue, if not sane.  Worst case scenario, we will still be bargaining with Henri well into his teenage years when the stakes are much higher. *If you stay dry all day today, we’ll let you borrow the car!*
  • Wit & Intelligence.  I’ve backed off quite a bit on the workbooks and “learn something new each day” mantra, but–safe to say–Henri continues to be quite the smarty.  He can read & write about 15-20 sight words, and can sound out many more.  His concepts of time & money are coming right along, and he can count to a million thousand or higher.  More importantly, he comes up with the best knock-knock jokes and makes up songs that last for hours.  He loves to read books, both to learn and to fantasize.  Sure, he still has PTSD from having to–gasp!–leave the house to go to school 3 days a week this past year, but–hey–so do I. 😉
  • The Immediate Future.  With us buying a house in Boston, which we’ll be moving to shortly after Baby Wayne is born, Henri’s got quite a few changes coming up in his fifth year of life.  However, he seems to be taking it all in stride.  He’s excited about having a new room & playroom and living where it snows, though he continues to persist in his plan to take my mom’s dog, Roxy, with us when we go.  As for being a big brother, I decided Henri was ready to take on this role when he announced his new career goal: being a baby delivery guy.  You might think this means we have to start saving money for medical school, but, actually, I understand it to be more like a UPS truck driver who only works for  I was so proud when I heard this–for Henri, driving a truck is equatable to winning the megamillions for the rest of us, and him combining this with the smelliest part of his new baby brother seemed to indicate more than willingness on his part to be mommy’s helper.  Then I realized that, for a 4-year-old, this is probably just the way his brain works. Reality: baby brother’s coming; Fantasy: I’ll then be old enough to drive a truck.  Put those two together and you’ve got the perfect career: baby delivery guy.

Well, that’s all for now.  Though not as eloquent as I typically strive for, I think this list will at least serve as a reminder that the awesome Henri remains to be just that.  Awesome.


Born a Procrastinator, and other inherently lee lee traits 2011/03/14

Henri’s favorite response to anything right now is “tomorrow.”  Do you want to use the potty? “Maybe tomorrow.”  When should we go to gymnastics this week? “Probably tomorrow.” We should probably pick up these toys. “Yeah. Tomorrow.”  Actually, I lied about the first one; he doesn’t ever intend on using the potty.

This isn’t the only way in which Henri continues to live up to his mini-me moniker.  Witness a few of his sleepy time habits: Doesn’t like his feet covered up; Must have at least 1,000 blankets; Can’t stand sleeping on a pillowcase without a blanket in between (We have sensitive skin!); Generally has trouble falling asleep; Needs grace period between waking up and getting out of bed.

Next up, he likes reading, by which I mean he Loves Reading, by which I mean he READS EVERYTHING.  At this 3-year checkup, I told his doctor that Henri was interested in the way letters sound and was probably going to be reading soon, she didn’t seem that surprised.  Kids of English teachers really do have it rough.

Seriously, though. Name another 3-year-old who can read all of the words with the “at” sound in them. That Cat, who Sat on the Mat, has on a Hat.  Normally, he’s very stubborn when I ask him to do things (gasp, I know…) but he really does love reading words.  I wonder how long we have before the novelty wears off.  I’m hoping for never.

Speaking of words, my favorite thing Henri does in the language department is turning words into verbs–an accepted English practice, but there are still some nouns that haven’t yet been officially converted.  In the store today, he was sounding out some letters and I said, “Wow! Are you reading?”  “No, I”m just lettering.”

Let’s hope he also doesn’t get tired of being precise.


They say teaching is the best way to learn… 2011/01/08

Filed under: like mother like child,start your cognitions — lee lee @ 1:50 pm

Henri just came up and asked, “What’s similar mean?”  So, dada explained, it’s like “same,” only not quite.

*15 seconds goes by*

H: What’s same?

M: Same is when two things are exactly alike, and similar is when they are almost the same.

H: Okay, I’ve got to go tell my animals about same & similar. Bye!


Born Into It 2010/08/08

Filed under: change is good,great kid,like mother like child,suburbia — lee lee @ 8:50 am

Yesterday was my second garage sale with Henri (that we put on), and I have to say: I’m quite the lucky mom.  He didn’t complain about being bored or even get that upset when some of his {old} toys were sold to another little boy.  He also does a great job “hooking the buyer” with his good looks and cute antics.  One day, he’ll make a very good salesman, though I hope he makes the same pact I did and disregards that as a career option.  (Uh-oh; just made the connection between a love of cars and a knack for selling things. CAR SALESMAN??? Say it isn’t so!)

In fact, yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had {with Henri}.  I can only imagine how some kids might find sitting out on the driveway in the blaring sun all day less than appealing.  Add to that the kid inclincation that everything you’ve ever owned is holy and should not be sold for less than $1 to strangers, and you have a Big, Brewing Disaster Stew.  But not H-Man. Garage Sale-ing, like all other things Moving Related, are in his blood. Once he gets over that nap-a-day thing and gains some muscle, he’s going to be an even more invaluable component of Team Lee Lee.  Of course, by that point, he’ll want nothing to do with me, and no customers will want to buy his pent-up-aggressionified rock/movie star posters with matching black t-shirts.

Nah, I can’t picture it.  Henri’s not going to be that kind of teen…  Right?  Mom-Mom and H-Man 4-evuh.


{spoiler alert} henri is a lot like mom-mom… 2009/12/16

Filed under: like mother like child,rhetoric of a 2-year-old — lee lee @ 11:56 am
Tags: , ,

While waiting for my computer to load up, so we could watch a video:

h: This is boring.

m: I know.

*collective sigh*


To Do (with Henri): Read “Important” Books 2009/10/19

I always wanted to read that list of the 100 most important books for a high school student, but never did.  Thus, I will live vicariously through Henri (in this, and in other ways, I’m sure…) by starting on the following list of the “Teacher’s Top 100.”  Actually, we’ve *already* started on it, unbeknownst to me or my future little reader  (see notations below).  We’re just that cool…

p.s. If you’re thinking about Henri’s upcoming birthday, this list might be of help to you!!!

9/2/2013 Update in ORANGE

Teacher’s Top 100 Books for Children

The following list was compiled from an online survey in 2007. Parents and teachers will find it useful in selecting quality literature for children.

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White Def. read once, maybe twice. First chapter book!!!
  2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Check
  3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein Think so
  4. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (own, but haven’t read yet)
  5. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown  (Check)
  6. I Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
  7. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  8. Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss (own?) check
  9. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  10. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg Think so
  11. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
  12. Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
  13. The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss (own?) check
  14. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss check
  15. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  16. The Mitten by Jan Brett I feel like we’ve read this…
  17. Crunching Carrots, Not Candy by Judy Slack
  18. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willlems (honestly, i’m not a big fan of this book; but we will read it just to check it off the list) Probably 
  19. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (NOT NO, BUT HELL NO. if henri ever wants to read this, he can do it on his own! i refuse!!!) Emma started reading this series to Henri the summer of 2013
  20. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  21. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  22. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (Check, thanks to Olga!)
  23. Corduroy by Don Freeman Gift from Emma- have read many times!!!
  24. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  25. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon check
  26. Tacky the Penquin by Helen Lester check
  27. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  28. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams I believe this was also a gift from Emma; either that, or a garage sale find. At any rate, we’ve read it.
  29. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. For sure
  30. Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin Yes, this is hilarious. henri loves it.
  31. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson Check – first read to him by KFrayz
  32. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  33. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
  34. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  35. Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey Own & Check
  36. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  37. Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
  38. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (Check)
  39. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone Own & Check
  40. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (own, but not yet age-appropriate)
  41. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  42. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett Check
  43. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  44. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  45. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  46. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann Check
  47. Olivia by Ian Falconer
  48. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  49. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  50. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (own, but not yet age-appropriate)
  51. The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  52. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle check
  53. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  54. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (own, but not yet age-appropriate)
  55. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  56. Bunnicula by James Howe
  57. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl have read; second chapter book, I believe…
  58. Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise
  59. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes yes?
  60. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
  61. Frederick by Leo Lionni check
  62. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  63. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel Mark’s Uncle Lee read much of this chapter book to Henri one summer
  64. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (check)
  65. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
  66. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion check
  67. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss probably…
  68. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  69. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
  70. Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino check
  71. Jan Brett’s books Henri loves the ones about the hedgehog
  72. Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr.
  73. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (own, but not yet age-appropriate)
  74. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton check – a definite favorite
  75. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  76. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  77. My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss (check, thanks to K-Frayz!)
  78. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  79. No David! by David Shannon (check)
  80. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (own, but i don’t think he’s read it yet?)
  81. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein yes, Dada & Henri went through the Shel Silverstein books many, many time while we lived in Florida.
  82. Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch
  83. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  84. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  85. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
  86. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
  87. The Empty Pot by Demi
  88. The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop
  89. The Giver by Lois Lowr
  90. The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  91. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien check! Upon finishing this, Henri said: “That was good. Can we read it again?” 🙂
  92. The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
  93. The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
  94. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  95. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
  96. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats check
  97. The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
  98. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  99. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  100. The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner

Once we get done with these, the NEA also has a list of 50 Multicultural Books and 50 State Booklist.  Oh man… I’m glad Henri likes to read!


born into it 2009/10/18

it’s official (as if it wasn’t already…): henri truly is my mini-me.

we went shoe shopping, which was (more) stressful (then it had to be) because i suggested henri “try out” each pair of shoes he tried on–ended up being like 12 or so–and he took that to mean he could run away from us in each pair of shoes he tried on.  whoop-ee!

he ended up getting, yes–you guessed it–Pink Tennis Shoes.  now, either this is God’s way of reaffirming my decision to have a kid in the first place, OR, more likely, henri doesn’t yet realize that pink is for “little ladies,” as this website so kindly points out, and just really really really really REALLY loves his mom-mom who really really really REALLY loves pink, therefore…well, you get the argument i’m making. right?



now, i know what you’re thinking: that i Encouraged him to get pink tennis shoes.  and i swear on the tattoo on my left wrist that i did no such thing.  however, i certainly showed them to him, kind of as a joke.*  the first pair of pink tennis shoes i showed him were not anywhere near as gender-neutral and he liked them but absolutely did not say he wanted to buy them like he did the converse ones.  (yes, he speaks in sentences and yes, gender-neutral is a term that applies to pink things, in my world).  i also know the other thing you’re thinking, mainly because i thought it, too, by which i mean, i said it out loud:  poor da-da.  as with all other things me & the h-man throw at mcknight, though, he took it just fine.  sure, he rolled his eyes.  but if any father can handle his 2-year-old running around in pink kicks, it’s this one.

to answer your other questions: yes, henri has been called a girl several times since this shoe-buying incident.  i have no words.  (he doesn’t even LOOK feminine!!!).  and yes, henri and mom-mom have had several well-meaning “older” women–at least 4-year-olds, if not older–explain to us that “pink” is for “girls.”  REALLY? i had no idea.  it’s not like i’ve never passed Victoria’s Secret or The Limited Too.  it’s not like i’ve tried to buy clothes for my son that aren’t blue.  it’s not like i started wearing pink the day my niece was born 9 years ago and haven’t stopped since.  i *know* pink is for girls, you little bitches/future sarah palin supporters!!!  but, guess what?  pink is also the color of Power.  in this case, the willpower not to introduce you to the powerful feeling of putting someone much smaller and much less experienced than you are in their rightful place: namely, on the ground.

but i digress.  the moral of the story is that  the first pair of tennis shoes henri picked out himself is pink.  we tried on adidas.  we ran around the store in new balance. we knocked over shoe salesman in elmo-light-up-blinky-blinky high traction/low impact etc.-etc. shoes.  i even forced his foot into a black & flame version of the very same shoe he ended up buying.  but, none of them got the elicited reaction, which went something like this.

mom-mom: (after picking up pink converse shoes that she in no way thought would ever be liked, let alone bought, by her son, who is a boy and not a “little lady”)  these are AWESOME.  don’t you LOVE them?????

da-da: rolls eyes.

henri: uh-huh.

mom-mom: (puts them on henri’s foot, despite his squirming and losing interest upon realizing they’re *very* hard shoes to put on) WOW. i LOVE them. don’t you LOVE them, buddy???

da-da: rolls eyes, begins to walk away.

henri: uh-huh.

mom-mom: are THESE the ones you want to BUY?????

henri: (after a very long hour to hour-and-a-half of trying on shoes, running around the store, and begging to ride in a tractor) Uh-Huh!

mom-mom: (says privately to da-da) wow–i can’t believe he wants pink shoes. that’s so cute. don’t you think that’s so cute? i didn’t force him into them. you saw it. he wanted them. he said he liked them.  right?

da-da: um…


*the reader will note that henri has been trying on my pink high-heeled shoes and prancing around the house in them, quite capably, for a few months now