We repeated the tradition we started last year with a whole week of celebrating. And now that we've done that tradition twice we are done with it. Henry was confused all week long, asking "I'm three?" every time we'd say we were doing something for his birthday (his actual birthday wasn't going to be until the 6th day of our week-long plans). And, really, celebrating for a whole week is pretty excessive. Not that is wasn't super fun - I looked forward to and enjoyed the week right along with him, maybe even more than he did! Really, I finally understand parents who treat their child's bday like a holiday. I never really got it and was maybe even slightly annoyed when a parent would say they couldn't make plans on their child's bday. But, like I said, I get it now - celebrating his bday was totally a big deal for me! Or maybe it's because my life is usually so mundane...?
Here are some (a lot) of highlights from this week o' bday fun:
A night at the arcade (oh, I didn't mention - most of our activities were free. For example, we had free tokens for the arcade).
(notice the ball shooting out from behind Henry - arcade games really aren't meant for barely three year olds)
Donuts for breakfast at Provo Bakery.
(June's donut lesson for the class)
A trip to the toy store. Henry loves playing with the toys on display there, but the secret mission was to buy birthday presents without him seeing. This was not one of them.
Thanksgiving Point. (tangent: we got tickets to the museum at Thanksgiving Point on Groupon... or so we thought. On our way there, after Henry being MOST excited for this particular bday activity, we took another look at our Groupon and discovered it was for a different museum! 40 min away! Ugh. So, we went for it and drove all the way to Salt Lake for a museum that wasn't going to be as cool. When we got there IT WAS CLOSED for a special event. Seriously!? Good thing Henry was only turning three and not seven and was just as happy running around the museum grounds, not disappointed at all. Plus, we met up with one of Henry's favorite Salt Lake peeps, Lindsay, which helped make it okay too.) (Oh, where did these pics come from then? The very next day a friend of Rob's offered her free tickets to the original, preferred museum. Tender Mercies.)
Father & Son paleontologists
The farm at Thanksgiving Point. We were quite surprised that Henry agreed to the horse ride.
And a video "This is so fun!":
Tractor ride. Henry is smiling, he rarely smiles when enjoying something. Usually he's stone-faced.
The actual birthday. Henry was willing to pause playing with his newly-opened toys only because his birthday breakfast had sprinkles on it. Here, he's saying, "Wow, it's my awesome pancakes!"
In the middle of the day Henry had a trip to the movies (Peabody and Mr. Sherman) and to "Old McDonalds" with Dad.
That night we invited a handful of friends over for cake. Henry's favorite thing these days is race cars, so that's what the cake was. A friend brought over a pinata that he had two days previous for his birthday for us to use again at Henry's. It was a Lightning McQueen pinata, turning our party into one that actually had a theme.
Actual action: (I don't know where he was going)
Henry loves sprinkles, so this cake was full of them.
That was it. Fun week, right? And now he's three. I want to include some of what Henry is like at the end of two/beginning of three:
- Very cuddly and attached to mom, just like he always has been. When he's sad, hurt, or even mad at me, his cry is, "I want mommy!" even when I'm already holding him.
- He likes to "get cozy" which mostly means he wants to be naked wrapped up in a fleece blanket.
- Has some favorite friends that include boys at church and in our neighborhood. They don't seem to actually reciprocate the feelings, but he loves them and enjoys any "friends" that he meets at a park, etc.
- He's not potty trained yet and although changing diapers is the battle repeated four times a day, potty training him isn't going to be easy. I think he's ready, but I think he'll fight us on it. Speaking of fighting, he thinks he's being tortured at hair salons and doctor's offices.
- He hides almost anytime Rob or I (or anyone) come home/into the house. Hiding just means his face buried into the couch or floor and us pretending not to be able to find him.
- Henry is polite ("thank you mom for my lunch"), silly, and a very sweet older brother. He loves to hide with June by putting a blanket over the two of them, and to share his food with her. Those are also the only things that make me nervous about the two of them alone - the hiding because he doesn't understand about making sure she can breath, and the food because... well, the same reason.
- Favorite food is cereal (he gets a sugary cereal if he stays in his own bed every night, which is 3 out of 4 nights), favorite toy is his race cars, favorite color is green (I love that he has a consistent favorite color), favorite show is... anything, he wants to watch shows all.day.long. But I guess his most favorite is Frozen (we call it a show, he doesn't know the difference between show and movie). He receives way more "media time" than I would prefer, but it does allow me to get housework done and Dad gets his best cuddles in by bribing Henry to watch a show with him.
- He sings the ABCs but only recognizes the print form of H, O, Y, and G. He can almost spell his name (just have to get him over the "e" hump in his name, otherwise his instinct is to say the alphabet "H B C D..." He recognizes the numbers 1-5, knows his basic shapes, and most colors. He's pretty much right on par with knowledge a three year old should have but he's an excellent learner. It's a joy to teach him in our almost-daily "mom school" and see him gaining knowledge right in front of my eyes.
- He fights us when we say it's time for prayer (at dinner it's always, "we don't pray in this house. Only Grandpa's house." Saying this because we used to tell him he had no choice, in this house we pray. We think he just doesn't like prayer to get in the way of eating), but when we can convince him it's his turn to pray we hear, "Dear Heavenly Father, thankful for this day, thankful for my volcano." We have no idea what that's about.
- He wants me to play with him constantly and I hear myself telling him "no" most of the time, or so it seems. And I must tell him that I'm busy a lot because that's now his response to why he can't do something ("I can't, I busy."). I get really sad for his lack of playmates, but I'm told that's just a reality of him being the oldest child.
- We have a cheer, "We are Nylands and we are awesome!" said loudly while holding each others' hands as we raise them at "awesome"
- Henry's greatest strength is his visual memory which is evidenced in his ability to put together puzzles, genuinely beat us at Memory, and know his way around Provo almost better than me. He gets this from his Dad.
- I think he is so handsome and he gets so many compliments about his blue eyes and beautiful lips. And his laugh and smile? Can't be beat.
- He has taught us a lot about patience. He was pretty much a easy and obedient child until almost 2.5, right about the time we moved to Utah which may have helped the onset of the terrible twos. We get over one difficult phase (running away from us) just to start another (refusing to go to bed). I know this is normal and I hear it's just preparing us for the battles that come during age three. Goody.
I want to and could go on and on. I can't put into words the love I have for my sweet boy. He is my whole world (shared a bit by his dad and his sister) and I'm loving spending this time where he's somewhere between a baby and a little boy. Every day I get to hold and kiss him and for that I am so so grateful. I love you, Henry Lewis, my most favorite boy that I ever did know.