Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Henry's Baby Journal - My First Letters to Henry

Infant Joy, by William Blake from  Songs of Innocence

"I have no name:
 I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old.
Sweet joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee!

Born at Portland Adventist Hospital, 5:40 a.m. Sunday, 2/10/80
8 lbs. 5 oz, 19 1/2 " long, chest 13 1/4",  head 13 3/4"

First Month, Feb 10- March 10

We brought Henry home at 3:30 p.m. on his birthday.  Meg, Karl, Grant, Myra and Saul were waiting for us.  Henry was thoroughly passed around, sleeping all the while, the rest of the afternoon.  Meg and the boys left and Grandma and Grandad Roberts arrived at 5 p.m. to take over the oohing and aahing.  Then everyone left and Jim fixed us a beautiful dinner of Phoenix nests and carrots and rice with crab and champagne.  Henry cried a lot the first night - I began to wish I could send him back!  But I soon got used to it.

Henry's birthday presents: blanket knitted by me (Mommy), 2 sweater suits knitted by Meg, 3 outfits from Grandma and Grandpa Case, crocheted blanket and dish set from Grandma and Grandad Roberts, teddy bear from Granny Ferguson, batik shirt from Liz Head.

Dave, Beth, Circe and Claire came to visit Monday.  Dave clipped Henry's long, long fingernails.  One week old, went to Lebanon to visit Grandma and Grandad, Granny, Julie, Mike and Joe.  Two weeks old, went to Newport to visit the other Grandfolks.

Henry's very peaceful so far, except in the evenings.  Looks like Grandpa Case, which pleases him, I think.

Two more presents have arrived: an 18 month outfit from Jane Cook next door, and a sleeveless undershirt with "Coffee Man's Best" embroidered on the front from Jenny Martin.  (Henry's also known as "House Blend.")

Feb. 28 - Henry sleeps pretty regularly now at night, 10:30-2-6.  He loves his bath, and he loves the way his daddy bicycles his legs.  Weighs 9 lbs now.

Second Month, March 10-April 10

I'm almost sure Henry smiled at me, in the Humble Bagel shop in Eugene.
I don't think Henry is living up to his reputation as a mellow baby.  When he's awake he will be rocked and fussed with or ELSE.  However, thank goodness, he will take a bottle.

Two more presents have arrived for that lucky baby guy: a beautiful blue sweater from Sue two doors down, and a baby book from Aunt Eleanor (traded for this one).

March 29 - 11 lbs now, fat and happy.  He's been smiling a lot for the last couple of weeks, even an occasional laugh and coo.  Henry's been gallivanting a lot - he's ridden the city bus a few times to visit Daddy at the coffee store, and he's been on lots of walks with Myra and Saul.  The kids and I fight over whose turn it is to push the carriage or stroller. I even roller skated him around the block - we made a funny picture, I bet, with his 4 wheels and my 8.  We've had a few sunny days when we stayed outside, and the little sun worshipper got a red nose.

I told Henry about the volcano, but he didn't seem very excited.  He's really proud (it seems to me) of the way he can handle his head.  He swings it around any way he likes, making a point of turning it very fast and very far.  His little button eyes get so big when he stares at something, and he flails his arms all around trying to grab what he's looking at.  I love the way he holds my shirt and caresses me when he's nursing.

His hair really looks red in the sunshine.  Henry, you're an altogether sweet and adorable little baby.  So if you're spoiled when you read this, don't blame us.  We just couldn't help being crazy about you.

April 8 - what a talker!  "Oo - ah" is his very favorite sound, and I swear he imitates us sticking out his tongue and making a little "O" with his mouth.

We spent Easter with Grandma and Grandpa Case.  Dave, Beth, Circe, and Claire were there too.  The Easter Bunny brought Henry a basket with a little felt gentleman mouse and a blue egg that said "Happy Easter Henry."

Third Month, April 10-May10

Hankus Pankus received two more gifts this month: a hooded red sweater from Priscilla and David DeWolf and Perrault's Fairy Tales from Lou Ann Schreiber.

Let's see, what's new about Henry... he MUST sit up when anyone holds him.  Standing up is ok too, but lying down is OUT.   He can hold his head up perfectly well now.  He is so responsive to talking, it's really fun to have a conversation with him.  He loves his bath, and his mobile of birds and baby Christmas tree ornaments.  And he loves his teddy bear and talks to it.  He can grab things a little bit now.  He especially likes to go for my hair when I lean over his crib to talk to him.  He sleeps a nice long stretch in the evening now, 6-11, which lets me relax with Jim for a while.  Henry had his first sitter April 26th for 4 hours.  Sara seemed to feel it was an uneventful evening, so I guess he was ok.  He still likes his pacifier now and then.  It allows me to make him go 2 1/2 hours between feedings.  It's not always that bad, but he definitely is not on a bookish 4 hour schedule.  He is so funny at night when I get him up for his feeding.  He stops crying and starts smacking his lips really loud.

Fourth Month, May 10-June10

May 31st - Henry rolled over from tummy to back in his basket on Saturday morning at Grandma Case's.  He's done it twice since then (it's June 3rd now).  This morning he woke up happy in his crib.  I listened to him ooing and aahing and di-di di-ing for a while, then I went in to pick him up.  He was on his back with his feet hanging out the bars and his Pooh Bear on his face!

Henry has slept a few times from 11 p.m. - 5 a.m.

Spitting is IN.  He sticks his tongue out and erupts. Also, he loves the Johnny Jump Up.

Fifth Month, June 10-July10

Aug 2nd - yes, yes, I have neglected this book.  Lots of happy and sad things have happened since spitting was in (it's still in, particularly when Henry has decided feeding time is over).  Laughs out loud a lot (started early June) and especially when we tickle his tummy with our noses.  He's had a couple of bad colds and coughs, and an awfully bad rash that won't go away (currently).  I suspect he's allergic to Desitin, so we're trying out that theory now.  He started solid foods at 4 1/2 months - cereal, fruits, veggies, yogurt.  He really took to it.  Terribly messy eater, because he pushes the food in with his fingers.  He's been sleeping all night, from 8-6, for a week or two.  He can sit up quite well now, since about 2 weeks ago.  He babbles da-da, na-na, ma-ma, and lots of other un-writable stuff.  Henry's funniest, most ridiculous habit is going about with his mouth wide open.  Not just comfortably slack, but wide open.

Sixth Month, July 10-August 10

The rash is a yeast infection and he still has it. It itches so badly that it keeps him awake, so he's stopped sleeping all night.  But we've bought the most powerful medicine available, so hopefully it'll all  soon be over.  This infection has really changed Henry's life,  poor thing.  He has trouble relaxing, his baths have to be quick because he scratches so much, etc.  In spite of all that, he has learned a lot and generally keeps cheerful.  He can sit himself up so I put him on the rug and he sits there for quite a while playing with his toys and almost crawling away.  He loves peek-a-boo, jumping, standing up.  He seems to say "hi" and "dada" appropriately.  No teeth yet.

Seventh Month, August 10-September 10

Myra heard Henry say, "hi." She was quite relieved.  "Well finally!" she said.  "Now I know he's an English baby!"

Henry got a tooth at Grandma Case's.  Now he acts like he has a mouthful of them - eats his toast, chews it up and swallows it down.  He also crawled at Grandma's.

The rash is pretty much cleared up now.  Diaper off and a little sunshine on the butt helped a lot.

Both bottom teeth are through now.  Henry is a very happy fellow.  He can crawl and pat-a-cake and get into the fireplace and newspapers and plants.  He can stand up tentatively when he's holding onto the couch.  We were sitting on the couch together the other evening when he started hopping and leaping all over me.  Boy, he figured he was some kind of cool, grownup person, just shrieking and laughing and hopping, making so much noise we couldn't hear the TV.  Maybe that was the idea.

I guess I never wrote that Henry refuses bottles now. Ever since his bad cold in his 4th month, when I tried to force liquids, he cries when he sees a bottle.  But he loves drinking from a cup, so it doesn't matter.

One of Henry's unique habits is the way he holds his arms out, kind of like wings, and wiggles his fingers.  He does this usually in his high chair, when he sees the food coming.  It seems to mean he's happy, anticipating something good.

Eighth Month, September 10-October 10

Henry's been standing up the last few days.  I always find him standing in his crib after his nap (if he's not stuck in the bars some funny way).  He also waves bye-bye.

Ninth Month, October 10-November 10

Two top teeth nicely through.

All the kids have been babysat the last three Saturdays and I've gone back to work (just on Saturdays).  Henry's been surviving 10 hours without his tittymilk just fine.  He can eat crackers, pieces of banana, etc. without choking too much, but he doesn't like lumps in his food.  Knows the meaning of several words: bye-bye, hi, boom, drink, titty, no-no, Henry, dance, jump.  He likes to wave bye to his daddy more than anyone else.  Every night before he goes to bed he waves to him, but he often won't wave to Saul and Myra.  He shakes his head "no" in reply to every question.  And he's absolutely delighted with himself.

He's had a few hand slaps over the plants.  He knows he's not supposed to get into them, but so far this has not stopped him.

Henry's very attached to his bed.  It's difficult to get him to sleep anywhere else.  I take his teddy bear with us whenever we visit folks, and that helps.

He sleeps in the evening from 7-11, then gets a change and a feeding, then sleeps until 5:30 a.m.  I take him to bed with me then so that we make it till 6:30 sometimes.  He's turned me into an early riser.

His favorite sounds, other than "da-da," are "ada," "tit," and "th."  He likes cheek to cheek closeness, and he'll hold his ear to my mouth as long as I'll keep whispering to him.

He can stand alone for a couple of seconds before sitting down.  Walks when we hold his hands.

Tenth Month/Eleventh Month, November 10 - January 20
Henry, I've neglected your book again.  Today is January 20, 1981, and I'm a month behind in this journal.  Your Grandma Case died last week (Tuesday, Jan. 13th) so it's hard for me to think back to your 10th month, but I'll do my best.  Then I'll tell you about your last visit with your Grandma.

Let's see, for Christmas you received:
     From: Mom and Daddy - squeaky duck, see-through blown up pillow to roll on
               Grandma and Grandpa Case - shapes to put together & take apart
               Paula - soft blue hippopotamus
               Meg & Lewis - plastic keys
               Tom & Liz - brown bean bag teddy bear
               Grandma & Grandad Roberts - train pull toy
               Sauly - slightly used black pick-up
               Mrs. Cook - crocheted rattle

Christmas was hard.  We drove to Newport Christmas Eve (the kids and I rode with Grandpa, and Jim came a few hours later).  Mom was feeling well enough to be downstairs that day, but Christmas Day she was very sick.  She forced herself to sit on the couch while the rest of us ate Christmas dinner, but the mood was strained and sad.  She didn't get to play with you, Henry, and that disappointed her.  We were glad that she was home at least, and that our family and Dave and Beth's family could be together with her and Dad and Paula.  We had to go home Christmas day, in the evening.  She went back in the hospital Sunday (Christmas was Thursday).  It was a hard season.  No one could really enjoy your cute little baby antics like they normally would have.

You've made a lot of progress with your walking.  The day after your grandma died you took three steps in Paula's apartment.  Walking is your favorite thing now.  You talk a lot too, in very definite patterns, very loudly and with plenty of gesturing.  You have such a sweet disposition - so huggable and lovable.  You almost seem to live for giving and getting love.  Mom says, I was just like you as a baby.  Thank goodness you're not cross-eyed like I was!

Henry, you've been such a comfort to me this past week.  Just to hold your cozy little innocent self has been soothing.

The last time you saw Grandma was Sunday, Jan 4.  She was in the hospital in Eugene.  She was unable to eat or drink, and was very weak.  We took you with us, Henry, even though "it was against the rule" because your Grandma wanted to see you so much. I thought it would be an ordeal, but it was wonderful.  She held your hands so you wouldn't scratch your bottom while I changed you, she played peek-a-boo through the bars of her bed, and she enjoyed watching all her visitors play with you. You were really sweet and obliging.  Grandpa carried you around and introduced you to all the nurses.  Everyone thought you were irresistible. Grandma was so proud.  She was especially glad to finally have a red headed grandchild, since her hair and her father's were both red.  She told me she was sorry that she'd not been able to be much of an influence in your life.  Did you know that I had you because Mother was dying?  I didn't know if she'd live to see you, but I had a strong strong wish to bring in a new life to balance the outgoing one.  So I reminded her that she was the reason you were here at all.

We had such a nice visit.  I told her that I felt awful seeing her come to this, in such suffering and loneliness in that hospital. She smiled and said that having a family that cared about her meant everything.  Some poor folks get forgotten; she told me she'd seen them there, lonely and dying and no one to care.

You got pretty tired about 4:30 p.m., so we said our fond goodbyes and went home.  That was the last time you and your Grandma saw each other.  It feels like the last time I saw her too, because the actual last time was after her surgery and she wasn't herself.  That was Wed, the 7th.  She died six days later.

You were with me when I visited her body at the funeral home, the evening of the 14th.  You were so jolly, crawling around on that soft carpet, just shrieking and being a real cut-up.  You cheered us all up, and Dad said Mom would have liked it that way.  When you saw her you actually grew solemn.  You held out your hand, palm up, arm straight, and wisely said, "ah."

Even though you won't remember her, you were very important to your Grandmother Case.  She loved you the last year of her 55 year long life, the first year of yours, and she loved you just as much as she did the other kids who can remember her.

I guess I'll record Mom's epitaph here.  She wrote this as a writing assignment in college ten years before her death:

Housewife's Epitaph

For many years with mop and broom
She battled dust in every room.
Now at last a'wearied she
Has forces joined with her enemy.

by Margaret Susan Roderick Case

February 12, 1981

Well, Henry, you are ONE.  And just as sweet as the day you were one minute.  Sweeter, if that's possible.  And now, a bit about The Party.

I made you a chocolate whipped cream torte, and I spelled "Henry!" on it with gumdrops.  The party didn't begin until 8 p.m. so I had to get you out of bed for it.  You were wearing your birthday "H" shirt that Liz Head batiked for you.  Your Aunt Meg and cousins Karl & Grant came, and so did Grandpa Case.  We served the grownups champagne and coffee, and the little ones punch.  Myra and Saul could harldly stand to wait because, you see, they each had a package too.  Myra got a Noah's Ark kit and Sauly got a play telephone.  You got a beautiful pull toy from us - bells on a car with a mallet to play a tune.  I like it a lot because it reminds me of a xylophone I had when I was little.  You liked it too, and you struck up a tune right away.  Julie gave you a cute red bathrobe, and Liz batiked two t-shirts for you.  Grandpa and Paula gave you a barking seal pull toy, Mrs. Cook gave you a wooden truck with 2 people (you love it!) and Grandparents Roberts sent you a shirt and pants and a lollipop.

Birthday card from us:

Printed on front,

Watch over they child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be.

"February 10th, 1981, Saul and Myra Loveydoo yoo too!"

Henry, our Sweet Baby Guy,

Oogeldy da
Tuckeldy wa
Humpety Dumpety rah.
Wee wee wee
Tee hee hee
Snorkel Horkel
Waa waa waa!

Happy First Birthday, Son
Love, Mom and Dad"

You're taking a few steps, but not full fledged walking yet. You like to imitate sounds a lot - you say "hi" and "dad" and a lot of other gobbledy gook.  S, B, D, H, F, M, N, Y, T - these are your clearest consonants.  You shake your head no to answer every question.  Poor kid - "Henry, do you want some ice cream?" No.  Your kind parents realize you love ice cream, especially chocolate, so we don't take you too seriously.

You take two naps a day, and you sleep through the night, 8-6.  At least, you stay in bed all night.  I refuse to pick you up when you holler, so you're not hollering much anymore.  You still like your titty, sometimes twice a day, sometimes 6.  I hope that when you're better at walking you'll be having such fun that I can wean you pretty easily.

You can hold your own glass and drink pretty well, and feed yourself (but not with a spoon, unfortunately). Baby food tastes yucky to you these days.  You much prefer leftovers.  You're a very good eater, as you have been from the start.  You're a cuddler and a lover.  When we pick you up you put your little arms around our necks and lay your head on our shoulders and just smile.

You're a blessing, little Henry, and I'll never regret having Baby Number Three.  That's Thee!

I love you,
Mommy (and Daddy and Myra and Sauly too!)

Note: age one, 21 lbs.  Weaned last week in February, very little trouble.  Walked 13 months.