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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cuddling? No. Head massage? Yes.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone. Henry is in the midst of a multi-week holiday extravaganza. Ali and I opened presents with him at home before we drove up to Minnesota to celebrate Christmas with Ali's family. Next week we'll be on the east coast visiting my family and celebrating the holidays with them. By the end of this extremely extended holiday season Henry will have celebrated no fewer than four Christmases. Needless to say, he's got plenty of brand new presents and clothes, but all he really wants is a broom (thankfully, he received one as a Christmas present).

Henry got a cabbage patch kid from Mommy and we used it to teach him to hug - pretty great results so far!

But despite his best efforts at trickery, Henry did not get to sample Daddy's scotch.

On Christmas morning Henry Jay was the star of the show.

Chef Jay took a break from his work in the kitchen making breakfast to help Henry work on his puzzle.

Daddy helped Henry do some hammering.

And Mommy and Iris made sure that Henry always had his hands full of Christmas graham crackers.

Henry also got a new pair of shoes

and a new cowboy hat

but he'd trade all those toys and clothes, for just a little more time with the Swiffer

And here are some videos.

Aunt Libby filmed Henry sitting and playing. Daddy came over to give Henry a hug, but Henry was too busy to indulge him.

In this one we're testing out a little head massager on Henry. Mommy and Daddy got it as a present, and it's wonderful, but it's even more fun testing it out on the little guy. Perhaps it was a little too intense for him, but overall I think he rather enjoyed it.

I saved my favorite one for last. Henry is playing with his new refrigerator magnets, and dancing his little jig. What could be more fun than that? When we ask him to stomp his feet now, he'll do that little jig of his on command.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the topic of our crazy kid

I hope Chris doesn't mind me posting this but it was too funny not to share. This is an e-mail Chris wrote to our friend Josh Hung, whom we three Ohlhoffs will be visiting in a week. I believe the original question was something about whether the Hungs needed to "babyproof" their home prior to Henry's arrival. Here is the doting father's response:

His activity level is best classified as: "non-stop mischief making"
he's relentless, he never stops, and whatever he's not supposed to be doing, is the one thing he wants to do more than anything. he's not like a cuddler, he won't sit still on your lap and behave, he's a whirling dervish who derives joy from:

* climbing the stairs unsupervised
* pulling plugs from outlets
* if you are using a computer he will want to pound on the keyboard with all of his might while yelling at the top of his lungs with sheer joy
* reaching into the toilet to feel the water
* crawling behind drapes and then pulling on them to stand up
* toddling into rooms and then closing the door - don't open it too quickly or you'll knock him on his a$$
* taking his toys and dropping them into the garbage when no one is looking - i have no idea how many of his toys we've already inadvertently tossed out as a result of this move by the boy genius
* opening cabinets, any cabinets, but especially cabinets that contain toxic cleaning products (ie. "forbidden cabinets of mystery")

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Henry's Trip to Meet Santa Claus

Despite our best efforts to get Henry excited to meet the big guy, Henry's first interaction with Santa was less than spectacular. We rehearsed that Santa says, "Ho ho ho," all week and even got Henry to repeat it:

And of course, Santa is always wearing a hat, and Henry's love of hats is well-documented. Then we got to Macy's. Maybe it was the seemingly endless and noisy line that made Henry a little ornery, or maybe it was simply being placed on the lap of a strange man, but once Henry and Santa got together, it was all over. Water works, crying, general rebellion.

Can you believe we had to pay money and stand in line to get this gem from Macy's?

We'll have better luck next year I'm certain, but for now, if Henry is on Santa's bad list we understand, and he has no one to blame but himself.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All tubed up

Henry is now the proud wearer of a teeny-tiny silicone tube against the side of his eyeball. The procedure today went well, and so far the tube does not appear to be bothering him in the slightest. (He wasn't too fond of the anesthesia, however! Poor baby thrashed and screamed in my arms for a good half hour upon awakening.)

The idea is that the tube will hold open the tear duct while his tissue heals around it; this way, it won't close right up like it did the last time.

So let's all hope and pray this works and we've seen the last of the goop eye!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Because some babies are more delicious...

than other babies...

Henry's second attempt at a goop-free eye is tomorrow (Thursday). Wish that little Buster good luck and a speedy recovery!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday = Laundry + Errands

Take one momentarily unsupervised toddler, add a basket of clean whites in need of some folding, and this is what you get:

No, he didn't get the shirt on himself. Mommy was encouraging his misbehaving.

We also bought groceries today and Henry discovered that empty grocery bags make for wonderful noise-making toys!

Finally, last night before bedtime Henry noticed that the Christmas tree is covered in balls -- "bah!" Those glorious, shiny little things are covering his Christmas tree and he couldn't be more enthralled with them.

Now, we considered all of this before we got the tree. We wanted Henry to appreciate and enjoy the tree without toppling it. Covering it in shiny round balls -- pretty much his favorite thing in the world, after hats -- was, in retrospect, not our wisest moment or most effective tactic. The balls' allure is powerful, clearly we will have our hands full the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Henry Jay: Chef, Buckethead, Santa's Little Helper

"Let's get some new photos/videos on the blog! There's no such thing as too much Henry! :-)"

I couldn't agree more.

And since it was Grandma Mare's birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday!), we're happy to oblige.

Henry had a busy week. In addition to hosting a new play group at the house, Henry also passed his intelligence exam as for one of his follow up sessions with the hospital. When he came home I gave him my own intelligence exam, but he failed that one miserably: the capital of Delaware is not "Buh," and 810 divided by 9 is not "Haa."

Henry's love of hats has expanded to anything he can place on or about his head. Buckets that until recently were holding his blocks included. The fact that even with his face covered he'll begin walking forward frightens me though. Perhaps this intelligence test needs to be administrated by someone else??

As a toddler Henry also gets into stuff a lot more. If we don't have all of the cabinets in the kitchen locked down, he'll be setting about to bake a cake (made of paprika, tuna fish, and pink sprinkles) in no time. What I love about this particular video is that he becomes so fixated on what he's doing with the items he's pulled from the cabinet that when Mommy finally says something to him he's startled. Oh, you're still here?

And does our kid still love a good Swiffer? You betcha.

Nice work on the edges and corners there Henry.

On a home related note we have two updates. Our window seat has been installed in the sun room. Painting it is next.



And our Christmas tree is up. Henry helped.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Snow Day!

Henry was just outside enjoying his first real snowfall.

It started this morning when we woke up and looked out the window. Henry was very excited by the winter wonderland he saw.

We also showed Henry how to make a snow angel. Here is getting up from his pint-size version.

Lastly, Henry taught us something we may have forgotten. Snow is delicious. And when you are built as close to the ground as him, there's no need to bring the snow to your face to eat it. It's a wonderful snack straight from the buffet table (ground).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Man about town

Henry hit the town today with all the family in tow.

Here he is cruising the strip in OP with Mommy.

Here he is at the breakfast table.  I think he was ordering a bowl of YELL-o.

Later, we were visited by Aunt Linda, Uncle John, Katie, Patrick, and of course, his partner in crime Liam.  They helped us to put a dent in the Thanksiving left-overs, but we're still up to our earlobes in turkey.

Hey Liam, any food that you don't want you can just toss it down here like I do!

Also, Liam, have you given much thought to sporting a hat?  I'm not sure if you were aware of this but hats are my specialty...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Henry too

Always willing to lend his voice and his excitement, Henry wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone too.

I was trying to keep him occupied over in the living room while the rest of the family finished up their Thanksgiving feast, but Henry just had to come over to the dining room to make sure everyone knew that he was very thankful on this holiday too... As vociferously and ebulliently as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are we thankful for? Let's start with this guy.

And while we're at it we're also thankful for the Mommy who got him here, and the hospital staff who worked so hard to make sure he got here safely.

And we're thankful for our jobs, our home, our health, our families, our friends, and their health too.

Lastly, we're thankful for the Internet and digital cameras which allow us to share this little guy with you even if we're far away.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sweeps week

Today, Henry's infatuation was with the Swiffer.  For most people the Swiffer has replaced the broom; for Henry it replaced his toys.  For the better part of an entire day.  Now if only I could get him to apply it to the floor when it has a pad on it, we'd really be on to something.

We also had some company today and Henry got to go for a ride in his wagon thanks to Cassidy giving him a push.  Trust me, he enjoyed it more than having his picture taken.

Henry also found the time to do some quick but judging by the look on his face extremely serious accounting work on his abacus toy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What's the latest?

Not much new to report from Oak Park.  Henry still walks but his walking has noticeably improved in the two weeks since the last video was posted.  Since Henry will now also walk without the lure of Oberweis ice cream, we feel that's an improvement as well.

Henry is also still infatuated with hats.  He loves them, and he never fails to recognize one.

And if a certain President-elect is looking to fill his cabinet with homegrown bean-counting talent to help us get through these trying financial times, look no further than Henry and his rapidly developing accounting skills.  I imagine when he plays with these stacking blocks that he's really at an abacus balancing the budget.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I think they call this walking

What a way to celebrate the birthday he was supposed to have had today!


So today, Henry turns an adjusted one year old based on his original due date of Nov. 9. What's crazy to me is that it feels like such a long time since we celebrated his birthday (Sept. 11), which underscores in my mind just how early he arrived.

Fortunately, he was a tough kid then and continues to be today. As of the past few weeks, he is taking unassisted steps here and there, though he'll only do it if he's concentrating really hard on something else (like on Halloween, when there were big kids in costumes at our door) or if we trick him into it with the lure of something he's not supposed to have (the phone, the remote control). He actually seems pissed when he realizes he's been duped -- he clearly still prefers to crawl.

A very recent development is the advent of climbing. This should be fun! (For the ER staff if no one else.) At this very moment he has managed to sit himself on top of his large firetruck and is looking around the room like, "Why am I not going anywhere? Where'd the chaffeur run off to?"

And, he can entertain himself for long periods of time by climbing in and out of his and out, in and out, in entertaining! Haha. Here's a video of me trying to reason with him about this new favorite hobby:

His vocabulary is steadily increasing, though his most favorite word is still "hat." I thought he would grow tired of this little kick, but no -- a month later, we're still talking about hats for the better part of the day. Every item he comes across, he raises to his head, cocks an eyebrow and asks, "Hat?" At which point I'm faced with a parenting dilemma: Do I encourage his imagination? ("Yes, Henry! That could be a hat.") Or do I give it to him straight? ("No, you nutty kid. That's a [spoon/piece of paper/sock/cup/block/etc.], not a hat.") Recently, if I tell him it's not a hat, he'll think about it for a moment and then ask, "Ball?" Apparently it's got to be one or the other. Ah, to be a one-year-old. :)

(Note that he still refuses to wear a hat; he just likes playing with them.)

Really, though, this stage is so much fun because he's an absolute sponge right now. He attempts to copy everything we do and say. We taught him to make a funny face, which he nows does all the time, to our great delight because it's so funny!

The sweetest moments with Henry are when he's tired, hurt or otherwise in need of comfort; when I hold him, he reaches his little hand around my neck and gently plays with my hair. Awwwwwwww. :)

He has gotten much better about sleep. Still not sleeping through the night, but now he only wakes one time, usually not until 3 or 4 a.m. Another improvement is that I put him down completely awake now and he is able to snuggle in and fall asleep by himself.

Eating...He's a good eater. Picky about some stuff, but we have a good list of reliable favorites going, including avocado, chicken, crackers, cheese, any kind of fruit and some veggies. Also, he's developed a healthy appetite for cow's milk and drinks two or three cups of it a day, in addition to nursing four times through the day.

What else? Henry is a spirited, extroverted and personable kid with an increasing sense of humor. We have so much fun with him, every day.

Oh! And a quick update on his eye. The first surgical probing was not successful. :( So, we'll be taking him back to Children's for a second procedure on Nov. 20. They'll probe the blocked tear duct (again), but then this time they'll place a tiny tube to hold it open. The tube will stay there for a month or until he pulls it out, whichever comes first.

Gunky eye -- but he's still cute

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can

Yesterday, Henry joined us at 5:45 a.m. as we lined up to vote for president.

Someday, I'll tell him how I held him on my lap as I cast my ballot for Barack Obama. And I'll tell him about the raw emotion and elation we felt when the networks announced that indeed, Barack Obama had won.

No matter what your political slant, we can all agree that Obama's election reaffirms the notion that America is a place where all things are possible. As a mother, I cried last night knowing my son will grow up with such an incredible role model leading our great country.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A whole entire week without the Buster?

How will I ever survive? I leave tomorrow afternoon for a week of training in Seattle. I don't get back until Saturday morning on the red eye. Which means I am also missing our first Halloween in Oak Park and Henry's first Halloween with actual trick or treating.

I'm not sure how I will make it through a week not seeing with or playing with that little Buster. We did dress him up in his costume so I could get a feel for what I'll be missing and to take some photos, but I guess to make it through this week without him I will just have to think about Henry in some of his more challenging times, like when he became a pirate and looted our sleep...

Which also coincided with Henry's 'Salvador Dali' phase... Minus the artwork.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Peek-A-Boo is a pretty simple game. It has pretty basic rules. I see you, you see me, then we don't. Repeat as necessary. But in the hands of Henry, coupled with a dish towel, and Mommy behind the camera, it becomes the most fascinating game in the world...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And in honor...

...of the one year anniversary of the day that Henry came home with us from the hospital, he slept through the night. All the way through. For the very first time in his life and it only took 13 months. No nursing at midnight, or 1 or 4, he slept straight through until 7 AM. Maybe it was the afternoon nap he never took on Tuesday, or maybe it was his way of approving the fact that Tuesday night Ali and I got a babysitter and spent a night out together (which is rare), or maybe it was just in celebration of that night, one year ago, when he slept at home with us for the first time rather than in the NICU. Whatever the case, it worked. Ali and I looked at each other Wednesday morning, and we knew it, we hadn't seen each other or Henry since we went to bed. Henry slept through the night for the first time! Yay!!

Of course now I've probably jinxed it and he won't do it again for another 13 months.

It led to Ali and I discussing it a lot this week - what it was like back then? What was our first week at home with Henry like? We have no idea. We can't remember. It required pictures and videos from that time for us to remember how it felt and what we did that first week when we had this tiny little baby at home with us and no longer under the watchful eyes of nurses and doctors 24x7. We remember we took him for a walk and we were freaked out the entire time. We remember being happy, excited, overwhelmed, humbled, clueless, and thrilled. We remember that he would sleep in that sweet little Moses basket and he would sleep on my chest, or anyone's chest, and hardly anywhere else.

These days Henry has been very busy. He's settling into his new home and neighborhood, including a little bit of feeding himself with a spoon.

He also tried to take a bath with his shoes and socks on.

Last weekend he made an appearance and an impression (on the ear drums of our neighbors) at our Oak Park block party.

He's also been spending time at the Oak Park farmer's market every Saturday morning to get fresh donuts, cider, apples and produce.

And of course he's getting lots of visits from family.

Coupled with the fact that he's had two parents around all day this week to keep him busy (I don't start my new gig until Monday) it's easy to understand why Henry may be a little extra tired these days.

Well sleep well again tonight little man; I can't wait to get to spend another day with you tomorrow.