Henry is now 4 and he is quite a character. He is taller, and thinner — a very picky eater who somehow is still able to be constantly on the go. He prefers to be outdoors, prefers to be running, and prefers that I also engage in his fun.

He loves to play with my Frisbee. I’ve never seen a child giggle so much as when we do this. The one I have is larger than a dinner plate and the center is cut out, leaving only a two-inch rim. Henry uses this to his advantage when catching it by sticking his arm out and through the hole as if we were playing horseshoes. He throws it as if he was bowling, but he throws it hard and I don’t even try to catch it anymore lest I lose an eye.

I think of this game as exercise, and I don’t like exercise, but I play anyway because I love his giggling. One day he said “Gramma, make it come over my head.” So I flung it as softly and accurately as I could and sure enough he was wearing it like a necklace, but I could tell it didn’t exactly tickle when it connected with his head. When he finished laughing over the accomplishment he said, “Gramma, let’s not do that again.”

One day, to get his attention before I threw it I said “Henry, guess what.” To his “what?” I said “Chicken butt” and flung it. Well he laughed so hard he fell down. Now every time he flings it he says “Gramma, guess what?” and then finishes with the craziest things he can think of — and laughs.

He loves to go to the park. Now that his mother is working I have him more and I have taken him to every park I can think of but rarely were there other children there. Then one day we found a park with five kids playing and he ran up to each kid as he came upon them and said “Hi, I’m Henry. Want to play with me?” Be still my heart.

Henry is ready for pre-school, but I’m not sure pre-school is ready for him — as he moves to the beat of a different drum. I can’t get him to sit still and color or draw for more than two minutes. And at his orientation, the teacher asked him to sing the alphabet song with her and he kindly said, “No, I don’t want to” so she said “well let’s see how high you can count” and again, “No, I don’t want to.” He must have performance anxiety because this kid sings the alphabet song often while he is playing with his cars and he can count to 11 before he starts making things up.

But at the end of his interview he got up and started pushing all the chairs up to the table. Nobody knows why. It has never been required of him anywhere.

While Henry doesn’t like to sit still and listen, he is always listening from wherever he is and will add to a conversation his mother and I are having from two rooms away. Because his parents always have the television on at home for background noise, Henry knows a lot more than the average 4- year-old should be expected to, and even corrected his father on a biodiversity matter one day.

He likes mastering long words. And yet when we play Uno, where he lays all his cards face up in front of him rather than hold them in his hands, he is forever saying, “What’s that word you say when you have one card?”


“Oh yeah — Uno” he says as I realize he’s about to beat me again.

And he doesn’t even care that he wins. He’s just glad that the “matching” game is over so he can slide out of the chair and run off somewhere.