Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What About Henry?

So Aunt Mara asked, commenting on my last post, what about Henry? What was his reaction to the big Magic Cup truth?

Well, I don’t really know. He was likely sitting at the table, waiting for his dinner, listening to his brother cry. I know that he didn’t quite understand what was going on. But, to tell you the truth, I don’t remember what he was exactly, because I was so focused on Luke. All too often, this is the case.

Luke is such an intense child that a lot of my energy is focused on him. I try to pay attention to Henry as much as I can, but I often am dealing with the more pressing situation: Luke. Even when Luke isn’t crying or yelling, I often ask Henry to be more flexible because Luke is so rigid.

The other day when we were at Trader Joe’s, Luke and Henry wanted balloons. There were none that were ready to go, but the checker offered to blow some up. He described the available colors, none of which were both boys’ preferred red, and Luke chose blue. Henry, misunderstanding, asked for red. The checker convinced Henry that yellow was a nice alternative. A few minutes later, the checker emerged from the back of the store with a red balloon and a blue balloon. Anticipating trouble, I told the boys what was going on. As expected, Luke began to become agitated.

“Henry,” I asked, “Would you prefer a blue balloon? Blue is the color of Superman.”

“Okay!” said Henry. Problem solved.

Except that part of me feels guilty for doing this kind of thing again and again. Will Henry remember these situations and resent Luke and me? Feel as though he was always being tricked? That his desires were always being denied?

Maybe. But Henry has found ways to put his foot down. Often, quite literally.

Henry has been having huge temper tantrums lately, a few a week. And even though they are a huge pain and very loud and very long, you know what? I’m glad. Henry is such a people pleaser, such a giver, that I’m glad he can make demands sometimes. And when he is tantruming like this, Luke usually rises to the occasion, acting more mature than usual.

So what about Henry? He is finding himself. He is often along for the ride. He was a part of the magic cup story, but it wasn’t his story. He is finding his way, figuring out how to make his own magic.


Beck said...

My middle guy is laid back and my oldest child is very intense and so things play out like that at my house, too. I don't know if there's a way to FIX it, or if it needs to be fixed.

Nancy said...

As you know, I have the same issues with Emily and Hazel, at least historically. However, while Hazel also certainly knows how to use stubborn to an effect which Emily never learned.

I think you're right to assume it will work out. One of the most helpful bits I read in a sibling book (Siblings without rivalry?) is to stop worrying about giving equally at all times and instead worry more about giving to each according to his/her needs. Although I don't always follow this perfectly (what are needs when a new Target just opened up, and there are entire brands of toys we haven't been able to buy in 2.5 years?), this advice works well when I do. Henry learned from the cup, too - he learned about Luke's buttons, and someday he'll learn how to press them better than anyone else. :)

so yung said...

At first I wasn't sure if I "liked" this post - it's not laugh out loud like others and I left feeling a tad sad. But the more I think about it, the more I enjoy it - it's thought-provoking. It brought back a rush of childhood memories for me, and helped me realize a few things (e.g., benefits come from living with bigger personalities too that come in handy). And it's nice to see another side of your writing abilities.

With coaches Ser and Craig, team Henry and Luke are destined to have game!