We were coming out of the Superstore a few weeks ago. As usual, the Hen ran ahead of me, despite my pleas to slow down, that we were in a parking lot, that there were cars. With elbows still swinging, he did his best to comply; unable to fully contain the joy that comes over him when in a wide, open space. ‘Such enthusiasm,’ a fellow mom remarked as she passed us. ‘I know, a speed walker in training,’ I agreed.
We took the boys to Griffith Woods a couple of weekends ago and, on our way back to the car, the Hen ran past us all. Head and elbows swaying in opposite directions – like a happy little leprechaun. I fully expected to see his heels click together. Or a pot of gold.
He’s a ball of big emotions, our Hen. Shockingly shy, easily amused (say the word ‘poop’ and he laughs hysterically), and easily crushed. As is the case with Percy, he just wants to keep up with his big brother. He will sit patiently beside the Gort while he reads books aloud, basking in the brotherly tutelage or absorbing the knowledge – I’m not sure. He spends hours coloring and putting together puzzles. ‘He’s very focused,’ a preschool volunteer remarked when we went for a tour and he plopped down in the middle of the floor to work on a firetruck puzzle.
They fight fiercely (and constantly) about toys, library books, and who got out of the car first when they weren’t supposed to. But they’re each other’s biggest fans. The Hen pushed another boy on the playground last year when he didn’t like how the boy talked to his brother. And when the four year old got his ‘participation’ certificate from the most recent round of swimming lessons, it was the Gort who clucked over the certificate and the comments like a Mother Hen, ‘good joooooob!’
As I lay in bed yesterday, unable to move after another late night, I heard the Gort yell from the bathroom. ‘Dad, can you bring me some toilet paper!’ The professor was in the kitchen making pancakes for Percy’s birthday, so he sent the Hen. ‘Thanks Henners, you’re the best!’ his brother gratefully accepted the roll, ‘and happy birthday tomorrow!’
Advance birthday greetings, for the four year old.