It started with Dinosaurs
March 27, 2015 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I Raised Henry. A brief photo essay.
posted by gwint (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Henry reminds me of Ludo in Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai.
posted by janey47 at 12:20 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's hard for parents to know when is "enough."

I mean, it is for me, anyway. Enough books, or too many? Enough screen time, or too much? Enough sports, or too many? Are they fine, or is this the time when I offer a correction?

"A damn clown parade," indeed.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:41 PM on March 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't want to take a book away from any kid, no matter the circumstances. There are worse obsessions than reading.
posted by Roger Dodger at 12:56 PM on March 27, 2015

Huh. I get that the kid seems to be somewhere on the spectrum, and I'm not, but I was a lot like this, sans the super memory. Whenever I could I had my nose in a book. My mom and then my wife nagged me about reading as I walk, cross streets, almost get run over, etc.
I'm still like this when I have the time.
Not a writer, though.
I liked the essay.
posted by signal at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can certainly see being concerned that the constant reading was preventing the kid from engaging with anyone/anything else. I was a real bookworm as a kid, and most pictures of me around the house are of me sitting somewhere reading, but I don't think my parents would have been pleased if I ignored every trip and social activity to read something, anything (zoo map?) rather than participate. Not saying anything is wrong, but I think it would be normal for a parent to take note and maybe try and get the kid to look at something else for a change.
posted by joelhunt at 1:15 PM on March 27, 2015

So this is an elaborate way for her to introduce people to her son's music blog?
Ok then, I've seen far worse.
posted by Theta States at 1:18 PM on March 27, 2015

I have super enjoyed reading about Henry for most of his life.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:19 PM on March 27, 2015

The transition from reading about Henry to reading what Henry as a person writes has been awesome.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:27 PM on March 27, 2015

So this is an elaborate way for her to introduce people to her son's music blog?

FWIW, "B-Girl set for the Decypher Cru" is one of my favorite mixes.
posted by gwint at 2:29 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I Am currently raising a kid a lot like Henry. In fact, we just got home from the parent teacher conference where his strengths and weaknesses are indicated with numbers on a grid.

"Inflexibility" is the technical term. Not solvable with yoga.

Lots of days I'm sure my kid will be successful as an adult. Fewer, though, than when he was younger. Other days I'm certain he'll never be able to holds job. Inflexibility.
posted by anastasiav at 3:03 PM on March 27, 2015

Holy shit, the Henry's Diary kid is old enough for college? /shakes cane at sky
posted by Flannery Culp at 3:58 PM on March 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Huh. I get that the kid seems to be somewhere on the spectrum, and I'm not

Is he? It's maybe gently implied by the part about his reaction to not having reading material but not even necessarily it's just pictures of the kid looking dejected. He reminds me a little bit of me too, and I have kind of a pet peeve about this because, like, I have a diagnosis, it's OCD. It's great that there's some public awareness of how people's minds can be different, but I feel like right now it's kind of just autism - and a narrow understanding of that. Does this person seem a little odd, obsessive, awkward? Probably on the spectrum! That's not really an authentic understanding of neurodiversity. So anyway one thing I like about this is that it doesn't file him in any category it just says "this is what my son is like."

No way would I have let my mom write about me at 16 or ever though.
posted by atoxyl at 4:43 PM on March 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's notable that the penultimate Henry's Diary photo used to be something like 'I miss you Daddy come home' in five-year-old writing with text about his parents getting divorced. Later his dad took down that post and replaced it with the final entry about "it's time for Henry to grow up in private". I always thought that was a classy thing to do, and one more parent bloggers should emulate once their kids are old enough to read.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:08 PM on March 27, 2015

I was like that as a kid. My mother tried the taking books away approach quite a lot.

As an adult one of the best this in my life is that I get to choose to read at the dinner table, or keep the lights on to finish a chapter or take a book with me to the beach or camping or whatever ,and no one complains. In fact, as likely as not, my husband will be doing it too.
posted by lollusc at 6:28 PM on March 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Henry's pretty cool--Questlove (and MeFi's own Anil Dash) wished him a happy birthday today. His dad is the twitter- and web-design-world-famous Mike Monteiro.
posted by Maecenas at 7:41 PM on March 27, 2015

Enjoyed this very much. Henry, in putting his reading and writing ahead of social activities, is what would have been called "eccentric" if this were 70 years from now and he held Mark Twain's or Terry Pratchett's status as a famous writer. He's a bookworm, that's what he is.

Way to go, Henry - and here's wishing you a very Happy Birthday and success in all that you put your mind to.

Good job, Mom.
posted by aryma at 11:51 PM on March 27, 2015

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