Holy Moly. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was still home on maternity leave, and the day before that I was on bedrest in the hospital for what seemed like an eternity, and the day before that I was living life in that perpetual dark cloud that is infertility. Yet somehow here we are nearing the end of 2010, and I'm nearing the end of the year in which I call myself "40", and now (as of a week ago) when people ask how old my son is I have to say 18 months!
I've got so much I'd like to be saying here, but no time or energy to sit and type it all out. Really you'd never stop hearing from me if I could just talk into a tape recorder and have it magically spit out here.
But I wanted to take a few moments to say a few words about my baby. My baby who is not so much of a baby anymore. Though he seems like a baby still in so many ways, one of which is his love of the bottle. He's been using sippy cups exclusively at daycare since he turned one, but I just didn't have the heart to take away his bottles at home because he loves them so.
But about a week and a half ago, almost by accident, we skipped the bottle one morning and then I thought hmmm? maybe he's ready. So I just gave him sippy cups at dinner and in the morning and he was fine. He did wake up in the middle of the night one night and nothing but a bottle would calm him. Two nights later and the same thing happened. Basically over the course of 8 days he had 2 bottles total, both in the middle of the night. Then the cold he's had got worse and he's getting 4 teeth in and a couple of nights ago he was up all night and nothing (not even Mommeeeeeee!) would calm him but a bottle and he drank 3 throughout the night. And that one night set us back. The next night and again in the morning he cried when I tried to give him a sippy cup (though I think the cold is still really bothering him, plus he got a couple of immunizations and a flu shot a few days ago). Last night we didn't give him bottle and he did fine. So I'm sure he'll be off them for good soon. I know the time is right, but it's also one more step away from his babyhood and that makes me a little sad.
There are other things that still make him seem more baby than boy. The lack of words is a big one. Oh, he "talks" a lot. He's always making noise and he's got lots of animal sounds under his belt. And he can cry for "Mama" or "Mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" in ways that both make my heart sing and break depending on the reason for the call. But at this age his sister was using complete sentences and Ben's list of words is relatively short and his pronunciation is nowhere near as clear as his sister's was. Thus we get what seems like a lot of grunting followed by frustration and crying because it's hard to figure out what he wants much of the time. One word he says often is "more" and it's always accompanied by the sign for more and it's too darn cute. He's as likely to ask for more books or tickles as he is for more food. He also says "owl" with the emphasis on the "ow" part and he loves dogs, which he calls "buppies". Though many furry things are called "buppies" including all of his sisters Zhu Zhu pets, which he loves!
He is, of course, a toddler and we recently got rid of the high chair and moved a small table into the kitchen for him. Of course sometimes he likes to climb the table or push it around the kitchen, but it still is safer than the highchair, which he pulled over on top of himself one day and he would always try to climb out of it.
Here's my big boy at his table.
Eating a plum
He has recently discovered stuffed animals and particular loves the buppies. He'll grab them and hold them up to his cheek. He's also started to chew on them, just like his big sister did. No pacifiers or thumbs for my kiddos, pass the stuffed animals or blankets please.
In addition to stuffed animals, he loves real ones. Anytime we see a dog he wants to hug it and he often tries to hug our cats.
They cats just barely tolerate Ben and they usually run away from him, but he never gives up.
We took the kids to one of the many fall festivals around here a few weekends ago and Ben made friends with a calf.
He also had fun posing for some photos
and playing with his big sister.
He loves to be read to and will bring us books to be read. He has a few favorites. Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Polar Bear, Polar Bear; Sheep in a Jeep, to name a few. Whenever a grandparent visits he needs a little time to warm up, the best way into his heart is through books. If you start reading he'll come right over. Also, if he's having a tantrum about something often I can just start reading a book and he'll come over and quiet right down.
Ben loves to go down the slide on the playground at his school.
In fact, I learned the hard way that I need to take the "long way" around to our car when I pick him up in the evening, otherwise we need to walk through the playground and he has a fit if I don't let him go down the slide a dozen times. Of course, the long way takes us past the big kids playground where there are often many balls laying around and then OMG, the wriggling to try and get down and get to the balls kills me. But if I try to let him walk... well, hahahahahahaha! Which reminds me that "ball" is another one of the words we hear all the time. He's just a little obsessed.
Ben is 100% boy. I hate the stereotype, but he really is hardwired in the stereotypical way. He loves anything with wheels and recently discovered the joy of trains! My parents gave him a train table as an early Christmas present and at the same time brought up all my nephews old trains. When my mom opened the big bin of trains and accessories it was if angels started to sing. He walked right over and then sat down and played for about an hour. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
On the downside, we can't keep him off the darn table!
You've never seen a happier kid than when he's kneeling on driver's seat of my car with his hands on the steering wheel.
A couple of weekends ago we went to visit the fire station. It's hard to describe the joy, so I'll show you.
He kicked a soccer ball all the way down the sideline before his sister's soccer game the other day and had all the parents oohing and aahing. He loves to throw balls, and really anything else for that matter. He also loves to wrestle and tackle. Unfortunately he also hits a lot. If I had a dollar for every time I've said "gentle hands" I'd be rich. He's still the cutest incarnation of a Tasmanian Devil that I've ever seen. He's also almost 30 pounds and 34 inches tall (90th percentile across the board). He physically wears me out. My parents and I took the kids out to dinner one day last week when they were visiting and mid-way through the meal I was literally dripping with sweat with the effort of chasing and restraining Ben. But I couldn't love the little guy more. He makes us all laugh, keeps us on our toes (literally), warms our hearts and lights up our lives!