It's mind-blowing, really, how much a baby changes in the span of his/her first year, and equally amazing how much he/she changes from years one to two. What a fun (and exhausting!) year this has been, even with Ben losing a tooth in October and needing surgery at Children's Hospital.
He is such an energetic, smart, stubborn, opinionated, sassy, sweet, serious, skeptical, funny little guy. They call him the class clown at daycare.
He talks a lot, but here are a few key expressions that come to mind: "STOP COPYING ME!" "Adam's NAUGHTY!" "Ben's the boss!" (Aaron is quick to correct him) "Hold you me" (hold me) "Pip killed the bunny" (Ben never saw this, just overheard my parents talking about their cat, Pip, and how a certain bunny met his untimely demise. I don't even think Ben knows what "killed" means (at least, I hope not) I think he says it for the shock factor. He'll bring it up at the most random times), "Grandma Cake can't run anymore" (Grandma Cake is my grandma, Kate, and she now walks with a cane. Ben is fixated on this, and like the Pip story, he'll bring it up randomly — even when my grandma is nowhere nearby) "Can't get me!" (he loves playing tag) "Cool dude!" (whenever he's wearing his sunglasses) "Tiko-tiko" (as he's attempting to tickle someone) "May-wee" (Mary, our daycare provider) "Apro" (his 19-year-old cousin April), "Kay-wah (his 11-year-old cousin Kayla) "Moe-gan" (his 4-year-old cousin Morgan), "Mox" (his 5-year-old cousin Max), "Gwamma" and "Gwampa" (my parents). He likes playing with his cousins, and when he's naming off his daycare friends (Sammy, Zander, Taylor) he includes his uncle Josh (his godfather) among them. His aunties Amy, April, and Trish spoil him with hugs and kisses, as do his uncles Shawn, Josh, Nick, and Jake (I have a feeling he'll develop a bond with Jake someday). He calls my MIL by her first name — Patti — not "Grandma Patti" and he adores her. He knows that I am Chrissy, Daddy is Aaron, and Adam is his brother. He knows all about Auntie Tonya (his godmother) and Baby Evan out in Idaho (I'll blog about that trip at some point!). He also knows that he's 2 and Adam "is going to be five."
Like most 2-year-olds, he likes playing at the park, playing with cars and trucks (dump trucks, diggers, anything with flashing lights and annoying sounds), climbing, swinging, going down slides, swimming, waterparks (he still talks about the Kalahari — and we went there in April), throwing, kicking, or hitting balls, chasing his friends (or being chased), playdates with Greta, Aliza, Sadie, Jacob, Broder, Jack, Reese and Sofia, books and shows about Thomas the Train, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Caillou, Super Why (and the Super Readers), Fireman Sam, and Curious George.
He is still very attached to his blankets — one blue, one green. They comfort him when he's anxious, soothe him when he's tired, and pacify him when he's bored. It's kind of ironic that we tried so hard to avoid giving him a Nuk (Aaron would let Ben suck on his finger for ever when he was a baby rather than stick a pacifier in his mouth), and now Ben's just as attached to "blankies" as Adam was to "Nukies." I hope he's not one of those college kids who sleeps with a piece of ratty old baby blanket under his pillow.
He is an excellent eater and will eat almost anything we put in front of him. At his 3-year checkup, he was 3 feet tall and weighed 33 pounds, putting him in the 95th percentile. I did the Baby Center estimate to see how tall he'd be at 18, and the estimate was 6'2". I'll take it. (Adam's was 5'6". I hope his is wrong.) His favorite foods are similar to Adam's favorites: pesto noodles, French fries, hamburgers, Morning Star chickpea nuggets, Chipotle burrito bowls, rotisserie chicken without the skin, blueberries, apples, oranges, pineapple, bananas, pickles, gold fish crackers, Cheetos (he would eat a whole bag if we let him), juice and milk. He won't drink chocolate milk but drinks white milk like it's goin' out of style. He also likes water — something Adam doesn't like. (I admit we have to work on this.)
He can be tough at times. I've seen him tackle Adam and reduce him to tears, I've seen him wrestle toys away from Adam, I've seen him pick up large toys and hold them over his head like a mini Hulk. He plays a lot more rough-and-tumble than his big brother ever did (who, at 35 pounds, won't be the big brother for much longer). When Ben was a chubby newborn, our pediatric doctor was astounded that he didn't cry after his circumcision (a first in her experience), and a nurse recently was surprised when she pricked his finger to check his blood for lead (which came back normal, thankfully. Last year it came back high and he had to be re-tested) and he didn't flinch, and then didn't cry when she gave him a shot. I don't know if he has a high tolerance for pain or if he's in shock. I just know I feel a lot less guilty when he's not howling hysterically after a trip to the doctor's office.
One of his favorite toys is his lawn mower. Sometimes we bring it to our softball games so he can "lawn the grass" (as Adam would say) while one of the grandmas is babysitting.
He loves animals and any time we pass a dog (at the park, at softball, on a walk), he announces "I wanna pet it!" I'm trying to teach him that he MUST ask the owner first if it's ok. He's been knocked over by little dogs and licked like crazy by big ones, and so far he isn't traumatized.
I wish we a) lived in a bigger house or b) weren't gone from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. so we could get either a cat or a dog. I bring the boys to PetSmart sometimes because it's on our way home from daycare and it's free entertainment. It can be heartbreaking, though, seeing those beautiful kitties in their cages, patiently waiting to be chosen.
Adam knows that we will get a dog "some day, when we live in a different house."
Ben is a jumper. He jumps ALL THE TIME. His favorite thing to do is jump off the last step of any staircase or flight of steps, no matter where we are. I know this is coming, so make sure to hold his hand. (We don't need any more trips to the ER.)
He likes to ride his bike (or, more accurately, sit on the bike while we push him around) and never argues when we put on his helmet. He has a tendency to argue about a lot of other things, so I'm thankful that he just wears the helmet without protesting.
He's a natural athlete, or at least he seems to be so far. There are some kids on Adam's t-ball team who are at Ben's skill level (and height!). A few of the 4 and 5-year-olds had never thrown a ball before joining t-ball, which is hard to believe, but maybe their parents just don't have an interest in sports? And maybe, on the flip side, some parents would think it's nuts that Ben and Adam don't play an instrument or know how to read (yet) or tie their own shoes or eat sushi. Anyhow, Ben thinks he's on Adam's team, and I have to regularly chase him when he tries to run out on the field during the games. Since Aaron is the coach, we let Ben hit balls off the tee after the other kids go home, and that way he feels like he's also playing. When he gets a good hit, he announces "I SMACKED that ball!" and then proceeds to run to the pitcher's mound, or left field, or over to the bench. (He's too young to understand the base-running concept.)
He likes taking naps and going to bed, and he will ask you to bring him to bed if he's overtired. He still sleeps in a crib in our room, but we're talking about moving him in with Adam this summer. Fingers crossed that the transition works out well for all four of us.
He can be charming and witty and so full of life, and when he laughs with delight "Do it AGAIN, Mama!" "AGAIN, Daddy!" "Watch me! I'm FUNNY!" my heart feels full to the point of overflowing, so filled up I can hardly stand it, and justlikethat he'll bring me down to earth with a 2-year-old temper tantrum as he whips his sippy cup across the room in frustration, crosses his arms defiantly over his chest, and shouts "NO! I NO WANT TO!" but man oh man am I in love with him.
Ben's first birthday party.
He REALLY liked the cake. A lot.
Little buddy Jack.
Summer, summer, summer time ...
Ryder visits from Cali.
Relaxing at the retreat.
First snowfall of the season.
A different point of view.
Cutting down our Christmas tree.
Ben with his big cousin "Apro".
Look! He's sitting still!
I love this kid so much.
Checking out cousin Lily.
Future Lunds shoppers.
We pretend he's on the team.
Mr. Sunshine with Uncle Shawny.
Cupcake celebration at home.
I did it!
Hooray! I'm TWO!!!