Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rules were made to be broken

A few weeks ago when I went to the first of my many dentist appointments this month, my mom watched Ben. I had to leave before he woke from his morning nap, so I was afraid he might freak out when he discovered I wasn't there. However, Mom said he was fine and even smiled at her. For some reason she's always surprised that he likes her, despite the fact that she lavishes attention and presents on him.

After lunch they were playing in the living room and smarty pants Ben decided he would test some boundaries. We don't allow him to touch the fireplace*, but Mom didn't know that. So he approached and started banging on it. Then every few seconds he would stop and look at her, to check her reaction. When he wasn't reprimanded he would bang away in joy. Mom said when he looked back at her he had a twinkle in his eye, because he knew he was getting away with something. I suppose that was his first lesson in how to manipulate his grandparents. Step 1: Be cute. Step 3: Profit!

However, Mommy and Daddy aren't so easily persuaded. The fireplace rule persists, but that doesn't stop Ben from testing it. He knows his hands are off limits, but what about toys? Can he bang toys on the fireplace? Nope, apparently not. How about a ladle? Okay, no. A stuffed animal? Wow, still no? How about if I lick it, is that okay? No? Come on! You guys are total fascists!

Heath delights in Ben's creativity and craftiness and I have to admit it is amusing. He's already applying the scientific method to his life. One day he will crack the code of the fireplace!

*It's a gas fireplace which is totally enclosed, so he couldn't actually hurt himself on it, but we don't want him in the habit of playing with fireplaces.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soon he'll be doing geometry proofs

Not much posting as of late because on Friday I had several pieces of my body forcibly removed from my head (i.e. I had my wisdom teeth out). So I've been in recovery mode for a while, but during that time we had two big milestones in the Borders household:

1. We are now bottle free! Ben is weaned and no longer drinks formula. He does suck down whole milk like it's liquid cocaine, though. Yesterday when I gave him a sippy of water and he was expecting milk he actually spit the water out in disgust. Such a snob! The weaning process was very easy. We slowly eliminated one bottle at a time and he never seemed to notice. Score! Here's hoping the eventual binky weaning process goes as easily. Oh, pipe dreams, you're so beautiful and yet so unattainable.

2. Ben used a fork for the first time yesterday! The prospect of him learning to use utensils makes my eye twitch a little, because I'm not good with messes. Or clutter. Basically all the things babies seem to bring with them from the womb. *sigh* So for my sanity we started off with scrambled eggs, because they couldn't be too messy. I speared an egg globule (what do you call a small part of scrambled eggs?) and Ben obediently opened his mouth like every other day I've fed him breakfast. Then I handed him the fork. I had no idea what to expect. Would he toss it to the floor along with his cup and about 5,000 Cheerios? Would he stab himself in the face? Should I have the doctor on hold? Well, you know what he did? He stuck it in his mouth and ate the egg. And he did that for the rest of the meal. Our boy is a genius! I didn't bother trying to get him to spear his own food, because I figured if he could do that we needed to get Harvard on the phone and we don't have enough savings for that yet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Overall, Ben's birthday party was a success. I was a little worried because he'd gotten shots the day before and they had him feeling out of sorts. The snot as well as the crankiness was flowing liberally. Plus, we'd hoped to have a backyard barbecue, but menacing clouds kept us inside. It didn't actually rain, though, which made Heath's grilling much easier.

Ben got into a better mood once other kids started arriving. I think we have an extrovert on our hands, because he's happier when he's around kids. I was even able to leave his side without him throwing a fit, which is always kind of iffy these days.

I like being able to have people come to our house and enjoy themselves, but as hostess you never get to have very much fun at your own party. I don't feel like I got to talk to anyone for more than 2 minutes. And Heath was outside grilling for half the party, so I'm sure he felt the same. Still, it was wonderful how many people showed up to help us celebrate one year of Ben.

As with any one year old's birthday party, the cake smashing was the highlight. Ben was more timid than I expected. At first he only swiped frosting off the sides. But maaaaan, did he love that frosting. Heath and I helped him dig into the cake a little, but he never went face first, as some people were hoping. Probably just as well, since I haven't gotten to the nostril extraction chapter in What to Expect the Toddler Years. After about 10 minutes of this we decided to stop him and just before we took the cake away he wiped his cakey hands all over his face. Classic.

By this time he was getting tired and the cranky was re-emerging, but people had brought a mountain of presents, so we decided to dig into them. We tried to get Ben to open the first one, but he was not interested. So I opened them while he sat on Heath's lap and read. People were amazingly generous. We got a ton of books and many, many toys. I'm parceling them out slowly over the next few weeks.

After the 3 foot high pile of wrapping paper was cleaned up, it was time for the birthday boy's well-earned nap. He actually slept for an hour, which surprised me considering how much pure sugar he ingested, but when he woke up he was WIRED. He laughed at me for several minutes because of the way I shook my head back and forth. The kid was high. I could almost hear him saying, "Dude... I feel like a blue vase." It's safe to say he won't be having that much sugar again for a long time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm a horrible mother v2.0

Ben looks like he's been in a bar fight. First there's the bruise on his cheek. Then there's the bug bite he scratched until bleeding, on his other cheek. And on Friday the following happened:

We were at a big playground walking around on some of the equipment. Ben was getting around really well, until he tried to move past a girl to get near the slide. He tripped on her sandal and went forehead first into the plastic step. He didn't even catch himself with his hands, it was all forehead. Ouch.

So now he has a big bruise across his forehead, to compliment his other injuries. Can you imagine how much smarter we'd all be if we were never toddlers?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I swear he has it in for me (you can decide which "he")

I'm starting to notice a pattern. All this week Heath got up with Ben in the morning and Ben slept until 6:45am. Then yesterday Heath left at 6am to play golf, which gave me wake up duty. Ben woke up at 6:20. Where did my 25 extra minutes go?! I'm adding them to Ben's bill, to be delivered on his 18th birthday.

It's the same thing on the weekends. Saturday is my day to sleep in and Ben's been known to sleep until 7am. But on Sunday morning when Heath gets to sleep late? It's a 6:15 wake up call.

I think it's a conspiracy. Somehow Heath is training Ben to wake up early on my mornings to spite me for leaving used paper towels on the kitchen counter or forgetting to close the lid on the container of baby wipes. Or, god forbid, leaving clothes on the toilet seat while I shower! How will we survive?!

Now I just need to figure out how to use Ben to get back at him for leaving his pants on the living room floor and keeping piles of stuff on the utility counter for months on end. And, yes, just so you know, my grievances are legitimate and his are CrAzY!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Needles are icky

We took Ben to the doctor on Saturday and here are his new stats:

Weight: 27.8 lbs - 96th percentile
Height: 31 in. - 90th percentile
Head: 49cm - 96th percentile

His weight gain is slowing down a lot. He only gained 1.5 pounds since his last check up three months ago. He grew two inches, though. He's still chubby, but he's definitely thinning out and supposedly eating can drop off when they enter their second year. Between that and the walking (soon to be running) I think we'll be seeing a leaner, sleeker Ben model in the future.

He only got two shots and one was the flu vaccine. It seems to have affected him, because he's had a runny nose ever since. No fever, but the nose is like a faucet. The doctor also said they do a routine lead test at one year, so yesterday I took Ben to the lab. They took blood out of his arm, which I wasn't expecting. What I was expecting was crying and thrashing around and maybe even trying to touch the needle. So I had a death grip on Ben as the technician tied off his arm and started to take his blood. However, Ben didn't even seem to notice anything was happening. He was still cooing at the technician while the needle was in his arm. The guy got two vials of blood and Ben didn't protest at all. We were both amazed. He was better at that than I am. You just never know, because he was not happy at all when he got shots on Saturday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm a horrible mother

I know the title of the post isn't true, but I feel like it after what happened yesterday. We visited the City Garden, which is a cool urban garden with sculptures and a splash area for kids. Now that Ben's becoming an accomplished walker he was having tons of fun walking around to the different water jets and just exploring. I was walking near him, but letting him have some independence to walk where he wanted.

Well, in the middle of the water area is a fountain in which kids are allowed to swim. It was too deep for Ben, but there was a nice wide stone platform to hold onto and watch other kids. He was headed for the platform and when he was almost there he lunged a bit, as he often does when he's near his destination. Only that time he misjudged how far away he was. His hand slipped and he fell face first into the platform and then onto the ground. I knew it was going to happen the second before, but I wasn't close enough to stop it. I just watched in horror.

Of course Ben started screaming and honestly I was expecting blood and a possible trip to the ER. However, his face was just pink where he'd hit on his left cheek. I thought the bruise would be massive, but it's not. Still, between that and the bug bite he scratched he looks like he's been in a fight. Playgroup's getting rough.

I feel very lucky that it wasn't worse. The platform was rounded, so I think that saved us from more injury. I don't know what I'm going to do when something really serious happens.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A place filler

I will do a write-up of Ben's birthday party soon, but in the meantime here's the video of him eating his cake:

Here's the link, if that video goes too slowly: Let Ben eat cake!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

On the eve of our first kid birthday party

We are furiously preparing for Ben's party tomorrow. The house is now presentable and lots of food has been procured. Presents have been wrapped and there are balloons floating in the laundry room (protected from both toddlers and felines). I forgot about them and then they scared the crap out of me when I opened the door. Good thing Ben's not old enough to remember that, because I'm sure I'd never hear the end of it. Tonight I have to bake the cakes and then we're pretty much ready.

Wednesday we had a good day. Unfortunately Heath had caught a bad cold, so he was down for the count. It's good Ben won't remember that, either, but I know Heath felt pretty badly about it. However, we made the best of the day and headed to the Botanical Garden with a few playgroup friends. We saw koi and then we played in the children's garden. They have a splash area and Ben had a great time in the water.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One complete revolution around the sun

Dear Ben,

One year ago on this very day you came into our lives. Daddy and I were so happy to finally meet you. Getting to know you over this past year has been one of the best experiences of my life.

We've done a lot this year. We joined a playgroup and met a lot of new friends. We took three road trips and one plane trip and you were excellent all four times. We've gone to the mall, to the movies, to the park, to numerous playgrounds and we spent a lot of time walking around our own neighborhood.

You've also changed a lot. A year ago you were this tiny blob who couldn't even lift his own head up. You could barely stay awake long enough to eat. Now you're crawling and walking around the house and soon you'll be running and climbing (Lord, help us all). You laugh a lot now and you seem to be a genuinely happy person. You have no idea how wonderful it is to just lie on the floor, tickle you and listen to you laugh. As Daddy would say, it is a Lifetime Moment.

One big aspect of your personality that has emerged is that you're very investigative. Anytime you come into contact with something new you have to turn it over and examine it before you play with it or stick it in your mouth (so far you haven't deemed anything unworthy of being stuck into your mouth). It's also been the same way with big physical changes. As I've said before, you have to do a cost-benefit analysis before you attempt anything new. Thus, when you started both crawling and walking it was a few weeks before either really caught on. You had to figure out for yourself if this new mode of locomotion was really worth all the trouble of learning it. Everyone says you look so much like your Daddy and at least in that way you think like him, too.

Benny, I love you so much and I'm still in awe that I created a person like you. This year has been a total roller coaster and it hasn't all been good, but there was never a moment that I didn't love you. Today and on this day every year in the future we will celebrate the day we met you. I can't wait to find out even more about you and watch as you unfold into the person you are and will become. It is an amazing honor to be a part of it.