Friday, October 30, 2009

Conversations with a toddler - Part 1

Scene: I'm wiping Ben's nose because he's all snotty.

Ben: *cry* *whine*

Me: I know you don't like this, but you have boogers all over your face. You don't want people to call you Booger Face, do you?

Ben: *whine* *cry*

Me: That would be pretty embarrassing when you're president.

Playgroup Halloween Party

A very unhappy little dragon

A happier, albeit snotty, little dragon

Football player = Elena

Mouse = Isaac

Swiffering Elvis = John-James

Fireman = Joey

Punk rock princess = Amelia

Elephant = Lily

Pumpkin = Elliott
The closest we could get to having them all in one place.
Pink shirts/shorts = Dora the Explorer = Alyssa

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five years ago today we were married

This has been a trying week in the Borders Household. Heath has had to work a lot. It's hard on him because he hates missing those few hours with Ben in the evening. It's hard on me because taking care of a toddler for 14 hours straight should be an Olympic sport. And it's hard on Ben because he doesn't get to see his daddy.

So Ben and I have been grumpy and Heath's been feeling guilty. It's too bad the culmination of the week had to be our 5th anniversary. Months ago Heath asked me if he could go to a programmers conference in town today and I said okay. We're going to Hawaii in two weeks, and that's really our anniversary trip. However, I must admit now that it's the actual day it's bumming me out that Heath probably won't be home until after I'm asleep. That's why it seems very appropriate to share this poem today.

True Love
by Judith Viorst

It is true love because
I put on eyeliner and a concerto and make pungent observations about the great issues of the day
Even when there's no one here but him,
And because
I do not resent watching the Green Bay Packers
Even though I am philosophically opposed to football,
And because
When he is late for dinner and I know he must be either having an affair or lying dead in the middle of the street,
I always hope he's dead.

It's true love because
If he said quit drinking martinis but I kept drinking them and the next morning I couldn't get out of bed,
He wouldn't tell me he told me,
And because
He is willing to wear unironed undershorts
Out of respect for the fact that I am philosophically opposed to ironing,
And because
If his mother was drowning and I was drowning and he had to choose one of us to save,
He says he'd save me.

It's true love because
When he went to San Francisco on business while I had to stay home with the painters and the exterminator and the baby who was getting the chicken pox,
He understood why I hated him,
And because
When I said that playing the stock market was juvenile and irresponsible and then the stock I wouldn't let him buy went up twenty-six points,
I understood why he hated me,
And because
Despite cigarette cough, tooth decay, acid indigestion, dandruff, and other features of married life that tend to dampen the fires of passion,
We still feel something
We can call
True love.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

At the pumpkin patch



I am the strongest boy... in the world!

L-R: Lily, Amelia, Ben, John-James

Monday, October 19, 2009

I have seen the future and it is exhausting

Heath and I have always known we wanted more than one kid. It's like our rule for cats: if you get one, you should get two so they have a playmate. Well, Saturday afternoon we got a little practice. We babysat Colin (who's almost 3 1/2) and for some reason we decided to take him and Ben to The Magic House (which is a hands-on children's museum). Holy crap, people. The place was completely packed and even though there were two of us, we could barely keep up with the two boys. Colin was obviously a little uncomfortable with how crowded it was and he kept saying he wanted to leave, but he always got distracted by something before we could make our way out. Ben loves being around other kids and loves having new stuff to play with, so he was super happy. They both enjoyed the sand area very much. Unfortunately we didn't find it until AFTER Colin had enjoyed the water area, so his coat was sparkly with sand by the time we left. It was tiring, but fun.

The afternoon was like a vision of the future. I can see us having a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 year old at the same time. It really hit home how much work these next half a dozen years are going to be. I hope we're up to it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Little Einstein

Last night I had one of those moments that make people want to be stay-at-home parents. For a couple weeks I've been trying to teach Ben some of his body parts. I started with head, nose, tummy and feet, because those were pretty obvious and easy to delineate. I'd say, "Ben, where's your head?" Then I'd put my or his hands on his head. Then I'd put my hands on my own head.

You can probably guess what's coming. Last night I asked, "Ben, where's your head?" Before I could move he deliberately put his own hands on his own head. I actually teared up. It was so amazing to watch him do something I'd taught him. And my joy was only slightly dampened when I asked, "Ben, where's your nose?" and he put his hands on his head again. One step at a time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The pee's the thing

Diaper changes have been an adventure lately. For months Ben never peed on the changing table once. Flipped over, tried to crawl off, threw tantrums when I wouldn't let him crawl off, yes. But pee? No.

Then all of a sudden last week he started peeing during every single diaper change. EVERY SINGLE ONE. That's at least 7 times a day cleaning up pools of pee. Several socks, shirts and pairs of pants (including one of mine) were victims of this pee spree. And it seemed like he was doing it on purpose, or at least was somewhat aware of what was happening. I'd throw his diaper in the pail and he'd start giggling. Then I'd notice the big wet stain under his butt. *sigh*

So I've purchased a training potty. Buying it was an experience. I have absolutely no recollection of being potty trained myself (probably a good thing), but I can't imagine they had the same array of potties back then. We went to Babies R Us last week and they had potties that sang and ones that gave you stickers. They were more like toys than toilets. I may offend someone with this statement, but I don't think we should encourage kids to play with the toilet. There I said it. Bring on the hate mail!

Needless to say, I bought the plain potty, and though it did come with some stickers, it doesn't dispense them. I have to admit that we haven't used it yet. I know once we start we shouldn't really stop and it exhausts me to think about it. I wasn't expecting this so soon. Of course, Ben's peeing antics have slowed down a little and now he only pees on the changing table maybe once a day. I can probably deal with that for a while. Isn't it sad when your life is made better by having to clean up someone else's pee only ONCE a day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who's training whom?

Last night Heath's parents came over for dinner and we had a nice visit with them. Ben's always a little wary at first when they come over, because they often babysit him. He thinks when he sees them we're going to leave. But we didn't and I was happy that by the end of the evening he'd presented books to both of them, demanding to be read to.

Ben had already eaten dinner by the time we got our pizza, so he sat in his highchair for a little while and ate crust, but eventually I let him out before we were finished. He circled the table doing his various weird Ben things, and then he started clapping. Well, when he clapped everyone else clapped. So he started testing us. Will they clap if I stand here? What about here? Wow, these people are all at my command!

Admittedly, getting adults to clap isn't exactly like having your finger on the button. However, he's starting to realize he can influence people's behavior. Let's see what comes of this!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

That's what I said

Let's see... What's Ben been up to lately? He's discovered squealing and screaming. Whenever I get out our Wii remotes to play Animal Crossing (a very cartoon-y video game) he SCREAMS in delight. He squeals at the top of his lungs when he sees the cats. It's all happy and cute, but it can be disconcerting.

He's not talking yet, at least not in any language we can understand. He's very proficient in toddler-ese. A couple people have commented they thought he said "dog" or "cat," but I don't know. He is definitely understanding more and more of what we say, though. I can say, "Ben do you want some milk?" and he'll go over to the refrigerator. Or I'll tell him to pick out a book to read before his nap and he'll bring one to me. And even though he's not saying words, he's still making his wants and needs pretty clear through gestures. It's very exciting to be able to communicate with him through ways other than crying. It's like every so often we get this peek at who he's becoming and I love it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Deja Vu all over again

Last night was what we in the industry call "a bad night." Last week Ben was diagnosed with mild double ear infections, which explained why he'd been having some trouble sleeping. However, since we started the antibiotics he's been sleeping fine. Until last night.

Heath put him to bed around 8pm, as usual, but he wasn't actually asleep in his crib until 1:30am. We took turns attempting to soothe him to sleep, trying everything in our parental playbook: rocking, singing, reading books, playing his CDs, letting him cry it out. We even brought him into our bed, though it was apparent after 10 minutes that it wasn't going to work. Nobody would get any sleep when one of the sleepers kept trying to crawl off the bed.

So finally at 12:45am I did what I've never had to do before, even when Ben was a newborn: I drove him around until he fell asleep. We drove for a long time and as we neared home my stomach was tied in knots. Being sleep deprived is a truly horrible thing and I was going to cry and cry if Ben woke up again. Well, he did wake up slightly when I took him out of the car seat, but he laid down in his crib with no protest. Then I had an extreme case of deja vu from a year ago. I walked back into our room wishing and hoping and praying that he would stay asleep, but knowing that it would take me a while to get there myself. I flipped on the baby monitor and let out a sigh of resignation as Heath began to snore. I laid down, sweater still on and hair still in a ponytail because if I had to get up again I didn't want to bother with those things. Then for half an hour I tried to calm my mind, but every time I heard Ben move (sounds that normally don't even wake me anymore) an electric bolt of fear would thrill down my spine and my body would tense, waiting to hear that whiny cry over the monitor. Luckily it never came and I was able to get to sleep in a respectable amount of time, but it's amazing how quickly I went right back to that place. We haven't had a night like that in many months, but I automatically went into battle mode. With time the mind can dull the pain, but apparently the body never forgets.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things I want to remember

-The way Ben fits perfectly in my lap right now. When I'm sitting cross legged he gets all snuggled up, keeping my legs and torso warm, and I can put my chin on his head while we read a book (or 50).

-Kneeling at the bottom of the slide, looking up at Ben as he grins madly in anticipation of the ride ahead.

-Ben carrying a tiny pumpkin around all afternoon at Heath's company picnic like it was the coolest thing EVER.

-When Ben wakes up from a nap I pick him up out of his crib and he lays his head on my shoulder. Then we just stand there for a moment, hugging each other.

-Every time we read The Big Red Barn and I get to the line "there was a pink pig who was learning to squeal" I tickle him on his sides and he giggles like crazy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

But they're so delicious, Mommy!

Yesterday morning as I put on my sneakers to go to the gym I described to Ben what I was doing.

"Mommy's putting on her socks, just like we put on your socks earlier. They keep your feet warm. Now I'm putting on my shoes so we can go outside."

It sounds inane, but supposedly it helps toddlers learn speech. So, after I was done I said something like, "Ben can you get your shoes?" I wasn't actually expecting him to do anything, but he toddled over to the shoe cubby and stopped. It seemed like he was thinking. Then he bent down, pulled one of his sneakers out and handed it to me. It was amazing. I didn't even use a hand gesture to indicate what I meant. He just did it based on my words. It wasn't a coincidence, either, because we repeated the same scenario later in the day with the same results. This could really come in handy!

I probably shouldn't be surprised he knows the word "shoe." One of his favorite activities is to pull the shoes out of the cubby holes and carry them around the house. I say the phrase, "Ben, don't eat shoes!" multiple times a day.