Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm not giving Ben Chex for a long, long time. He was eating one today and I think he swallowed it a little too whole. That caused him to semi-choke and then throw up. He was sitting on my lap at the time, so instinctively I put my hand out to catch it. I got most of it. It wasn't until I had changed his clothes, changed my pants and washed my hands that I realized how GROSS that was. The ways parenthood changes you.

What did you say?

As I alluded to in my last post, Ben has broken the talking barrier. He's been right on the cusp for a while and once we got home from Hawaii it all spilled out, starting with...


Yes, his first word - besides "mama" and "dada" - was "no."

I was a good kid. Why must I pay for Heath being a punk?!

Ben also says, "go," "dog," and "cheese." He's been parroting a lot of words, but those are the only ones he's initiated himself.

Despite the inauspicious word he chose as his first, it's very exciting to hear what he'll say next.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Ben is obsessed with books. Over his lifetime we've amassed a collection of 100+ books for him, mostly board books. However, a few weeks ago he decided that board books were sooooo 11 months old. Since then he's only been interested in the few paper books we have. He's besotted with Dr. Seuss, especially The Cat in the Hat Comes Back and Green Eggs and Ham. They're really too long for him, because half the time he can't sit through the story and just wants to turn the pages, but he won't read anything else.

When we got home from Hawaii I unpacked the books he'd taken to Oma and Opa's, which included his two favorites. When I handed them to him he nearly vibrated with joy. Immediately he plopped down in my lap to read but it was like Sophie's Choice. I waited for him to set one down and he didn't. He just kept looking back and forth between them. When I asked, "Do you want to read Green Eggs and Ham?" he said, "Nonononononono." When I asked, "Do you want to read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back?" he said, "Nonononononono." He desperately wanted to read them both, but he wasn't willing to put down either of them, lest it be whisked away again. Finally after about 5 minutes (literally) he gingerly put The Cat in the Hat Comes Back on the floor and we read Green Eggs and Ham. It was a tough day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Hawaii was amazing. It's hard to believe a place can have such perfect weather all year round. It was warm during the day, cool at night and the rain was minimal. Hawaiians are all so laid back it's almost impossible to hate them for their good luck. Almost.

The vacation was long enough that we didn't have to cram activities in to do everything we wanted. We went surfing and snorkeling, we climbed Diamond Head, we attended a luau, we rented mopeds (which was Heath's idea... I was scared shitless the entire time), we got massages and we spent a lot of time lounging on the beach watching guys try to sell sunset boat rides. I have to say, out of that entire list, sitting on the beach reading and people watching was my favorite activity. Here imagine a sound file of my mom saying, "Duh."

Before leaving I was nervous that I'd spend the entire vacation worrying about Ben, but I passed even my own best case scenario. Of course we called home a few times and toward the end of the week we looked at his pictures more, but I was successfully able to put him out of my mind and relax. It was so nice to be on my own schedule and not have to worry about when Ben should eat or nap or whatever. We never woke up much past 7:00am, but we woke up naturally and that makes all the difference.

According to all the reports, Ben did well while we were gone, too. He ate and slept and played pretty much like normal. I think that contributed to my relaxing ability.

By the end of the week we were ready to come home and after a red-eye flight to L.A. and a 7am flight to St. Louis, there were Don and Ben picking us up from the airport. I was afraid Ben might be pissed at us (or, more likely, me, since he's a total Daddy's Boy), so I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the car door. He stared at me for a second, as if trying to process what he was seeing. Then he smiled. Then he blew a raspberry at me. We spent the drive home giggling in the backseat, simply excited to see each other again. Once we got home he was all over Heath and didn't even let me hold him, which I admit stung a little. But yesterday morning when he woke up at 5:30am I took him into the guest room to sleep some more. Before he drifted off again he pressed his face against mine, as if trying to fuse them. And when he woke up he started laughing, overjoyed to see me.

Photographic evidence that I caught a wave. I may look cool, but I was most certainly thinking, "Holy shit, I'm doing it!" In the photos preceding this I was flailing my arms wildly, trying to gain my balance.

Yes, Heath was sticking his butt out that much in all the pictures!

Just because Heath - shall we say - doubted my ability to surf, I'll share this picture of him falling spectacularly. :)

Me with the mopeds at the bottom of Diamond Head. Notice how I'm standing a safe distance away?

The view of Diamond Head Crater from the summit.

Hanauma Bay, where we went snorkeling.

Rie & Paul, the actual reason we went to Hawaii.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And it wouldn't look too good in the baby book, either

A couple weeks ago my Uncle Scot sent me an e-mail to let me know about a podcast which featured an interview with Weird Al (who, as anyone who's known me for a while knows, I adore). At the end he wrote, "FYI...there are a few naughty words (none from Al, of course) in case you're concerned about tender ears. I know he doesn't really speak English yet but it would be upsetting if his first was the 'F'."

At first I laughed and agreed that it would be a bad first word. Then I got to thinking. What would it be like if that really was his first word? Heath would be a hero at work, but the grandparents probably wouldn't like it too much...

"Our grandson's first word was 'kitty.' What about yours?"
"Oh, Ben? He dropped an f-bomb."

(Yes, we are back from Hawaii. I'm working on a post about it, but the short version is: It was awesome.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm not sure if I have enough Hawaiian shirts

On Sunday Heath and I are leaving for Hawaii. We'll be gone an entire week and Ben's alternately staying with Ian and Bekah and both sets of grandparents. Heath and I haven't been on a trip like this since our honeymoon and to say that I'm looking forward to it is the understatement of the year. There have been ticker tape parades going through my head every time I've thought of it for the past six months.

BUT (isn't there always one?), this will be the longest we've been away from Ben and the freaking out started weeks ago. Intellectually I know he'll be fine. He'll be with people who love him and will most likely spoil him rotten. But I keep imagining that moment we leave. He'll probably start crying and it's going to break my heart because he has no idea how long we'll be gone, or even if we're coming back. He's getting better at understanding what we say, but there's no way to explain this to him. I know once we're sitting on the beach, sleeping uninterrupted and eating meals at the same time I'll be fine, but I'm a world class worrier. Case in point, I'm writing an entire blog entry worrying about being worried.

However (that's just a fancy "but"), we need this vacation. The first year of someone's life is like boot camp for the parents and we need to get away and remember that our marriage came first. It's going to be a wonderful trip and I'm determined to enjoy every minute of it, but I have to admit, I'm also looking forward to seeing Ben's smile when we come home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I want to remember this forever

We have two large trees in our small-to-medium sized backyard, so at this time of year it's always blanketed with leaves. Monday afternoon I took Ben outside because we don't utilize our backyard enough (ahem-it's never mowed-ahem). He's sometimes reluctant to walk in grass, but after kicking and throwing some leaves I was able to coax him in. We played for a while, burying each other and tossing leaves into the air, and then I laid back on the grass, looking through the branches to the clear, blue sky above. Ben was off investigating some bushes near the porch, but when he noticed me he made a noise which I understood to mean, "What are you doing, Mommy?"

"I'm looking at the sky and the clouds. Come here!"

He grinned at me and toddled over. But instead of laying on the grass beside me he leaned down, put his head on my chest and gave me a hug.

I've never had more fun playing in leaves.

Strangest comment I've gotten about Ben

Random woman at the YMCA:

"You're too pretty to be a boy."


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween was kind of a bust for Ben.

We had a whole costume theme this year. Since Ben was a dragon, Heath was a knight and I was a princess. We made Heath's costume out of paper grocery bags and aluminum foil. It was real professional, let me tell you. I actually think he looked more like a Romulan, the way his "armor" crossed over his shoulders, but I suppose Romulans can fight dragons as well as knights. With the cloaking device they'd even have a leg up.

For my costume I wore my wedding dress (which, I'm happy to report, did fit and was only a little tight around the stomach) and some costume jewelry from Heath's grandma. I'd also bought a princess wig of flowing blond hair and that's what started all the trouble. I came out of the bathroom and Ben gave me the weirdest look. It was like he recognized my face but didn't understand what was going on with my hair. I tried to reassure him that it was Mommy, but he kept eyeing me with suspicion. That was actually harder to take than I would've thought. Having him so uncomfortable with me was really difficult.

Once we got to Ian and Bekah's party it all went downhill. Ben just wasn't happy. I eventually took off my wig, but everyone's costumes and masks were also freaking him out. We only lasted about 45 minutes. I did learn some lessons for next year, though.

*Picture courtesy of Ian and Bekah