Monday, July 26, 2010

Pearly whites

*knocks furiously on wood*

*throws salt over her shoulder*

*uncrosses every part of her body*

I think we might be done with teething.

*glances around to make sure the Tooth Fairy isn't laughing at her naivety*

Ben went through a big growth spurt this spring/early summer, which was accompanied by teeth brushing madness. Every morning and evening it was like Wrestlemania trying to get the toothbrush in his mouth for even five seconds, when we'd never had that problem before. However, just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. For a couple weeks now he's been brushing like a champ. So rather than the oncoming Terrible Twos, I actually think brushing his teeth was hurting him, which is why he was being so disagreeable. I only wish we could know these things as they're happening.

I haven't been able to get a great look into his mouth, but looking at the baby teeth chart in his baby book, I think he has them all in. This is cause for celebration because TEETHING SUCKS. The kid won't remember it, but I'll carry the emotional scars for the rest of my life. And I remember when I got my adult teeth and I don't recall it being all that painful. Maybe I blocked it out?

Now all we need to do is get his final round of shots (for a while) at his two year appointment and we'll be done with big, painful things that are necessary (for a while). Then it's on to potty training. Ugh.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Arianne, you may not want to read this one

Ben's evil gene has finally kicked in. No cat in the household is safe from his attempts at torture. His aim is horrible, so most toys hurled in their direction miss. And Crookshanks is smart enough to just stay out of his way. She spends most of the day sleeping under our bed. However, Minnie is such an attention whore and apparently has no self esteem that she consistently submits herself to Ben's torment. He has pulled her off chairs by her fur, he pushes her down to the floor to use her as a pillow, he tries to pick her up by her feet, and she takes it. It's ridiculous. She doesn't have front claws so she can't fight back very effectively, but she did bite him one time and I had absolutely no sympathy. He totally deserved it and yet it didn't deter him at all. I spend most days at home yelling, "Don't throw things at the cat! Be nice to her!"

What's so vexing is that whenever we meet an animal at the park, or when we spend time with relatives' dogs, he's perfectly fine. He pets them gently and that's the end of it. Maybe it's a quasi-sibling thing. You're nicer to strangers than to your own family. Hopefully this isn't a clue as to what's to come when Ben eventually gets a sibling. Though considering how Ian and I fought as kids, I'll probably deserve whatever they dish out. Karma's a bitch.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Most kids have their picky eating habits, I'm sure, although I'm a big believer in letting/making a kid try everything. Ben doesn't know kids aren't supposed to like black olives or catfish and he's eaten both with gusto (despite the fact that I wouldn't eat either). I don't think it's necessary for a kid to live on mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And Ben's a fairly adventurous eater, though there are some things he absolutely refuses to eat. His biggest issue right now is presentation. Apparently he's channeling the Food Network.

Recently we were at a neighborhood meeting. There were a lot of kids in the room, but Ben was sitting on my lap while I was listening to the speaker. He wanted a snack so I pulled out a piece of bread and, obviously not thinking, ripped it, presenting half to him. Well, that just didn't sit well with him so he SCREAMED. I had ruined his snack. He did the same thing when I split a bagel for him. And don't get me started on when I combined his peas with his mac and cheese. Let's just say there was a lot of manual removal of peas.

However, the weirdest one is that I bought the same brand of turkey I always buy, but in a different package. When I pulled it out Ben absolutely refused to eat it. But when I pulled out the normal package of turkey he happily chowed down.

Friday, July 16, 2010


 I'm sure there are times when every parent feels like he or she just isn't doing a very good job. Especially being a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I need to be creating a stimulating environment for Ben to learn and grow all the time, but it's just not possible. Sometimes dinner has to be cooked and the laundry has to be done and Ben sits in front of the TV by himself. Though I question the idea that TV is no good, because Ben isn't even 2 and he knows a lot of the alphabet partially from watching shows. But I digress...

I have a lot of those days lamenting the time lost because kids this age are such sponges and I could be teaching him calculus or French (if I knew calculus or French). However, occasionally I have days when I feel like Super Mom. Usually they coincide with days Ben's being agreeable and I'm not on my period. Yesterday was such a day, and we spent about 30 minutes playing with his 2-piece puzzles. The object is to match the item with its color, texture or pattern. Here are Ben's matches:

There are so many days when I feel completely distracted and even though Ben and I spend the entire day together, I don't feel like we really spend time together. It's wonderful when we find an activity that's fun for both of us and I can feel like raising a kind, intelligent, thoughtful, polite, curious child isn't the impossible task it sometimes seems.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


What at first was merely a tunnel to crawl through has become a springboard for bigger things.

A ramp for cars to race. A cannon to expel nosy cats.

A place for imagination to grow.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I'm a big believer in saying "please" and "thank you." However, though I always use the terms around Ben, so far I haven't been very successful in getting him to use them. It was making me feel like a bad mother, because most of the kids in playgroup either say or sign "please" and/or "thank you." So I was overjoyed when Heath took Ben to his parents' and Ben finally said "thank you" for ice cream, when prompted. I have no problem having to prompt him to say those things at this age.

Then yesterday morning we were just bumming around the house. Ben always wants to watch TV when we're home and usually I try to wait until the afternoon when I'm worn out and could use a little down time. But yesterday he picked up the remote, looked at me and said, "Dino, please." How could I say no to that? So I praised him profusely for saying "please" and then we watched another thrilling episode of Dinosaur Train.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence Day

We spent our fourth of July out in St. Charles with Heath's parents'. During the afternoon we headed down to Frontier Park on the riverfront. There was a small carnival with rides and booths with crafts and food. Your typical Midwest holiday set up. Since Ben can be a bit of a daredevil, we decided to see how he liked carnival rides. First up, the mini-roller coaster:

Yeah, he wasn't too keen on it while we were riding, but he kept talking about the "choo choo" the rest of the day. He liked the carousel a lot better. He rode that one twice:

He also rode a little motorcycle ride all by himself, but by that time my camera was full. While riding he didn't seem too sure about it, but after it was over he did his triumphant "Yea!" Maybe he was glad to be getting off.

Rather than go to a professional fireworks display and spend two hours fighting to get out of traffic afterward, we watched my in-laws' neighbor's display. Let me tell you, I won't go to another professional display as long as he keeps doing them, because it was as good or better than anything I've ever seen. For a private display it was freaking amazing. Ben managed to stay awake and it was so fun listening to him say, "Wow!" through the whole thing.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Family resemblance

Heath has had a beard for years and Ben's never seen him without one. So lately whenever he sees a picture of Heath pre-beard he points and says, "Todd!" (Heath's brother)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ben the Imitator

It's official! We've entered the "parrot" stage of Ben's life.

The other day I dropped something in the grocery store and said, "Shoot!" Ben immediately replied, "Shoot!" I'm glad I didn't say a different word.