Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Playgroup Halloween Party

Ben as Thomas the Tank Engine. 
Despite his face, he loves the costume!

Ben as Thomas and Isaac as Gordon.
That's what Ben does now when I say, "Smile!"

The best picture of the most kids.
It's tough to get a good picture of 10 babies and toddlers
L-R: Alyssa (fairy), John-James (Woody from Toy Story), 
Amelia (Rams cheerleader), Ben, Isaac, Eliot (bee)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ben's Day Out with Thomas

Thomas the Tank Engine visited St. Louis! Considering how obsessed Ben is, we had to take him.

With the conductor


With Sir Topham Hatt (the owner of the railroad)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Imagining a memory

As evidenced by this post Ben's imagination is starting to blossom. Mostly he just has conversations with his toys and usually those conversations are about Dinosaur Train. But it's so fun to watch.

His memory's getting better, too, so he's starting to incorporate things that happen during the day into conversations (not just with toys, but with us, as well). Let me tell you, it's bizarre when he starts talking about something that happened two days ago. You can remember that? Really? It's very intimidating to think about him being able to remember. Up to this point any mistakes I've made have been washed from his brain. Everyday was like a clean slate, which was wonderful, especially on those days I lost it and actually screamed at him. I knew he wouldn't hold it against me. And I know we're still a little ways off from him really being able to remember and understand stuff like that, but it's coming. To think about my parenting mistakes being housed in someone's memory (besides my own) just plain scares me. Being a parent requires more personal evolution than anything I've ever done.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ben the Manipulator - Part 2

Lately Ben is starting to grasp the concept of emotional manipulation. Whenever I reprimand him he immediately tries to cute it up so I won't be mad. His main weapon: saying in the sweetest voice, "Hi, Mommy." So, we have a lot of conversations like this:

"Ben, don't pull Minnie's tail."
"Hi, Mommy."

"Ben, don't throw toys."
"Hi, Mommy."

The thing is, he keeps saying it until I respond, "Hi, Ben." To him that signals the diffusing of the situation. So if I'm actually mad and refuse to answer, what I get is:

"Hi, Mommy.... Hi, Mommy.... Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy. HI, MOMMY!"

Eventually, if I don't answer he gets mad and throws a fit. Now, the following analogy is bound to offend someone, but I think it's somewhat fitting. The relationship of a toddler and parent is not unlike the relationship of an abuser and abused spouse. The abused spouse (i.e. the parent) doesn't want to do anything to set off the abuser (i.e. the toddler), because the abused spouse knows that will just mean more trouble for her. So I usually end up giving in and replying, "Hi, Ben," because it's such a stupid thing to have a tantrum over.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The story of the unfavored parent

Ever since Ben was old enough to have a favorite parent (around 8-9 months, maybe?), it's been Heath. Unequivocally. And I get it. He sees me all day long and Daddy's loud and energetic and fun. For a long time it didn't bother me, because it gave me a break. But after a while it started to get to me. After all, I do almost everything for him, including giving up sushi and booze for 10+ months. I know that's a ridiculous way to look at it and it's something he probably won't appreciate for 25+ years, if ever. But my brain goes there sometimes.

Then, over the summer it started getting better. He was more willing to interact with me even while Heath was around. I began to think maybe we were at the end of this phase. But come fall, the favoritism started up again WITH A VENGEANCE. It's as bad as it ever was. He does fine with me when Heath's gone, but in the evenings and on the weekends it's All Daddy. Heath can't even go to the bathroom for 2 minutes without Ben throwing a fit. And he takes shorter naps because he knows Heath's home, so he wants to play.

Luckily Heath usually doesn't mind being the center of attention all weekend. He has the stamina to keep up with Ben and I know he misses seeing him as much during the week. And while I still appreciate the break from Ben duty, it really stings when he refuses to play with me and just cries for Daddy.

This is sort of a long winded way of explaining why I've only posted one blog entry this month. We've been going through a hard time with the favoritism and I haven't felt much like blogging about the little boy who's rejecting me at every turn. He's just as cute as ever and is talking up a storm. This is just something I need to be okay with. Especially since the woman from Parents As Teachers told me that around 2.5-3 kids usually start to identify with and favor the same sex parent. Gosh, I knew Ben was smart but I didn't realize he was that ahead of the curve.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

First bike ride

For Ben's birthday we bought him a strider bike. It's a small bike with no pedals. The idea is that the kid uses his or her feet, so it's easier than a conventional bike, but it teaches balance. This way Ben won't need training wheels and moving to a regular bike will be a smooth process.

We took him on his first bike ride a couple weeks ago. He's been interested in other kids' bikes at the park and he had a blast in the bike store, so we knew he'd have fun.

He's still too short to sit on the seat and touch the ground, so basically he just walked with it in between his legs. But that's better than boring ol' regular walking.

Of course, every novelty gets old after a while.

Still, I think he had fun.