Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gross v 2.0

I had one of the grossest moments of my motherhood to date on Friday morning, which is saying something since Ben once puked in my hand and I also watched him eat cat vomit.

Sam woke up with a cough and a runny nose. We started the day like we always do, me complaining that he wakes up too early and him whining for a bottle. After about 15 minutes he was done eating and we sat on the couch a little longer, waiting for his burp. What I got instead was a cough which resulted in literally half his bottle being expelled from his body onto me, the couch and the floor. I have NEVER seen a child spit up that much. My shorts and underwear were soaked, there was a huge wet spot on the couch and a puddle on the floor. For a few seconds my mind couldn't even comprehend what had just happened and I sat completely still. Then I sighed and started mopping everything up with a woefully inadequate burp cloth.

By the way, Sam? Not a spot on him.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Readin' and writin'

For the last few months Ben has been very interested in what things say. Every car ride is a constant chorus of, "What does that sign say? What does that sign say?" So Heath and I have taken that as a signal of readiness for reading. Though both of us loved school and emphasize learning we don't try to cram lessons down Ben's throat. But when he shows genuine interest in a subject we jump on it.

He already knew a lot of the letter sounds (Thanks, Super Why!), so we've been working on those and showing him how the sounds go together to create words. He seems to be getting it a little bit. He's not reading on his own by any means, but he did read a word! He asked where we were going that day, so I wrote ZOO on the board in his room. I was just about to say, "What sound does Z make?" when he said, "Z... oo!" I think it helped that the day before I had written BOO on the board and explained that two "O"s make the ooooooo sound. And he remembered! How amazing is that?

Ben's also getting a lot better at writing letters. He can reliably write his name (though sometimes the N is backwards and he can get a little overzealous with the lines on the E). The other day he told me he wanted to write "Cat in the Hat." So we got out the notebook, I told him the letters and he wrote them all down. Just today his teacher said he worked with one of their student teachers and wrote down the lyrics to a song they sing. I'm so proud of how hard he's working to master these skills and that it's all coming from his own interest.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

He'll find his own way

Sam is officially crawling! He started right around the same age Ben started, 9.5 months. However, he doesn't crawl the traditional way. He tucks his right leg up under himself and holds his left leg out stiff, like he has a peg leg. Then he kind of half crawls, half drags himself along. He manages to get where he's going, but it looks strange. Sometimes, seemingly by accident, he does a few strides on hands and knees the normal way, but then he'll realize it and stick his leg out again.

What's crazy to think about is that it was only two months between when Ben started to crawl and when he started to walk. So by November we might have another walker. Sam seems so small, it's bizarre that he might be walking soon.

Here's Sam's funky crawl. As a bonus in this video you get to see Sam engage in his new favorite activity: pulling up the vent covers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Party on, Wayne!

Ben's birthday always lands right around Labor Day, so we usually push the party to the next weekend. Last year's party was INSANE. We did it at the train store, which used to be Ben's favorite place on Earth, and I think we had like 16 or 17 kids, plus parents. He got way too many presents and it was just too much. We definitely were giving him one more blow-out before he was no longer an only child. So, we knew we didn't want to do something too crazy this year. We picked the park near our house and told Ben he could choose four friends to invite (plus family). It turned out really well. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, people ate most of the food, Ben got a manageable number of presents. The kids just ran around and played on the playground and I didn't have to plan games or provide entertainment. Perfect.

We could not get a non-blurry picture of him with this 
remote-controlled car, which accurately describes his
excitement when opening it.

Eating pizza with Avery after a hard day at the playground.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Dear Ben,

We survived! I don't think I've said that since your first birthday, but this year has been rough. Before you turned three I got a little warning from some friends with older kids that three was worse than two, and boy were they right! We've been struggling this year, with independence, with wanting more attention than I can give and with the fact that you want to do so many things, but you just can't do them all yet. Hopefully our level of fighting this year isn't reached again, well EVER, but realistically until you're a teenager. It hasn't all been bad, of course, but I'm committed to showing a realistic picture of parenthood, so I'm not going to only sing your praises just because it's your birthday. :)

You had several big life changes this year. Of course, the biggest was Sam being born. It was a little tough on you at first. For the first couple months you were obviously out of sorts, but overall I'm so impressed with the way you welcomed him into our family. You never took your frustration out on the baby, just on us (which is how it should be). And as Sam's gotten older and more interactive you're having more fun with him. One of the best parts of this year has been listening to you boys laugh together. You love to make Sam laugh and he loves watching you. You're so sweet with him, giving him hugs and kisses and mostly sharing your toys. I can see the very beginnings of sibling rivalry, as Sam becomes more mobile, but I think you guys are going to have a lot of fun, too.

Another big event of the year was going binky free. Daddy and I were a little afraid of this milestone, so we pulled out the big guns: bribery. With your remaining binkies you bought a bike and you never looked back. Once again your ability to roll with big changes blew my mind. Which always makes it so odd when you break down over the littlest things, like who went into the house first.

The last big event, which was probably bigger for me than for you, was going nap free. All summer you've been whittling down the number of naps you take per week and at this point you're down to one or two. On days when we have nothing to do it can be a little maddening for me (since you still won't play by yourself for any length of time), but on busy weekends it's actually kind of nice. So, the good with the bad.

You absolutely loved your first year of preschool and Daddy and I are so excited by that. Every single day when I picked you up from school your teacher said, "Ben's had a great day." We never had a bad report about you and your teacher was always telling us you were a good friend and a good leader in class. I'm so proud of you for that.

Your interests continue to run toward building and reading and just running around. You're an odd mix of Daddy and me, but I guess that's what we were going for! Although I complained about it incessantly, I was a little sad when your obsession with trains waned this year. It had been such a huge part of your life for two and a half years, it's hard to believe it's over. For a while we thought a Lego obsession might manifest, and I still think it will, but it might be a little early. Right now your focus has turned to ANGRY BIRDS. Everything you play becomes some version of Angry Birds: someone's a pig, someone's a red bird, something's a stolen egg. You're very imaginative with it and it's fun to watch.

With three behind us I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. You still throw yourself on the floor in agony every time we tell you to brush your teeth, BUT sometimes when I tell you to get dressed you just... do it. Without a fuss, without a fight. It's amazing. And you're helpful around the house, sometimes without even being asked. Between the tantrums and the deliberate disobedience I can see flashes of you becoming a great kid. And I have hope that there are better years ahead. Maybe even next year!

Happy birthday, Ben. I love you.