Archive for June, 2007

I’ve been thinking lately about how easy it is to remember to do a monthly update on Ben since he’s changing so quickly from month to month, yet all the intricacies of Sean’s little personality right now are getting somewhat overlooked. And yet I think about them and talk about them and love them so much that they are, indeed, worth recording. So here are some of my favorite things about Sean at 2 and 1/3 years old:

  • “TANE tu!” I love that he says “thank you” for almost everything that’s given to him or done for him (the trigger words especially seem to be “there you go.” Anytime he hears “there you go,” you can pretty much guarantee that his “TANE tu” will soon follow). I wish that Chris and I could take the credit for this, but we honestly have never emphasized saying “thanks.” The kid just has a heart overflowing with thankfulness, I guess. And I love to hear it. There are few things sweeter that come out of his mouth than a big, heartfelt, “TANE tu, Bobby!” Priceless.
  • His soft, soft skin. I thought babies were supposed to lose that after a while, but not Sean. And I’m so glad, because I love to feel that silky softness.
  • The appetite of all appetites, in kids anyway. I rejoice that the child loves to eat. Truly, a boy after my own heart. I love sitting across the table from him and hearing his “MMMM!! Dummy!” about all kinds of different foods. Makes cooking (and eating) so worth it.
  • His enormous, soulful brown eyes and those extraordinarily long lashes. They get me everytime.
  • His recent attachment to the little blue stuffed puppy that we gave Ben for Easter. Ben’s never been impressed with it, but Sean discovered it all of a sudden a few days ago and has slept with it for naps and nighttime ever since. He always has to make sure the puppy has “covers on,” and the first night I had to come back into the bedroom to wipe the puppy’s nose, but other than that, there have been no disturbances due to the extra little bedfellow. In fact, Sean seems to be sleeping better now than he ever has.
  • His hilarious habit of answering with a very solemn nod or “yes” almost anytime he’s asked a question that he doesn’t fully understand. Chris especially loves this habit: “Sean, do you like to play with nuclear grade plutonium?” Serious nod and “yes!” “Sean, have you been to Indonesia?” Serious nod. You get the picture.
  • His enthusiasm for going somewhere, anywhere. All we have to say is, “All right, boys!” and Sean chimes in with his extremely loud, “AW WIGHT. BOYS. IN. TAR!” And it’s always accompanied by a solo stampede to the door.
  • His volume. He has only one: LOUD. If you know Chris even a little bit, you’ll understand where the kid gets it. Need I say more?
  • His excitability. Sure, it can be rather annoying and frustrating at times, but most of the time his persistent excitement and fixation with a particular thing/person/event is quite amusing. He tends to get one thing in his head that he sees or wants to do and he immediately becomes a broken record. For example, motorcycles (Marshall’s in particular), sports of any kind, and playgrounds.
  • His love for his little brother. This is really worth noting, because I’m sure there will come a day when the love’s not exactly there, and we’ll need proof that at one point it was. For the time being, though, he loves to play with Ben. He’s still figuring out that he needs to share, and that Ben isn’t quite ready to play the way that he can, but overall their playtime together is quite enjoyable for everyone involved. And I love LOVE LOVE to hear them laugh together. Makes me smile every time.
  • His sheer sweetness. Sean’s always had a tender heart, even from when he was a baby. Chris used to not be able to tickle me in front of him because Sean thought I was being hurt and he’d start crying. And when he first started throwing a football around 14 months, he’d get upset or start crying if he hit me in the head with it because he thought he hurt me. Granted, those things don’t bother him a bit now, but he’s still as sweet as ever, and I hope that never goes away.
  • His love for all things boy. If it involves balls, sports, trucks, numbers, dirt or adventure of any kind, Sean’s in. And I love that. I don’t always get it, but I do at least appreciate it. (And did you know, he can already count to seven, just by listening to a numbers book a few times? But ask him what color something is, and there’s no telling what answer you’ll get…but that’s about true for any guy, right?)
  • His being. I dreamed my entire childhood and young adulthood of one day having children, but I never could have dreamed that God would give me such a delightful little package all wrapped up in one little boy. I’m not naive enough to think that he’s a perfect little angel, but he’s at least healthy and happy, not to mention one of the cutest little specimens on the face of the earth. Three years ago I couldn’t imagine life with him, and now I can’t imagine life without him. What a blessing.

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boys will be boys

I find it ironic that the day after I start reading James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys, this is the kind of day I experienced yesterday:

It began with Ben having a blow-out diaper, the likes of which I haven’t seen since before he started solids two months ago. The mess went up his back and under his left armpit. Not exactly what I wanted to deal with at 6:45 in the morning. (And, yes, I realize this doesn’t really have anything to do with him being a boy, but once you see how the rest of the day went, you’ll understand.)

Then by 7:30 Sean had managed to drop his cup of applesauce on the carpet in the dining room while eating breakfast. Did you know that a cup of applesauce, when dropped on the floor at one end of a 6-foot table, can leave a splatter trail that goes the length of that entire table, all the way to underneath the chair at the other end? Seriously, Sean and I could have conducted a physics experiment on the trajectory of applesauce.

Throughout the morning Ben managed to 1) pull the vent out of the floor in the dining room and then stick his entire arm, all the way up to his shoulder, down the hole; 2) take out an outlet cover from an electrical outlet (a lot of good that one did); 3) crawl over to the landing at the top of the stairs, get on his belly and inch his way forward until he nosedived down the one step onto the landing, then continue scooting until he was all the way on the landing and could crawl around in circles to his heart’s content (fortunately, I had actually remembered to put the gate up at the top of the stairs, so at least the landing was as far as he could go); 4) try to pull himself up onto the vacuum cleaner, but ended up knocking it over instead (I still don’t know how he didn’t whack himself with the thing); and 5) pull a box filled with packing peanuts off of the bench in the living room.

And Sean topped off the morning/early afternoon by refusing to swallow his last bite of lunch. So a 45-minute battle of the wills ensued, which delayed both his and Ben’s naps by 30 minutes to an hour. Fortunately, both boys ended up napping well, the evening was much more mellow, and the day ended much sweeter than it began.

I may have boys, and I may (and do) love them dearly, but I’m not made to handle multiple days in a row like that. Here’s hoping I never have to.

UPDATE: I forgot to add that this was the day that Ben also discovered the cat food. And when Sean saw that Ben had discovered the cat food, he quickly made his way over there to show Ben how to pick up pieces of cat food and drop it one by one into the water bowl. Fortunately, I caught them at it before there was too much food in the water, but this doesn’t bode well for the tag-teaming they’ll soon be doing, I’m sure.

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lazy days of summer

Summer probably won’t be exactly lazy for us, but I’ll take what I can get. Like taking a nice leisurely walk on a warm Sunday evening to DQ and watching a 2-year-old take his time eating his first drippy ice cream cone of the summer. I hope the summer is filled with moments like this.

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ben: 8 months

I’ve been trying to take 8-month pictures of Ben the last few days, and out of all the ones I’ve managed to get, this one is probably my favorite. Perhaps because I was able to catch him in a rare moment of relative stillness and inactivity. Don’t get me wrong, this picture is still an accurate portrayal of the little guy right now with his ability to be easily amused and enthralled with something as simple as a plastic lid, but believe me when I say the amusement is short lived. Two seconds before and after this shot he was diving across the wagon, straining over his seat belt and reaching for Sean’s sippy cup. And that, I have to say, is a much more common depiction of our little Benjamin at 8 months old. So with that said, here’s what he’s accomplished in the last month:

  • now officially crawling–I don’t think Sean yet realizes exactly what this will mean to his playtime
  • already mastered pulling up on the furniture and is starting to cruise–again, I don’t think Sean yet realizes the impact this will have on his world
  • still only has two bottom teeth, but the top two can’t be far behind since the gums are white
  • wearing 18 month clothes (a whole size in one month? I don’t know if I’m going to be able to keep up with this kid! Mom, I think I understand now why Jeremy seemed to always have highwaters.)
  • learned to push himself into a sitting position from laying down
  • sleeping worse than he ever has because of all of his newfound mobility skills–he manages to sit up, pull up, roll over, whatever in his sleep, then wakes up crying like he can’t figure out what in the world he’s doing in that position
  • also clingier than ever, again probably due to his newfound mobility (I’ve read that babies tend to become clingier right before they accomplish a milestone that makes them more independent…and little Ben is accomplishing about three at once, so he’s really out of whack)
  • still more interested in eating books than reading them
  • loving more and more to play with toys (especially Sean’s), but seems to have a special fascination with balls (this could be a very good thing for Sean)
  • loves to cuddle while being held–everybody who holds him comments on how sweet it feels to have his little head snuggled against their shoulder
  • will still go to anybody without a fuss, but definitely likes mommy best of all
  • finds Sean highly amusing
  • makes a goofy sound/movement combination which consists of 1) opening his mouth, 2) resting his chin on his chest, 3) raising his head up while saying “nnnn-DUH!” He can do this over and over again before moving on to something else. I have no idea what in the world he could possibly be thinking/doing/imitating, but it’s entertaining to watch and hear.
  • still just as sweet and loveable as ever

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a still and quiet soul

Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
– Psalm 131:2 –

Today marks two weeks exactly since the last time Sean nursed, or even asked to nurse. And before that it had been a week to ten days since he had nursed. So I think I can safely say that the child has weaned.

Dr. William Sears in his book The Baby Book describes life as “a series of weanings for a child: weaning from your womb, weaning from your breast, from your bed, and from your home to school.” I may not know much about parenting, but I know enough to realize that any of these weanings is both bitter and sweet, something to both mourn and celebrate. And this latest weaning of Sean’s is no different for me.

I mourn that his weaning means that he is about to leave all traces of babyhood behind him forever. I mourn that he needs me just a little bit less than he did before. And I mourn that the last several months of nursing him were a little less pleasant than the preceding ones since another little one was added to the mix.

And yet at the same time I rejoice to once again only be nursing one baby. And I rejoice that I can lay down with him at night and all he needs is, “Bobby, hode you.” And I especially rejoice that by allowing him to gently and gradually wean himself, I helped instill within him a still and quiet soul, one that is happy and secure and independent enough to move out further into the big, wide world. I wouldn’t trade that for all the months and years of unattached freedom that premature weaning could give me.

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For Daddy’s sake, a record of our week without him:

– Sean went to sleep (without crying) without me having to lay down beside him; I was rocking Ben in the rocking chair in the same room.

– Due to road construction and an accident on the bridge, it took an hour and a half to get from the restaurant in New Albany to Mamaw’s house in Louisville. Not a big deal, ordinarily, except that Sean decided halfway there to have his first bout ever of constipation, so the last thirty minutes of the ride Elaine and I got to listen to him moaning and groaning and turning red in the face, all the while straining out, “Diaper change!” and “Big diaper!” and “Hurts!” I’m sorry, but how do you not laugh at that? Fortunately, within ten minutes of getting to the house and him walking around, he did, indeed, manage to fill his diaper quite well. And I have to admit, I could see how it might hurt. Ouch.
– Sean went to sleep (without crying) without me having to lay down beside him; I was, once again, rocking Ben in the rocking chair.
– Ben made his first “real” crawling motion by actually moving a knee forward before falling onto his belly.

– Made it all the way from Louisville to St. Louis with only one hour of crying fits from Ben. The rest of the trip was golden.
– Ben managed to pull himself up onto his feet quite easily using the coffee table (maybe I should have pushed him back down? I don’t want him walking yet!).
– After being home for several minutes, Sean was in the middle of playing upstairs in the living room when all of a sudden he looked up and yelled out, “Daddy, where are you?” Just about broke my heart. He did it a few more times later in the evening.
– Ben was asleep and in bed by 7:15 and Sean was in bed and asleep by 7:45. Sean went to sleep (without crying) after only a few minutes of me laying down beside him and then having to get up to go take care of Ben.

– My first morning of single-parenthood and I did, in fact, manage to take a shower. And I still had happy (and alive and well) children afterwards!
– We spent three and a half glorious hours at the park doing nothing but playing (Sean did), talking (I did) and eating (we all did) with Lori and Jonah. I had a blast, and if the color of the bathwater tonight was any indication, I can pretty safely say that Sean had a blast too. That kid was d-i-r-t-y.
– Ben had peas for the first time, and only a few funny faces accompanied it.
– Ben was asleep and in bed by 7:15. Sean once again went to sleep without me laying down right beside him; he just wanted me to leave the door open. Four nights in a row–looks like he might finally be losing that need. Sorry, Chris. I know that’s something that you wish you could be around for, but I have to admit that it sure has made single parenting this week much easier.

– Nothing like waking up to a chipper baby at 5:45 in the morning. And why am I still awake at this hour, come to think of it?
– I am now completely convinced that other than a few interesting facts about obscure South American animals, Sean can learn nothing of value from watching Diego. He certainly won’t be learning any extraordinary adjectives. “Windy wind,” “rocky rock path” and “muddy mud”? Somebody’s got to be able to do better than that.
– Ben had two major accomplishments today: 1) he pulled up onto his feet again using the coffee table, and then he actually started cruising a little bit; and 2) he managed to do a “2-step” crawl on his knees before he went down to his belly. So I guess you can say he’s crawling now!
– I think Sean has gotten cuter and sweeter this week. Almost every time I do something for him, he says, “Tane tu, Bobby.” Almost every time I ask him to do something, he says, “OH-TAY, Bobby!” And almost every time we’ve been playing together and I’ve done something like hit a baseball, he claps his hands together and says, “Dud dob, Bobby!”
– The hardest part of the week so far happened tonight while I was fixing supper (any surprise? That’s always the hardest part of the day.). Both boys were fussing and/or crying anyways, and in the middle of it I managed to trip over and step on Sean, and then he managed to burn his hand a little bit on a pot lid while I was holding him. He’s never even tried to touch anything on the stove before, so I don’t know what possessed him to do it then.
– Other than the above episode, the boys have been so good that I’m convinced that Chris has been praying *really hard* for me this week. And if that’s the case, I am beyond grateful.
– Mark it down: FIVE nights in a row now for Sean laying down on his own. Amazing.

– The theme for today was “fussy baby.” Ben’s not feeling well, apparently. He was a little feverish yesterday, but it wasn’t any big deal. Today, he was hot, had a temp of about 100, wouldn’t nap unless I was either holding him or laying down with him, wasn’t interested in food (he gagged and threw up after one bite of peas–yuck) and wanted to be held pretty much all day long. I’m hoping it’s teething and it will soon be over.
– When I was helping Sean say his prayer tonight, we were going through everybody that he was thankful for, and I mentioned Daddy. He got a sad little look on his face and turned to me and said mournfully, “Daddy yost.” I had to assure him that, no, Daddy was not lost, he’s just gone for a few days. The kid’s going to break my heart before the week’s over.
– I’m pretty much giving up on my plans for a super-clean house before Mom & Dad get here tomorrow. Between a clingy baby today and errands and volleyball tomorrow, I’m pretty much out of time to get the house completely in shape. I think they’ll understand. But hey, I’m caught up on laundry. That’s easy to do when you have one less adult in the house (not that I prefer it that way, honestly!).
– Night #6 for Sean. Chris, maybe you should’ve gone out of town for a few days a long time ago.

– I was awakened at 2 or 2:30 by a hotbox posing as a baby. Ben’s temp had spiked to over 100, but the little guy was happy as a lark and ready to play. I gave him Tylenol, stripped him down his diaper, and waited out his perkiness. It took a few hours, but he finally went to sleep, his fever broke, and he was doing better by morning. Not 100%, but better.
– I managed to get a few hours of one-on-one mother-son time with Sean. Margot came over and watched Ben while Sean and I ran some errands and went to lunch. It wasn’t anything amazing, but I think Sean enjoyed having Mommy all to himself for a while, something he hasn’t had at all the last few days with Ben not feeling well. I know I enjoyed it. We even made a lunch date out of it.
– All afternoon, Sean couldn’t wait to go to volleyball tonight and play on the “baby playground.” According to Lindsay, he ended up rolling in the sand, playing with the sand, rolling in the grass. Needless to say, the bathwater was once again quite disgusting.
– The highlight of volleyball for Sean, though, had to be when Marshall let him sit on his motorcycle…and then started it. Sean’s eyes were as big as saucers and he was wearing his super serious “this is so much fun it’s beyond cool” face. I think Marshall’s his hero. We definitely at least know who to blame if he ends up buying a motorcycle later in life.
– And the highlight for mommy was coming home and seeing Mimi and Poppy in the driveway. The week’s been pleasant, the boys have been fantastic, but I’m ready for an extra pair of arms to hold a baby and play with a toddler. Now just one more day and Daddy comes home.

P.S. I somehow failed to make mention of this when it happened earlier this week. Sean found a container of play-doh in the basket of toys in the kitchen and wanted to play with it one afternoon. So I get him set up at the table and he starts playing away while I go about my business in the kitchen. A little while later I walk over towards him and notice that he’s been rolling the play-doh into little balls and throwing these little yellow pellets all over the floor. I think he would have rolled up that entire container of play-doh if I hadn’t caught him. Goofy boy.

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