I remember thinking as I walked out of Benjamin's 6 month appointment (with his crying sister, having just completed her 2 year appointment) that we would be heading out of the "winter blues" by the next time we went in for a well-baby. Well, here we are ... 9 months have past, and we've reached the mark where Ben has been "out" as long as he was "in." I have now been NOT PREGNANT for the longest stretch of time since I was first ever expecting. Yes, I'm enjoying that status :) BUT, this post is about my precious, baby boy! Let me take a few minutes to recap just who Benjamin is (for those of you who don't get to see him on a daily basis):
Physically - Doc Stats: Height: 30.25", Weight: 26.2 lbs, Head Circumference: 48 3/4 cm!! Percentile: Height: 95th, Weight: Off the chart, Head Circumference: Off the chart Conclusions: He's still big
* He's still in his 18 months clothing, though it's getting pretty snug. I often put him in the 24 month stuff because I think he enjoys the "space" it provides. * He has (drum roll please) not a single tooth ... nope, not a one. That's not for lack of teething symptoms, they just aren't poking up! * He sits forever and LOVES his jumpy. Between sitting and playing with toys and bouncing in his jumpy, I'm not sure the boy would need another thing. * He reaches and grabs ANYTHING within his arms length (and that includes items that he can basically "fold in half" to grab). That's truly the best way to describe what he does. If he can't get at something, he reaches WAY past his toes and folds in half to get it! It can extend his "danger zone" quite readily. Rafael often underestimates him and winds up getting pulled into Benny's lap. * When placed on his belly, he will push and kick with his legs like a little frog swimming in the water. Sometimes he can get a grip and push up on a fours, but he falls down almost immediately (hey, it's heavy lifting to move this kid, I'd know!) He's very proficient at scooting himself backwards, but often that only frustrates him. Most often, he'll roll right back to his back and find the nearest toy to chew on ... he's not really motivated to move beyond where he is ... (sounds A LOT like his sister in that respect).
Socially/Emotionally - *Benjamin has developed acute "stranger" recognition. He is VERY sensitive to people who aren't familiar. He used to go to the nursery ladies without a single whimper or complaint. He hardly acknowledged that we were gone, but last week has taken to breaking out into piercing screams as soon as he even gets to the nursery wing. * Despite his stranger acknowledgements, he still really LOVES people. As soon as he knows he's safe and secure and that Mommy isn't, in fact, leaving. He will smile and flirt away. I think he has THE MOST fun at tennis workouts on Tuesdays when there are 5-7 high school girls to observe. His little dimple flashes, and he just watches all the pretty young women ... I'm gonna have to watch out for this one * If you know what you're looking for, you can hear "Ma-ma" and "Da-Da" quite often. He will cry for me by name when he's angry or scared. He LOVES his Daddy and usually screams "Da-Da" during weekend playdates when he gets extra time with his Daddy. He's also big into kisses ... they are disgusting, nose swallowing kisses, but when he's really pumped to see you (usually first thing in the morning or after naps), you can get a face full of spit really easily from this little guy. * Benjamin knows several words and responds/acts to them appropriately. Each time you say, "Benny, where's..... (Mommy, Kayleigh or Daddy) he can find his target. He knows how to "dance" and will, usually, dance on command. Benjamin also knows "splash" much to his sister's dismay ... He's an excellent bathtub mess-maker. Ben is also JUST learning how to wave. Today at the grocery store he held out his hand in a semi-Hitler-esque solute everytime someone smiled at him. I didn't catch what was happening until this evening when I said, "Hi buddy" and he did the same to me, trying to mimic my wave. He was SO PROUD! He's great with responding to his name, but you have to use the "full name." His sister calls him Benjamin Steven so much that that's what we always call him ... therefore, he pretty much ignores, "Ben" or "Benny" but will respond to "Benjamin" or "Benjamin Steven" pretty quickly.
His little -isms - I love this age because you start to see the little personality begin to emerge. Unique things begin to happen that are truly YOUR baby .. Here are some of my favorites about my son: ~ FOOD ... I don't believe that Benjamin truly knows "full." The docs always say you can tell when they're done eating because they turn away or refuse food. Aside from "preferences" with his food, but Benjamin doesn't refuse food, not ever! He'd truly eat all day if I let him. In a typical day he consumes the following:
Breakfast - 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of applesauce or pureed bananas, 6 oz of formula via a sippy cup Snack - 6-10 veggies straws or 1/4 cup of puffs after naptime, 6 oz of water (with a splash of juice for flavor) Lunch - 1/2 cup of a vegetable, 1/2 cup of fruit, 1/2 cup of some meat (chicken or beef usually), followed by 1/4 of some soft finger food (mac n cheese, leftover pasta, casseroles, pretty much anything because he's like a human garbage disposal ... he gets almost all of the family leftovers!) oh yeah, and 6 oz of formula Snack - 6-10 apple straws or puffs, yogurt cup or yogurt melts, 6 oz of water Dinner - A full toddler meal plus whatever table foods he can handle from the family meal, 6 oz of formula.
Seriously, there are days I think he's going to eat the kitchen sink and wash it down with the entire refrigerator! But you know what? He's a happy kid ... So, eat he shall ...
~ His sister - I have no other sibling relationships to compare him to, but Kayleigh can do NO WRONG in this boys' eyes. Each morning she wakes him up with me. She climbs up unto the rails of the crib and peers over the side. I never get as big a grin from him as she does. In fact, he often flips himself over, unto his belly, and pushes up as high as his little arms allow so that he can see as MUCH of her as he can. He just giggles, grins and tries desperately to get as close to her face as possible. They will play together (when she's in a giving mood) and whenever she begins to approach him he drops all of his toys, turns to face her and his eyes and arms and hands just LIGHT UP. She's his WHOLE world whenever she takes time to acknowledge him. They often "play legos" together and will sit on the floor (he's pounding them together to make the most terrific racket and she's coaching him on how to assemble them PROPERLY to make a house). When she dances to music by waving her arms and hopping in circles his little feet tap to the music and his arms pump in time. He giggles and laughs more and just truly believes he is copying her every move.
~ His Mommy - I still get to be this little guy's favorite person (at least for a little while). When things are going south, when he's tired, when he's hungry, he is SO his mommy's little boy. Daddy tries (bless his heart) but when Ben's hurting, it's his Mommy he wants (and it's Mommy he gets). It's amazing how fast "changing of the guard" produces positive results with Ben ...
~ Sheer joy - I'm going to have to go back and check my blog for Kayleigh, but I don't remember her being quite as joyful in all circumstances. Ben can go ANYWHERE, for ANY length of time and be truly happy. He's been to several tennis workouts, a few tennis meetings, office visits and lunch and nap time, Bible study nursery during nap time, it all doesn't seem to phase him. He just is truly a happy kid ... even when he has every excuse in the book to let the screams fly.
We love you Benjamin, you're such a blessing to this family. We wouldn't be the same without you!