Benjamin is 10 months ... you MUST be joking.

by Kristi Van Dyk in

While I know it's around the corner, I just have to pinch myself to believe it's actually happening. I distinctly remember how I felt this time last year ... I was sore, exhausted, chasing a 16 month old and trying to keep up with my tennis girls too. I'd end each day more exhausted than I thought possible, simply wishing this baby out. If you don't believe me, check the blog archives from last March/April. You'll remember then! At any rate, I'm still trying to keep up with my tennis girls, only this time I can run along with them (sometimes), do the calisthenics (except for the 2 court lunges ...) and I have amazing babysitters (more on that later) who are helping me keep the kids happy. In the meantime, the beautiful miracle that gave me such an enormous belly is alive and well ... smiling and giggling his way through each day. It's time for a blogpost on just my baby boy! Here's where Benjamin Steven is at 10 months old:

Physically - we don't have stats, but he's pretty much slowed his growth pace. He isn't gaining weight (I'm almost positive of that since all of his clothes are very baggy), but things seem to be getting slightly shorter. When we stand him up next to Kayleigh, they are quite close in height. Closer, at least, than I'd expect my 10 month old to be. As far as his gross motor skills go Benjamin can get from sitting position to "crawl ready" quite quickly. Then, he goes no where and ends up falling to a rolling position. He will also scoot along in full split mode pushing himself forward with his arms and scooting his backside to catch up. It's slow going for him, but it helps him get where he wants to go. More than ANYTHING, Benner likes to stand. We have not yet found anything for him to be able to stand on (that is safe but also doesn't topple over under his crushing 27.5 lbs), so he mostly just works on his standing holding our hands. This is potentially problematic because as soon as he feels balanced he tries to "take off" and shrugs off our hands. Only he doesn't move his feet, therefore he simply face-plants. Poor boy ... his little spirit wants to move, but his big body just isn't quite cooperating. As far as fine motor is concerned, he's excellent at clapping his hands, waving "hello/goodbye," putting food (even as thin as spaghetti noodles) into his mouth, he even holds and attempts to draw with a crayon.

Socially - Benjamin loves people as much as ever. His Bible Study nursery workers at church have commented that he shows recognition and preference to them over other workers who only help out once a month. I've also been told (and observed) that he adores other babies. His spirits lift and he goes into "excited mode" as soon as another baby (yes, he does prefer other girl babies) comes into the picture. Just today I saw him babbling back and forth (with as much animation/conversation as I've ever heard from him) with Alexa Visser! He was completely captivated by her. As I mentioned earlier, he is able to wave hello/goodbye. He also is great at "mocking" people. He picks up "sound effects" more readily than words (buzzing your lips, high pitched squeals, shouts, etc) but he will try to repeat certain words if he's in the mood to focus. As far as independent utterings, he regularly says "Mama" and "Dadda" when in need of something desperately (most often when he's lonely and wants to be held or hugged ... just for a few seconds though and then he wants to return to play).

Ben's "Style" ~ Sometimes my baby boy is paradoxical. He LOVES being snuggled, but just for a minute. He LOVES his naps, but not entering his room in order to TAKE his nap. He always wants a clean dry diaper, but REFUSES to hold still while I change it. He can't wait to be down on the floor and independent, but he doesn't want to be left completely alone.

~ Benjamin is a family man and a homebody. There are few people in the world who can make Benjamin smile quite like Mommy, Daddy and Kayleigh. I mean, seriously, the kid smiles for everyone, even strangers at the store, but he REALLY reserves a special little gigawatt for the family. And oh is my son great when we go away. He sleeps like a champ in strange places (as long as he has his teddy), he'll go down wherever you lay him ...BUT when the van pulls in to the driveway at home, he breathes a little sigh, his gigawatt smile returns doubly bright and he gets excited. The boy LOVES his house.

~ Nothing in this world makes my son as happy as eating food. I mean that, NOTHING ... the kid can be whining, exhausted, or all manner of lonely/upset and food WILL cure it. On top of that, not only does he LOVE to eat, he eats a tremendous amount of food ... seriously, some days he eats more than I remember eating in high school. Here's a SAMPLE day ... (no exaggerating ...)

Breakfast: Adult bowl of Cheerios and a whole blueberry Nutrigrain bar, chased down with 5 oz of formula 10:00: Small Snack (6-8 veggies straws, a child size bowl of puffs, or half of some adult sized snack he splits with his sister) Lunch: A whole banana (or 6-8 strawberries), a whole string cheese, and either an adult sized portion of dinner leftovers OR Macaroni and Cheese ... (one afternoon he consumed HALF OF THE BOX!!!!), chased down with 5 more oz of formula 4:00 Snack: 10-12  veggies straws, fruit or granola bar Dinner: An adult portion of whatever the family is eating plus some of the "side" we are having or some more fruit (again, a whole banana or 6-8 strawberries), sips on the formula 7:00 - Bedtime bottle - 8 ozs of formula. (and sometimes stealing some of Kayleigh's bedtime snack...assuming she earned one by eating any dinner at all).

I never feel like he is full. He almost never turns away one more spoonful. So, I feel like, if I had the patience, he'd eat all day long. I know he's big, but seriously ... it's gotta taper sometime, right??? Just the other day he had 2, yes 2 portions of leftover lasagna for PART of his lunch alone. They were not small portions ... I'd cut a similar size for myself for dinner!! Where does all of the food go?

Anyway, eater, drinker or non-crawler, he's the most charming little boy I know. (I'm sure he gets his charm from his Daddy, who can be QUITE winsome when he tries). And now, for the piece you all LOVE to see (okay, so maybe you don't love it, but I do) :) ... the baby photo comparison ...

[caption id="attachment_1130" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Benjamin Steven, 10 months: March 2010"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1129" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Kayleigh Elaine, 10 months: September, 2009"][/caption]