Our 16 month old son ...

by Kristi Van Dyk in

It's been a while since we've had a post dedicated to our Benjamin. Each day he seems to surprise me more and more by what he is able to know and do. He is growing so quickly that it just makes me want to pick him up and squeeze him - as if by holding him tighter he'll freeze right here ... I know that's nonsense, but I don't think I've wanted to savor any time more than this stage, with him, right now. Physically - Ben runs. Ben climbs. Ben spins in circles to music. He slides down slides independently, feet first but on his tummy (he's quite cautious) He slides down stairs on his bum without being reminded (I'm still not ready to leave the stairs unprotected but he is pretty good) He throws balls and chases them Ben empties out his sister's piggy bank and neatly plunks each coin back in. Ben colors (he LOVES coloring) and draws with chalk (we haven't tried paint, though I'm sure he'd love it). Ben pours water from cup to cup (and then over his and Kayleigh's heads) He completes puzzles (with help) He stacks blocks And He SCREAMS (at TOP SPEED) around the house pushing anything with wheels: walkers, his mail cart, and his most beloved STEEL Tonka truck (when that hits the shins at full speed, it leaves a mark!)

Socially - I continue to be impressed with Ben's speech. I know to expect boys to be a little slower at language PRODUCTION (not necessarily comprehension, but repeating sounds). So far, Ben is impressing me in every way ... He says:

** HI (it's so cute, you HAVE to hear it) ... He even fooled our honorary "3rd child" over the phone. She thought she was talking to Kayleigh and it was Ben saying "Hi." ** Waves Bye (to just about anyone) ** Combines two words when he really wants something (this has NEVER occurred outside of the realm of food ..) "Mo' Nanana" Translation: More Banana or "Eat Ninn" Translation: Eat Dinner or "Mo'  Dat" Translation: More of that (accompanied by an exuberant pointing finger). ** Cries for the appropriate parent MOST of the time. (though he still calls me Dadda more often than I'd like) ** Repeats nearly everything you ask as best as he can ** He knows every single Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character as "Ninnie" which makes for some awesome conversations with his sister. (i.e. "Ben, do you want Mickey or Pluto to play with" response: "Ninnie." Sister: "Oh, Minnie???" (graciously offers Minnie to a frustrated Ben who responds: "Nah ... NINNIE!!!") It makes me laugh anyway. ** Ben's comprehension is thoroughly amazing to me. I've seen him follow multi-step directions, with plenty of space between the instruction given and his ability to follow it through ... For example: Ben, get your shoes so we can leave. (said tossed over my shoulder while I'm helping K finish a potty break) By the time I've cleaned her up, he's got his shoes, his socks and is sitting on the floor holding them out to me. Another time I told him that we were going to get a snack and go outside. He raced me to the pantry, pointed to the veggie straws, stood panting "eat, eat, eat..." the whole time I was putting them in his cup and then immediately, upon receiving his cup, made a B-line for the back door. ** He understands schedules - and routines - ... As soon as we get home from our afternoon errands/playtime he runs straight for his high chair screaming "Ninn .... Ninn." Because he knows it's nearly dinner time. We only have to mention the idea of water or bubbles or soap and he practically rips his own clothes off his body as he shouts "Dath ... Dath ..." and tries to climb in the tub himself.

Emotionally - ** This boy is a parent's dream. He's a LOVER!!! We were at the nature preserve the other day - plenty of space for him to run and play. He'd get excited and run ahead, but as soon as he realized I wasn't right by his side, he'd come screaming back, ask to be picked "Up, Up," and plant a kiss on my face before repeating the same pattern. ** He ADORES running clear across the back yard to land straight in someone's arms - he even does this to Kayleigh (she's not always a willing participant, but he is). ** We've recently made our evening wind down time a family snuggle time in Mommy and Daddy's bed (we moved a TV back up to our room). The kids sandwich together in the middle and Mommy and Daddy are the bookends. Ben CRAVES this time and asks for it frequently ... He isn't satisfied, though, unless everyone is there. Sometimes Daddy starts early while I'm finishing dishes and Ben comes down from the bed, wanders to  the kitchen, asks for "Hand, Hand ..." and leads me to the family ... ** Benner adores snuggle time any chance he gets, even just at the store, he'll give my hand a nuzzle, or plant a kiss on my face. I ADORE it ... I know it won't last forever.

Quirky Little Bennerisms: 1. Benner has a bit of a pot-belly. So, when he has hid big ol' cloth diaper on and his big ol' pot belly, he has the greatest little swagger ... It's HILARIOUS ... and when he runs, I still just giggle at watching him go 2. We joke that B is an "old man" sometimes (the pot belly above doesn't help his case) but when he's tired, he will grab his Cars sippy cup, climb up into Daddy's IKEA chair ... scoot himself all the way to back and "veg." He gets this look on his face that says, "Yeah, don't bother me..." If we let him sit there too long without paying attention he'll weakly call out "TT ... TT..." and point at the remote ... as if to say, "Please, give it to me ...I can't bear another minute without it." 3. The bears are still a VERY CRITICAL part of his sleep routine. He asks for them whenever he's tired, he holds them while we change him, he carries them around the house for the first 30 minutes after each sleep, he kisses them, hugs them and cries with a FURY when they aren't around. "Dares ...." in "Boo" and "ink..." are his standbys. They cure anything. I have a feeling they will disintegrate  before I have the heart to rip them from his little clutches. 4. DADDA ... Daddy is this little man's favorite being in the world. NO ONE gets a welcome quite like Daddy. He screams and shrieks, shakes and full on sprints to find his Dad as soon as he hears the car. It makes for some heart-wrenching moments when Daddy leaves for work, has a late night meeting, or goes out with friends. The little man just wants his role model ... I love it. 5. This little guy is still just the light of our lives (with his sister, but this isn't her post). Ben brings us joy and life and personality like nothing we ever expected ... He's a true gift ... I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for our little blonde baby boy.







How could you NOT love a face like that?