5 months-ish: Ben wearing his fancy jacket at Aunt Nette's houseBen is the most social, easy-going baby in the history of babies. Seriously. When we take him out in public, people are constantly making comments about how happy he looks. He flirts with strangers over our shoulders and coos up a storm. Ben loves going out and rarely has a meltdown while we're in public. He LOVES being carried in the Baby Bjorn carrier. He likes his stroller to a much lesser extent, but still enjoys it because being in it means he is on the go. Ben likes shopping, going out to eat, but loves being outside. Over the last few weekends, we've spent some time outdoors for the first time in Ben's life. Since he was born in November just as it was getting chilly, the only exposure he's had of the outdoors to this point is the short time he spends being loaded and unloaded into the car. Two weekends ago, we traveled to Hartsville, South Carolina for the annual Carolina Cup festivities. The picture above is Ben sporting his fancy "cup outfit" that we purchased around this time last year. Unfortunately, it was terrible outside on the day of the horse races so we missed that part, but on Sunday, we spent a lovely day at Aunt Nette's farm soaking up the sun and playing with family. The next Sunday, we spent the afternoon at the dog park in West Asheville and he was the happiest guy there. He cooed and chatted in his Baby Bjorn and watched the 20-or-so dogs romp around and have a good time.
Ben has really taken an interest in the puppies over the last week. The day we brought him home from the hospital, we introduced him to our dog-babies and he's had constant exposure to them since, but is only noticing them now. The dogs, on the other hand, have been painfully aware of Ben's existence. They've done really well and exceeded our expectations in accepting Ben into the pack, and it's been so much fun to finally watch them interact. Ben loves Lilly. We're not sure if it's because she is white and easier to see, or if it's because she acts more interested in him, but Ben laughs and snorts when Lilly comes into a room. He watches her walk all over the house the way Lilly does (she's our safety patrol) and wiggles when she comes over to say hello. Recently, he's been reaching out and petting her. He takes his little baby hands and pats down on her scruff, and then opens and closes his hand to "pet" her. It's the most adorable thing ever. Period. He also interacts with Gram's dog, Fergie. Coincidentally, Fergie is also white (with black spots) and may be more visually appealing to him, but is also equally as interested in him. He pets her the same way, and she hangs out with him while he exercises in his bouncer or sits on Gram's lap. He is definitely a dog man. I introduced him to one of Aunt Nette's cats while we were in South Carolina and it did not go as well. The brave cat (and the only one out of who knows how many) greeted Ben by brushing up against him the way cats do, and he stuck out his bottom lip and cried. In his defense, this cat is one of the more homely cats I've ever encountered, but I'm thinking he probably just prefers dogs.
Ben and Sophie: both weighing in at 15 pounds... for now.
At the beginning of the month, Ben met his other best friend (yes, you can have 2!), Jack. To refresh, Jack is Danielle's little guy, born in September. Danielle and I go back almost as far back as Jack and Ben do and have been in and out of each others' lives for nearly 24 years. When we both got pregnant at nearly the same time, we started chatting more often, and both lamented about how hard pregnancy was, how good ice cream tasted, and other things that pregnant mamas talk about. The Turners are so lucky to have the Mazureks in our lives to watch our babies grow up together, lament and marvel over parenthood and just have fun. We traveled to their home in Atlanta, specifically, the fancy Buckhead district, and watched Jack get baptized. For the parts where Ben was not pooping himself or crying, it was a moving experience. Little Jack (who by the way, isn't so little but is about as cute as babies get) did not find it as moving and pretty much screamed at the priest during their interaction. Ben went to Jack's party afterwards and then the two took their parents to the Atlanta Zoo for a day in the park. They LOVED it, watched the animals, and fell asleep. It was adorable, of course.
Ben and Jack meeting for the first time:
So March was a pretty busy month. Other notable happenings include Ben's chattiness. Is Chattiness a word (Auntie M, care to comment)? Anyway, we've known since the start that this child has things to say and a big voice to say them with, but I will swear, and most likely write in his baby book that his first "word" is "OH YEAAAAAH". Seriously, this child will sit quietly and say "ohhhhhh yeah, ohh yeaaaaaaah, ohhhhhh yeaaaaaaahhhhhh". It's probably what he hears me say the most because as he chats, I ask him "Oh yeah?" as in "tell me more". I know that this isn't actually speech, but it's really cute. He still doesn't do the consonant-vowel dadadada or babababa and I imagine it will be a few months before this happens, but he sure does like to talk.
Ben weighed 14 pounds, 6 ounces at his last doctor's visit in late March and is too big for his infant carrier. This is not because he's outgrown it necessarily, but because Mommy cannot carry he and it at the same time. We upgraded to a big boy convertible car seat in the truck and after some convincing, he loved it. I think we scared him by sticking him in a big black contraption and flying down the road, so Daddy rode with him on our way back from his maiden voyage in it, and it's been smooth sailing ever since.
Benny - April 4th, 2009 - the first ride of many rides to come:
In March, Ben also figured out how to roll over from back to tummy. Specifically, in the middle of the night in a fit of rage he figured out how to roll over from back to tummy. Unfortunately, once he was face-planted in the mattress, he couldn't quite conjure up his previously learned skill of flipping from tummy to back, so he screamed bloody murder for help. I ran into the room (remember, this is at 3 am when Mommy isn't running on all of her cylinders), calmed him down, placed him on his back, and left thinking that it was over. Nope. He did it 2 extra times, just to show mastery of his new skill. He has since done it a few more times, but only in the middle of the night when he is apparently tired of the whole "front to sleep" thing. I love his determination and will to do things his way... even if these things occur while I'm trying to sleep.
The last notable happening is Ben's attempts at swimming. We got him a new tub because he was quickly outgrowing his little blue tub. He now has a big (and ridiculous) pink duckie tub that quacks when you press her beak and can be filled with way more water than the other tub. The moment we set Ben into this thing, he started kicking as if it were necessary for survival. The child gets the most focused, intense look on his face and watches his chunky baby legs kick and splash water all over the tub and Mommy. I've never seen another living thing, except maybe Buddy, love water as much as Ben does. We will definitely get a pool membership somewhere in town this summer.
Ben's water intensity - Exhibit A: