Ben and Mom and a cornfield: September 27th, 2009
The fall has been all about birthdays. We've celebrated several, including 3 firsts, and have been on the go from here to there to spend time with our loved ones putting another year behind them and looking forward to many, many more. The first birthday party was Levi's, which was at the Asheville Pizza Company. Ben played arcade games, hung out with Mommy's old friends, and watched Levi smear orange icing all over his face, hair, chest and so on. Ben looked on in horror while Levi was in heaven. The next party was in Atlanta the day before this picture was taken and was Jack Oliver's party. He was introduced to Yo Gabba Gabba and DJ Lance Rock and played with a billion toys and other kids while Jack enjoyed his celebration. Ben looked on in horror again while Jack ate his entire smash cake in quite a different fashion from Levi, leaving hardly anything and not making too much of a mess. The kid is my hero. Ben loved spending time with his bros and getting a preview for what was to come later in the season. Mom got more and more anxious with each party because she realized each one symbolized the birth of these children and Ben's day wasn't far behind. The Turners traveled to the mountains in mid October for Aunt Nette's birthday party and spent a relaxing weekend in our favorite place, lounging around with relatives and exploring the mountain and it's beautiful fall foliage. Aunt Nette was very happy to see Ben and the feeling was mutual, because he knows Aunt Nette loves him the best.
Over the course of September and October, Ben decided it would be a good time to ditch that baby creeping thing and get up on his knees for some good old fashioned crawling, and continues to do so with extreme speed and precision. He crawls laps around and around the house, usually not disturbing a thing as he moves, but getting a great workout and keeping himself occupied in a Mom-Approved sort of way. He tried so hard to pull up on furniture and would get halfway there before falling down on his butt and shaking it off. He finally figured that move out this week and has been pulling up on any piece of furniture he can get his hands on, followed by a quick look behind him, smiling in anticipation of his cheerleaders (AKA: Mom and Dad) yelling "Biggest One!" and clapping. Benny has an electric smile that lights up any room, is highly contagious and flashes it almost constantly. It is impossible to be sad or angry as long as he's near - it's a proven fact. Ben is also expanding his vocabulary and is now exclaiming "DaDDDD-ay" and "a-BoBB" along with his already acquired mamas and babas and such. Everyone and everything is "a-BoBB" and "DaDDDD-ay" is reserved for the father formerly known as Bob. I'm not sure when he'll start saying actual words but I'm thinking it won't be long now. In fact, today, he said over and over again with authority "E-gee-ahh-di" and my mom had to double check Google to make sure he didn't pick up some Italian somewhere when we weren't looking. He was serious every time he said it, furrowing his brow and yelling it like a command. Big Ben is nearly 22 pounds, about 30 inches, and full of new tricks and smiles.
October brought reds, yellows, golds and browns to the mountain landscape and a bit of cool air to break up mild and balmy days. It also brought plans for Ben's birthday party, which happened on Halloween, just as Mommy predicted the year before. Ben's birthday party brought a house full of friends and family who love Benny and wanted to share his special day with him. Everyone had a blast, packed in like sardines, watching kids in costumes tear the house apart and prove to The Turners that our house isn't baby-proofed after all. This point was driven home when Jack's mom, Danielle brought me a cup of picture hangers and nails from the top of a bookcase while Jack was quickly darting to the kitchen to get in a cabinet and dump Comet cleaner all over the floor. This is definitely new territory, as Ben minds his own business as he runs laps around the house, occasionally unplugging something before moving on. So in his house were a bunch of hovering parents, a mischievous Batman, a waddling Hotdog, a very upset Pumpkin (Benny) and an adorable Ladybug mixed in with others watching the madness ensue. Ben's birthday cake moment was met with an unanticipated scream when he realized he couldn't shake the icing off of his hands. Instead of diving into the cake, Ben screamed and threw a fit until his hands were clean. He refused to give the cake a second chance and even had the same reaction the next day when it was presented again. Once Ben loosened up, he had an awesome time and the day was a blur as The Turners made their way through the party, chatting and thanking everyone for coming and celebrating Ben's day.
The next day, Ben and the complete Turner package set out for the apple orchard to have a day of fun but were met with overcast skies, a fairly empty parking lot, and quiet where bustling crowds, music, rides and fun were the week prior. Harvest season is winding down and Hendersonville's apple orchards are selling their last pecks and bushels before closing for the year. The Turners roamed the property anyway and took advantage of one last photo opportunity before parting ways till next time. Mom, Dad and Ben headed down the road for a birthday party with Grammie and Grandpa and opened presents, ate lunch, and took a very long, and well deserved nap. Ben's actual birthday, November 1st has been quiet, peaceful and full of reflection over the last 365 days. It's been bittersweet for Mom, who has chased down every moment since Ben's birth and tried to make it last forever. The days are so short and are coming at us at warp speed and I wish we could just call a time-out sometimes to savor little moments like a mid-afternoon bottle in our arms, a goofy giggle session before bed, or a sweet cuddle in the early morning hours before he's fully awake and alert. I remember nursing him in a football hold, clutching him with one arm and resting him on my chest for a late morning nap and I feel like it was yesterday, literally, that this was our routine. Hard to believe that my little 8 pound baby is now speaking Italian, eating Spaghetti-O's and calling me Bob. I feel like I will be chasing down these little memories for the rest of my life, recalling every insignificant detail and longing for days that are behind us while looking forward to the next milestone. The only way to describe it is to call it bittersweet, and suddenly the same birthdays that I was so excited about as a child hold a new meaning from a mother's perspective. An extremely powerful revelation indeed. So one year later, I am sitting at home, listening to the cold wind whip around the trees outside and reflecting on an amazing year with my Boo Bear, and recalling that on this night last year I was cuddling my newborn son and imagining what life would be like. So far, it's been amazing. Love you Benjamin - Happy 1st Birthday! Love, Mama