Two years ago today, I met Ben. I'm not gonna lie, I was really drugged up. But the one memory that stands out from that day was the overwhelming feeling of love I had for that beautiful baby boy. 8 pounds and 11 ounces of pure perfection. In some ways I feel like I blinked and was teleported to his 2nd birthday party, and in other ways, I feel like he's always been here. He's my little buddy, and I can't believe he's two!
To back up, the last 6 weeks have been lots of fun, and full of transitions. Ben welcomed his baby brother, Beckett into the family, and has changed his mind on how he feels about him a few times. I think he's finally settled into the idea of having a baby brother, and has even been sweet with him a time or two. Though these moments are short lived, I'm happy to witness the beginnings of a hopefully awesome relationship. Ben has been so sweet and wonderful through the transition. He continues to amaze me every day with his unbelievable patience and independence. For being so young, he has done such an awesome job at handling the fact that Mama's attention is suddenly split between two babies. And sometimes one demands more than the other. I've been incredibly lucky in that respect.
Ben admires his little brother in a wagon:
Exhausted, but sticking it out:
Minutes later, calm and cool:
Giving hugs to an unsuspecting napper:
We haven't done too much in the last few weeks. Having a newborn in the house makes travel, even to the grocery store, nearly impossible. We've done a lot of cartoon watching, playing with toys, and keeping Beckett quiet and happy. He's benefited from tons of visits from Grammie and Grandpa over the weeks, and has even visited with Auntie M a couple times. This has been a real treat, and he's always sad to see them go. He's developed a habit of blocking the door from his visitors leaving if he really disagrees with their departures. But will always see his guests out and will say goodbye properly with either the traditional "buh-bye" or his newest send-off, "Bahhhh!". He picked that one up from his more southern family members. We traveled to the mountain house for a weekend in early October to celebrate Aunt Nette's birthday and to share Beckett with family. Ben enjoyed playing with his Mimi and aunties, and was happy to get back up there after being away for a couple months.
He also got the surprise of his life and traveled to Charlotte to see Yo Gabba Gabba live and schmooze with the cast members after the show! He was in such shock, he couldn't even smile through the show. He just stood there, wide-eyed and with his mouth half open. Afterward, he sat in a small circle, just a few feet away from DJ Lance Rock as he read them a story, and got to meet all the Gabbas including his favorite, Foofa. She blew him a kiss and he smiled from ear to ear. It was awesome!
The magical moment:
Close to home, he's enjoyed a few trips to the local parks and even went on a hike with Mama and Daddy a couple weekends ago. He rode in his carrier for the first time in months, and seemed to enjoy hitching a hands-free ride through the forest.
A hike through Bent Creek Experimental Forest:
We've seen lots of new development from Ben over the last few months. Physically, he's hit a growth spurt and put on a pound and an inch or two. He's still wearing most of the clothes he wore this time last year (bonus for us, we get to reuse his winter clothes!), but we've added some bigger sizes with the hope that he'll grow into them before the season is through. He's also really blossomed socially. He is definitely more eager to play with others, and has ditched parallel play for more interactive fun. Levi has been over a time or two, and they've met in various places for playtime which has been so good for Ben. Not only does he love to see his best friend, but he learns a lot when they are together. And Levi is so patient and sweet with Ben. They truly have a special relationship. Ben's verbal communication is really taking off. His vocabulary is now more like 20 or 30 words, and he is usually willing to try new words. Sometimes he'll even try a two-word sequence, which is brand new and really impressive! And his Mimi worked hard on teaching him gesturing. This is a developmental milestone that he pretty much skipped a year ago, and is apparently an important one. So we've really encouraged him to point out things like body parts, pictures in books, etc. And he does this very willingly now. We still haven't started with speech therapy, but this should be coming together in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we're working hard at home, and watching his expressive communication blossom.
So back to his birthday celebrations. Ben's birthday weekend fell on Halloween again. So being half thrifty and half lazy, we decided to throw another Halloween-themed birthday party for him. The night before his party, we all went to downtown Hendersonville for a bit of trick-or-treating and a dance party. We even coached him on saying "trick or treat", which he rehearsed pretty well, but forgot to say every time he presented his bag for some candy. Ben dressed up as his hero, DJ Lance Rock.
Ben as DJ Lance and Beckett as a little calf - downtown Hendersonville:
The next afternoon, we had a very small celebration at our house attended by just family and our besties. It was small but fun, and Ben ended up with lots of cool presents and a nice stash to put away for his college fund. He partied hard, ate way too much candy and junk food, and squirmed at cake time again. He did, however, eat a slice of cake with icing.
Ben and a little help from his friends:
Today was his actual birthday. We hung out around the house and detoxed from the weekend's festivities. He played with the toys he scored yesterday, watched his new DVDs, and hung out with Grammie and Grandpa for most of the afternoon. Tonight, we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner and Ben had a big birthday pancake. He didn't even melt down at the restaurant like he's been known to do. We came home and ate more birthday cake, icing and all, and had a really nice day. For me, it's been a day of reflection over the last two years. It didn't hit me when Ben turned 1 that he wasn't a baby anymore. It's hit me hard tonight. Maybe because I have a newborn in the house, and can look at him and clearly remember Ben at that age like it was yesterday. He is such an amazing little guy, and we've had so much fun over the last two years. Looking forward to many, many more!