This morning I was getting dressed for work and I heard Benny in his room saying “Choo choo! Choo chooooo!” I went in and found him looking at his favorite picture book, pointing to a toy train. I exclaimed and clapped and gave him a big hug, saying “yes Ben, that’s a TRAIN! Good boy!”
This age is just so darn fun. Every age has its own joys (and its own challenges!), and one of my favorite things about this age is how rapidly kids learn and how proud they are of themselves – and how proud they make us feel as parents – when they catch on to a new word or a new skill.
Ben’s ability to talk has exploded this past month, and we are so enjoying his little voice and his ability to communicate with us. And once he started walking consistently at about 13 1/2 months, he never looked back and is now delighting in his ability to bomb around our house and the yard at lightning speed.
Ben is our little sparkler – happy as can be, always on the move, opinionated, hilarious and a complete daredevil, keeping us on our toes at every moment.
I adore this child with every ounce of my being, and I can’t get enough of him. I don’t get enough of him, in fact, and it hurts my heart every day. When I’m home with him, I want to be attached at the hip to him at every second, but obviously, that’s not feasible, and I’d drive the poor kid insane if I were to do that. I have things to do, and he’s so content on his own, playing, running, climbing, exploring – and I know that’s good for him, so I have to sometimes restrain myself from being all up his face, smothering him in hugs and kisses every second!
I get so EXCITED to be reunited with him, whether it’s after a nap or a night’s sleep or after my day at work. I get a little thrill each night when I get to check on him before bed, taking in the perfect baby Ben smell of his room, and giggling to myself at the funny position he’s in when I look in on him in his crib. Sometimes he’s on his stomach, butt high up in the air. Other times he’s sprawled on his back, arms and legs stretched wide. Most often he’s curled up close to his bumper or his big stuffed polar bear.
I feel panicky at times lately at the fact that, soon, he won’t be a baby anymore. There is just NOTHING as sweet as a baby, and I have loved loved loved having a baby again. But it’s gone so fast and now he’s a toddler already!
Every chance I get, I squeeze his chunky thighs, nibble his soft belly, smell his sweet neck and hair, kiss his perfect round cheeks, and I wonder to myself, what will I do when I don’t have a sweet baby in the house? I look forward to all that is to come – and life with Henry proves every day how it just gets better and better in so many ways – but oh, how I will miss having a baby.
I could go on all day about what an incredible, awesome child Ben is. We are all crazy about him, and I am thankful beyond words that he’s part of our family.
For now, I have to get down the list of things I want to remember about Ben at 15 months old!
Words he says regularly
Daddy (says it all the time, when he’s around Dave or when he just sees him in a picture – he still doesn’t really say mama or mommy unless I ask him to, though!), ball, car, dog, baby, all done, up!, please, thank you, uh-oh!, cracker, wa-wa (water)
He started saying “thank you” completely unprompted probably a month ago now. We’ll give him something and he’ll say “thank you!” which sounds like “date-doo!” or “day-doo!” We’ll say “bless you” when he sneezes and he’ll say “day-doo!” Such a sweetie. He’ll say please (sort of – it’s more like “pee!”) when we tell him to, but he says thank you all on his own.
He LOVES dogs and points them out everywhere – on walks, in books, on TV. He draws the word out, like “dooooog!” and his voice goes up when he says it. Oh my gosh, the cutest. But he’ll call lots of animals dogs and we have to correct him. No, Ben, that’s a horse. No, Ben, that’s an elephant.
For awhile every animal made a monkey noise. He’s recently learned cow, but now pretty much every animal moos. Ben, what does a monkey say? “Mmmmmooooooo!” He’s a little slow on the animal sounds. But he’ll ruff ruff so cute when we tell him what a dog says, and he still does his monkey noises like “ooh ooh whyyyyyyy.”
He does meow like a cat, and he meows like crazy when he sees Kelly’s cat, Tigger. I come to pick him up and he’s just meowing away, and I’m not sure if it’s to get Tigger’s attention or what, but it’s hilarious.
Henry was a rock star on this one, naming like 10 or 15 body parts at this age, as seen in this little video, which has always been a favorite of mine. Ben’s getting there! He can point to his feet, hair, head, eyes, mouth, and nose (as of this week, this one took awhile!), and he can do his tummy and ears about half the times that we ask.
Along the same lines, I just love asking him things and having him show me that he knows what I’m talking about. If I tell him to throw something in the garbage for me, he’ll take it and toddle over to the garbage, even if we’re in the next room. He knows that he’s not supposed to have his nuk when he’s just playing or hanging out, so when I tell him to throw his nukies in his crib (always two, of course), he’ll throw them in. When we ask “did you poop?” after he’s pooped, he’ll pat his hand on the front of his diaper and say “poop!” When I tell him something is hot, he’ll put his lips together and start blowing on it.
He eats well, when he wants to. If he doesn’t want to, there’s no forcing him, and he’s a big fan of throwing his food on the floor when he doesn’t want to eat it. He’ll also announce “all done!” when he doesn’t want to eat any more and push himself away from the table with his feet. I’m sure he’s going to go flying at some point, as Henry did when he was just a bit older and sitting in that space-saver high chair at the table.
His favorite foods are graham crackers, yogurt raisins (snacks, just like his bro, imagine that) and anything made of carbs … bread, pizza, pancakes, etc. He loves yogurt and oatmeal, and he’s really into meat and handles spiciness well, too. He’ll eat chili and Mexican food, no problem. Not a huge fan of vegetables, though we keep trying, and fruit and cheese are both really hit or miss, which is strange to me.
Ben is a DREAM SLEEPER. A dream. If you’d told me this six months ago I would have either laughed in your face or fallen to my knees and wept for joy. I can’t really get over it, actually. For two reasons – one being that he was such a horrible sleeper as a baby and two being that Henry has never been a great sleeper, so I just figured Ben would be the same way.
But wow, the kid just really enjoys his sleep. Hallelujah!! Goes down without a peep every single night. If he doesn’t, he just talks happily to himself til he falls asleep. And he sleeps all night EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. And the cherry on top? He sleeps past 6 am every day! Most days past 6:30 am!! Henry has always, always risen in the 5 am hour, up until very recently when he’s finally decided to sleep later than that. But Ben sleeps from 7:45/8:00 until 6/6:30, sometimes even later, night after night.
Then there are naps. There are exceptions, but most days he’ll nap for about four hours – two in the morning, two in the afternoon. Sometimes we even have to wake him up if he’s napping too late in the day. I have always envied parents who have children who will nap for three hours at a stretch. Henry’s done that, I think, one time in his life. Once. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that once we let Ben drop his morning nap that he might – just might! – be our three-hour napper.
- Ben lights up and squeals when he sees us after we’ve been apart. When we pick him up at Kelly’s, he laughs and runs into our arms. On the flip side, he shows no signs (knock on wood) of sadness or separation anxiety when we part. He happily goes into Kelly’s arms when I drop him off in the morning, and when Dave leaves for work in the morning or I leave the house for some reason, he’ll smile and say “bye bye!” as he waves. I pray that continues since I can’t bear the thought of my baby crying as I leave! Henry went through a few stages like that and it was absolutely brutal.
- We like to say “ohhhhh Ben!” and have him repeat it, and he likes to slap his belly and say “ohhhh Ben!” really loudly after we’ve said it.
- Ben says “beep!” when he hears a car horn every.single.time, without fail. When all four of us are in the car, we just laugh and laugh, since he’s facing backward and we can’t see him, but we know that when a car horn sounds we’ll hear the “beep!” from the back seat. I was in downtown Chicago yesterday and I laughed to myself as the taxis blared their horns, thinking about how Ben would be going nuts!
- He loves wagon rides, and when we’re in the driveway, he’ll walk to the garage, point up to the keypad and whine for me to open the door. Once it’s open, he’ll go right for the wagon and try to climb inside. When we go for walks, he just sits there, happy as a clam.
- He’s still such a daredevil. He’s gotten more than a few cuts and scrapes already, and I joked this weekend that our first trip to the emergency room will no doubt be for him. Scares the crap out of me! He’s constantly climbing, his favorite things to climb being the ottoman in our living room and our staircase. He loves to play on our bed or Henry’s bed, standing up and falling over like a tree over and over again. He flings himself backward a lot, often at the most inopportune times, and we’ve both almost dropped him on several occasions. He loves loves loves going down the slide in our yard and at the park, and he’ll send himself down whether we’re ready to catch him or not. He’s also started climbing up slides, too.
- He loves books and will find a book on his shelf and bring it to me, then happily sit in my lap while I read it. He also just reads books all on his own, especially his picture book, which is something that’s so foreign to me since Henry hasn’t read a book by himself once in his life. Ah, the differences between children!
- He walks around our house as if he owns the place, and he’ll now help himself to food from our pantry. I know we need to nip this in the bud, and I could put things up on higher shelves, but man it’s funny. He’ll disappear from whatever room we’re in and then reappear with a cracker or granola bar in his hand.
- He gets in a moods where he doesn’t want to be put down, and he will FREAK OUT if I put him down. The kid definitely lets us know when he’s unhappy, which thankfully, isn’t too often.
- He loves pretending to talk on our phones, and he’ll make anything – a toy, a piece of food, the remote control – into a phone by holding it up to his ear and having a pretend conversation, complete with “hello?” and “bye bye.”
- He loves to dance and will start dancing whenever there’s music, whether it’s on TV or just some music from one of his toys. The kid’s got moves!
- He makes the funniest faces, sometimes closing or fluttering his eyes in very dramatic fashion. He looooves to play peekaboo, and one of the best ways to get his attention is to disappear around a corner or behind something so he can’t see you. He’ll immediately laugh and come running to find you. He still loves the game where I pick him up and we chase Henry around the house. He’ll repeat “go go! go go!” as we give chase, it’s so cute.
- And as always, watching the sibling relationship is incredible. They are such brothers – butting heads every day but just adoring each other, too. Henry is SUCH a great big brother, being so patient with Ben and wanting to show him things and do things with him. Of course, that patience runs out quite often and then there’s yelling and crying and sometimes hitting, but for the most part, they get along so well, making each other laugh and always trying to get and keep the other’s attention. I love it so much.
I feel like I’m forgetting things, but this boy is well on his way to 16 months already so I best hit the post button! Better some of it than none of it, I suppose.
I am blessed beyond words to be this boy’s mom.
Ben is 15 months, 9 days old