Cue the mom guilt …. there hasn’t been a post about Benny around these parts in a long time. The last update post about him was at 27 months, and that was five months ago. Then there was the documentation of his Spiderman face in June, and finally, the announcement that he was done with nuks finally in July, four months ago. So it’s been months since I’ve talked about just Ben, and I’m due for an update on my beloved middle child!
Benny Ben Ben … where do I begin?
We’ve long said that Ben was a classic middle child from the day he was born. Easygoing and fun-loving and a total spitfire in equal measures. I think that most children tend to be Jekyl and Hyde by nature, but Ben epitomizes this more than any kid I know. He’s the middle child, yes, but he rarely falls in the middle of any spectrum – he’s either way on one side or way on the other. He’s the SWEETEST, cuddliest, funniest, most entertaining boy and also the naughtiest, loudest, most stubborn child, too.
Take being in public. Henry’s a bit of a sass pot these days, but he has always been an incredibly well-behaved child anytime we take him out in public. Stays by us, doesn’t throw tantrums, listens – for the most part anyway. But Ben? He’s had me seriously rethink the whole “I don’t believe in leashes for kids” thing on several occasions. If he’s not in a cart, he’ll bolt. Run through the aisles and turn a corner without looking back. And if he’s confined and not happy about it, he’ll cry – loudly. If he wants something and he’s told no, he’ll cry – loudly. He has embarrassed us in public on more than a few occasions, and each time I think wow, I’m the mom in the store with the crying kid! This is new!
When I tell him not to do something, he’ll often outright defy me and keep doing it. Sometimes he’ll smile or do this funny face where he stretches his neck up and raises his eyebrows like “who me? I’m not doing anything,” and I can’t help but laugh, which defeats the whole scolding him thing. If he does something naughty (like the other night when he threw a book across the room at bedtime and hit me with it) I’ll yell at him and say “why did you do that?” He’ll give me this sassy, hilarious, lowered-eyebrow look like “what did I do?” and then mimic what he did and say “I was just doing this!” – and he shows me exactly what he just did. I’m like yeah! That’s not ok! But again, he’s so FUNNY when he says things like that that I just can’t stay mad.
If I tell him to do something, like go eat his food or go put on his shoes, he’ll often respond with a cheerful “nope” or “in a second!” It’s baffling sometimes how defiant he can be! He gets a lot of time-outs and will move a bit on the step or chair and say “I’ll sit right HERE.” The past week or two he’s taken to getting up immediately and saying “I want to be a good boy!” and I have to keep putting him back.
He and Henry fight a lot, as brothers tend to do, and boy is Henry going to be in for it real soon. Ben is a bruiser and has zero fear. If Henry hits him and starts a fight, Ben is always the one to ratchet it up much higher than one would expect. Just yesterday Henry picked up one of their (soft) chairs and bonked Ben on the head with it. Ben proceeded to pick up his red tricycle and throw it at Henry, which of course made Henry cry and made me have to try really hard not to laugh and have my eyes bug right out of my head. He looked like the incredible Hulk picking that thing up! They roughhouse a lot and chase each other around, and there are a lot of laughs and oh so much noise, but often someone ends up in tears. They play hide and seek, they shoot Nerf guns at each other, they wrestle. They are just all BOY, both of them, and when you put them together, it’s just pretty much constant loudness and chaos.
Ben is a very physical, active child, and we wonder how he – and all of us – will survive the impending winter in our small little house. We will have to get out and keep busy whenever possible! Ben loves being outside and asks every day, multiple times a day, to go outside and ride in his police car. He’s recently learned how to turn doorknobs and open doors, so now we have to keep our front door chained at the top when Ben’s inside since he’d definitely be the kid to escape and be across the neighborhood in no time.
He also continues to be a really terrible eater, like the pickiest of the picky. Won’t eat any vegetables, only likes bananas and apples for fruit, and absolutely refuses to try pretty much anything we make for dinner. We’re not really sure how to remedy the situation, since we can’t sit there and force-feed him. We just keep offering things, and he just keeps picking them up off his plate and putting the on the table (or sometimes the floor) saying “I don’t want this.” He sticks with his tried and true faves – eggs and sausage, pizza, pb&j, yogurt, yogurt raisins, crackers, oatmeal. And anything sweet, of course. So frustrating. Henry has always been picky, too, but is verrrry slowly coming around ever so slightly. He still “hates” most of what we cook and offer, but he’ll at least try new things now – some nights even without tears! But dinnertime continues to be our least favorite time of day in this house.
But! There are soooo many positives about my Ben that I must note!
I can’t overstate how funny he is. Dave has said multiple times that Ben is the funniest person he’s ever known. We think that Ben will likely have an easy time in life, making friends and making people laugh and just taking things in stride. I can’t say the same for all my children, but the jury’s still out. ;)
He’s also a very loving child. He needs to give us “10 hugs” before bed every night. He hugs Henry many mornings before Henry leaves for school, and when he gets back home, Ben will ask “how was your day at school, Henry?” He asks me often out of the blue “how’s your day, Mom?” He looooves his baby sister, getting in her face often to rub his head on hers or kiss her forehead. He talks in a high-pitched voice to her and calls her “Eleanor” or “baby Ellie,” and he’ll say “she is so a-DOR-able!”
He’s been pretty stubborn about potty training so far but just this week is making some major strides. Shelly puts him in a pull-up on the days he’s at her house, and he pees in the froggy toilet there without much issue. He didn’t want to do it at home, though, which was odd, but then finally yesterday he peed on our frog toilet – like a lot – and we all celebrated and cheered and he got to pick out candy as a treat. Changing his poop is awwwwwful and we can’t wait til he’ll finally poop on the toilet. Henry was potty trained right at 2 1/2, so Ben’s a bit behind. He’s just stubborn stubborn and apparently doesn’t have an issue still with being in diapers. He’ll say “Mom, I’m peeing” and then “Change my diaper please.” Or he’ll go in another room to poop and if we come upon him, he’ll run and say “No, don’t look at me, I’m pooping!” So not cool, Ben. But we’ll get there!
He also continues to be ridiculously smart and beyond his years with how he speaks and things he knows. It still surprises us on a regular basis what a smart cookie he is. Too smart for his own good sometimes!
A few other random things to note -
- He’s obsessed with America’s Funniest Videos, which we watch as a family every Sunday night. Our DVR records it and we keep the last episode on there until there’s a new one – and the past couple of weeks, he’s asked to watch it EVERY DAY, so we’ve watched the first two episodes of the season probably 25 times each.
- He’s been calling me “mama” for the past few months and I love it. He tacks it onto nearly everything he says or asks.
- He says Henry “Hen-ray” and it makes me giggle nearly every time he says it.
- He loves to sing and knows so many nursery rhyme songs. He’s also learned a few songs from riding in the car with Shelly, though, including Shake It Off and … All About That Bass. And it’s super embarrassing but I knew neither of those songs until my kids came home singing them. Obviously Shake It Off was a couple months (weeks?) ago now, but I’m so not up on new music, and suddenly my kids are singing “I’m outta biss I’m outta biss no trouble!” and I’m like what? So then I heard it and figured out the real words, and now Benny comes home singing “I’m bringin booty baaaaack!” I told Shelly I wasn’t sure that I approved, but darn is it funny.
- And to make up for the fact (ha, not really) that she’s letting my boys listen to pop music about booties, Shelly and her mother-in-law, “Granny,” who the boys just love, too, have been teaching them the presidents in order. They know the first six, and listening to Benny recite them is the cutest thing! Here’s a little video of it I put on Instagram.
- He loves all things Halloween right now, and there’s a “scary house” at the end of Shelly’s block. Every single day that Shelly picks him up, the first thing he asks – without fail – is “can we go past the scary house?” (scar-ray) When we’re driving, he’ll ask over and over, “did you see that scary guy, mama?” and “did you see that pumpkin, mama?” about pretty much every Halloween decoration he sees.
- Ben has lots of random funny things he does to make us laugh. He’ll ask to have shorts on his head and then run around in circles yelling “I … have … shorts … on my head! I … have … shorts … on my head!” He also likes to yell the name of Henry’s teacher – “Mrs. Hojnacki! Mrs. Hojnacki!” (Hoy-nacki) When Henry comes home, Ben will ask “did you talk to Mrs. Hojnacki today, Hen-ray?” and Henry will say “yes, Ben, I talk to her every day!” And still he asks again the next day, it’s so cute.
I may come back and add to this list as he does things I want to remember about this stage. You forget so fast! Dave and I sometimes look back on my Henry updates and so often we’ll say “oh yeah! I forgot about that!”
Ben’s such a little love, and so exasperating at times, and he plays a big role in the fun and crazyness that is our family of five. We love you, Benny boy!