I'd hate to break with tradition, so I'll start this post writing about how wonderful Ben-Ben is. It's what mom's do. However, read the whole entry if you want to get a balanced view of Ben - but be warned, it is a long one. Benjamin is smiley and lovey. Since he was a few weeks old, he has been so full of smiles and so laid back and happy. He laughs often, and I never get tired of hearing it, even when it turns to screaming laughter. Ben has always gone to bed on his own - he doesn't need us there to fall asleep - and that is so convenient. He says mama, dada, uh-oh, and maybe a few other things we're trying to decipher. He loves to clap his hands and give five, and will normally do it on command. Ben is so active and his little power crawl is adorable to watch. He is always on the move exploring and wanting to be where the action is. He also enjoys quiet things too. He will sit still in our lap if we are singing to him or reading him books. He loves to be read to, which is perfect because this family loves to read. He always plays with my hair, without pulling it, when I am feeding him a bottle. The eye contact is priceless during bottle time. I really feel like he is conveying love. And the sweetest thing - Benjamin has started giving kisses. To Ethan's dismay, he prefers to give kisses to mommy, but will occasionally be coaxed into giving daddy a kiss too. Ben lifts his eyebrows, flops out his lips, and leans in for a slobbery little kiss. It is so precious. My heart just melts every time, even though he has been giving kisses for weeks now.
I want to paint an accurate picture here. So, the not so sweet things Ben has been doing lately? He is a morning person. No matter how hard we try, he is just wide awake and happy as a clam bright and early. I realize that many of you may not consider this a negative thing...Dad! But we do. The recent time change has helped with this, but not enough. Anna sleeps until 8 or 9am and that is what I have grown accustomed to. Ben started out as a great sleeper, and I guess, technically, he still is. I realize that I should be happy that he's always been such a regular sleeper, and that he has always had multiple, long naps during the day plus 11-12 solid hours at night. And yes, I realize I just need to adjust the time I go to bed so that I am rested and perky at 6:00 or 6:30am. It's just so hard! With the time change, he is now waking up around 7:30ish...please let it last!
Benjamin is in to EVERYTHING. I know this is typical of his age, but I just did not have to baby proof at all with Anna, so I'm not used to it. Many times a day, he pulls down books from our book shelf. I know - typical. But then he looks around the room until he can find me, smiles his "I know I'm being naughty" smile, and then begins to rip up the books. We have multiple taped up books now. He's broken numerous things - two different lamps, a picture frame, and a couple toys, to name a few. Ben is on a mission to pull down, rip up, and push over anything he can.
I've already mentioned in previous posts that Ben is sensitive about food and eating. If someone is eating and he is not - even if he is not really hungry - he gets pretty upset. At meal time, he doesn't want the food on his tray, he wants the food that is on your plate. And it's usually the same food! He won't stop yelling and complaining about it. He is determined. Often we have to leave him alone so that he'll actually eat the food on his tray. Crazy. Okay, one last thing. Ben is a yeller, screamer, squealer. You name it, if it's LOUD, Ben will make that noise. And he won't stop. But enough on Ben's "naughtiness." (Really, we mostly find it amusing.)
Just look at that sweet, adorable, angel face! Yet at the same time, can you see a hint of the mischievousness in his smirk that I have described above? This picture perfectly captures the "two faces" of Ben. I am not a fan of gender stereotypes, so I will not say this behavior is just typical boy behavior (although I've heard that often from various people). This is just who Benjamin is. And we love him. Every thing about him - the sweet and the destructive. We are so blessed to have Benjamin in our family. I can't believe that my baby boy is almost one. It's been an amazing experience getting to know him over this past year.