Before I got pregnant, and before I had Ben, and I would see moms out at the store chasing after or trying to wrangle their toddlers, or trying to manage some sort of a tantrum, I would pity them and think about how lucky I was to not have to deal with that ;) For the longest time, that was what my image of "being a mom" was. And then I had Ben, and for many, MANY months, I would think how lucky I was to not have one of those kids.
And then he got older, and more able.
Parenting is so funny, and the stuff you have to manage changes so frequently. The amazing thing is that even when it feels tough, it still is so rewarding, so much fun, and you wouldn't want to trade places with anyone else. It may feel sometimes like Ben never stops (ever, he never stops), but watching him grow, learn, and change has forced me to do the same - grown, learn, change, and adapt. I am constantly reminded that this is WHY I chose to have a baby in the first place - to love him, to show him the world and to experience all of that learning and fun from a different perspective.
Lately, both Greg and I have been feeling like Ben needs something more. I want to get him involved in more activities, get him around more kids his age, do more projects with him - simply TEACH him more. It's hard not to have massive parent guilt when you realize how much of a sponge they are right now and it often feels like we aren't doing ENOUGH. I want to expose him to as much as I possibly can. I'm going to pay a membership fee at the local YMCA so that we can start up swim lessons in March and a parent/toddler gym class that I think starts in the Spring, too. And next weekend we are going to try out a music class at Gymboree :)
It becomes overwhelming at times trying to shape and form a person while keeping up with the rest of our lives. I've been somewhat forced into accepting that many other things (cleaning, social life, Real Housewives, sanity) truly will need to take a backseat more often so that I can feel good about the amount of time I focus on him. I am noticing that when I try to "do it all - perfectly", I am setting myself up for failure. My new plan will be to do some things well, some things very well, and other things not well at all. (Not easy for a Type A to accept).
But enough about that :)
BEN. He is so fun, and so funny, right now. He loves to climb EVERYTHING. He loves to rough house. Last week I took him to Jump Planet and we had the time of our lives.
He loves to climb at home, too:
Lately (and probably forever, he just wasn't coordinated enough), he is VERY into opening and closing doors, flipping light switches on and off, putting lids on and off things, putting his straw in and out of the straw hole on his cup, etc.
Another thing he does lately that cracks us up is his version of "All done". Callie taught him this sign language move MONTHS ago:
Over time, (probably by mine and Greg's poor signing) it has slowly morphed into what looks like a take on jazz hands.
But hey, at least we know what he means and he looks awesome doing it :)
Ben loves the park (and we do, too). We have a really cute park within walking distance of our house (a decent, hilly walk so it doubles as a mini-workout).
He still LOVES baths, or showers.
Aunt Rachel providing bath time entertainment.
Shower time! (Not Aunt Rachel).
Ben likes to be around other kids, I think. He seems drawn to kid's voices especially.
Macking on the baby at the neighboring table last weekend.
"Playing" with Mason - but really, if you look closely,
I think he is about to remove his hand from his toy.
While it feels like he is constantly moving, right before bedtime, he loves to snuggle. His favorite thing right now is to touch bare skin. (That sounds odd, I know). But if he has a bare arm, he will just run his hand up and down it forever. And if he can snuggle in close and touch my stomach, jackpot. He will crack UP, and then settle in. There really is something to that whole skin on skin thing - must be comforting or something. (And I love it).
This is such a fun age. This is such a BUSY age! We love how much fun and purpose Ben has brought to our lives!