As you all know, we are getting pretty close to the arrival of our much-anticipated and much-loved second baby. There is a big part of me that is just so ready to meet her. I can't wait to have her in my arms and to kiss her little face and feel her little back...and just generally adore her. However, her arrival will, of course, end life-as-we-know-it around here for both Aaron and I, and expecially for Ben. Because of this, I have been almost hyper-aware of every sweet moment that Ben and I have been sharing lately, and today has been an especially good day.
Here, in an insufferable amount of detail, is our great day:
(Read this unbelievably long post at your own risk!)
Ben slept in till 8 a.m., which was an amazing gift in and of itself! And, after waking up rested and refreshed (which for me is quite a feat at this stage in a pregnancy), he and I both started our day together in wonderful moods! We snuggled together on "Mommy and Daddy's bed" for quite a while, and then he played his favorite game of "Excuse Me, Mama, I Need to Drive My Cars on the Couch", while I made us our current favorite breakfast: waffles/wheat corn cakes (whichever we have in the freezer) with raspberries on top. He and I just sat together and ate and talked about everything and nothing. Then, he had a marvelous time mixing the remains of his raspberries into the remains of his syrup and drinking it! Nothing like a little sugar high to finish up breakfast!
After this, he asked to play his new favorite game which is to "Go in Ben's Room and Talk." (Yes, this is exactly what he calls it..."Can we go in Ben's room and talk?") He made this game up last night when Katie Grealis was visiting. He just took her into his room, and hung out for a while, talking. Well today, we played this for almost an hour. He just kept walking around the room and talking about anything that came into his mind. He showed me every nut and bolt and spring on his crib and talked about how he has "used a screwdriver before to build this crib...right here, see Mama". He talked about every stuffed animal in his crib and about how he will snuggle with them. "See, this is my horsey and I snuggle him when I take a nap. And this is my blue bear, and this is my white dog. Yep, it sure is!" He talked about the little step stool in his room and how "it is just perfect for me". He just kept going and going! He is SO chatty these days.
Then, he wanted me to put him in his crib so he could point out some of the screws and springs agains the back wall, so I put him in. Normally this is fine, but he started jumping around a bit, and ended up baning his chin on the railing, and giving himself a little bit of a bloody lip. He wasn't upset for long, though, because he then got his favorite "medicine" for a mouth injury...a scoop of ice cream! It even had chocolate chips in it, or, as Ben says, "cho - lit" (it's hard to write, but he pretty much says it the exact same way that Forrest Gump does in the movie when he says "Life is like a box of cho-lates.") After that we shared a banana, during which Ben exclaimed, "We are sharing very well, aren't we Mama? Yep, we sure are! Isn't that nice!"
We then proceeded to run to Office Max to do some "shopping" according to Ben. He was (and always is) SO good in the store. I don't have to put him in a cart, or even hold his hand. He just walks around with me and explores all kinds of things. One thing that I think helps keep him so well behaved is that I do try to give him freedom when there is no good reason not to. For example, he had a BLAST climbing in and out of all of the office chairs on display. We didn't have anywhere else to be, and he was being safe, so I just let him go for nearly 20 minutes. He had so much fun! He also insisted on handing each item to be purchased to the cashier. He has been really into this. He also likes to swipe the debit card. It's funny, it's second nature to him to see us using plastic to pay for things, but that is something I never saw once as a young child. Times sure have changed! Before we left, he did, sadly, get his hand stuck in a sliding glass door. He was standing at the door with his face up against the glass, watching a delivery truck bring in boxes, and the door suddenly opened and pulled his hand into it. He cried for a bit, but made a good recovery. No ice cream "medicine" necessary!
The library has been catching his eye as we drive past it for the last few weeks, so we headed there next. In the past when we have gone, he has mostly just stood at the full wall of windows and watched the traffic on Hampton go by. But today, for the first time really, he was VERY interested in the books. We sat on the floor next to a book shelf, and flipped through a HUGE assortment of tractor, train, and car books. Interestingly, Aaron and I have tried not to force "boy" things on him at all, and have even actively worked to cultivate interestes in both "boy" and "girl" things, but there is definitely something to the "Nature" theory over the "Nuture" theory. If given the choice, at least at this age and developmental stage, he will ALWAYS choose the machine or automobile over any other choice. After reading about 20 books, we did head to the windows and really enjoyed watching and talking about the traffic for a while. Then he looked across the street and noticed "Noodles and Company!" Oh, the joy!! Immediately I heard, "Mama, can we go eat noodles for lunch please?" It was such polite asking, and I don't know how easily it will be to get out once the little one joins us, so I gave right in without a fight! (read: Mama loves to eat here and she just got lucky that he asked for it so she could pretend it was his idea, not hers!)
He ordered for himself, "Can I have noodles, please?" And we just sat and talked and had a great lunch together. Eating is another thing that is going wonderfully these days. For the vast majority of meals, we can just hand him his food and his fork, and he will eat the meal with us perfectly. It's so nice to have him be so independent in this. It's hard to even remember the time when we had to spoon-feed him every bite of solids. We shared a couple of bites, and Ben remarked, "That's nice sharing, Mama! Good job."
We headed home and played together for a little while, then read some more books, and then he went down peacefully and quickly for a nap.
After a good nap, I had to put him back in the car because I had a speech therapy session that I needed to attend. We headed to Aaron's hospital to trade cars and do the "kid switch". Ben was SO chatty the entire time in the car. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day (a little freaky for Feb 4th, but I'll take it when I can get it), so we had the windows down. A very "stinky" school bus drove by and Ben wrinkled up his nose and stated, "I smell something!" So we then talked, at great length, about how the bus needed to go to the mechanic to get fixed and then it wouldn't stink anymore. Ben summed it all up with, "He needs to go to the mechanic and get fixed with Bess Tom!" (Tom Bess is a mechanic we sometimes use, and Ben always talks about him when we are getting a car worked on.)
Aaron said that the two of them had a wonderful time driving together and playing together in the early evening. They also got to go on a great "Run, run, run" in the jog stroller. When I got home, Ben greeted me with a shout, "It's Mama! Mama's home!" What a great way to be received! Then the 3 of us just played together and had a peaceful evening. Near the end of dinner, Ben was in his chair and Aaron and I were finishing our food when Ben decided he wanted to snuggle with me. "Mama, I want to go to you!" he requested, and then held his hands out expectantly. So sweet!
After a bath, we cuddled together on the couch and talked about our great day. We brushed his teeth, which runs something like this: First, I let him brush by himself for a minute or so. He is really starting to get a good brushing movement down, rather than just chomping on the brush, which he used to do. Then he gets to choose either Mama or Dada to help him finish. Lately, he always chooses me for some reason. Then I brush more thoroughly as we list all of the things he ate that day that we have to brush off. I don't know how the food list got started, but it has been a great trick to keep him tolerant of us brushing his teeth. He then made a quick phone call to Nana and Papa (with Daddy's help and with the phone on speakerphone to help with understanding, our most-helpful phone trick!) and he was so sweet saying, "I love you Nana! I love you Papa!". Then he and Daddy headed into his room and he went down for bed just as peacefully as could be.
The amazing thing about a wonderful day like today is that the entire day passed without a single tantrum, power struggle, or disagreement. He just went along with me and I went along with him, and it was like we were two buddies just spending our day together! Aaron and I were questioning tonight, do we think that we are finding him to be so wonderful and in such a delightful and more grown-up stage right now because we are trying to savor this time with him before we have another one who will need us, or would we think this is an amazing stage even if we weren't expecting. We both agreed that he is just in an awesome stage!! If I had been blogging when he was around 21 months old, there would have been a LOT more frustration in what I had to say. And we may soon head back in to a more difficult time, but, in the meantime, things are sure GREAT now!
Anyway, thanks or "I'm sorry" to anyone who actually sat through reading this gigantic post. I just know that these days are so sweet and I will never remember what they are truly like if I don't record it somehow. And, I am still getting the hang of blogging...this is the second time that I sat down to write a couple of paragraphs and ended up writing a book! I promise I'll get better. Either that, or there just won't be time for mini-books once I am raising 2 kids, so the problem will fix itself!