It has been a long time since I really gave a status update on either of the kids. For no particular reason I will start with Ben. I will add picture in the next few days I promise!
At the end of the month Ben will be 21 months old. I haven't weighed him for awhile and I have no clue how tall he is but I do suspect that he is pretty average for his age. Yesterday I spent two and a half hours going through all of the hand-me-down bins from one of my best friends. She has a son who is just a few months younger than Lily and a daughter who is about a year younger than Ben. In terms of clothes sharing and prearranged marriage it really could not have worked out any better. We have a pretty good system in place for swapping the clothes, although I almost always apologize when I hand over my bins. It seems harder for me to keep the clothes organized by size and season than it does for her. This last batch I got from her was in space bags and once you open those babies there is no going back! Ben desperately needed to go up to the 2T clothes so I bit the bullet during nap and opened, folded and sorted all of the 18m, 2T, and 24m clothes which included two if not three seasons worth of clothes. As I always do, I found a bunch of stuff that was super cute that for whatever reason I didn't find the first time going through the clothes...too late now, refolded and back in the bag you go. If I am being honest I am not thrilled about little boy clothes. I loved overalls last winter, they were the one thing I purposefully bought to add to the collective boy wardrobe. This winter has been all about easy, comfy clothes, which we have no shortage of! Boy clothes in general are just not as effortlessly cute as girl clothes. I mean seriously, throw a tutu on with leggings and a onsie and Lily was a show stopper every day of the week! So long story short Ben is officially in 2T/24m clothes and they are not nearly as roomy as I thought they were going to be.
In the past few weeks we really have noticed a burst in his speech and vocabulary. I chose the word burst carefully, it has not been an explosion like some people experience. To be honest he doesn't say a whole lot, but he is getting better and each word is becoming more clear. I am hyper sensitive to it because Lily was such an early talker and has always spoken with the articulation of a grown up. By comparison, and yes I think it is okay to compare and contrast my kids, Ben is a caveman. I am not worried about it and I do think that developmentally he is perfectly normal but I don't have to like it. I get very frustrated with the grunting and pointing. If I am being honest I think that living at Matt's parents and spending a lot of our time at my parents' house is hindering his verbal skills, there is always a loving grandparent, aunt or uncle present to simply hand him whatever it may be that he is grunting at. Lily almost never had that luxury! Every day now we play "Ben can you say?". He does pretty well with animal sounds, my personal favorite is his duck. He does imitate counting sounds when he and Lily play hide and seek but they are just sounds not actual words. Aside from "what's that?" which he has said no less that 7 million times since September he just now started putting two words together, "where's ____" is getting more and more frequent. If I had to guess I would say he has about 40 words only half of which he says very clearly.
Sleeping is still a challenge. I know that transitioning from MA to ME has been hard on him. He is a light sleeper and I think he stirs every time the heat kicks because he can hear the furnace. Naps are tough because there really is not a lot of separation between their bedroom and the main living area and Ben can't stand it if he thinks he is missing something. We dropped morning nap recently and that too has been a real struggle. He is a pacifier addict and kicking that habit in not going to be fun for anyone involved. We have been trying to limit his paci time to within those white bars with limited success.
Eating has also become somewhat of a challenge. He likes food, including vegetables, but he simply can't be bothered to take the time to eat. If I would simply throw the food on the floor and let him forage like a wild animal we would never see another tantrum from him. Alas I make him sit at the table and use utensils and every other meal I end up feeding him because I am soft in my old age.
Talking tantrums, lord help me. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Lily should feel very secure in her relationship with her brother. She can tantrum with the best of them and Ben is her intern. I love him dearly but I do not love the fact that he literally has zero patience, for anything, ever.
In order to end on a high note I will say the Ben continues to be an exceptionally happy guy most of the time. He has a fantastic belly laugh and it is impossible not to engage him when he flashes his devilish "come chase me" grin. He is obsessed with trucks, cars, tractors and trains. The vacuum is one of his favorite toys which makes total sense, it has four wheels and makes a loud noise. He is all boy, though he does like to accessorize with Lily's headbands and necklaces. My dad rolls his eyes each time he runs by in a blur pushing the baby stroller but again, it has four wheels, clearly it is just a modified truck! He has good coordination and can throw a ball with surprising accuracy. Today we watched him balance on a kick ball, already working on his core. Aside from being on the go I will also add that Ben loves to be read to and still has a very long attention span for books. He also loves to watch puppy videos on youtube and will sit through about 15 minutes of Doc McStuffins.
The move has not come without its transitions and adjustments. Some days are certainly easier than others. No matter what is going on around us one thing has not changed. I am Ben's go to person. I can't say that I mind being the one he runs to. I was not worried in the least that having a baby would ruin Lily's life, I am not so sure that Ben will be as willing to share. For now I just try and appreciate every minute of my time with him, especially the few hours a week when Lily is at school.
My smiley, snugly, warm and loving little potato.