Sunday, January 30, 2011

Daddy and Ben Day #2

I learned a few things today. 
  1. You never really want to hear the words "Pew" or "Ewww" anytime after a nap or long sleep.  They are usually indicative of some sticky smelliness that will instantly send your gag reflexes to def-con 1.
  2. Ben is as stubborn as I am - when did that happen?  He knows what he wants and when, where, and how he is going to get it.  It was this premise that dictated when we were going to eat, sleep, play or watch lots of YouTube videos in mommy's "awface" today.
  3. Time out is really losing its meaning.  There was a point in which he went to smack Maxy on the rump and I asked Ben if he wanted to be in time out.  He looked at me and said "Yes."
  4. He really is super smart and is getting into the repeating phase.  When he hung up the phone during mid-conversation with a friend this morning I said "sh%t."  Ben immediately looked up at me, smiled and said "sheet."
  5. He loves Garlic Hummus.  It makes his breath smells like...well refer to point #1
Even though, at the end of the day I was a zombie, at some point had poop flung at me, and was still scared that he wasn't drinking enough fluids -  I also learned that this time together was precious and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  That feeling was sealed when Ben flung his arms around me and said "I wuv you."

I love you too Ben

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Ben and Daddy Weekend

If you would have told me 1 year ago that my Friday nights would no longer be pizza/wings and beer but rather juice boxes and the Fresh Beat Band I would have first said...what the heck is the Fresh Beat Band?

Fast forward to the present and you get a father and son weekend while Mom is out getting some much needed R-n-R.  To quote our new favorite music interest, "...and it goes a little something like this..."

Friday started off normally enough.  Told the nanny that there may be a bird/mouse/bat (something moving in the downstairs closet so please don't open - yes that is still in the realm of normal in our house) and I kissed Ben goodbye and went to work.

Sometime in the afternoon I got a call from our nanny "First Ben's alright," I waited with baited breath for the "but," which surprisingly came as "there is is a small bird walking around the basement and we can't catch it."

No problem.  I can handle this.  My first thought I tell my wife...then after rational brain took over I decided not to do so and get home as soon as I could wrap up my work.

I was able to get home at a reasonable hour, feed Ben (and subsequently Max) pasta while watching the Fresh Beat Band groove on screen.

Bed time came fast (7:30) which was a good thing and I was feeling pretty confident...nay cockey...I don't see what all the stress was about I thought to myself.

That was before 1am.  That was before the "Dada?  Daddy?  Daddy? Da Daaaaaaaa?  DaddyDaddyDaddy.  Dadddyyyyyyyyyyyyy?  Da?  DaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaDaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"

Now to be fair to Ben he's been battling a nasty cold so I went in and stroked his back until he fell back asleep.  As soon as I got back in bed (1:30-1:45am) it was DaaaaDaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa again.  I thought surely he will stop.  He's exhausted.  2:30 snuck up on us between the crying and DaaaDaaaaas.   He'd even lay back down and just repeat.  Then stand and repeat louder.  I clearly was not going to win this battle and resigned some where around 3am.

As soon as I went back into the room he went into a sleeping position and we negotiated a peace.  I would lay down next to him on the floor until he fell asleep.   And so it was that I found myself doing the worm/commando crawl out of his room at 3:30am terrified that I would wake my son and have to start the process over again.

I fell asleep to Ben's silence as the Fresh Beat Band lyrics "We had a great day.  It was a super way.  to spend the day together" cycled through my head over and over.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here are a list of my favorite words with Ben

Ben's vocabulary is growing exponentially. I am always amazed..when he points to something and then says it out loud. For example Ben and I were hanging out in the basement this morning and he was pointing out pictures to me. "Oval, Square, Apple, Bear" are rattled off in quick succession. However, I had to take pause when he pointed to the Stop Sign and he says 'oct-gon'. WHAT??? Ben what did you just say? "Boo" (that's blue but we have trouble with L). "No, Ben, this," I say pointing to the stop sign again, "apple," he says.

iPad and iPhone are probably two of Ben's most oft-repeated words and he definitely can tell which one is which. In fact, a common morning conversation often goes like this: "iPad, iPhone, Bear, Milk." All of these items get passed to Ben, who then holds onto each like some crazy toddler hoarder, and turns to mom or dad and says "maxy?"

It's the "Maxy" that just melts my heart. I genuinely think that he loves his dog - all though he might not show it so well some times. But among all of Ben's words (and there many now) Maxy is my favorite. It is something that I could listen to him say over and over again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pee Wee Pele He Ain't - sigh

I know, I know, I know I shouldn't be disappointed. He's only 19 months for goodness sake. Lori signed Ben up for Soccer Bug practice/lessons and I, of course, was estatic. I got him a full kit (shirt, pants, socks) and grandma got him a Beckham shirt and pants kit too. We were set. We were going to school those other toddlers. Look out soccer world here comes the next Fredie Adu. I was already looking forward to the offers from Man U or Chelsea.

Instead, during the first practice, my son decided that he'd rather tackle the goal. When I say tackle, I mean full on run into the goal and grab the net...then proceed to hang on so tight and swing it around...I guess that's one way to mind the net. So, a little mortified, I run to extract Ben from the goal, who looks more like a crab caught in a crab pot, than any sort of soccer player. I run over and pick up my son who, in the mean time, must have sprayed super glue to his hands. I say this because no matter what I do to get him to let go he seems to hold on tighter and tighter. Ben, Dad, and a few balls all are now caught up in the mess as I try to swing the goal away - which turns into a big game as Ben is laughing his head off. I apologize to Coach Luis and thus ends practice one.

Oh, by the way, my wife Lori was of no help as she was balled up on the field laughing so hard that she said "I think I peed my pants."

Which brings me to practice number two:
We started off OK. Just Dad and Ben this time. We warm up and actually run and kick the ball. Then its time to go to the circle and pop bubbles (not sure what that connection is to soccer but Ben's engaged). He's doing fine until the popping bubbles turned with a finger turns into high-fiving/smacking bubbles and any other unfortunate toddler who might be in the way.

Then we moved onto doing the "airplane" (foot on ball with arms spread wide). We like this so Dad's starting to feel proud. All of a sudden - when it comes time to start kicking - Ben decides...nope this is not for me. There was a lot of "nooo" and "Limp Bens." If you're not familiar with the "Limp Ben" move let me describe it to you. When Ben doesn't want to do something he somehow convinces his body to go to Jello. All of his muscles and bones seem to disappear and he falls to the floor in a jiggly representation of, what was once, my active son. And, when I try to pick him up, he sort of looks like a cross between a rubber band and one of those crazy inflated dancing signs that you would see outside of a store - arms and legs going all sorts of akimbo. Thus ends day two...and soccer least for now.

Is it too early for basketball?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Perfect Parent

Ok now that I am nineteen months into this ‘mom experiment’, I have to look back on my progress and laugh.  I am, at many times, the mother I never thought I would be.  PreBen I believed in making my own food for him, always buying organic for his food, barely letting him watch tv and I was also going to prove all my friends wrong that one could in fact multitask it all with a child.  Good gravy was I wrong.  This was my thought process both this morning when Ben lazed back on our bed, watching Spongebob Squarepants with his two thumbs perched on the inside of his front diaper (he is his father’s child) and then later again tonight when I plopped us in bed with him and the IPad as I tried to get caught up on Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, don’t judge) from last season.   And frankly I am thinking it now as I watch him bang his head on the crib in an effort to woo me to come and get him from his nighty night time.  I never would have thought I could so cavalierly say to Matt, “let him bang his head, he’ll stop if he really hurts himself” as we watch it play out on the baby monitor and hear the rhythmic thuds.   My friend Susan likes to laugh at me, because I would always question her parenting and ask ‘couldn’t she just walk away from the child for a minute so we can get thru a conversation without 80 interruptions’.  She just mocks me now and is very satisfied that life has turned out this way for me. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Open Door Policy

Let me start by saying, yes I know Ben is too early to potty train.  That being said, Ben has really become aware lately of PEEYEW, his moniker for when he farts (quite often and frankly beneficial because now the dog doesn’t get blamed so much), poops or pees.    After doing one of the above he looks at us and says PEEYEW and sometimes waves his hand in front of his face with a grimace as mommy and daddy have done so many times in the past.  Most of the times it’s a false alarm but some times boy that kid has laid out a doozy for us.   So we of course thinking our child is a genius and is all set to be trained, we ran out and bought him a potty.    We have him sit there occasionally but it doesn’t last long.  This is not the part that amuses me.  Its that now our life, in yet another aspect has become a teaching moment.  At least once a day I say Mommy has to go potty and I bring him in there with me where he proceeds to sit on the bathroom floor in an effort to mimic me.  We do ceremonial dumps of his poop in the toilet and say bye bye as it flushes away.  And in a moment that I wish I had seen, apparently Ben poked his head thru Daddy’s legs as Daddy was showing him a stand up potty moment.    Luckily everyone escaped unscathed in that one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Son is a Narcissist

I think my son is in love with himself and it makes me laugh. I was wondering when that moment of self realization would happen. The other day I caught him looking at the reflection of himself and saying "Hi Ben!" and then just doubling over in laughter. Then last night Lori told me that he was standing in front of the bedroom mirror flirting with himself, blowing kisses and trying to give a hug...sigh we still haven't figured out inanimate objects yet.

His dad, of course not a narcissist, loves to tell a good story and be a ham...could I be seeing a little me evolve?

Ben's even figured out how to find the video camera on my iPhone and film himself. Here's the world premiere of Big Ben Goes For A Ride - starring Benjamin Monjan.

We definitely have our hands full and I'm so much in love with my little there you go Ben -you already have three people in your family home very much in love with you - your mother, your father....and yourself :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Negotiating 101

Ben, among other things, has figured out the fine art of negotiating. I think his thought process goes a little something like this: "if I say 'no' enough eventually my parents will give in and give me what I want." The kid is super smart because he is super right.

Usually negotiating starts around any meal time. Ben do you want to have chicken? No. Pizza? No. Meatballs? No. Then it is a process of figuring out which "carrot - and not the edible kind unless it is packaged with something else - will get Ben to eat.

Without a doubt technology has played a role in any feeding/negotiating time. The hands-down favorite is the IPad. Yes there is an App for that! Ben will usually ask for "ipad?" to begin his negotiations. Depending on how tired the parent is how we determine the exact time that the Ipad is whipped out.

We have learned that the Toy Story 3 Disney Book app goes great with mac-and-cheese or brocolli and hummus. Unfortunately, we have also learned that hummus is a lot harder than smudges to remove from the screen. There is no app for that.

Looking back on things and life before "the pad," Ben has been negotiating since he figured out how to point at things and say "Um." During these stages Mom or I would say "This?" at various things pointed to on the table until we got a head nod and figured out the object that would make Ben eat his green beans. It was like a big game of Um and Seek or Um and Cold.

Then, with object in hand, Ben would eat until he decided the next game of Um should resume.

These days "Um" has been replaced by, "big truck, ipad, cars, bear, and book."

It will be interesting to see how the negotiating tactics will evolve from here. In fact, as I am finishing this post I can hear Lori asking me to help her with something. I simply respond, "Ipad?"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year New Blog Promise/Goal

Ok yes, we admit it, we're slackers. Somewhere between late night/early morning diaper changes, ramped up work schedules, and the fact that we now have to chase, nay sprint, after a chid who is hell bent on running after his brother from another mother (our dog Max), the blog got put on hold.

Now as with all new years resolutions we start 2011 afresh and with new goals. One of our goals is to keep up with the blog this year - we'll see how far we get. So far - we're 1 for 1 on 1.1.11!

Let's recap (For those of you who might still have this in your readers), some of our favorite things that happened while we were...unblogging.

Matt's favorites:

The weeks leading up to and after Halloween were great. One of my all time favorite pictures occurred when we took Ben to a farm in Maryland. It was there where he got to go on his first hay ride, pick out pumpkins and play with goats. The farm also had an air cannon for some good ol' fashion pumpkin chunkin'- an event that I'm excited to watch Ben grow into. And it was there where I got to take one of my favorite pictures of 2010 with Ben. (now hanging with pride in our family room).

My colleagues Lindsay, Whitney, and Karen from work purchased a Meerkat outfit from, where else, the Discovery Store, which we outfitted him in for Halloween. He wasn't too big of a fan of the Meerkat head but I was able to snap this shot before total meerkat meltdown.

The other memories sort of blurred together, however; I can say that I really am enjoying this all-about-dada faze right now. I say this as he is sleeping and not terrorizing poor Max, hitting his mommy or saying one of his favorite words, "No."

It has been exciting to see him learn and grow. His vocabulary seems to grow exponentially which is very cool. He seems to use most of his vocabulary words when it is time to go to bed and he is stalling- oh yeah he excels at that! For example a typical bed time routine will go something like this:

Me: Ben let's go upstairs to bed now.
Ben: No
Me: Ben you're very tired and I think we need to go night night now
Ben: Milk?
Me: Sigh. Yes we'll have some milk and...BEN DO NOT CHASE MAX...COME BACK NOW!
Ben: Laughing. Book?
Me: Ok...picking him up...We can read three books when we go upstairs. What books would you like to read tonight?
Ben: Trucks...Big Trucks...Cars...Bus....Ipad?
Me: more Ipad.
Me: Let's read this book on Trucks.
Ben: No
Me: Cars
Ben No
Me. Bus
Ben: No
Me: Ok one IPAD Game and then we go to bed.
Ben: Head nodding...drinks milk...plays 4 or 5 games on the Ipad.

Pictures and Lori's favorites to be added during next nap!