Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ben is 3 1/2!

I'm a little late on this....although we've been referring to Ben as "3 1/2" for a while now, it became official last week.  This is really really long so I'm sure hardly any of you will actually read this.  However, I do look back at these updates to remember things about the kids, so I'm writing it anyway.  Let me know if you do read it so I can give you lots of credit and thanks for being so interested in my adorable 3 1/2 year old. :)

Here is what he's up to and interested in...

Ben has officially entered the "question asking" phase.  He asks questions about everything and anything.  The questions most often are "What are you doing?"  "What are you talking about?" and "What's your name?" - which he even asks me occasionally.  He asks great questions as well.  He wants to know and understand everything about the world around him.  He doesn't hear a sound or see something unusual that he doesn't want to know what it is or what it's used for.  He also doesn't want anything to happen that he's not involved in.  I remember one time, we were driving and Nick and I were talking.   He said, "Mommy, Mommy, excuse me!  What are you talking about?"  After I answered, he paused and then said, "Ok, go ahead."  He sits on the counter when I cook (COOK, yeah, you read correctly! :)) and when I put my make up on.  He looks over my shoulder when I'm typing on the computer and follows me around the house wherever I go.  Awesome, right? :)

Ben is the best at keeping track of everything in our house.  If we can't find something, he usually knows where it is.  Also, he remembers stories, things and people from months ago.  If he is trying to retell me a story because it's relevant to whatever is going on, I have to listen carefully and figure out what he's referencing because it usually IS an accurate reference.  I love the way he interprets the world.  It's both creative and literal.

In terms of interests, Ben loves music and instruments (still loves his guitar, keyboard, drums, etc.), he loves art projects (loves painting and drawing with markers and crayons, playing with play doh, and using glue and scissors to "create"), he loves "fixing" things with toy tools or things that he is pretending are tools, he loves digging in the dirt outside (and has discovered the excitement of finding worms), he loves creating forts, and he likes reenacting things he sees on his favorite shows - Curious George and Sid the Science Kid (for example, creating a car wash or wind symphony from Curious George or identifying objects in the dark from Sid).

The last of things he LOVES doing is playing on my iPhone, my mom's iPad or his own "iPad" - which is a VTech Reader and has some of the same activities you can find on an iPad or iPhone.  His favorite things to do are take pictures and videos (and use the apps to mess with the pictures), review pictures and videos ("What is that?"  "Who is that?"), play drawing games (basically electronic coloring) or playing other games like memory or matching.

Ben is starting to be able to recognize and write letters.  He's not completely consistent with the ones he knows and the ones he asks for help with ("Can you tell me what it is?"), but we are working on it.  We have some "letter" flash cards and he likes to identify and find letters.  He has started to notice words/letters everywhere we go and either gets excited when he sees a letter he knows, or asks what the letters are.  He can spell and recognize his name and knows most letters in his name and in Lincoln's name (thanks to a book that my cousin Jill's family gave each of them).  He just started to write letters (by copying them) and over the weekend, he was so proud to write "Papi", "Mimi" and "Mommy."

He knows all his colors and shapes well, can count to 14 and then sporadically to 20, and can sing the alphabet (except for the "lmnop") very well.

In terms of foods, he loves snacks and doesn't love meals so much.  Probably typical.

Ben and Lincoln are starting to play together and starting to fight a little.  This is fun to watch as they are more and more aware of the daily life they are going to have to share for many many years.  Their favorite thing to "play" together is with the parachute tunnel, pop-up train and in a fort.  Their typical fights involve a shared desire for a toy, food or sippy cup.  The only major bad part of their relationship is Ben's constant desire to SIT or LAY on top of Lincoln whenever I walk out of the room.  Someday, Ben will be able to vocalize what the heck he's doing to Lincoln.  He doesn't seem to acknowledge Lincoln's cries when he's "stuck."  What Ben doesn't know, is that Lincoln is tracking to be a bigger kid than Ben is, which means that I think Lincoln will be the one doing the "tackling" in the long run....we will see!

Ben is sleeping rather well.  He goes to sleep with the blankets pulled up over his head.  I'm always afraid he's going to overheat, but he's going to bed well and is adamant that his head has to be covered.  One time, there was a little corner of light and he said, "Mommy, please make the little window go away."  I'm so happy he goes to bed without too much trouble, but I'm honestly not sure what would happen if a babysitter put him to sleep.  He hasn't had someone other than a family member put him to bed in over a year...maybe even 18 months.  Gosh, as I write that, I am thinking we need to try that again!  Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and one of us has to walk him back to bed.  We have not allowed him to sleep in bed with us unless it's after 6 AM.  Our "rules" seem to be working alright for now.

I just went back and read my update from December and I wrote a little paragraph about some of the things that Ben was doing that were driving us crazy.  Unfortunately, after 6 months nothing in that paragraph has changed.  Sooo...word for word...here it is again (I hope by my next update, I can say things have improved on this front!):

No child is perfect..Ben's crying is driving us crazy. I'm hoping this is a stage and I CAN'T WAIT for it to go away. "Use your words" and "I can't understand you when you're crying" have become phrases I use constantly. He also seems to have selective hearing. I hope someday we can figure out what works to get him to listen to us....before he really gets hurt doing something that I am telling him to stop doing!

Other exciting things that happened in the last 6 months (since my last update):
- Ben was potty trained in February while we were in FL on vacation.  (He still wears a diaper to bed and will not go #2 in the potty....it's a work in progress.)
- He gave up naps in January and only occasionally naps on the couch when he's sick or exceptionally tired.
- He had surgery on his right check to remove a small tumor (and was put completely to sleep for the surgery).
- He took a trip to my mom's house all by himself and had the best time (and wasn't homesick one bit...I was happy everything went well...but to be honest, I would have liked him to miss me a little bit! :)).
- He had a special day trip to the Crayola Factory with Nick's parents and Carl.
- He completed his first year in preschool and enjoyed it thoroughly.  He can't wait to go back in the fall for three days a week instead of two.

My big boy is 3 1/2 and it feel like just yesterday that he was a little munchkin like Lincoln.  I love hearing what comes out of his mouth each day as he says the cutest and funniest things.  Thank you for letting me see the world through your eyes, Ben.  I love you so much!


Sunday, Ben was able to show Nick the tricks he learned during his lessons last week.  He was happy to be back in the pool after two days off.

Ben and Kate

Floating on his back (with a little head support :))

Posing with Daddy....so proud!

Ben showed Nick how he can jump in.  This skill needs some work.  There is no "jumping" involved.  It's more like a fall.

Lincoln took a breather in Brooke's pack 'n play.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ben's swim lessons

Last week, Ben completed the first of a two week swim lesson at our pool.  Despite the chilly weather on the first day (maybe only 68 degrees), he successfully participated with no tears and by the 4th day (and over 30 degrees warmer) he was nearly floating on his back.  These pictures are from the first day...

The cheering squad.

Smiling, even though I'm sure the water was freezing!

I have a video of him on the last day that I will try to get up here.  He has another 4 days next week so we will be excited to report what he's learned at the end of that week too!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lincoln's 1st Birthday Party

We celebrated Lincoln's 1st birthday today (even though it was a little early)!  We had a baseball birthday party and everyone dressed to support their favorite team.  We all ended up in some form of red/white/blue so it was a pretty coordinated party.  Everyone had fun and Linc enjoyed his first cupcake!  Happy early birthday Lincoln!  I took a lot of pictures so I uploaded them to picasa...click below to see them all. :)

Lincoln's 1st Birthday Party

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Port Discovery

Yesterday, I drove the kids to Baltimore to meet my mom at Port Discovery - which is a children's museum similar to our local Please Touch Museum (and we were excited to find out our membership got us in for free!).  I forgot my camera (lots to remember!) but I did get a few pictures on my cell phone.  I brought Ben to this museum when he was about 15 months old and it was fun to see how much more fun he can have as a three year old!  

When I left, I left with one kid!  Ben went home with my mom for a few days of special time with Nana since he's such a big boy now.  He was happy to hug me goodbye, tell me he's going to miss me, leap in Nana's car and wave excitedly as she drove away.  It feels very strange to be here without him but I know he's having a great time.  Maybe this is a good idea....are there any other grandparents that want to take him for a few days in a few months? :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Walking update

Sooo...yesterday, I posted that Lincoln would be "walking" soon.  I didn't realize it would be within about 24 hours.  I "caught" him choosing to walk over crawl multiple times today and he's getting better and better at it.  He's still quite unstable, but he's well on his way to becoming a walker.  Just thought I'd update.  Here are a few of the videos that we've taken in the last 24 hours....

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Walking....well almost

Since my 11 month update, Lincoln has been working on his walking almost daily.  Most times we stand him up, he will drop down and crawl to wherever he wants to go.  However, he's taken 3-4 steps (in a row) a few times, 9 steps yesterday and 13 steps today.  He's well on his way to learning to walk.  I would guess he will be "walking" (I define "walking" as repeatedly choosing walking over crawling to get somewhere) by the time he turns one (19 days away).    The best part is when we say "Yea Lincoln!" he gets a big grin and starts clapping for himself.  We haven't gotten a good video of it yet.  We will keep working on it....

Dinner giggles

Lincoln was just enjoying his dinner.....

When Daddy decided to start hamming it up and popping out with an energetic game of peek-a-boo.  Lincoln laughed hysterically....every single time. :)  (Sorry, excessive number of pictures....and this is only a subset of what I got.)

Ben wanted to do some of the "booing" too.

(Good shot of his two front teeth coming in!)

He clapped when the "show" was over.

An after dinner treat.  Ben was a very very happy (and orange) boy!

Lincoln was a little jealous...and thought maybe he could taste what Daddy was eating by biting the opposite end of the popsicle stick.

Lazy Saturday

While Nick cooked us a yummy beer can chicken dinner, I had the boys outside and tried to get a few pictures...  Lincoln was happy to say put for the picture, but would NOT smile.

A neighbor helped me by standing Lincoln up. (I couldn't do it and then back up fast enough to snap the picture.)  First picture of the boys STANDING together. :)

Ben was enjoying finding twigs and informed me they were going to build something with them.....maybe a nest?  He's enjoying all of the nests with baby birds in them this spring.