In the last month, we’ve finally been released from winter’s oppression and been able to play outside. Ben LOVES going “sahside” and loves swinging on the “wee” in the side yard. There is a toddler park less than two blocks away from our house so we go there to let Ben run around and play on the toys. I can definitely tell when he’s had a chance to play outdoors because he sleeps so much longer and harder. This boy has energy to burn!
Ben is very inquisitive and has to investigate everything. Everything has to be poked, thrown, squeezed, and limits and boundaries must be challenged. He loves to watch through the front door at the cars driving past and the birds and squirrels in the yard. A good day of playing means toys and books are scattered everywhere by bedtime. It’s not unusually to find toys dropped at random from one end of the house to the other. Ben likes to take out a spray bottle of water from under the kitchen sink and spray everything, including himself!
His vocabulary is exploding and he is always chattering about something. Many times, he’ll pick up a new word after only hearing it once. Some of his newer ones are kitty cat, jello (jehjo), walk, swing, snack, juice, Einstein, llama, and nigh night. Along with saying more, he also understands more and is able to follow through if we ask for his cooperation.
We are trying to introduce him to the general idea that a baby is coming to live in our house and he will be a big brother. I bought I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole and it is the perfect length for a toddler. It has really good ideas in it like how babies can’t play with toys but big brothers can, that big brothers are special and mommy and daddy love them too, and that because bothers are so big and can do so many things, they can help keep the baby safe and warm. We snuggle and swaddle his stuffed animals and baby doll and are reinforcing the idea of being gentle to babies and animals. We’re hoping these lessons stick once baby comes!
Ben is definitely more opinionated and vocal about his opinions than he was a few months ago. Some things he insists on are simple things, like picking out books to read before bed, but sometimes it turns into an all-out, stiff body tantrum because he does not get his way. Getting out of the bathtub and turning off the tv when a show is done are two things that almost always cause problems. We’re as patient as we can be, attempt to explain why he must listen, and sometimes he has to experience the consequences of his actions and not listening. I don’t know if we have made it through a meal lately where his plate hasn’t been taken away at least once because he did not listen to us say “the plate stays on your tray.”
We hired a recent college grad who is getting married soon and following her soon-to-be husband wherever the Air Force takes him as a once a week mother’s helper. She’s been here twice and has already been a huge blessing! I’ve been able to tackle tasks that are impossible without another set of eyes and usually assign a job to her each time that Ben likes to help with like vacuuming. Ben always naps especially well after she comes because they play so hard and have so much fun. It is a special treat for Ben to have someone else to play with too. Mom and dad aren’t always the most exciting people anymore.