Month 15

Dear Benjamin,

Your personality is coming out more and more every day.  You are becoming your own individual, and doing your very best to let us know what you like and what you don’t like.  You get really mad at us when we make you use Baby Sign Language.  You think you’re being incredibly clear as to what you want, but honestly the rest of us could use a bit more clarification.  You have the worst temper in the world.  It could seriously rival your father’s.  You get so mad that your whole body tenses up, you throw yourself onto the floor, and just scream/cry and kick your legs and arms until you’re through.  You also do not like to be touched when you’re in the throws of anger.  You will move your entire body away from anyone who tries to touch you (even to comfort you).  One the opposite side though, you’re also incredibly sweet, giving kisses and hugs to anyone you walk past.  You love to snuggle, and will seek people out so you can sit in their lap while you charge your batteries.  You smile and laugh all the time, and you smile is contagious and lights up the room.  I love watching you grow and become your own person.  This is an incredibly fun journey to watch.


You are becoming more and more mobile as the days go by.  You can now go up and down the stairs without assistance.  In fact, you were doing that so often that we were losing track of where you were.  And, we got tired of going up and down the stairs 20 times in 2 hours, that we broke down and bough some baby gates to block off the stairwell.  But, as of this morning, you’ve figured out that if you push and pull on it enough, that you can get it to slip loose and then crawl under it…….sigh….you’re too smart for your own good.


You have your 15 month Well Visit at the doctor’s office on Monday.  I’m really curious about how much you have grown since your 12 month visit.  I also have a few things that we need to bring up to the doctor while we’re there.  1) You still seem to suffer from acid reflux.  I’ll hear you spit up, but it never ends up coming out, you just swallow it back down.  Sometimes it seems to bother you, other times it doesn’t.  2) You have had a horrible diaper rash for the past 3 months now.  We’ll get it to go away for a day or two, but then it will come back with a vengeance.  I’ve stripped your diapers at least 5 times, we bathe you, lotion up your tushie with hydrating lotion.  We slather you in booty balm.  We change your diaper at least every 1.5 hours.  We can’t get it to go away.  It’s now blistering, and I’m wondering if it’s some kind of infection and that you might need antibiotics.


You’re still in Physical Therapy.  You’re doing really well with it, but we have all noticed that you have a bit of a limp when you walk.  Your left leg is much stiffer than your right, and as you walk more and more, it seems to just get more and more pronounced.  You have your next PT appointment on Tuesday, so I’ll talk to your therapist and see what we can do to help that.


I love you with all of my heart Benjamin.  You are amazing.  Everything that you can do, everything that you’re learning, it’s incredible to watch.  You’re incredible.  I wish I had the words to express to you how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.  I love you more than anything.  I’d do anything for you.  I want nothing but for you to be happy, and to find joy in the world and in your life.  I love you with all of my heart, and I’ll always love you.  I will always be your mother, and we will always be family.


I love you Benjamin.

Momma

 

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Month 14

Dear Benjamin,
You have now turned 14 months old. And, with the new month, comes a new milestone: Walking! You are no longer just taking a step here or there. You are walking (running?) all over the house and are just going, going, going. Your Gram has been sending me videos of you moving all over the place, and it’s adorable. You are apparently moving so much, that after a while, you’ll wear yourself out, and then climb onto the sofa with your blanket to take a bit of a breather. It’s adorable!


I’d say within the last month you’ve become really attached to your blanket. Before, you liked it, but now, it must go where you go. You need it for naps and nighttime, and you want it within crawling/ walking distance of you too. So that when you need a break or a snuggle it’s close by you. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re attached to your blanket. It warms my heart that you love it so, especially knowing that it took me close to six months to make it. I view this as a mom victory.


Your Physical Therapy is going well. They’ve knocked you down to just twice a month, which is awesome. Your therapist is slightly concerned about your left leg, and how you don’t seem to bear as much weight on it as your right, and that your left foot rotates outward when you’re walking. So, we have a few exercises to do with you to help with that – mainly getting you to move laterally more and more. But it’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on.


You’re starting to become a pickier eater, which I’m not loving. Last night, you hardly ate anything, and then would only eat if you and I were sharing a plate. And after a few minutes of that you still weren’t interested in anything we had for dinner and I ended up having to feed you yogurt just to get something in you. I don’t know if this is a new phase you’re going through, or if it’s because you have molars coming in, or what. But, I hope it passes quickly.


You’re still nursing, but pretty much just twice a day. Once in the morning before I go to work, or first thing in the morning on the weekend. And then at night you’ll nurse to sleep still. I love this time with you. I love the snuggle and the cuddle and the laughs we share. It’s amazing, and I hope it continues for a while still.


You are really LOVING books right now. You will pull one from the book shelves and track it to where ever there are people so you can hand it to us to read to you. Right now your favorites include:

Moo Baa La La La

Brown Bear

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck

Snuggle Pupply

The Hungry Caterpillar

and that’s just to name a few. You love books and love having them read to you. Last night, you just kept handing me Brown Bear to read over and over again. You smile and laugh so much when reading, I hope you keep this passion for the rest of your life.


I love you so much Benjamin. You have brought so much and love into my life. I cannot begin to explain to you how much you mean to me. The words just aren’t there. You are my everything. I want you to always know that your mother loves you, and would do anything for you. Know that I think you’re amazing, compassionate, special and so much more. I feel lucky that I get to watch your grow and develop into the person you’ll be. I love you baby.
Momma  

Month 13

Dear Benjamin,
You are now officially over a year old! You’re growing and changing so much every day that I can hardly keep up! You are constantly on the move, and are lightning fast in your crawling. The other day your dad and I were in the kitchen doing dishes, and you were with us playing. Then, all of a sudden we heard a huge *BANG* and we ran to the stairs, and there you were, at the very top of the stairs laughing while you threw things down the stairs and watched them bounce on the way down. I have no idea how you got up there so fast, but you did, and it was the first time you’d done it too. To be sure, your dad and I are more diligent on keeping track of you now.


You are an eating machine. We cannot seem to keep enough food in front of you! I swear that you have a hollow leg because for the life of me I can’t figure out where you put all of this food. For a baby, you are very lean. I was just complaining to your dad that you don’t have an adorable baby belly. Instead you have a flat muscled stomach for a one year old. The other day, you were eating lunch in your high chair, and your dad got up to get your brother some water, and while he was at the cupboard, you climbed out of your high chair, and climbed onto the table to so you could reach more food…..your dad likes to call you food motivated, and he’s not wrong.


You’re still nursing, and I love it. You nurse first thing in the morning before I go to work, when I get home from work, and again before bedtime. You seem to really enjoy it, and so do I. It’s a very peaceful time for us, and when nothing else seems to soothe you, nursing does.


You started taking steps this past month! On July 25th, you took your first steps! It was just a few, but you did it!! You haven’t really done it a lot since then, but I know you’ll pick it up soon, and then before I know it, you’ll be running (literally) all over the house.


You love to babble right now. I’m starting to think that you’ll be like your Dad and your brother and be a talkative little guy, and your poor mom is never going to be able to get a work in between the 3 of you. You will babble whole sentences, and then look at us for a response, which is just adorable, and then you’ll babble an answer back.  


You are not that interested in baby sign language any more, and I’m not really sure why. I think it might be that you’re trying to talk more and more, and you’d rather communicate verbally rather than through signing. You’re working on saying

cat /t/ /t/

dog /d/ /g/

that /dat/

book /ba/

you will also shake your head no


I’m still trying to get you to use sign language, I feel like it will really help your frustration level in the end if you do. I want you to know the signs for “milk,” “hurt,” “water,” “all done,” “more,” “food,” and possibly a few more. We’ll keep trying and we’ll see how you do.  
You’re wanting to be more and more independent, but every now and then you’ll look back and make sure someone you know is close by. Your Gram was with you during your last Physical Therapy, and she said that periodically you’d crawl over to her, ask to be picked up, and then you’d put your head on her shoulder for a bit, until you got the snuggle that you needed and then you’d go back to working on PT.  

I love you Benjamin. You are such a sweet, awesome and amazing little boy, and you fill my life with such love and happiness. I love watching you discover the world around you, and seeing everything fresh through your eyes. I wish I could put into words how much I love you, but I don’t think the words exist. I love you with all of my heart and every fiber of my being.
Momma

Month 12/ Year One

Dear Benjamin,

You are now a year old!  I seriously feel like I just wrote your 6 month letter, and I can’t believe that you just had your birthday.  You turned one on June 19, but on the 18th, I found myself super emotional, to the point of tearing up several times.  I just kept thinking that, a year ago on the 18th I was in labor with you.  I started having regular, but FAR apart contractions around 4:00 in the afternoon.  I realized that I was in fact in labor at about 10:00 pm.  We got to the hospital around 2:00 in the morning and I was 8 cm dilated.  You were then born at 4:23 in the morning, in a tub of warm water.


You are talking and babbling all the time right now!  You can say:

  • mama
  • dada
  • stop (dop)
  • no
  • night night (nye nye)
  • cat (tat)
  • hello/hi

You are starting to really use the baby sign language.  You can sign:

  • milk (although, we think you do this for “food”)
  • all done (but you don’t do this that regularly
  • water

We’re working on a few others, and I’m sure that you’ll pick those up soon as well.


You’re doing so well in your PT!  So well in fact that they’ve dropped you down to just twice a month, instead of once a week.  You’re crawling, and cruising, and getting into everything that you can possibly try and get into.  Right now you love to take the sheet trays out of the cabinet, and push them around on the kitchen floor.


You absolutely love the pool!  We got a membership there for the summer, and you love to cruise around the edge of the pool, and you’re pretty fast too!  You’ll also crawl up and down the ramp into the pool, and we have to really watch you because you’ll crawl until you’re almost under water – you just don’t seem to know when to stop.


You are also really trying to be more and more independent.  You want to do things yourself and you don’t want anyone or anything to stand in your way.  For example: you’re trying to put your food on a fork and feed yourself with it.  It’s adorable to watch you pick a piece of food and place it on your fork, and then try to turn and maneuver your fork into your mouth.  The down side to your newfound independent streak is that it also applies to you wanting to crawling into the dishwasher; to pulling the childproof plugs out of outlets; to chewing and pulling on electrical cords….and when we try to get you away from those things, your temper checks in.   And you have a TEMPER.  When you get upset or angry you scream, cry, throw things, collapse on the floor and kick and your legs….you have perfected the 2 year old tantrum a year early….


You’re still nursing!  We’re down to just three times a day.  Once before I go to work, when I get home from work, and at bedtime.  You still love it, and ask for it all the time.  You’ll pull at my shirt, or stand in front of me and sign for milk.  I don’t want to say no to you, so any time you want to nurse, I will cuddle you and nurse you.


I’m not sure if I mentioned before, but you LOVE to dance!  If music comes on, you start moving to it.  You’ll bounce in place to the beat, clap your hands, twist side to side, throw your hands in the air (like you just don’t care).  It’s adorable.  I hope you keep it up!


You and your brother had a joint birthday party this year at the Splash Park.  It was amazing!  You had such a great time playing in the water and watching all the big kids run around.  You were crawling all through the splash pad, and getting soaked, and you were loving every moment of it.  I made a cake for you, and a separate one for Henry.  Yours was a chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream frosting and a batman logo on the cake.  You loved that cake, and happily gobbled up your dessert as fast as you could.


This past year has been amazing!  It really and truly has.  I cannot believe how fast it has gone by, and how much you have grown and changed.  You are an incredible boy.  You bring so much joy and laughter into my life.  I’m trying to soak up every moment and savor everything that I can.  You make me laugh and smile every day.  You warm my heart, and have taught me how to be a better mother.  I love you with all of my being, and I always will.


Keep growing, and dancing!

Love,

Momma

Breastfeeding Judgement

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went to my in-laws for dinner and to hang out with family.  Our original plan was to hang out there during the day and then for the boys to spend the night there, and for J and I to have some nice adult time together that evening.

In all of our haste to get out the door on time, we forgot to pack the cooler of breast milk for Benjamin.  So, J ended up driving 45 minutes home to pack it up, and then driving 45 minutes back to his parent’s house.  When we realized we forgot it, several people tried to tell us that Benjamin didn’t need it, and we shouldn’t worry about.  J and I ignored those comments, and J headed home to get the milk.

During the time that he was gone I was asked by 5 different people (mother-in-law, father-in-law, paternal grandfather and grandmother in-law, maternal grandmother-in-law) how long I was going to breastfeed Benjamin.  Each time, I gave the same answer: “well, I nursed Henry until he was two, so I think I’ll try to do the same thing for Ben.”  Each time I’d get a “harrumph” in response.

A little while later, while J was still gone, I overheard my FIL, and GFIL talking about how it’s wrong of me to continue to breastfeed my son this long.  That it’s gross, that I should get over myself and just stop.  That I’m doing it more for me than for my son.   They even went so far to say that I was having a “junior moment,” whatever that means.  Best I can tell, I think they meant that my arrogance and shortsightedness are getting in the way of me seeing what the “right” choice is.  They were talking about me and my choices across the table from me, and never once thought to include me in the discussion.  I knew that if I piped in, that it would only end up in an argument.  But as I sat there, feeling ostracized and judged, I seriously thought about packing both my boys up and leaving.  If J and the car had been there, I might have.

I comprehend that they don’t understand my choice, but they damn well should respect it, and me.  I don’t understand why they can’t see how well Henry is doing, and how healthy and strong he is.  I’m not saying it’s all from breastfeeding, but I think it played a part.  Why can’t they see how well Benjamin is doing, and factor the same things in?  Why can’t they do a modicum of research to see that breastfeeding can make a difference in Crohn’s Disease, which runs rampant on that side of my family.  Why do they continue to judge me and find my decisions lacking?

Career Change

I’ve been contemplating a career change for a while now.  I love my current job, but the pay is ridiculous – as in your could not support yourself on it, and forget about supporting a family on it.

I feel like I want a unicorn when it comes to a job.  I want to still be able to spend a good deal of my time with my family, not have to take work home with me, and but also have a livable income….J and I are exhausted from living month to month.

One thing I’ve been thinking about it becoming a certified birth doula.  A doula is a woman who advocates and supports a woman during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.

I had a doula for both of my births and I found her invaluable.  Not only was she helping me with different positions to labor in to help move my babies out, she was able to help J help me as well.  During Henry’s birth, since it was a LONG one, she and J were able to take turns doing things so that they could each be helpful to me and they didn’t reach the exhaustion point so soon.  She also has her own birthing pools that she rented out to us, so we didn’t have to worry about transporting and or buying one ourselves.  She knows so many of the hospital guidelines and will remind nurses/ midwives/ and OBs of them when they forget or try to skirt things. She makes sure all support staff adhere to birth wishes, and also help remind women of their birth wishes.`

There are doulas who also help with postpartum care, and will help do light cleaning, do cooking and laundry, so that all mom has to worry about is cuddling, bonding and feeding her baby.  I’m not immediately looking to work as a postpartum doula, but if I see a demand for it, I’ll eventually get certified for that as well.

I contacted my local YWCA, which has a doula training program.  In exchange for sending you to the certification classes, they require that you be a doula for 3 births for free for them.  These are usually teens or homeless woman that are going through the YWCA courses.  I’m currently waiting to hear back.

I’m hoping that eventually, I can make enough money doing this that it will be my full time job, and I can essentially go into business for myself.

Month 11

Dear Benjamin,
Stop growing so damned fast! How is it that you only have one more month to go before you’re a year old!? Where has the time gone? I seriously feel like I blinked and a moment ago you were my tee tiny baby. Now you’re a sturdy, crawling, cruising and rolling 11 month old!


You are getting better and better at crawling. You’re transitioning away from the army crawl, and are up on your hands and knees more and more every day. You don’t like to crawl on hard surfaces, and will bear walk on hands and feet instead. You are so curious about everything, and you want to go EVERYWHERE. We had to baby proof all of the cabinets so you wouldn’t pull anything breakable out. We’re constantly rescuing you from when you get stuck under small tables and chairs, or when you try to go near plugs and outlets. You definitely keep us on our toes.


You’ve been going from tummy to sitting for a little while now, but you just figured out that you can do that in your crib. So, now when we put you down for naps, or for the night, you’ll sit up, or even stand up (we’ve had to lower your crib mattress twice this week…), and then you don’t know what to do from there. So, you’ll cry. Your dad and I go in, lay you back down, cover you with your blanket and turn Scout back on, and then the whole process repeats itself. Did I mention that I’m tired?


You’re doing great with food. You absolutely love yogurt, specifically vanilla yogurt. Oranges are still a go to favorite of yours as well. Right now I think your very favorite thing is blueberries. You’ll eat half a carton in one sitting….it’s amazing. I did find out that you are not a fan of chickpeas. We’ll plop one in your mouth, your nose scrunches up and then you spit that offending little pea back out. It’s pretty funny to watch.


I think you’re slowly starting to wean yourself. You’ve started cutting your nursing sessions shorter and shorter. The past two nights, you only nursed on one side before you pulled off and went to sleep. And, this morning you did the same thing too. It makes me sad that this chapter is already starting to close for us. I definitely want to keep nursing you as long as you’re interested. I guess we’ll see how that goes. I think you’re more interested in food that you can feed yourself versus snuggling and nursing with mom….sniffle…


You’re Physical Therapy is still going well, but I think you’ll start to go down to every other week, instead of once a week, which is great news! Your therapist is in love with you, and thinks that you’re incredibly smart!  


Right now you’re just a crawling machine. You want to go everything, see everything, explore, manipulate, and figure everything out that you can. And, my goodness if anyone gets in your way. You have one hell of a temper little man, and an ear piercing scream to go with it. I love watching you explore your world. It’s so much to just follow you around the house.  


I believe that you’ve said your first word. Your Dad and I aren’t counting “mama,” or “dada,” because we can’t say for sure when you started using those with purpose. So, your first word is “cat!” You literally only say /t/ /t/. But you only say it when you see a cat, so it’s pretty clear what you’re saying. We’re still working on sign language with you, but it’s pretty hit or miss. I’m sure you’ll start to get the hang out it soon.


Benjamin, I can’t believe how much you’re growing and changing. It’s just remarkable. You are remarkable. I think you are one amazing and intelligent little boy and I can’t wait to see what’s next with you!


I love you so much!
Momma