a week before ben's birthday party, i started asking him, "how old are you?" and trying to teach him to say "two!" when he heard that question. he mastered it in time for it to be a party trick at his birthday party. he tries to hold up two fingers but his little hand doesn't always co-operate.
it's hard not to be amazed at how quickly two years have gone by. all of a sudden, we're carrying this sleeping boy up the stairs from the car and his head rests on my shoulder and his feet are hanging below my waist. all of a sudden, he takes up most of his crib. all of a sudden, he's climbing up the climbing wall at the park so that he can go down the biggest slide. two years have gone by? unbelieveable.
ben understands so many more things each day and he doesn't seem to forget. once, when we were walking from the car into the mall, i got gum or something sticky on my shoe so i stopped at a bike rack and tried to wipe it off by rubbing my shoe on the metal rails. now, everytime we go to the mall, ben has to stop at the bike rack to scrape his foot along the bars. yesterday, i bought ben a Thomas the Tank Engine book that included 12 little trains and a mat to play with - it was supposed to be a new toy to bring out on a rainy day while we're at the cabin we've rented for next week. even though he was with me while we bought it, i thought i could sneak it away into hiding during his nap. the moment he woke up from his nap, he asked for his "choo choos" and went running into the living room where he'd last been playing with them. today, he pointed at his book when he woke up and said, "mall." yep, that's where we got it.
even though ben hasn't been a big cuddler since he was able to move, lately he's happiest watching curious george or elmo's world if tim or i are sitting with him. he has started climbing up on our laps with books and sitting quietly while listening intently to more complicated storylines than he can possibly understand. sometimes when i take him out of his crib after nap time, he just rests his head on my shoulder for a minute. these are my favourite moments of the day.
ben's talking is increasing every day. he can definitely make his wants and needs known with the words that he has but mostly just to mommy, as i'm the best interpreter of some of the more difficult words. he has started to string a few words together to tell a little story and i fill in the words he's missing. after spending an afternoon in the schoolyard behind our house and learning that kids come out of the school when the bell rings, it has become a favourite story to talk about. at least once a day, we have this conversation:
ben - "cooh"
me - "school?"
ben - "yeah. ring ring"
me - "the bell rings at the school?"
ben - "yeah. kids."
me - " the kids come out of the school when the bell rings!"
ben - "yeah!"
he points out every school that he sees when we're driving, as well as all train tracks that we go over ("choo choo!"), and all diggers that we pass ("ger!"). he's always listening and repeating which makes me realize how often i use the phrases, "oh my goodness!" and "oh man!".
there are many early mornings and lots of times that ben wants to grab my hand and drag me somewhere so that he can sit or play with me. when i feel frustrated at these moments in the day (and some days there are so many!), i try to remember that this time is so short. soon, ben will get up, go watch tv on his own in the morning and i will be left to sleep in without the hugs and smiles that i get every morning when i go and get him out of his crib. soon, he won't want to drag me over to show me what he's working on. and when he's holding my hand as we walk to the park, i try to relish this time that he still wants to hold my hand. like my song says, "their cribs will fill our mornings, but by noon they'll be in school." i'm working on enjoying the little moments everyday and learning to appreciate even the moments that can sometimes be frustrating.
i guess i could go on forever because my days (and nights) are filled with this kid but i digress. my dad has always said that during my first 3 years, "we had so much fun with you," and i was never sure what that could mean. what could be that fun about a kid under 3? i figured he was just being nice. now that we have our own toddler, i totally understand what he meant. we're having so much fun with this kid and enjoying each moment for what it's worth.