Last Day

30 Jul

(warning: boob/breast milk post ahead, turn back if you skeeve about the topic)

Today is the last day Ben will have breast milk.  He is one year and nine days old.

When we set out on our boobing journey this time around, I was fully committed to nursing in the hospital.  After a painful, traumatic six months of nursing Lucas, I figured three days of colostrum in the hospital would give him a nice shot of all the magical “liquid gold” and then we could quickly transition him to formula once we got home.

I was just not willing to suffer the way I did attempting to nurse Lucas.  I had a living example of what an amazing, smart, handsome and kind child formula could produce — after all, Lucas was exclusively formula fed after six months, and supplemented after three.  I felt strongly — and still do — that formula can, many times, be the best choice for feeding a child.

But, breast feeding Benjamin was different. Not only was the pain significantly less, but so was the awkwardness, the struggle, and even the amount of time for each nursing session.  So with that, three days in the hospital quickly became a goal of one month, then two.  ShoesMadeForWalking

And one day, when we were almost at my newest goal of three months, Ben stopped nursing.  He cold turkey quit on me.  With Lucas, that would have meant the end.  I’m still not quite sure why it didn’t with Benjamin.  I think I was in a routine – settled.  With a two year old and a newborn, it seemed easier to just keep chugging along.  So, Ben put down the boob and I picked up the pump.  Ten months later, two days shy of his first birthday, I set the pump down and haven’t picked it back up.  In fact, it’s still plugged into the wall on the side of my bed – so much a part of my life that I don’t even notice it.  I think I’d notice more if it was missing.

Nine days after his first birthday, I pulled the very last bag of frozen milk out of the freezer.  The freezer that we had to get just to store the immense quantities of pumped milk.  The pumped milk that I still can’t believe I pumped so diligently for an exclusive ten months — through a major bout of the stomach flu, an awful tooth infection, having my wisdom tooth surgically removed, one terrifying day without electricity and more. The freezer looks bare now – a far cry from the times where we struggled to find room for actual food amidst the sea of Lansinoh bags.

It’s time to be done with the boob stuff. This boy is ready.  He’s walking, hell practically running these days.  He eats the same dinners as us — heck most nights, he eats more well rounded meals than his brother. And people have been telling me to stop for ages — the exact “permission” that I had sought so desperately during the breast feeding struggle with Lucas.  Yet, I fought ending it.  Once we hit six months, I wanted to make it to nine.  And at nine months, he was so close to a year that it seemed crazy to make his little body process the sometimes difficult transition to formula. Did he need me to keep going?  Certainly not.  His brother’s health and happiness proves that one hundred times over.  But, it’s one of the things I could give him that no one else could – and that idea, the idea that he was getting the most perfect type of nutrition made especially for him by me, kept me going.

So it’s with a little sadness, a strange amount of pride and abundant thankfulness and gratitude, that I pulled the last bag of frozen milk from the freezer.  And it’s those feelings that I’ll have tonight when he drinks the last bit of breast milk he’ll ever have. I’m so glad I could do this for him.

Ball Pit

28 Jul

I resisted the in-home ball pit for quite some time.  But, I caved for Benjamin.  To say they love it may be an understatement…

No pictures, please.

25 Jul

Sometimes, the stars align, the boys cooperate and we get great pictures.  Recently, more often than not, we have full on tantrums and lack of cooperation — I’m looking at you, Benjamin.

Here’s our latest try at a picture of me and the boys, as described by Ben.

First strategy: escape to the right.

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When that fails, attempt escape to the left…

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When you are completely trapped by your mother’s hands, pull your brother’s hair from behind.  Guaranteed picture fail strategy accomplished.

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If your brother doesn’t yell loud enough the first time, try again as soon as Mom looks at the camera.
Side note: poor Lucas.

IMG_8630When you are completely out of patience and strategies, have a complete melt down. If possible, smack Mommy in the head.

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And there ya have it, folks.  We got exactly zero usable pictures, courtesy of our one-year old stinker pants.

Birthday Presents

24 Jul

We aren’t “present openers during birthday party” people.  I know this can be a controversial subject – and people (surprisingly to me) have lots of opinions on why kids should/should not open their gifts.

I’m of the mindset that the present opening creates a lot of chaos (paper everywhere), resentment (the other kids), tears (“but I want to play with it now…”) and sometimes boredom (not sure Pop Pop is dying to see every age 1-3 appropriate toy that Benjamin was kindly gifted).  We skip the public present opening.  We go to plenty of parties where people open and I’m happy to sit and watch!  Do what you want at your own fete, I say.

That being said, Benjamin was given some incredibly thoughtful, fun presents and I wanted to share some pictures of him (read: his big brother) opening them.

 

Benjamin mostly walked around shaking wrapping paper, carrying card envelopes and putting pieces of used tape in his mouth.  Lucas, on the other hand, tore threw the gifts with wild abandon, shrieking with glee at each present and begging that they be opened immediately.  Two days later, they are both thrilled with the new offering of toys around the house, and I’m thrilled that they seem to be sharing nicely and playing on their own!

I also promise that this is the last of “Ben’s Birthday!!” blog posts. It’s been a dominating topic this week, huh?

Monthly Photos

23 Jul

I didn’t post Ben’s 12-month photos with his letter because I hadn’t taken them yet (poor second child…).  But, we wrapped up the series yesterday and I’m happy to share.

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And, here’s the whole series (click to see larger).

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Here’s the monthly details on Mr. Ben.

12 Months Details

It’s certainly far from our best picture.  These particular shots got increasingly difficult after he figured out how to roll, crawl, stand and walk.  We had approximately .5 second to get the picture after placing him on the blanket before he was off to the races. If we persisted, he turned on the faucet. This was the only usable shot from this week. The other ones looked more like this….

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As I was with Lucas, I’m grateful to have these photos.  It was rarely easy to find time to take them, but I know I’ll treasure them for always.

12Monthly Photos - Ben

Gallery

Birthday Bash

22 Jul

One Year Old!

21 Jul

Dear Benjamin-

I whispered in your ear last night while you drank your bottle, and told you that one year ago, we were one.  One year ago, we were taking Lucas to the playground, pregnancy waddle in full force.  One year ago, you were kicking inside and I was merely wondering what the next days, weeks, months would hold.  Today, you are one.  We are twelve months apart as two individuals. I’m not feeling your little nudges on the inside; I’m watching you walk around, almost run.  You are one year old, and I’m so thankful for you.

At one, you are a bundle of emotion – raw emotion personified, I’d daresay. You swing from happy to sad; laughing to crying – there’s little rhyme or reason to it at this point.  You are completely frustrated that you can’t talk. I imagine you’d love to scream at us and tell us exactly what you want.  Instead, you point and urge, you collapse in half and cry, you hold your breath till you are blue.  And for all the intense drama, there is an awesome side of laughter, hugs, open mouthed baby kisses, arms raised up in the air signaling your need to be held.

I’ve never met such a passionate, determined spitfire.  You are persistent to the core. The typical “distract them with shiny things” method of baby control has no impact on you.  You toss the shiny aside and walk as quickly as possible to your heart’s desire — usually the dog’s bowls, the toilet, or the dishwasher.

You love to laugh with Lucas. Even if you are hysterically crying, his laughter makes you smile.  You guys are trouble in the car already — egging one another on in games of shrieking, laughing and more. I often glance in the rear view mirror to see you two holding hands.  I’m in love with your love for each other. Of course, that love isn’t always laughter and hand holding.  You’re boys, after all.  It’s often wrestling, pulling hair, diving onto one another’s unexpecting body.  There are often tears and lots of crying –the misguided affection of one brother onto the other can be painful, but it always starts from a place of love.

You’ve got this walking thing under control.  You can stand up by yourself without pulling on furniture or steadying yourself on the wall.  Your walk is starting to more closely resemble a run these days, especially when you are zooming towards danger.  You’re busy. All the time busy.  Keeping us on our toes chasing behind. It’s probably time to get you some shoes…. poor second child doesn’t have any. In thirty years when you complain about this fact, I’ll remind you that I never made you wear Crocs and plastic bags on your feet.  See, I love you and your brother the same! Regardless, I promise we will make shoes happen this month.

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You love pushing toy cars, rolling (usually throwing) balls and shaking maracas and other musical toys.  You dance whenever you hear music – it’s an amazing little head bob, body shake bop.  You are still a stinker in the sleep department – we have middle-of-the-night visits more often than not.  Sometimes they are quick and easy — but others you shout and carry on until you get to come into our bed.  Your brother never liked to sleep with us, but you love it.

Eating has been hit or miss lately. I think it’s just part of your passionate personality. There are times you love certain foods and can’t get enough – and others you’d rather throw it all off your highchair tray and cry because Mommy is the meanest for giving it to you.  You are always happy to get fruit, crunchy snacks or veggie purees. You are less interested in meat, pasta and pick up veggies.

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Benjamin, my sweet Benny boy, I’m stunned you are one.  Wasn’t it yesterday that we had Lucas at the playground while I was still pregnant?  What a year it was – you are our determined and persistent, sweet and snuggly, funny little man.  I adore you!

I love you everyday!
Your Mama

Daily Luke

16 Jul

We had fun last night taking pictures while jumping … the result, some very odd, levitating photos that show a very happy Lucas striking a pose mid-jump.

JumpingLucas

 

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Summer Soccer

14 Jul

With the tiniest goalie…

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Daily Luke

11 Jul

A double dip of daily Lucas…

First up, his muscles (you may call them elbows, he calls them muscles… poh-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe).

MrMusclesAnd just a very happy boy…

HappyLucas

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