February: Playing around in my room:
We have lots of catching up to do! We're in a whole new year with Benny and haven't even talked about November yet! For the record, it was a rather uneventful month, if you take perpetual sickness out of the equation. When Ben started school in September, he started catching little bugs and bringing them home for all of us to experience. Most of them were little 24 hour bugs that would be more of an annoyance than anything, but we continued to function. Until fall. Ben's classmates were so kind that they shared the beloved H1N1 flu with he and I, so we were fairly pitiful for 8 days. He and I barely got out of bed in the mornings, ran fevers for days on end, and were generally miserable sights to be seen. Two weeks later, someone at school shared the lovely, generic stomach virus with us. Concidentially the same week that our septic tank broke down and we had no use of our washing machine. I've never hand washed so many clothes and linens in my life! It was an exciting time in the Turner household.
However, the light at the end of the sickness tunnel showed long enough for Benny, Gram and Mommy to squeeze in an adventure. The three of us willingly got into Gram's van and drove to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a quick visit with Auntie M. To back up some, Auntie M moved to North Dakota in search of employment the month before. She had been working it up there long enough to feel homesick and want her dog back, so we saved the day and brought a little bit of home... and her dog, to her. We decided on meeting in Minneapolis because let's face it, North Dakota isn't a tourist attraction, and it was several hours further in the car. Out of all of us, Ben was the most mature traveler. He barely made a peep in his 45 hour round trip across the Mississippi and back, and charmed every mid-westerner he met. To pass the time that Saturday, we ventured over to the Mall of America in Minneapolis for a day of shopping and fun, and Ben rode quietly in his baby carrier the whole time. He digs Minneapolis.
November: Driving somewhere in Wisconsin:
Proof we were all there:
Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went, as did the various sicknesses Ben caught at school. We celebrated Thanksgiving at Grammie and Grandpa's house and watched in shock and awe as Ben ate more food than anyone else did. We determined that he is the only Turner that eats cranberry and actually likes it. He is also a fan of helping himself to the cheese and shrimp trays and eating with manners. Christmas was also at Grammie and Grandpas. And Turner Place. And the mountain house. It was a three day celebration of gifts Ben refused to open, bows to unravel and throw, and more food to eat. He did all three really, really well. All while battling another bug with a low grade fever and runny nose to boot. What a multitasker! The combination of being sick, enduring the holiday season, and doing it all with a smile caused The Turners as a whole to retreat back home and do what they love best - sleep and enjoy the quiet.
Christmas: Pretending to open presents:
Christmas: Jack in the Box with Poo:
So two thousand and ten, or twenty-ten (depending on who you ask, and whether or not you want to be correct) arrived with a bang, as new years tend to do. The Turners actually saw the ball drop this year, which was a stark contrast from last year where we were all asleep by 10:30, but awake again at 1:00 for a feeding. Ben didn't make it for the long haul, but because we were bored and missing Ben, we woke him up at midnight to show him Dick Clark's celebration on TV and give him a taste of champagne. He was unimpressed and back asleep in 5 minutes. Go figure. But we marked a moment and took funny pictures.
Happy New Year, Ben!
January offered the promise of no viruses, germs or sickness and helped us regain our strength and recharge from the holidays. A truly uneventful month, as we mostly did our routines of school and work when Mother Nature allowed, and relaxed. To back up again, Mother Nature has had quite the sense of humor this winter. She thought it would be super funny to dump a bunch of snow in places that don't normally get snow, for amusement and laughs. We got a big snowfall on December 18th that measured a cool 8 inches in our driveway, and about 17 just north of Turner Place, in Asheville. To clarify to our midwestern friends, 8 inches is unmanageable in the south. We do not know how to navigate 2 inches of snow. 8 is unreasonable. To make it extremely hilarious, 8 inches of snowfall happened almost every Friday. To present time, in fact. We have had a white blanket of snow in our yard for two months and counting. This means that school and work have been a treat when they happen, because they are usually cancelled. It has resulted in a lot of playing and being creative indoors. Ben has watched a lot of one DVD in particular during this time - Yo Gabba Gabba: Family. He is mesmerized by it. Yo Gabba Gabba is a group of 5 ridiculous monster-type characters that engage in events like Dancey Dance time, and The Super Music Friends Show. They are apparently the toys of a tall, skinny dude in an orange jumpsuit and fuzzy hat named DJ Lance Rock. He takes them out of a box shaped like a boombox and brings them to life by exclaiming "Yo Gabba Gabba". As a fun fact, this show was actually created by a member of a ridiculous 90's ska band that my friends and I liked because they dressed up like bats and danced around the stage. Their children's show is not much unlike that. Jacob and I feel hypnotized after watching bits and pieces and wonder what it is doing to our child, but are equally pleased that it can capture his attention long enough to make dinner and clean the litter box. Ben's favorite character from Yo Gabba Gabba is a big pink tulip shaped monster with a daisy on her head named Foofa. Foofa talks in a high-pitched voice and offers encouragement to the other monsters and general observations about how beautiful things are. He has his own Foofa doll that talks to him and tells him how amazing he is. He carries her all around the house, slow dances with her, and gives her kisses when no one is looking. If you notice he is doing any of these things and point it out to him, he hurls Foofa across the room and yells, like he is embarrassed. The second you turn your head, however, he will retrieve Foofa, hug her, and apologize secretly. I can't wait to present this information to his future girlfriends and football teammates.
Christmas: Oh look, a white Christmas:
December: Still having a sense of humor about it:
Me and Mom at the Grove Park Inn - Enjoying the snowy view:
January: Ben and Foofa - A love affair only understood by them:
The end of January brought a very exciting development in Ben's life: walking by himself! We were secretly wondering if he would ever walk because he was pushing 15 months and made no attempts whatsoever. I was already contemplating adaptive equipment and years of physical therapy for the one child who didn't walk, not because he couldn't, but because he refused to. But as Ben likes to do, he surprised us one day with a quick walk from Daddy to Mommy. A few hours later, from Daddy to the sofa. A day after that, from the sofa to the fireplace. And within a week, he wasn't crawling anymore. His first steps happened on January 31st and therefore at 14 months, so when I presented the idea to his pediatrician that he was technically 14 months at the time, he accepted it. So it finally happened. And we are not as regretful about it as many people suggested we would be. We heard several comments to the tune of "the day he walks will be the best day and the worst day of your life". So far, it's been like him crawling, only taller. He is still very adventurous about exploring his environment, but doesn't have the destructor gene. He mostly toddles around the house like a Tryannosaurus Rex (little arms curled up at his chest), looking at stuff and babbling.
February: Showing off my new skills:
February has been an extention of January, so nothing terribly exciting to note. Ben continues to toddle and explore, talk as if he has a perpetual audience and important messages to convey and is still obsessed with Foofa and Yo Gabba Gabba. In the last few months, he's gotten very interactive and has finally picked up on things we've been pushing on him for months. He can now wave "bye bye" when he feels like it, and does it to the cat when his claws are out or to a meal he doesn't like. His "hello" wave looks like Hitler's pose, or the Indian statue in front of the Cadillac dealership in Asheville. He does this one when he is doing something he isn't supposed to and we ask him to stop, as if to politely acknowledge our attention, but disagree with our sentiment. Or when he's actually saying hello. He gives hugs and kisses on command in a modified Benny sort of way (hugs are his head laying on your shoulder and kisses are open mouth slobbers against your cheek). He knows his toys and will grab the one you are talking about, again, if he feels like it, and is following general commands if the spirit moves him. He's still babbling lots using variations of the word, "Dad". Dad has definitely been assigned to Jacob as he exclaims "DaDD-ie" when he comes home from work, but other things can also be Dad, Dadda, DaDD-ie, etc. He knows I'm Mom and laughs about it when I remind him (trying to get him to say it), but will only occassionally call me "Mumm". Concidentially, Mumm is also reserved for something he renders delicious. His best friend is a pink stuffed monster and his cat, Toby, who is velcroed to his side during waking hours. He is doing great in school and appears to be one of the more laid back kids in class right now. Sometimes I'll arrive early for pick up and watch him interact through the classroom windows and he's always smiling and playing quietly, or interacting gently. We've been disease free for nearly two months now and enjoying life without snot and throw up and it's been fabulous. We're going for a longer streak than two months, and with spring on its way, we may very well get it!
So to revisit third grade paragraph structure: In conclusion, that wraps up the last 4 months in a nutshell. Ben is awesome, hilarious, and changing daily. He is officially a toddler and no longer a baby and this is sad and wonderful news all at the same time. Excited for his next milestones, but completely enjoying this stage as well!