If, in the grocery store, I encountered a parent with an uber-screamy kid, I rolled my eyes and thought, "Pfft. I will NEVER have a kid that does that." I even joked with The Husband about it. "If my kid ever screams like that in public, he'd better have a blood-spurting head wound to match."
The Universe must have laughed heartily.
On May 20th, 2002, I heard the first scream. I don't mean crying....I mean full tilt OMG! WTF! I WAS SO WARM IN THAT WOMB AND NOW I'M NAKED AND COLD OUT HERE IN THE REAL WORLD! kind of screaming. (Honestly? I couldn't blame him. That O.R. was colder than a meat locker.)
Surely I was hallucinating from the medications. "What was THAT sound?"
The Husband said, "THAT was the baby."
And thus was our introduction to Benjamin Joseph. The screamer.
He had silky sweet hair and warm, fat cheeks. He had long, slender fingers and toes and the most itty-bitty tushie I'd ever seen on a baby. He was crazy lucky to have been my second born child....he got a momma who was much more relaxed and comfortable. He was spared my postpartum baby blues.
He was immediately adored by his older brother.
(** Nicholas, 2 1/2 years
and Benjamin, 6 months **)
and Benjamin, 6 months **)
(** First Birthday **)
Nicholas was independent, outgoing, and loved to hang out with his Daddy whenever possible. Benjamin was more reserved and quiet. His two favorite things in the whole world? His thumb and his Momma. He needed me and I happily played along.
(** Second Birthday **)
(** Third Birthday **)
Benjamin became a big brother when he was 3 1/2. He joyfully accepted his new role in the family. This new little girl fascinated him. He picked out her clothes....marveling at all of the pink that had suddenly taken over our house. He asked if she could "watch a show with me". He didn't mind at all that she often slept on the floor next to him while he watched the show. He just wanted her company.
I have wonderful memories of that time. Nicholas was in kindergarten, so for part of the day I had Ben and Alexa all to myself. When it was time to nurse Alexa, we all snuggled into a big, red rocking chair. Ben sat next to me...watching his favorite tv shows, sucking his thumb, and playing with my hair. Often, I fell asleep and got some desperately-needed rest. On the luckiest days, all 3 of us fell asleep in that big, red chair.
(** 4 1/2 years old **)
(** A fantastic older brother with his Baby Rachel **)
(** 5 1/2 years old **)
He is my sweet little boy...my sensitive, affectionate, quiet little boy. When the other kids want one hug and kiss, he wants two. When he tires of running around at the playground, he comes to me and holds my hand. When he laughs, he gets the I Can't Stop giggles. In a group of people he doesn't know, he quietly observes. He is a thinker. He loves animals. When he gets up in the morning, his first order of business is to cuddle with Fiona, our guinea pig.
A few months ago, I put on earrings for the first time in a million years.....Ben was the first to tell me how beautiful they were as he gently ran his fingers over the shiny silver.
(** Kindergarten graduation **)
Describing him is difficult. You can never know him the way I do. I only wish you could know him the way I do. He has a heart of pure gold and his feelings can be hurt very easily. I have to remember to carefully chose my words because he takes things very literally. He also has a rough-and-tumble side, which often gets in his way. We've been very lucky to have teachers who can see both of his sides. They know that his "bad days" don't make him a bad kid.
(** 6 1/2 years old **)
Hands down...my favorite photograph of my guy.
(** 7 1/2 years old **)
Just days before Ben's 8th birthday.
He was born with one task in mind...
to teach his mother that no 2 children are alike.
Happy 8th Birthday, Benjamin Joseph.
You are loved and adored.
Don't ever forget that.