Tuesday, January 01, 2008

For Ben, Age Two

Ben dear. You turn two tomorrow. I'm amazed by you every day.

Over the past year, you have learned to walk better and to run really fast. You've learned to jump and turn somersaults. You've learned how to make squiggles with crayons and how to undress yourself.

All of those things are great, but they aren't what make you so dear to my heart. It's the way you run up to me and wrap your arms around my neck and kiss my cheek when you have an owwie. It's the way you sing with me and dance with me and cuddle with me. It's the way you jump with pleasure after sliding down your "wheeee!" slide. It's the way you say "George" and "Doggie" in the morning as you look forward to watching your favorite programs.

I love how much you love your little sister. I love how you play with her and entertain her and show her love. I was worried about bringing her home because I didn't want you to feel that I loved you less. I hope you will always know that she doesn't take any part of my heart that was yours to begin with. I'm your mama, and I always will be.

This past year, you've had to adjust to not going to daycare anymore. It was just you and me for a while, and I loved having that alone time with you. I loved taking you for walks on your bike around the block, even though I grew too big with your little sister inside me to do it after awhile. I loved reading to you and showing you how to draw and how to play with play-doh. I've loved letting you help me do chores around the house; you sweep very well, and you are good at wiping up messes off of the floor.

I could go on and on about all the little things you did when you were one years old. I won't, though. I'll just tell you now how much I'm looking forward to watching you grow and learn and love during the time that you are two years old. It will be a terrific year, I'm sure.

August 2007. You loved the freedom of running around the yard at Nana and Papa's house in Minocqua. You can't quite tell from this picture, but it was your first sprinkler experience. That's why you were making the funny face.

Late July 2007. There's not much better to do on a hot summer day than splash with your favorite friend in a pool in the backyard. You loved your play dates with your buddy Luke, the son of my dear friend Katie. I wonder who started splashing first... knowing you, it was probably your idea. You were always so great at splashing.

July 2007. We had a nice time at the Schofield Fun Days in a nearby town. Put on by the fire department, we went to listen to the live music, pet the animals at the petting zoo and eat some fair food. You were thrilled to play in your first sandbox, which they had created out of the sand volleyball court on the grounds. We let you get so good and dirty. Such fun!

July 2007. I lost track of how many times we went to Scholfield Park, just a mile from our house. You were so brave to go down the slide on your own. You never needed help climbing up to get there, and when you got to the top, you yelled "Wheee!" all the way down.

July 2007. We loved pushing that swing over and over again. When you'd get close to us, we'd tickle you behind the knees, and you'd shriek with laughter.

February 2007. You loved dragging things around our new house, and you loved the Thomas shoes you are wearing in this picture. When I look at this picture, though, I'm reminded of how absolutely wonderful your hair was before we finally did the buzz cut. Your hair was perpetually sticking straight up. Since it was winter, people assumed it was static, but no, it was naturally like that. A cowlick. I miss that.

February 2007. This picture illustrates your natural enthusiasm for life and your willingness to smile for pictures. I love these chubby cheeks. You can see the handle of your corn popper. We bought that in January, and you played with it constantly for months.

We had so much fun at your first birthday party. By the time we got to the cake, we were all tired, especially you. I remember smiling at the dazed look in your eyes as you tried desperately to enjoy your cake. We had to shove your hand in it to get you started.