Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ben at 16 months

Ben turned sixteen months old on Monday. Looking back at some of his photos from a year ago, it's hard to reconcile that tiny, mostly-bald baby with our big, independent, chatty boy with his thick head of hair! He is talking up a storm with some recognizable words & word approximations and lots of baby chatter. We read Going On A Bear Hunt tonight and he surprised us by chiming in on some of the repeated "uh ohs!" It is one of his favorite words. We are also working on adding "please" to his mealtime requests for "more," which he both says and signs more and more clearly. When we look at books or just go around the house, he points to things, sometimes saying something that's probably his early version of "what's that?" We generally don't watch any kids' TV shows, but he loves watching funny kitty/puppy videos and Sesame Street and drum corps videos on YouTube. There might be a Drum Corps International show in the area this summer, but I'm not sure if live drum corps would be too overstimulating for him at this age. It's definitely something I'm looking forward to taking him to in the future! They are always a good spectacle.

My parents flew to KC to take care of Ben a few weekends ago while Dave was accompanying me to a regional music therapy conference in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The conference was at Colorado State and we got to stay with Herb's cousin Mercy & her husband Ken, who is a retired history prof at CSU. My presentation with my co-worker went well and I attended several good sessions. Dave got to see more of the beautiful scenery than I did, but took lots of pictures of the Rockies for me. I didn't have enough free time to see Estes Park or the Rocky Mtn. National Park this time, but Ken & Mercy drove us around the pretty Horsetooth Reservoir and Dave and I wandered around Old Town on a few afternoons, sampling some of Ft. Collins' wonderful food! There were so many interesting restaurants that it was hard to choose. I also got to reconnect with an early childhood specialists who was one of my close co-workers at Columbus (now Nationwide) Children's Hospital. She now lives east of Ft. Collins and we had a great lunch together and talked a lot!

Ben & his Grammie & Grandpa had a great time at home while we were away. They played outside, read a lot of books (or, more likely with Ben, a few books over and over!) and probably had a lot of hugs and cuddles.

As Ben & our friends' kids had such a good time at Paradise Park, we decided to try a similar kids' attraction, Wonderscope in Shawnee, KS this Sunday. Ben slept in late, refused to take his morning nap, and as they label it at daycare, was "sensitive" for part of the afternoon. He did warm up eventually and have fun exploring the different areas as long as we were nearby.

It took a few minutes of modeling for him to figure out exactly what the awesome car ramp was for in the toddler room. It also took a lot of distraction so he would stop paying attention to the dirty toys & cars in the fenced-in closet behind him!

He loved exploring the texture wall.

There was a room partially sponsored by the Women in Engineering Society (I'm sure Heather or Sarah can correct me if that's not the correct title!) with various exhibits/experiments using golf balls to explore energy. Ben liked watching the balls go down a loop-the-loop track, try to toss one into a spinning pail, and spiral down the funnel-shaped thing pictured below. His feet did kind of get in the way of the ball's biggest path, but it was the best way for him to see what was going on and get involved!

We ended the day in the water play room. I think we're just going to have to buy the boy a full-body wet suit for the next time we come here, because he always ends up soaked, even with the aprons! Thankfully, learning from our Paradise Park experience, we not only brought a change of clothes but also remembered dry socks & shoes. Next time we'll bring a towel as well!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Pictures

The weather has cooled down a little and we had a lovely day to go to the kite festival Saturday. We went last year but Ben really was too young to think much of it. We met up with a friend from work & her husband, and then ran into another friend from work, her husband & son on our way in! Ben loved watching all the people and the kites as we picnicked. He even crawled out onto the grass on his own! He is getting better at walking on the uneven grass, holding one hand of an adult, but also stood by himself for a few seconds a couple of times and took one step yesterday! We think he could walk any time he puts his mind to it and decides it's better than crawling or being carried.

They had to cordon off an area near us later in the afternoon because a poor bird was flying around, freaking out and squealing as the kites and people got too near her little nest. It was really the saddest sound! I can't imagine what her little bird mind thought of the giant, colorful flying creatures dive-bombing her eggs!

Ben still loves babbling and yelling into his drums, bowls, Tupperware, hats, anything! He was having a very musical evening Saturday, drumming, playing his xylophone, and chattering into his drum. He has been really chatty this weekend and has been saying "baby" and "puppy" and working on "please" with lots of prompting.

Tonight Ben finally decided that he could use the piano stool as intended. Yesterday I was trying to model that and he just kept sitting on his drum and drumming on the stool! He was quite focused on playing tonight and would hit the keys again if Dave signed "more music."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Today was kind of a fussy teething day for Ben. Poor thing is busting out another molar and was a little out of sorts unless it was mealtime. He & I did some laps through the halls of church when he got too wiggly to sit in the pew. Thankfully, he was all smiles at dinner with the family!

We had a nice, simple Easter basket for him, filled with his favorites - yogurt drops, fruit/veggie puffs, and goldfish, which thrilled him. His grandma & Opa also gave him an Itsy Bitsy Spider book that plays music and a yummy fudge egg with his name on it from Laura Little's.  As we don't want him to get any cavities, we'll be taking care of that egg for him! Ben was also thrilled with his $1 Target bowl that served as his Easter basket. We didn't get around to dyeing or hiding eggs this year, but look forward to doing it next year.

He was pretty squirmy so these are the best pictures we could get of his cute Easter outfit. We had to pop open one of the containers of sweet potato puffs to get him to pause for a few seconds.

We hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Enjoying the nice weather

It was a pretty afternoon again today, though at times a little windy. We went outside for Ben's afternoon snack & some play time with bubbles & a beach ball. Ben's still not sure about the grass. He let us sit him on a blanket in the grass today, then walk with help, then sit down in it, but he looked very uncertain about the sitting and refused to try crawling in it! We managed to capture some very goofy facial expressions today too!

Playing "roll the ball" is fun...

 but not as interesting as investigating Daddy's shoes.