Friday, April 18, 2008

5 years ago - Benjamin

This is Benjamin's 1st Birthday!

Tuesday was Benjamins birthday. He's 5! Sometimes he acts 13 - not a good sign. On Monday night during Family Home Evening he told his dad that when he got up in the morning his birthday would be all set on the table - with presents and his cake - and Sarah would be so surprised. Well, this was news to me. I had planned on buying the stuff to make his cake while he was in school on Tuesday morning. So, not to disappoint, I ran to the store Monday night and stayed up making his cake and wrapping his presents. Now the cake was described in detail a few weeks before. "A yellow cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate pudding inside. With sprinkles on top and my name with frosting. That has to be orange, purple and blue - one color for each letter. And a cherry on top." Wow! Can a 5-year-old be any more detailed? And only one cherry. Anybody got a good use for a jar of maraschino cherries? So, everything was on the table as requested in the morning. He had to wait all day to enjoy it, though. Grammy and Papa, Susan and Stephen came over at 6:00 to celebrate. We only had 3 presents for him and he didn't feel deprived or anything! Why is it I always feel like they need a million things? A few weeks before his birthday he told me he wanted an "instripe longblaster". I had no idea what that was - figured he'd seen a commercial. After a few questions I assumed it was a nerf product. We looked online and found the "N-Strike Longshot" - a large plastic gun that shoots soft nerf darts. It's as big as he is! He kept saying all day that he knew what was in the big package. I'm glad he was right. We also got him some moon sand and another toy that shoots things. Grammy and Papa ate shredded wheat cereal for months to get him the knit Shrek cap that he wanted. We really enjoyed watching him and he's enjoyed his toys. So has dad - he wants to know which N-strike gun I'm going to get for him!

I can't believe it's been 5 years. I can remember every detail of the day he was born. I had been having contractions all day - but didn't know it! I thought they were Braxton Hicks - those had been plaguing me for a month. Plus it was still 2 weeks til my due date. Kannon said if I felt the same way the next day he probably wouldn't go to work. I scoffed and we went to bed. I would wake up all night with contractions - rub my belly and go back to sleep. Then my water broke. We called the hospital, got ready and drove over (only about 3 minutes away). After the nurse examined me, she called the other nurse over with a shock. The 2nd nurse confirmed that I was dilated to a 10 and they got the doctor there ASAP. But, Ben wasn't so quick to finish his journey. After pushing for an hour the doctor helped him by vacuuming his head. We were so excited! And it was a boy! We had kept that a surprise for us although Kannon was pretty sure. Now we have a child in our home. Not a baby or toddler anymore. A smart, adventurous, sweet, helpful, and still beautiful Boy! Our Benjamin!

Pink Dresses

Yesterday I found myself explaining to strangers why my daughter was wearing such a fancy pink dress. Some mornings Sarah wants to pick her own clothes (and she's only 22 months old!) She lets me know by saying "No" to the clothes I pick out. Some days when we go into the bedroom to get dressed she goes straight to the closet and says "dress". That's what she did yesterday. I picked her up and prepared to go through the routine. I pull out a dress and ask "this one?" She says no. To every dress. EXCEPT the really nice church ones. I usually say no to those and make her pick something else. Yesterday she wanted a pink dress and we only have two of those -they are the really fancy church dresses. It only took me a second to think and say yes. You see, I decided that sometimes it's okay to let your children wear, or do, things that we adults are so prone to say no to. Like letting Benjamin blow bubbles in his chocolate milk until they poured over the side. No harm done and he was totally willing to clean the mess up himself. Or letting Sarah eat spoonfuls (albeit babyspoon-fuls) of pudding I had left on the counter 1/2 an hour before dinner. Each bite was accompanied with "ummm, tasty". She was finished after only a few bites and I really don't think that can have affected her appetite for dinner. Or pulling Ben's sleeping bag out of the closet because that's what he wanted to take his nap on. In each instance a "NO" would have been met with "why"s and probably tears. My yes's avoided a lot of hurt feelings and didn't hurt them in any way. That's not to say they don't hear their share of no's, too. But, it really is all about picking your battles. And in each instance, as soon as I said yes, I no longer worried about that answer and just enjoyed the moment - even got out the camera. I know I'm not a perfect mother and more often than not I question if I'm raising my children right - if I'm worthy of this calling of mother. Since that question can't really be answered until they've grown I will have to have faith that they appreciate what I do for them now. So, yesterday Sarah wore one of her pretty, beaded, chiffon-like dresses. She ran errands with me in the morning; we went to the nursery to look at plants where she tripped and skinned her knee; she played in the yard with her brother and helped dad in the greasy garage. She had a great day and today I sprayed it with Spray'n'Wash and threw it in a gentle cycle. The dress looks exactly the same as it did when I took it out of the closet yesterday morning when my only daughter wanted to wear a pink dress. And even if the stains hadn't come out I would have no regrets about that decision. I want to be able to look back on my time as a mother and remember these moments. I hope they will too. That I wasn't too busy or lazy to spend some fun times with them or laugh with them as they do silly things.