Monday, June 29, 2009

Four Ben Stories

Here are some recent musings from the world of Benjamin:

Benjamin isn't the world's most proper dinner companion but Wally and I are working very hard on changing this situation. In fact, recently, we sent him to his room and ordered him not to come out until he was ready to finish his supper. About five minutes later, he was calling for Wally at the edge of the steps. Wally went to the foot of the staircase and asked, "are you ready to come down?" He said that he was ready. Wally then asked if he was ready to finish his dinner. Benjamin then said, "no, I will stay in my room." With that statement, Ben turned around headed back to his room and slammed the door. So much for standing our ground.

Let me take you back to the dinner table but another night when Benjamin was being agreeable. We were having Chinese and he was enjoying his Lo Mein immensely. At the time, I was dipping an egg roll into duck sauce. He asked me, "what is that." I told him duck sauce. He made a face and I told him to try it. Wally then compared it to a dipping sauce like ketchup. Ben then agreed to try it. Cautiously, he took the Chinese noodle in his hand and stuck his tongue out ever so gently and dabbed it on the noodle. With a contorted face, and Mom expecting the often heard "I don't like", he said, "I like it. Maybe I can put it on a chicken nugget?" Note to self: get more duck sauce.

When watching Ben enjoying riding Lightening McQueen in our backyard, my Mom decided she wanted an electric ride-on toy for by her house. My brother, Uncle John, agreed to get this for Benjamin to play with while at Grandma's and Poppa's house. Last week, they all went to the toy store to pick out a new toy. As my brother and mother tried to sway him towards the Jeep, Benjamin caught site of a Cadillac. He asked Uncle John to bring it down so he could get a more thorough inspection of the Escalade. As Uncle John brought it to the floor, Ben began to hug the car and said, "Uncle John I don't want a Jeep. I want a Cadillac! You get this for me?" Oh my young son, I have taught you well. A Cadillac with a real working radio is much better than a Jeep any day of the week.

My Mom just told me this story. Benjamin and Grandma went to the zoo where a peacock proceeded to follow Ben out to the parking lot as they were leaving. Benjamin turned to my Mom and said, "Grandma the peacock wants to come home with me. Can we bring him home?" My Mom said, "Ben I would have to call your parents and ask." I didn't get a call but unfortunately the answer is no Ben --- Bruin wouldn't be okay with it and he has the veto power when bringing any new animals into the house.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking A Back Seat

While I was pregnant, my brother said to me, "do you know what you are doing here?" I wasn't sure what he meant. He went on to explain that by having a child and bringing my parents the long-awaited grandchild we (my brother and myself) would soon be taking the back seat in our parents' lives. My brother especially noted this theory with our Dad. At the time, it was something I never really considered and knowing the relationship I had with my Dad I thought that wouldn't be possible. Enter Benjamin Joseph Kamienski, the boy who made my Dad a Poppa.
Since I was the one that stole my Dad's heart from my Mom, I guess it is only fair that my son be the one to steal my Dad's heart from me. When we (my Dad and me) are teaming up against my Mom, she can often be heard telling the story of how on the day I was brought home my Dad left her in the rain and tended to me first. Yes, there was a new boss in town. However, just like my Mom I didn't mind taking a back seat.

You see my Dad has a very rare gift. He has the rare gift of loving someone completely, forever. Even when you aren't in his presence, you can feel his love. My Dad worked a lot when I was growing up but I never, not even for a moment, didn't know I was surrounded by my Dad's love. While he wasn't present for every little bit in my life, he was there when it mattered the most and he wasn't half there he was whole there. He was the one person that cheered the loudest when I performed on stage for all those year's of my life. He was the one that hugged me the hardest and longest the day I graduated college.
So you see, it doesn't matter that my status has been downgraded. I have selfishly had my Dad's love for so many years that is only fair that this great gift be shared with my son. Because before it was all about the happiness I felt from my Dad's love to me, now it is about the happiness I feel when I see the joy that Benjamin brings to my Dad. I never really knew how I could ever repay my Dad for all that he has given to me. Now I realize how simple it really is.
My Dad has told my Mom, how he didn't think his heart could love anymore than it did before Benjamin came into his life. I did. I know my Dad's heart inside and out and it is the biggest heart I know. Happy Father's Day Dad -- loving the view from the back seat.

Bringing Joy Into Our Lives

It may sound cliche but one of the main reasons I fell in love with Wally is that he makes me laugh. If you are looking to have fun, there is no better person on earth (in my humble opinion) to have a good time with than my husband. And it is this reason (and yes many others), that I love the type of Dad Wally is to Benjamin.
While I am the uptight, "don't do that Benjamin" parent, Wally is laid back soul that brings laughter into Benjamin's life. When I am in another part of the house and I hear their chuckles through the hallways, it puts the biggest smile on my face. Wally has helped make Benjamin a lovable kid -- the best (once again in my humble opinion). It gives me my greatest joy when someone approaches me to tell me, "boy your son is just such a happy kid." When I hear that, I have no further to look than my husband.
As a Dad to Benjamin, Wally shows Benjamin all the joy that life can bring. Even in the mundane like taking a bath, Wally makes Benjamin's days an adventure worth having. Like the other day, I sat back while all 6'5" of Wally hunched over to push Benjamin in a Tonka dump truck in circles, at top speeds, around our yard. Squeals of laughter could be heard from down the block. Benjamin demanded more and more and more. And Wally didn't stop, he just kept on pushing with the biggest grin on his face. And that my friends is the type of Dad Wally is and always will be - he's the guy that won't stop pushing the Tonka truck no matter how bad his back feels because it makes his son happy.
Thank you for bringing the laughter into this family's life. I am blessed to call you the father of our son. How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

YUCK! Mud! What's A Girly Mom To Do?

I love my son more than life itself. I would do anything for him. And yes, I would stand in front of moving bus to save his life without hesitation. However, I don't like mud. You can throw in the dry stuff too - dirt - I don't like that much either. The problem is Benjamin LOVES dirt and mud. If I let him, he would spend all day with a few trucks and a pile of dirt. I try to discourage this practice as much as I can but I can't keep the child away from his passion.

While most thought I was better suited to raise a girl, my now amateur palaeontologist and construction connoisseur status have changed many a mind. Instead of playing with Barbies and having tea parties, my days are spent reading books about bugs and watching Disney's Cars. I love all things boy but I can't get over the dirt thing. Why the obsession with dirt boys?

Don't get me wrong I get right in there and play in the pile of yuck, but not as much as I get into playing with toys that are clean like plastic gorillas and plush dogs.

Why do I hate dirt? Here are my top reasons:
  • Dirt under the nails (impossible to remove from a 2 year old's fingernails)
  • Dirty toys (that Benjamin then insists on bringing in the house that I have to clean in the tub that also gets dirty)
  • Dirty clothes/shoes (not only his but mine - so many clothes/shoes ruined - I hate dirty shoelaces)
  • Dirty dog (eventually Bruin gets in on the act and inevitable the dirt ends up in our bed)
  • Dirty floors (the absolute worst - it seems I am cleaning the floors every single day - reason #54 why Jennifer needs a maid)

Why do I tolerate this? Why do I live with the dirt? The dirty truth is that I can't resist that face (even when it is full of dirt)!

The End Of Innocence (originally posted on NJ Moms Blog)

I recently tackled a tough topic for me about the mortality of parents:

Do you remember the moment when you realized your parents wouldn't live forever?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Number 2 is #1

This past Wednesday, Benjamin reached a milestone event in his life. He went on the potty all by himself. The past 2 months or so, we have observed Ben as he would quietly walk into the next room after dinner or stand silently near his train table shortly after breakfast. While we knew what he was upto and would ask him if he wanted to go on the potty, his response would almost always be "Don't see me, Daddy" or "Don't see me, Baba". When asking him if he wanted to use the potty, we would always get a big "Noooooo!". All that changed this week.

Having spent the day with Ben while working from home and having some extra work to catch up on, it was boys-night-only as Jenn was over by her parents wishing Uncle Bill farewell on his return to California. When I spied Ben casually walking into the dining room, I asked him where he was going. He said "Don't see me, Dad" so I countered with "Would you like to go on the potty?". To my stunned amazement, he said yes. But there were conditions. "Can I bring my trucks with me? he asked. I said of course you bring your bring your trucks and helped him gather 4 small-sized, yellow Tonka bulldozer, pay loader, dump truck and digger, I recall.

By the way, the reason I also say "Of course"to his any requests nowadays is to simply hear his parroting return "Of couusse" which sounds so sweet that I love just to hear it everytime. But that's another story.

Back to the matter at hand. Ben, holding his four trucks in his tiny lap and hands, was removed of his shorts and 'diapy' and seated on the mini-Diego throne which is situated in the near corner of the downstairs bath between the tub and inside wall. "Don't see me, Dad" was instructed and I obeyed by leaving the washroom, closing the door and letting our little man have some quality time.

I could him talking to his trucks and then minutes later, bowled out the door and exclaimed "I did it!" The evidence was clear and undeniable. He did it. I was proud as a Dad could be. Since then, he has done it again each night and we are on way to Pull ups and big boy underwear. Way to go, Ben! Number 2 is #1.

It's Back...Four Ben Stories

After a short hiatus, every one's favorite storytime is back (or at least that's what people tell me):

Friday I had to work from home. To occupy Ben's time while I went through my emails, I put on a Max & Ruby DVD. About 10 minutes into the cartoon and checking emails, Ben came into the office. I asked him, "don't you want to watch Max & Ruby?" He looked at me and said, "no, I want to watch you." Note to my boss: Not sure how much work I can get done after that statement.

To add a little ambiance to the evening, Wally played some music outside while we ate dinner. After dinner was over, Benjamin wanted to get his groove thing on and started to dance in circles. I asked him to, "shake his moneymaker!" I then showed him how to shake it and not break it. He thought this was the best thing in the world and couldn't stop asking others to join in his dance party including Bruin (who he felt didn't get the concept). In the car the other day while listening to Usher, I asked him to shake his moneymaker. He said, "I don't want to shake my moneymaker." He then looked out the window and wouldn't talk to me the rest of the car ride. I guess you can't force the moneymaker.

Benjamin and I were getting ready to head out on a walk. When we got the driveway, I noticed a pile of scraps (wood shavings, paper, twigs, etc.) the birds had created underneath the basketball hoop. Ben turned to me and said, "what a mess! get the vacuum Ba Ba."

As Benjamin is getting older, I like to introduce new words into his vocabulary and with his excellent pronunciation (I didn't say it two speech pathologists did) I tend to push the limits. This time it was the word "pharmacy". I told Ben how we were going to the pharmacy to pick up cream for the rash on his arms. After picking up the cream and going about our day, later that night when I put the medicine on he said to me, "Mommy, we got the cream at the pharmacy." Maybe I should have introduced him to the word hydrocortisone, as well?