Mid September through November 2013 seems like a blur. We got into the routine of school for Darcy, I was working part time and things were picking up at the shop for Parker. We were constantly going. Darcy was enrolled in dance on Monday nights, so Benny would accompany us and I would chase him around while Darcy danced.
Parker and I were gearing up to host the second Open House at the shop and had our hands full. The kids were involved in every aspect of it, cleaning the shop, getting stuff ready, etc. Of course Darcy was definitely more helpful than Benny. The day of the event, Benny owned it. He was walking around the cars, shaking peoples hands, he just wanted to be involved. He was my old soul.
We celebrated Benny’s second Halloween and he went around the neighborhood with us and the neighbors. He started out in the wagon, but wanted to be with the big kids, so of course, he ended up walking with us. It was a fantastic night and our last holiday as a family of 4.
Benny turned 17 months on October 17th. He was 9 days shy of being 18 months when the accident happened. Looking through all of these pictures and memories has been hard, but so truly amazing. I don’t like that the pictures stop. I know that he was only 17 months old, but my goodness it was a very busy 17+ months! He fit a lot of life and a lot joy into those months. He made our lives a crazy, chaotic place, one that I miss terribly. It’s too quiet now, there’s less laughter and noise. Darcy’s growing pains through all of this has been agonizing to watch. Trying to grieve alongside your spouse who is handling it differently has been hard. It’s amazing to me when I look back now how different life is in this aftermath. I miss my little man every single day.
There were lot’s of changes in our life come the September of 2013. Darcy had started Kindagarten at the end of August and was going 5 days a week. This was a big change for Benny and I because we were used to Darcy being home with us. All of a sudden he was bored with me. It was a tough transition for both of us because I was used to depending upon Darcy to help out too. We were missing her something fierce. It was the most amount of time that I had ever spent away from Darcy and it was really tough. We found that if we ran errands during the day, it kept us busy until it was time to pick Darcy up from school.
Benny would come with me to Darcy’s school when I dropped her off and picked her up. He would climb the stone wall and hold my hand and watch the big kids. The days that he was Sandy’s, I would pick him up on my way home and swing by the shop to get Darcy. Of course once we got there he wanted to get into every car and ‘drive.’ He took tools that were lying around that we would have to fight him for. Once he grabbed keys from Parker’s desk to try to unlock a door. He was so clever and never missed a beat.
His vocabulary was substantial for a child his age and so were his motor skills. He loved playing with toy cars and ‘vrooming’ them around. He never bothered with dolls or really any of Darcy’s ‘girly’ toys. This kid was all boy.
We also cut his hair for the first time. I just came across his beautiful blonde locks the other day in his bedroom digging through the baby stuff. Sandy had had it with me and started clipping his hair up and it was time. He just sat there as I trimmed and let me do my thing. I tried to keep the curls in the back and the front short, but once he started rocking a mullet, the curls had to go too. God I miss that hair.
By late July, early August we had settled into our summer routine. Darcy was still in Pre-K and Benny was Sandy’s a few days a week. We had had a very busy summer, like all of them seem to be.
At the end of July, Tara and I participated in the SGK 3 Day walk. The boys were left to fend for themselves with the four kids and trying to following us on the route. Tara and I had an amazing time on the walk enjoying the silence and the ability to carry on a fully uninterrupted conversation. The best part of the weekend is when the boys and kids met up with us on the Boston Common and walked with us for a bit. Benny was our little cheerleader!
In the middle of August we were able to escape up to Vermont for a few days to a friends house. We left on a Thursday afternoon and figured that the kids would fall asleep on the ride up. Bad idea. Benny resisted almost the whole way. By the time we got up there, set up the pack and play, he was all disjointed and wouldn’t go down. After an hour of rocking and laying with him, I finally brought him to bed with Parker and I. At this point it was nearly 1 AM. He was rolling around, talking to us, touching us and just being his crazy self. At one point he stood up and started dancing. Parker and I just looked at each other and laughed. What to do with this crazy child??
We visited the Stowe car show, went out to eat and played outside with the kids for hours. It was a great family vacation and one that I’m so thankful for.
Perhaps I need to finish my ’17 days of Benny’ blogging before the new dude will come. I need to get it all down before I start mixing everything up. It’s hard enough to differentiate what baby did what with just Darcy and Benny.
Day 14 – Month 14:
We did so many fun things as a family during the summer of 2013. The kids and I spent numerous hours outdoors in the backyard, taking walks and playing with the neighbors. Parker was traveling for a week in June, so it was just me and the kids and of course, Murphy’s law, everything went wrong. The basement flooded, the freezer stopped working and I think one of the cars died. We still had fun though going to the Holden pool with Benny in his pink life preserver, the library and playing outdoors. We certainly kept busy.
For the Fourth of July we went down to Plymouth for the fireworks with Tara and family. The house was on a lake and the kids spent time swimming (or floating in Benny’s case). We had pizza by the water and stayed up super late with the kiddos to watch the fireworks. They were so well behaved and I remember Benny playing with Ice from the coolers to keep busy. They loved the fireworks and I’m so glad that we kept him awake to see them. It was a fantastic day.
Benny was running around at this point, wreaking havoc. The messes that this kid created! He was so much work to chase around. He was a climber too, climbing up the small slide in the backyard and going down with little help. While Darcy was amused by him, the animals were not so much. Bailey pretty much stayed away, where as Toby has no common sense and would keep thinking that Benny was a safe bet.
By the time Benny was 13 months old he was giving us a full on run for our money. He was completely mobile, standing, walking, it was like it all happened overnight. He was constantly climbing everything and anything that he could. He spent so much of his time trying to be like the big kids. His vocabulary was incredible for such a young guy. We tried signing, but he refused. We’re pretty sure that his first word was either ‘cat’ or ‘that’. It was hard to tell and he always pointed. Of course he said ‘Darc’ all of the time. He was a comedian and enjoyed entertaining all of us. It was so hard to get mad at him because he was so amusing.
Benny turned one on May 17, 2004. We enjoyed our day as a family and Benny got to have his first taste of ice cream cake, judging by the pictures, it was very much enjoyed!
He has a sweet tooth like Mamma. Parker, Darcy and I sat around laughing at the dude as he covered every inch of his face with cake.
The next day we had friends and family over for his party. Benny was overwhelmed with the amount of people and not at all in the mood. For such a social guy, he was clinging to Parker, Tara, Sandy and I. We did have a bounce house, which he loved, so that took some of the edge off. It was a beautiful, over the top day and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was the only birthday that we got to celebrate with our little guy and I will never forget it.
So many things happened in Benny’s 11th month! He crawled, stood and walked-all in one day! Leave it to him to pull a fast one on us. He went from creeping to fully mobile overnight. The kid was a handful and I was starting to realize that he was going to be so much more work than Darcy as a toddler.
Darcy was definitely less willing to try new things like climbing, walking, etc. She was always more concerned with the environment around her. Benny on the other hand was ready to run out and conquer the world. The kid was a beast with an outgoing personality, ready to do everything his big sister was doing. Yet, he was so loving and snuggly.
We celebrated Benny’s first Easter when he was 11 months old too. He had an ear infection and was miserable, and teeth popping in everywhere, but entertained by his big sister and older cousins. It was a great day.
By 10 months Benny was on the move! He was creeping all over the floor, cruising around in his walker and pretty much becoming a challenge. He was into everything!
Parker and I went away for a weekend ski trip with my company and Benny had his first baby-sitters, my cousin and her boyfriend. My easy going, pretty go with the flow dude was not happy to be away from Mom or Dad for 2 days and gave my poor cousin a run for her money. Darcy tried her best to help out, but Benny wasn’t having it. That’s when I first started to notice what a Momma’s boy my little man was.
Where Darcy didn’t cuddle until around 2, Benny was a little snuggle bug and would settle down each night with his paci, blanket and book and relax his little body into mine as we read and cuddled. When he was tired, he was more than happy to be in your arms calming down. For someone with so much energy, he certainly calmed down and fell right asleep, just like Parker.
In the morning, when he would wake up, he would let us know. Darcy was always happy to play with stuff in her crib and chat away for at least 45 minutes. Benny would whine the second his eyes opened. He would also just lay there and wait for you. He finally started sitting up and pulling up in his crib around this time. Still wasn’t happy to be alone and needed to be picked up or entertained by his big sister in his room. It was amazing to us how different he and Darcy truly were.
In true fashion, things in my life have become crazy and I’ve fallen behind. Maybe my life hasn’t changed as much as I thought. I do have to say though, it didn’t stress me out like usual. I know that I am still honoring my son and the fact that I didn’t finish my ’17 Days’ posts by his birthday has somewhat rolled off my shoulders. It is what it is and now it’s time to play catch up.
Day 9 – Month 9
By 9 months we were in the depths of winter and enjoying some lovely New England blizzards. We enjoyed sledding with our neighbors and many play dates to try to keep the kids busy. Being cooped up indoors we had to find new and interesting ways to keep busy.
We borrowed Tara’s walker and Benny started using it to cruise around the house. He was still in the exersaucer and the johnny jumper, but this kid wanted freedom! He took to the walker quickly and in short order he was chasing everyone around the house (much to the poor dogs dismay). We never used a walker with Darcy and it was quite funny with Benny. He would run, run, run and then lift his little feet and glide across the room.
This also meant that he able to reach lot’s of fun and new places. We found ourselves baby proofing stuff that Darcy never even dreamed of going after as a little one. Yet again, he challenged our parenting. This is when we really began to see how much he was paying attention to everything that we did and mimicked us. We also began to notice the difference between raising boys and girls.
I think I have been avoiding this one because day 8 would mean that it was May 8th and May 8th would mean that Benny has been gone for 18 months, longer than he was here. A very wise friend recently pointed out that I did carry him for 9 months and he was a part of our lives then too, so maybe May 8th isn’t as awful as I once thought. I won’t even do the math to add on 9 months.
In any case, Benny’s eighth month was December-January and what a fun time it was! He got to celebrate his first Christmas, we traveled to CT and Long Island to see family and celebrate, we were able to go sledding with our neighbors and enjoy his first New Year’s!