17 Days of Benny – Day 3

Day 3 – Month 3

By 3 months we were calling Benny ‘the dude’.  He was still smiling non stop, not really crying and stunned me by rolling over at his 10 week appointment in the doctors office.  We had some set backs too though.  He had been found to have a slight torticolus (where his neck is stronger on one side than the other) and twitch to his foot that sent us to UMASS for an EEG.  All turned out well, but Sandy always said that Benny was the one that would keep us guessing.

He spent lots of time outdoors with Darcy and I that summer and logged many miles in the stroller as I got ready for the 3 Day.  Parker followed me along the 60 mile route with both kids.  Benny was around 10 weeks old and thank goodness that he was a good nurser because I was able to make through the walk with quick nursing breaks.

During this time we also took our first (as a family of 4) camping trip with Tara and her family.  Yes, we slept in a tent and it was like hedonism with all of the naked kids running around.  We went swimming in the lake and brought Benny in, who didn’t protest, but seemed to enjoy the cooler water.  He was still our super chill dude.

At about this time his mohawk was in full effect too.  Both of our children seemed to have the most unruly hair!

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17 Days of Benny – Day 2

Day 2:  Month 2

Benny was born at the perfect part of the summer.  I was so lucky to be able to enjoy time off with both children and be able to be outdoors.  In Benny’s second month of life he was able to enjoy his first circus, Fourth of July and his first Father’s Day.  For Father’s Day we traveled down to Long Island with my sister’s family so that Benny could meet my father and my other sister.

At that point, Benny was putting on the weight and was a fantastic sleeper.  We hit some record heat days in his second month of life, but he was still as chill as ever.  Darcy was born with so much piss and vinegar that Benny was a breath of fresh air.

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17 Days of Benny – Day 1

Similar to my ‘Capture your Grief’ project back in October, I’ve decided to spend 17 days focusing on Benny’s life instead of his death.  When he passed he was 17 months old and his birthday is May 17th, so how fitting.  Each day will chronicle a month of his life.  It’s time to write this down before it becomes all muddled with my pregnancy brain.

Day 1:

Benny was born in the early morning hours of May 17th, 2012.  I’m not sure who was more surprised, Parker or I at the fact that we had a little boy.  I think I was more surprised at his wispy blond hair and how much he looked like his sister and me.  He weighed in at 7lbs. 13oz. and was 21.5″ long.

Benny was a disaster in the hospital.  He had a really tough time with colostrum and was spitting it up as soon as I was able to give it to him.  We had to change him almost hourly.  It was a little frightening, but once my milk came in he ate like a champ and had no problems putting on weight.

Darcy was the first to meet him and was only 3 1/2 at the time.  I can’t even wrap my head around her being so young.  She held him like a champ and was super excited once we came home.  That all changed pretty quickly once she realized that she wasn’t the ‘main event’ anymore.  She had some jealousy, but never took it out on Bennett, but rather me.  I did prefer this, but goodness it was tough.

I remember most about those first few days was Benny’s smile.  The night we came home from the hospital the little guy gave me his first smile.  And this wasn’t just a partial, but a full on smile with dimples.  I was shocked.  Darcy made us wait 10 whole weeks and here was Bennett just giving them away!  He also never cried.  When he was hungry he would make what we lovingly called ‘baby noises.’

He was possibly the most laid back baby.  Maybe it was because I was more of a laid back momma and this was child #2.  We just felt so lucky to have such a chill little dude.2012-05-17_07-39-12_649 2012-05-17_14-15-42_84

Year Two Reflections – Seasons

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A year ago I was dreading Spring.  I was quite happy to hibernate indoors.  I didn’t want to be reminded of rebirth and growth and new life.  I suppose that I still don’t.

Although, this year I’m excited to get outdoors.  I want to breathe in fresh cut grass and dig in the Earth.  Maybe it was the endless snow, maybe it’s the new street out front of our house, perhaps it’s looking forward to gardening that has me so excited.

Last fall I was told to plant garlic in my garden and it would bloom in the spring. (Thanks for the tip Katie!)  I was so depressed after gardening season that this seemed like a great idea.  Darcy started back at school and life happened and well, I never got around to it and I regretted it.  About a month ago, I noticed the garlic cloves that I had purchased were growing on their own in my pantry.  I’ve since potted them and now they’re thriving!

A sign of my little man taking care of things for me once again.  A sign he’s never gone, never will be gone.  I can’t wait to plant these in his garden.

Sibling Addition & Subtraction

When Darcy was three and a half (almost to the day) we welcomed Benny into the world.  Darcy was so excited to have a sibling, not sure about the brother part, but nonetheless a little person to call her own.  At three and a half she was super helpful, getting me diapers, wipes, grabbing me stuff while he was nursing and fending more for herself.  She truly doted on Bennett and was a loving and caring older sister.

But she was still only three and a half.  She was still too young to voice her emotions and how this new baby had affected her place in our family.  Because I was the youngest child in my family, I never went through this transition.  The night terrors that had disappeared started up again, so Parker was up with Darcy while I was up with Benny.  She started giving me a very hard time because I was home on maternity leave with her and Benny throughout the summer.  She became physical a few times, hitting, biting, which is not like her at all.  She was a frustrated and jealous three and a half year old and expressed it in the only ways she knew how at the time.  She very rarely took anything out on Benny, mostly on me or Parker.  I think most kids go though an emotional time when a new sibling is born.  It’s normal.

We finally got into a groove and she was able to adapt.  As Bennett grew older, they played together all of the time.  She was the most patient big sister and he rewarded her with his antics that she laughed at.  They rarely fought and got along extremely well for siblings.  Yes, she tried to control him, mother him, smother him sometimes with affection and rules, but their relationship was one to be envious of.  I rarely had to break up a fight.  She was happy to share her toys with him and play with him all of the time.  She would distract him when I needed to pull something out of the oven.  She was an incredible big sister, she was born to nurture others.  I’ve never seen two closer siblings.

I now have an almost six and a half year old that has known the emotions that come with accepting a new sibling into their lives and then losing them.  I’ve written previously about Darcy’s behavior issues, night terrors and therapy and what an incredible turn around this little girl has made.  She is incredibly strong to have made it where she is today as a child.  I am so proud to call this little lady my daughter.  She is bright, out-going, kind, nurturing and able to own her emotions.  It’s been a long road with a lot of work over the past year and a half, but we’ve all grown as a family.

Fast forward to present time.  The night terrors have started.  The behaviors are ramping up at school (a little) and at home.  She is beginning to display her emotions through her behaviors again and not her words.  This was easy to watch when she was younger, but she’s going into second grade next year.  We just started back to monthly therapy.  The first session we went to she was over the top, interrupting, asking tons of questions, trying to run the appointment so that she wouldn’t have to talk about her feelings.  Her therapist even said at one point, ‘sheesh I haven’t seen you in a few months and I think you’ve forgotten how to talk about your feelings.’  I can feel the regression going on.

I don’t know if it’s the time of year, because this happened last May before Benny’s birthday too.  I have a feeling that she’s struggling big time with the whole new baby, but can’t quite figure out yet how it’s affecting her.  I have a child that went from only child, to having and loving a sibling, to only child and now she’s going to have a sibling again.  I know that she’s older and the transition to sibling should be easier, but she doesn’t trust it.  She actually said to me the other day that she hopes that the new baby doesn’t die too.  I tried to explain that what happened to Benny was a freak accident and that it wouldn’t happen again, but I make no promises.  I told her that I was pretty sure her brother Fletcher would grow old with her.  She’s going through so much of the same feelings as I am.  I just want to bubble wrap this little guy to make sure that nothing EVER happens.  The difference is that I’m 35 and she’s 6.

It’s making me crazy that she’s going through this.  That she’s scared to love Fletcher because of what might happen.  That she can’t express herself because she’s too young to truly understand much of it anyway.  No child should have to go through this ever.  I’m angry.  I’m sad.  I want so much more for my daughter.  She will never just be Darcy again, she will always be the little girl who’s brother died.