Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Brother to Another

We haven't spent much time looking back, comparing Benjamin to Jasper. (We're just too busy ... and tired.) But, Drew started having a look the other night, and it got my wheels spinning. So here are some comparison shots of our boys at 6 months.


Jasper's couch shot

Benjamin's couch shot

Jasper falling over for his couch shot

Benjamin falling over for his couch shot

Jasper in the froggie onesie

Benjamin in the froggie onesie
(the only same outfit in which both boys are photographed in a similar position)

Jasper, highly animated about something
Benjamin also highly animated - I think just laughing at me.
Jasper doesn't think I'm nearly as funny.

You can draw your own conclusions, but it's clear to us that Benjamin is indeed bigger than Jasper at this point. (Yes, he's a chunk!!!) As infants, the boys looked identical, but now it's clear that they have their own distinct features. Benjamin's face is longer, and it's not obvious here but Benjamin's complexion is not as fair as Jasper. In going through all the photos of both boys, I found it interesting that Jasper seems to have more facial expression than Benjamin. Benjamin smiles allllll the time, but there isn't the range of expression that it seems Jasper has.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Heroes Celebration

The American Heroes Celebration Air Show was a dream come true for Jasper. The event features the everyday heroes that serve and protect us on a daily basis. As you know from previous posts, Jasper LOVES firetrucks, cars, motorcycles, ambulances, and trucks in general. Well, Jasper clearly knew where to start after we arrived.

At each truck, a member of the fire department was there to greet us. Each one loved Jasper's boots, and they enjoyed showing Jasper around their truck. I was impressed with their enthusiasm, and Jasper was eager to thank each one.

Jasper really likes to get close to the wheels.

His eagerness to see the ambulance is obvious.

After sitting in the driver's seat of the ambulance (a definite highlight of the day), we walked past more of the trucks and displays. Jasper is a very well behaved boy the majority of the time. On this day, he was great! He listened to me and to the fireman, and he was eager to see and do all that he could.

Another highlight of the event are the helicopters that fly in for the event. The weather didn't cooperate to have the helicopters arrive as scheduled. This created the opportunity for us to be close as the helicopters arrived. Jasper couldn't take his eyes of the helicopter as it circled the field and descended to land. I tried to anticipate where the second helicopter might land based upon the landing of the first, and it allowed us to be pretty close as the helicopter touched down.

The landing helicopter is from Austin Starflight. Without me saying anything, Jasper recognized it as an "air ambulance helicopter" just like in one of his books. After the rotors stopped spinning, the kids had the chance to climb inside.

Jasper recognized that this truck looked like an airport firetruck. In case you are curious, it was made by the same company as the airport firetruck in one of his books.

We then discovered the little fireman's obstacle course. The Austin Fire Department had setup a course that the kids could run with a real firemen. The events included hose hauling...

using a big hammer...

pulling a simulated kid to safety...

and using the fire hose.

It was really a small version of the Firefigher Combat Challenge. You can tell by the smile on Jasper's face that he enjoyed the event.

It was an impressively run event, and Jasper loved every minute of the adventure. He napped well that day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Puzzle Mania

Jasper loves puzzles. ... LOVES them! He devours new ones. It's clear he figures out where he should start - what element of the puzzle he should do first and how to expand from there. Then when he's finished putting it together, he generally breaks it apart and says "let's do it again!"

I brought a new puzzle home on Friday that he wanted to try out right away. It has Elmo and Ernie - Elmo in pajamas & slippers, brushing his teeth; Ernie in a bubble bath with his rubber duckie. He can identify all the Ernie pieces and put them together. Once he does that, he sometimes starts singing
rubber duckie, you're the one.
you make bathtime so much fun.
rubber duckie i'm awfully fond of you.

Remember the giant fire truck puzzle we gave Jasper for Christmas?

He can put it together on his own now. We don't have to help him at all. You have to be patient. You can't rush him. Given time, he'll get it done. It's really fun to watch & listen to him put it together. He talks to himself as he does it, identifying the pieces "let's do the wheels" or "here is the bumper."

I bought him a truck puzzle that I left for him as a present when I went to Michigan. That was at the beginning of April, and he can put that together on his own now, too. He likes having us work on it with him, but he doesn't need us. Here are some shots of Jasper and Drew working on the puzzle.

Oh yeah, he likes to celebrate small achievements, too.

Given the opportunity, Benjamin likes to work on the puzzles, too.

Jasper can recognize patterns really well. I need to keep finding new puzzles to challenge him. This is one of the latest ones (an Easter gift):
With this puzzle we've been teaching him about where people live. He easily locates Kalamazoo, Michigan; Akron, Ohio; Minnesota and Texas. Last week I told him who lives in Minnesota (Shivelys), and that is where the cabin is - where we ride in Papa's boat. This Sunday Papa called during dinner. They talked about a variety of topics (eating eggs, golfing), and out of the blue Jasper said "Papa, are we going to go to the cabin?" Drew and I were floored by the mental association he made.

This afternoon we worked on this puzzle, and I asked him what he wanted to start on. He said "the boats." There are three boats off the Atlantic coast, and he can find those pieces and get started from there. It is fascinating to watch him work on this puzzle and try to see what he sees. The brain works in such amazing ways!

Friday, April 24, 2009

6 months old !

Look at what a big boy he is.

What a difference 6 months makes! Within approximately one week of turning 6 months Benjamin (1) started sitting up steadily, (2) would roll over with ease: front-to-back and back-to-front and (3) stopped spitting up with great frequency and volume. It was rather amazing!

All the doctors say that a baby's esophageal sphincter muscle calms down and starts actually doing it's job (keeping food down) at 6 months time, but I just wondered if that would truly happen for Benjamin. I had told Drew some weeks ago that if Benjamin did not stop spitting up at 6 months I was going to be pretty down. But that is nearly behind us. A new day has dawned for our little guy, and we're thrilled at his advancements.

Because of his work schedule, Drew does not get to see much of Benjamin each day. But, Benjamin clearly knows who his daddy is and loves seeing him and spending time with him. Whenever Benjamin wakes up in the later evening, Drew first tries to console him and loves having chances to cuddle with him. We're losing our baby day by day. This is supposed to happen, but it's still hard.

He's tipping the scales at 20lbs, 3oz and running 27 inches tall. I don't know how to keep him in clothes. He's busting out of Jasper's old clothes, and anything less than 12month-sized clothes are too small. Soon he'll outgrown his car seat (at 22lbs), and he's in size 4 diapers. Size 4!

The foray into solid foods has begun with the introduction of rice & oatmeal cereal. He did not reject it out of hand like his older brother had, but we quickly determined that he likes it thick and warm. Anything too thin, and the mere process of getting his lips and tongue around the spoon would push the watery cereal out of his mouth. But he'd turn around and open wide like he wanted more. Ah, parenting ... it's such trial and error! We've got Benjamin going on both rice cereal and oatmeal cereal. Jasper loves oatmeal himself, so he thinks it's pretty cool that Benjamin likes it too.

He talks and babbles in a beautifully happy tone. He's most eloquent after eating, when his belly is full and he hasn't a care in the world. He's full of smiles most all of the time and still thinks one of the best things in the world is his older brother.

Here Benjamin is trying hard to figure out what his brother is eating ... it's Cheerios, of course. On this particular day, Jasper had been feeling sick all morning, and here after a long nap he was feeling well enough to eat something. I gave him dry Cheerios, and he took the bowl out to the living room and sat right next to Benjamin. He could not have sat any closer to him, and it was absolutely adorable!

Despite the fact that he looks tippy, Benjamin actually has remarkable control over his body. He can reach far ahead of himself to get something and then pull himself right back up.

As you might imagine, everything still goes in Benjamin's mouth. On Easter Sunday, when I picked him up from the nursery, two workers told me "we think he's teething." I just smiled, sort of laughed and said "did he get anyone's jaw?" That seems to be his favorite thing on which to gnaw. I'm not spat upon anymore, but I'm nearly drooled to death every day.

Benjamin does not have any consistent wake-up time in the morning. two weeks ago, for three days running he was sleeping past 8:30am ... one day until nearly 10am. I couldn't believe it! Then 4 days later he was awake at 6am. Go figure! Despite the weirdness to his wake-up time, Benjamin still naps like a champ (thank you, Weissbluth).

Benjamin likes to play with both the piano and guitar. He loves it when he can get the guitar to play music (and loves it especially when Jasper turns it on and dances for us!) I wonder if this indicates any musical affinity.

Benjamin likes being in the jumpy seat, and here it appears he's doing an Irish jig. He can get some serious air while jumping, but it doesn't take long for him to go from laughing to crying.

Yep, he's thinking about crawling. He gets onto his belly to grab things, and just recently he's starting to scoot. Stay tuned!

such cute rolls ...

A very common question is running through Benjamin's head: what is Jasper doing?