Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Benjamin's second birthday

This morning Andrew was trying to train Benjamin to answer the question "How old are you?" He has no concept of age, not that the girls are much better. Yesterday when they were discussing how old Benjamin was going to be Miriam asked why he was going to be two years old.

"Two years is not old. Two years is young," she reasoned. "So he will be two years young."

Ironically that make him sound rather old to my ears because I remember several of my great-aunts and uncles saying things like, "I'm 84 years young."

Anyway, Andrew said to him, "Whose birthday is it today?"

"ME!" Benjamin squealed.

"And how old are you now?" Andrew asked.

"I WANT CAKE!" Benjamin bellowed.

Even though we hadn't even had breakfast yet, this statement was probably true. Remember how he snatched a cupcake yesterday? Yeah. He always wants cake. We didn't give him cake for breakfast, though. We made him wait until after dinner. It was a long day. A long and boring day.

Daddy took Rachel to the doctor in the morning and he diagnosed her with I-dunno-what. The good news, in my opinion, is that it's not plain old gastroenteritis (not norovirus or rotavirus or anything since those would've run their course by now, most probably). I was rather relieved to hear we wouldn't be passing the stomach flu around our house again. We've done enough of that this year, thank you very much.

He checked for meningitis and ruled that out. He swabbed her throat for strep, though we don't think that's really what this is a few kids in her class have been out with strep so it's a slim possibility. He searched her body for tick bites and found a bite by her eye that could be either a tick bite or a mosquito bite (but I'm pretty positive I'd have noticed a tick just hanging out on her cheek—I've found ticks in worse places on our children).

We have some zofran for her, which has allowed her to keep some calories down (for the first time since Saturday) and we're just pumping her full of tylenol (in a completely responsible manner) to keep her fever under control. It's been spiking up to (and past) 104°F and coming back down (also since Saturday). Her pain gets pretty intense when she's about to vomit. She usually spends half an hour to an hour writhing in agony, crying, and shaking before finally throwing up. And it's been a terrible dark green.

Funny not-so-funny story: she ate a blue freezie once but I didn't know Andrew had given her one so when I walked into the living room and saw her resting on the couch with blue lips I flipped out a little. I rushed over to her and started examining her fingertips and listening to her heartbeat and counting her breaths. Now she's afraid to eat blue freezies.

She still has some sass left in her, though. Yesterday I told her that she could have a freezie if she could keep a sip of water down (we're not asking for much here, folks) but instead of freezie I said freezer.

"Oh, yay," she said sarcastically. "I get to eat the entire freezer if I can keep down some water."

She's so witty.

Anyway, she has a terrible headache and is far too sick to go anywhere so we had a very quiet day at home. Rachel spent most of the day in bed and when she wasn't there she was on the couch.

Benjamin, Miriam, and I cleaned the house, played dress ups, played farm, read stories, played cars, and watched Frozen with Rachel.

Because the first picture on Benjamin's birthday post simply should be of Miriam curtseying in a tutu

I think the biggest excitement of the day was when the mail truck came. Next to waiting for the bus, waiting for the mail truck is Benjamin's favourite activity. Sure, the garbage and recycling trucks are up there on his list, but those only come once a week. The mail truck comes every single day. And then we get to walk to the mailbox, which is also very exciting. Usually there isn't anything for Benjamin but today there was—and my mom had only mailed it on Saturday, too.

Cue really terrible pictures of Benjamin flapping his card around:

Inside the card are birthday greetings from my family, including my sister Josie and brother David, who are in Mauritius right now (they signed it before they left, obviously).

I let Miriam open some junk mail as a consolation prize but she was not impressed.

"This isn't even for me!" she fumed once she had it open. "It just says, 'Dear Current Resi...resi...reside...'"

"Resident?" I asked.

"Yeah!" she said angrily.

"Sorry," I shrugged. "I can't make a letter appear in the mailbox for you."

Poor thing was upset about that for quite some time, though she got over it eventually.

When Daddy came home Rachel moved onto the couch (quite officially, too—she's still there) for Benjamin's birthday festivities. We started with opening presents, all of which I wrapped last night (neglecting to get input from the girls).

The girls picked out some puppets for him at Trading Tables a couple of months ago. We supplemented their gift with some balls from Target's dollar section. Miriam was in charge of handing Benjamin gifts so she chose her gift first, naturally.

Inside was an elephant puppet and a basketball. Rachel was not impressed. "The elephant is supposed to be from me," she huffed. We explained that he would never remember what came in what package so we can tell him for the rest of his life that the elephant was from her and he'd have to believe it. That made her feel a bit better.

Inside the package from her I'd wrapped up a monkey puppet and a soccer ball (though it should have been the elephant—my bad). Benjamin immediately took the soccer ball to her. Because Rachel should have all the soccer balls, I guess.

The puppet and ball combination was actually pretty fun. We soon started a game of toss using the puppets as mitts to catch the balls. Benjamin thought it was hilarious that the animals could catch the balls he was throwing.

And here he is opening some Cars socks:

And here he is giving his new toy bus a big hug.

He was thrilled with both the bus and the car, which made me happy. When you put so many hours into a project it's kind of nice to have it be appreciated.

Here he is taking a break from playing to read a new story...about vehicles (he's quite fascinated with vehicles):

And here he is getting some birthday snuggles with Daddy:

And, lastly, here he is with some new outfits from Naanii:

They're size 2T. I think they'll fit him in a couple of years. Maybe.

Andrew grilled some hot dogs for dinner and Benjamin insisted on having his in a bun, with the works.

Watching him stuff that thing in his mouth was pure entertainment, folks. But he managed to eat the entire thing.

Here's Rachel pouting on the couch (during one of her chilly moments—she alternates between freezing cold and completely feverish (she's at 104.5 right now—with no blanket on so Andrew's just popping her in the tub)) because she's going to miss cake:

I completely understand how she feels. There was this one year that I missed Christmas and it was terrible. I insisted on being on the couch because I wanted to be there for all the celebrating but I was so out of it I hardly knew what was going on (when I finally got better it was like second Christmas: "Oh, these are the gifts I got?!"). Andrew keeps trying to get her back in her bed but I think she's too lonely for that (and I completely get that, too—even if you like things nice and quiet, spending days on end in your bed is mind-numbing (even if you aren't quite sure what's going on)) so I often take her side for why she should be allowed to stay on the couch, even if it's a public space (the rule in our house is that if you're in a public space you can't be bossy about other people doing stuff...but when you're sick we allow a little bit of bossiness).

Here's Benjamin trying to make her feel better (he's patting her shoulder):

It worked!

I ended up holding her while we did the whole cake ceremony and she requested that we save her a piece that has a window and a wheel.

Benjamin was super excited about the bus cake. We had to stare at it for a long time while Andrew hunted for candles. We forget where they are between October and June (though we're pretty good at keeping track of them between June and October—we pull them out every couple of weeks until Miriam's birthday when we put them away for the next eight months).

Here are Miriam and Andrew singing to Benjamin:

Rachel and I were singing, too, I promise.

And here's Benjamin trying to blow out the candles, with Miriam coaching him in the background:

He needed a lot of coaching before he managed to blow them out on his own.

"You're going to have to work harder than that," we told him. And work harder he did:

(I might just keep ^^ this ^^ picture handy for whenever I need a good cheering up—look at his face!)

He eventually got both the flames out and was quite pleased with himself:

We also had ice cream, which was exciting. Even Rachel had a little bit.

Benjamin had several small pieces of cake. When he wanted more he'd say, "More bus! More bus!"

After cake our friendly neighbourhood Mormon stopped by to help give Rachel a priesthood blessing (there's one other Mormon family in our neighbourhood and they're actually moving but we just got wind that another family will be moving in this summer, so that will be fun). Miriam was rather happy about this because she'd just learned about priesthood blessings in primary on Sunday and was excited to see it in action. On the way home from church on Sunday she asked me if Andrew even had the priesthood because she's never seen him use it.

When we got home he listed several times he's done so—to bless her when she was really sick and dehydrated, to bless Benjamin when he was in the hospital, to help with baptisms for the dead with the young men and young women in our ward, and so on. As he finished his list he said, "But I guess you weren't really there for any of that..." (Except when she was sick, but that was too long ago for her to remember). Kind of funny.

Soon after our neighbour left (he happens to be a resident/doctor so he was trying to diagnose Rachel as well) my mom and dad Skyped us so they could wish Benjamin a happy birthday. They indulged him in a growling game for several minutes while I got ready to go to a primary meeting.

At one point Miriam tried to join in. She dragged a chair behind Benjamin so she could hide behind him and then jump up and growl at my parents. It was fun for a few minutes but she started getting a little wild and soon lost her balance and crashed right into Benjamin, who was standing on the LEGO box (we're all about safety at our house). He in turn lost his balance and my parents got to witness human dominoes in action. There were tears all around. But soon Benjamin was back on the LEGO box, roaring his guts out at my parents, who were cowering with feigned fear.

My parents had to go before I left for my meeting so in order to distract Benjamin while I sneaked out of the house Andrew tried to Skype his parents. They were out at a movie so their call was unsuccessful. However, I was able to get out of the house undetected so the failed call was not for naught.

And from what I hear Benjamin only fussed for a few minutes before falling asleep (because...bus).

He hates going to bed without me, so this was truly a birthday miracle!

All in all it was a good day, though I have a feeling it's going to be a l-o-n-g night...


  1. Your cake is just darling, as are the car and bus! I guess I'll just have to let Benjamin growl at me on Sunday. I sure hope Rachel gets to feeling better very soon.

  2. So fun to growl with Benjamin last night! Praying for Rachel! Love you guys.

  3. So cute! What a great day minus Rachel's sickness. I love that picture where I see your mom on Skype. :)