One Year – Ben

Dear Benny,

You made it! One year! In just a year you’ve gone from the tiny baby we brought home to our apartment to a full-fledged member of the family.

In the last year, you’ve met all of the physical milestones you’d expect. You rolled, then crawled, and now you cruise. You’re not quite ready to walk yet, but you speed crawl all over the place, and you’re a master of going up stairs. You had your first bottle, then your first baby food, and now you feed yourself anything and everything. You are never happier than when you’re eating and it has made you a big, healthy boy.

More impressive than watching you physically grow has been watching your personality emerge.  It’s just amazing to me that a year ago you were a complete stranger, and now we are getting to know you so well. You are a mischevious little boy sometimes! You love catching our eye, speeding toward something you aren’t supposed to have, then giggling as we tell you no. Then your face falls in the cutest way as you realize that we really mean it. You love playing peekaboo with curtains, pulling shoes out of the shoe bench, and playing with your favorite toys (usually whatever Elliot was just playing with). You still can’t get enough of  rubbing your face into anything soft. You say Mama and Dada sometimes, and you can say sign or say “mamama” for more food. You clap and wave bye bye. When your daddy comes home, you crawl as fast as you can over to the door to greet him. And now, best of all, you sleep!

Benny, you have an amazing giggle, and a great toothy grin. Almost every day either your daddy or I remark that you have just turned out so great. It wasn’t always an easy year, but it was absolutely worth it. What did we ever do without you?

We love you Benny. Happy Birthday!




Sooo many computer and internet problems in the last month, sorry!

What We Did– January 2013

In the year since Benny arrived, this blog has really fallen down on my priority list. It’s basically become just a place to post monthly and birthday posts, but I’d like to get back to recording some more day to day memories. So! I am going to try  to post a quick recap every month of what we’ve been up to. I am going to start be recapping each month of 2013. Here is January.


The first 3 weeks of January basically consisted of me being very very pregnant. Elliot and I just hung out a lot enjoying our last days alone together and waiting for a little brother.

Then he came!

Benny was born on January 25th. We were in the hostpital for a few days, while Elliot stayed in Grandma and Grandpa’s hotel room. Then they all came to visit us.

Then we went home and began that whole newborn exhaustion thing.

And that was January 2013.





Eleven Months – Ben

Dear Ben,

You are 11 months old… a few days ago. It was Christmas! I’m sure you would rather open presents and eat turkey than do a photo shoot anyway. You had a lot of fun on Christmas, although it was exhausting for you (and for us). In fact, you woke up so early that you were already ready for a nap halfway through opening presents. That was your only nap of the day, but you were happy just to be held all day. Of course you perked up for dinner, which was easily the best part of your day.

This month you are even more mobile. You are crawling all over the place on your hands and knees. You pull up to your knees all the time and more and more you are pulling up to your feet. You keep making attempts at climbing stairs, but luckily you haven’t figured that one out yet!

Your mood has been up and down this month. When you are happy, you are SO happy! You’re independent, you laugh, you crawl to your favorite toys. When you are teething, though, watch out. You spend your night waking up and crying, and you spend your days bellowing about everything. Man, you have got a voice on you. Today is one of those days. Nothing is making you happy, and you are letting us know. It’s nice to hear you saying mama so often, but I wish it didn’t sound so accusatory.

This month you love chasing the broom and dustpan and eating Elliot’s markers and crayons. You dislike teething, teething, and teething.

Feel better soon, Boodle. We love you!


Love, Mommy


Forgive the very very late nature of this post. Our blogging computer is getting old and grumpy.

Ten Months – Ben


You are ten months old… yesterday. Sorry we missed the actual date, but it has been a very busy month for the Bellwoods. You had a week with one set of grandparents, a week with the other, and a week with an aunt from out of town. Somehow, despite all of this travelling and chaos, you’ve managed to do a lot of growing this month.

This month, you are all over the place. You crawl all over the house to get to the people and things you want. You have favorite toys that you spot and make a beeline for. You often seem to end up under your highchair looking for stray Cheerios. You also learned to sit up by yourself this month, and you can pop up so easily now. You are also beginning to pull up, and you’ve done it successfully a few times. Most of the time you still need help, but once you are up you love to hold on to things and stand. All of this development in just one month!

Socially this has been a big month, too. Now that you can crawl to us and climb onto us, you are really engaging with us more. You follow Elliot around so you both can play together. You’ve finally started taking toys from him, rather than always being the victim. We’ve had our first real talks about sharing, too, over such popular toys as  “old red paint bucket.” You still aren’t talking, but you do babble all of the time.

You are now eating almost all of what we eat, including (finally!) dairy. You are pretty much done with baby food, except for the occasional pouch and your morning prunes. Your absolute favorite food, without  a doubt, is graham crackers. You just adore them. Your next favorite food is watermelon, I think, then broccoli. Now that you have three and two halfs teeth you are chowing through everything!

This month, you love eating graham crackers, playing in Elliot’s crib, and manhandling Baya and Sam. You dislike waiting for food, waiting for a bottle, and waiting for a nap. (And boy do you let us know.)

We love you, Boodle! Love,


Nine Months – Ben

Dear Boodle,

You are nine months old today. That means you’ve been an outside baby for longer than you were an inside baby. This is also how old Elliot was when we first got pregnant with you. I can hardly believe either of those things. You still just seem like such a baby to me. And the fact that you might be walking and talking in a few months? That’s really unbelievable.

Every month it seems like you blossom more and more. This month you started talking a lot. You use your “blah blah blahs” and “da da das” to express frustration and happiness, and I swear “da da da” means daddy sometimes, too. You aren’t saying “ma ma ma” yet, but you love when I say it, so I think you might know what it means. You also have conversations with Elliot, who seems to speak your language pretty well. Speaking of Elliot, you guys played together a lot this month. You love when he lays all over you, you think  it’s the funniest thing in the world. You are also starting to crawl to him when you want to play. Although you rock back and forth on your knees all the time, you started to really army crawl this month. Your main motivation is usually seeing something small that you want to shove in your mouth.

You continue to eat a huge amount of food every day, and I can tell you are getting frustrated with the boring stuff I serve you when we are always eating something so much more exciting right in front of you. Give it a few months, Benny, and you can eat whatever you want. You only have two teeth!

This month, you still loved soft things but you are also starting to really enjoy balls and toys that make noise. You love sitting on a blanket outside and watching Elliot play. You are thinking about starting to pull up, especially if it means getting closer to me. You are almost totally over Cheerios, and you still hate middle of the night diaper changes. You are my best baby boy.


Ma ma ma



Eight Months – Ben

Dear Benny Boodle,

Today you are eight months old. It feels like I say this every month, but this month you got so much… Bennier. It seems like your personality is coming through more and more, although you are still so reserved and quiet. You laughed a lot this month, and much easier than before. Elliot is still the most hilarious person to you. When he wakes up in the morning and from naps, I always put you in his crib to say good morning. You both love it. And you, the baby who has refused pacifiers from the beginning, love to snatch Elliot’s away. Luckily, he thinks it is a very funny game. You guys roll all over that crib snatching raccoon or hedgehog baca from each other’s mouths. It is the cutest.

So, you are laughing this month, and you are also finally doing just a little bit of talking. Sometimes, when we least expect it, you let out a little “ta ta ta” or “da da da.” You are definitely still more of a listener, but we love to hear those little beginning babbles. The other day you also suddenly decided to start learning to clap with your grandpa. It’s hard to believe that you are already old enough for these things.

Physically, you are still just on the edge of crawling. You are so so close, you rock back and forth on your knees all the time. You can shove yourself forward on your knees, but one arm always seems to drag on the floor, and it’s really slowing you down. You can still squirm your way forward, but once you can figure out how to coordinate your hands and your knees, you’ll be unstoppable. You sit beautifully now, too. You can stay up for a long time, and you are beginning to get back on your stomach intentionally, as opposed to just toppling over. Also! You have a tooth! It was quite novel for us to have a baby get a tooth at a normal age, and we almost couldn’t believe it. But there it is, your bottom right front tooth. Good job!

You still love soft things, especially your sock monkey, Elliot’s black pussycat, and whatever random clothing article you can find on the floor.  You are so quiet and well-behaved in public, and I can tell people wonder whether you and Elliot can possibly be related. You hate getting your diaper changed in the middle of the night, and you are probably allergic to carrots. We love you anyway.




P.S. I don’t want to jinx anything, but for posterity’s sake, it seems like eight months might just be how long it took you to almost kind of figure out this sleep thing.

Seven Months – Ben

Dear Ben,

You’re seven months old today! This month went by very quickly. Elliot turned two, your grandparents visited, and lots of other stuff. Meanwhile, you learned to sit up! You can sit up for at least a minute on your own, and for longer if there’s a hand nearby to give you a gentle touch if you start to lean. In addition to sitting up, you’re also working on moving around. You still aren’t crawling, but you can still get yourself around. When you try to push yourself up on your knees to crawl, you end up shoving yourself backward. You can get all the way across the room that way, although you aren’t doing it on purpose yet. Usually you just end up getting yourself stuck under a piece of furniture. You’re also rolling, too, so easily these days. You still definitely prefer laying on your stomach, and you’ll often roll and squirm to get a specific toy.

You’re still a very quiet baby, prefering to watch and listen rather than talk. You gurgle, grunt, wine, and cry, but it’s always a nice surprise when we get to hear your actual voice. You do laugh often now. Your daddy and I can get you laughing with tickles and funny faces, but only Elliot can get you laughing without even trying. All he has to do is crawl up next to you and say hi.

As far as food goes, what can I say? You’re a big kid, you eat a lot of food. You eat puffs now, and you’re getting pretty good at picking them up and putting them in your mouth. And sleep? Let’s just not talk about it. Maybe next month.

This month, you still love soft toys. You love to cuddle, suck, and chew stuffed animals, blankets, and any other thing you can get your hands on. You’re not a fan of being put down when you’re tired or hungry. You like playing Superman, eating puffs, and stomping your feet. You love kisses and hugs from your family, and we all love giving them. We all, as Elliot says, “wuv Benny Boo.”

Happy seven months!



Two Years – Elliot


Happy second birthday! In just one year you have somehow gone from a little crawling baby to a big boy who knows what a birthday party (or, as you call it, a “party party”) is. In your first year you changed from a tiny baby to a big baby, but in your second year the changes have been just unbelievable. You’ve grown from that baby into a real, whole person, and god do we love who you’ve become.

At your last birthday you were babbling and saying a handful of words. Now you are just a complete, non-stop chatterbox.  You speak in long, complex sentences about anything and everything. You love to talk and often talk just to hear your own voice. You refer to yourself in the third person, as “Eyyit” and our days are filled with “Eyyit wants,” “Eyyit needs,” “Eyyit loves,” Eyyit this and Eyyit that. You sing songs, too. Your favorites are the ABCs and Ring Around the Rosie, and you often request that I sing and then whistle “Witch Doctor.” I could make this entire letter just a list of the things you say. I wish I had more videos of you talking, but they always turn into you rushing at the phone to say “Do videos? Do videos?”

Physically, you are a full on toddler boy. You run, you jump, you climb, you dance. Just about the only things that can keep you still are Sesame Street or games on my phone. We moved from an apartment to a house this year, and you have thoroughly explored every inch of this place. Within weeks of moving, you’d completely mastered walking up and sliding down the stairs. You learned to walk just after you turned one this year. At first you toddled slowly with your hands in the air for balance. After you figured out walking, you quickly moved on to running. For some reason, you ran while waving your arms crazily above your head, but that’s going away now, sadly.

Halfway through this year, something big big big happened. Benny came home. You really love him. How do I know? Every day you hug him and say “Eyyit love him.” Every morning you ask “Benny’s awake?” Every night you say “Good night, Benny,” even though he goes to sleep half an hour before you. You love kissing him and hugging him and giving him toys. Just lately you two have even started to almost play together. Even though you were just a year and half old when he was born, and he’s not been a very easy baby, you’ve never shown a hint of jealousy. You are kind, patient, and increasingly empathetic with him. In fact, you are concerned with everyone’s feelings. You often check to make sure we are happy, and if not, how you can make us feel better. Although you absolutely have your toddler moments, in general you are polite and just plain nice.

Elliot, this year you loved fruit, juice, pancakes, and noodles. You rode on bikes, in strollers, on trains, and in an ambulance. You explored our new home, grandparents’ homes, the museum, the mall, and the zoo. You loved playing outside, in the bathroom, in cars, and in Benny’s room. Your favorite thing to watch was an episode of Sesame Street you called “Elmo’s Bike,” and your favorite game was Peekaboo Barn. You pretend to cook and talk on the phone. You want to press every button and spin every wheel.

Every day I am amazed by how much you manage to say and do, and by how much fun you have as you do it. I can’t even come close to describing all of the little things that make up almost two year old Elliot. You are wonderful, and I love you a million. We all do.

Happy birthday, Ellerbee.




Six Months – Ben

Benny Boo,


You’ve done it! Half a year! More importantly, your daddy and I have done it! Six months of waking up two to three times per night, on average. These letters are for you, not me, so I try to make them about the amazing things you are doing and not about the work and exhaustion behind the scenes. But, seriously, Ben. I thought I knew all about getting a baby on a schedule, down for naps, to sleep through the night… and every day you make it your job to remind me that I still have NO idea what I’m doing.

Luckily, you are not at all concerned when you wake up four times in one night or when that afternoon nap won’t happen… again. You keep on growing and developing, happily. Even more happily, this month, too since we realized (after SIX MONTHS) that you have reflux. You are absolutely calmer, more content, and more cheerful now that you get your twice daily Zantac. Also, in case you’re keeping track you can add reflux to The Big Big List of Ben’s Belly Problems, along with breastmilk oversupply, too-frequent feedings, and dairy intolerance. Hopefully we are done with mysterious digestive symptoms now.

This month you are rolling all over the place and sooo close to crawling. You lift up your front half and try to pull. You lift up your pack half and try to push. When you figure out how to put those together you’ll be unstoppable. You are also working on sitting up. You can hold your self up by leaning forward on your hands, but you always look away after a few seconds and end up toppling over in that direction. You are eating all kinds of baby food now, and tons of it. Prunes are your absolute favorite, thank goodness.

One of your expected milestones this month is something like “works to get a toy out of his reach,” and yes, you do that. But you know what you work hardest to get to? Elliot. You are just starting to reach for him. His hair, his hands, his clothes, anything you can get your hands on. You two are really starting to interact this month, and it’s great to see. You smile when you see him, especially in the morning, and laugh when he gets in your face and says “Hiiiii Benny!” When you are both on the floor you will try to roll toward him, if he hasn’t come to see you first. I love seeing you two turn into brothers.

Okay, big baby, it’s almost my bedtime. While I really, really, really hope it’s not for another 9 hours, I promise to kiss your fuzzy head next time I see you.

Happy six months, Benny.




Five Months – Ben

Dear Ben,

You’re five months old today! The last month with you has been so great- you’ve really started to shine. Well, it’s been half great, really. Daytime Ben has been getting better each day, but we were really struggling there with Nighttime Ben for a while. Somehow moving to a new house, transitioning to a crib, and being four months old created a perfect storm of wakefulness. You were up three or four times every night and it was driving us mad. But! A new pacifier habit and solid food dinners seem to have you sleeping again, sometimes even through the night.

You have turned from a baby who didn’t seem to like much but eating into a baby who likes almost everything. You like being held and sitting in your bouncy seat and playing on the floor. You like smiling at family and strangers. You like sitting back to watch and joining in the fun. It is really amazing to see you notice and enjoy all kinds of news things. You love the toys in your car seat, bouncing yourself in your bouncy seat, and your kicking toy.

Big developments this month are rolling and eating. Your were rolling a bit a couple of months ago, but now you’re nonstop. You actually seem to prefer to play on your belly, and you certainly prefer to sleep that way. You often roll off of whatever nice soft surface I’ve put you on to jam yourself into a corner and cry. As far as eating goes, you’ve had two kinds of food so far: rice cereal and sweet potatoes. To no one’s surprise, you really enjoy them and are eating a ton.

Your next doctor’s appointment isn’t for a month, so we’re not sure of your measurements, but Ben, you are still huge. It seems like you’ve stretched out some, and now have some height to go with your weight. You’re wearing 12 month clothes now, and they are in no way too big. You are just impressive. So big and so strong at just 5 months old.

Love you, Benny. Love your big smiles, your blue eyes, your fuzzy head and your chunky thighs.