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Our beautiful BABY is growing up:

Our days of him being happy while confined in "baby equipment" are over:

Ben took his first steps while at my dad's house on Christmas Night. It was out of the blue.. he had been walking around while holding onto our hands for a few months, but absolutely refused to go out on his own even if we dangled dangerous items like plastic bags, sissors and lit candles in front of him. On Christmas.. he just walked.. 4-6 steps.. just like that.. just like he had been doing it for months.

About two weeks ago, I was on a business trip. When I called Shiela to say that we were wrapping things up and that I'd definitely be home that night.. Ben decided to crawl across the room. Shiela said, and I quote, "holy crap, Jen.. he just crawled!"

It took him another week or so to master the task, but he is currently 100% on the move. He is crawling like he has been doing it for months.. sitting up from a crawling position like it's nothing.. pulling himself up to a standing position with the greatest of ease.. and let me tell you.. the cats are NOT happy. Nanook is traumatized enough by the safety gates that he can't jump over without knocking them down (long story).. and Ty absolutely REFUSES to be dominated by another male in this family (Nanook being #1).. so we have several face-offs as Ben chases the cats around.

Last night.. in a fit of being overwhelmed after my darling son had pulled on the wires of the NICU fish tank (another long story) and then attacked the vacuum (even after I turned it on to "scare" him) and then got stuck under the high chair bonking his head while trying to sit up and screaming his head off... i lost it. and like any halfway sane mother.. i whipped out the pack and play. I put that sucker together in no time flat... well.. more like 15 minutes.. because the damned sides wouldn't click into place and the legs kept on splaying out like Bambi on an iced over pond and whenever I was close Ben would crawl over and stick his fingers under it and scream, even though it wasn't touching him. I finally got the structure built.. sweating.. and Shiela gets home from work and says something to the effect of "wow.. it looks like something exploded in here".

it. was. me.

Ben, at this point, was sitting quietly smiling while playing with some of his cars.

and it starts....

So ok.. for any of you who know me.. you also know that I've had an irrational fear of the telephone from birth. I think my mother must have tied me to my highchair with the old 30 food spiral phone cords or something when i was an infant, because I can think of no other good reason why picking up a phone to call someone or to answer an incoming call triggers panic. You'd think I had to use the phone to fight off a bear or something. Anyway.. caller ID has helped with that.. at least I know who is calling before i press the dreaded "send" button (that irritates me.. why can't cell phones just say "talk" like home phones.. when I'm answer a call.. "send" makes no sense.. unless it's that I'm trying to avoid the call, which is the norm for me).

AN example.. I called my psychologist today to schedule an appointment (i.e. I called him saying "god ken, please find a way to fit me in before my appointment Thursday, I can't wait that long!").. when he called me back.. it showed up on the caller ID who it was... what did I do? i let it go to voice mail. it's my friggin PSYCHOLOGIST! he knows I do this too, which makes it all the more ironic.

Anyway.. on the topic of cell phones. just because I hate talking on the phone.. hate ordering pizza over the phone.. hate having the ringer go off and have to check the caller ID to make that dreaded decision of what to do with the "send" button..

just because of all that doesn't mean I don't NEED the top of the line cell phone on the market. And even then.. it doesn't mean that I don't find fault in that cell phone and get it replace twice because of a hissing in the ear piece that no one but me can hear. And even then.. it doesn't mean that I don't lose the darned thing at least once every other day (last summer i lost one under my desk at work and filed a police report... i'm. not. kidding.)

so i was checking our wireless account online today and found out that shiela and i are both due for phone upgrades THIS THURSDAY. this was like finding out that we get a second shot at Christmas morning in late January. My fingers fly over the keyboard as I search the new range of cellular telephony, "smart" phones.. and some sort of fruit (blackberries) that are available now. While I know that the one I WANT... the one that's been advertised to people like me every 10 minutes on every channel known to man.. is too expensive (shiela told me that because she already had checked it).. I quickly find a suitable alternative.

BUT.. it turns out that the new phones offer all sorts of new features.. and those features have to either be activated on your current plan, or you need to upgrade your plan. So i whip out Excel (as much as anyone can "whip out" a program on a computer) so I can start comparing our current plan with the upgrades that I NEED for the phone that I MUST HAVE... THURSDAY.

I realize that I have to prepare a finely tuned presentation for my wife, who is the holder of the checkbook (because I can NOT be trusted around technology stores) to convince her that our very safety and the security of our son absolutely DEPENDS on us upgrading our phones (and adding the navigation feature that "my phone" has).

All this... so that I can forget to charge it and lose it constantly. My mother doesn't even try to call my phone.. she calls shiela because she knows she'll get someone on the line.

As an aside.. much like email.. i LOVE txt messaging.. it's like calling on the phone without having to talk.. a MUST for a closet-case agoraphobic. (that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one)

So I have a thing against "new years resolutions".. mainly because they are set up to fail from the start and nothing like putting undue pressure on yourself right as we enter the dreariest part of the year. It's 5 degrees outside.. I don't give a damn about "I'm going to walk at least a mile a day"... no friggin way. I'm going to get in my nice heated car and drive up the hill to pick up my beautiful toddler and rush back into the car to drive home. The most exercise I plan to get today involves walking up the stairs to our apartment.

Ok.. so that aside.. my "non-resolution" this year is to write a blog a day. I thought it would be #1: fun, #2: cathartic and #3: a great way to look back on time that seems to be flying by so quickly.

Well.. it turns out that time is flying by so quickly that it is currently January 21st and this is the first time I've blogged this year. I think I have to work on that.