Ben is FOUR!

Ben sure has been starting to act like a four-year old the last few weeks! His independence, imagination and creativity have been exploding lately and we are so excited to be celebrating Ben’s fourth birthday today.

Ben’s stats:

  • Weight: hopefully more than 33 pounds {this is so out of date!}
  • Height: around 41 inches {also out of date!}
  • Clothing size: 4T on top, 2T shorts, 3T pants
  • Shoe size: size 9 toddler
  • Favorite foods: crackers, pasta, any type of cheese, yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese, most meats, roasted chickpeas
  • Favorite activities while in quarantine: playing with his stuffies, listening to music, playing outside, picking wildflowers, riding his two-wheel pedal bike, reading books together or looking at books independently, getting lost in his imagination, watching The Octonauts.

The last quarter of Ben’s fourth year has been spent entirely in quarantine at The Lodge, with the exception of one week. Ben has been such a trooper as we abruptly adjusted to this strange new normal. His whole world was turned upside down on a moment’s notice and you’d hardly know by how he responded.

Exploring in nature is something that seems to comes naturally to children. Throughout our time living in the mountains these last {almost} three months Ben has discovered and cultivated a love of flowers and plants. He has a keen eye for wildflowers and we’ve enjoyed taking wildflower hikes and identifying what we’ve found.

Some of his favorite things to do right now include playing pretend in his “house” {the space under a large tree in our yard}, digging in the dirt, swinging on the swing, going on mountain adventures and playing in water – the sprinkler, water table, spigot….

Ben is doing an exceptional job of just being a kid. All he wants to do is play.

That said, our academic progress this spring has certainly tapered off. Ben had zero interest in doing the remote learning videos or associated worksheets from his school to make up for time lost in class.

Certainly Ben’s personality is still forming and emerging; however, we’ve gotten to know him quite well over these last four years. Ben is empathetic, kind, aloof, curious, focused, independent, strong-willed, charming and loving. He is energetic and social and he leans towards the introverted end of the spectrum. Ben is also really funny and has begun occasionally speaking in a different accent.

Ben is quite athletic and loves to run around, climb things, play baseball, kick his soccer ball, ride his two-wheel pedal bike and play catch with a ball or Frisbee.

We even managed to get in a couple ski days at the very beginning of our time in quarantine. Ben LOVES skiing.

Another favorite physical activity Ben enjoys is dancing! I’ve noticed on our hikes lately that when he gets really excited or finds a patch of beautiful wildflowers he will just break into a dance. He has always really enjoyed music and we love to have little family dance parties.

Speaking of hiking, this is a new favorite activity of Ben’s. He has been really into our hiking adventures and loves being a walker.

These days Ben is off in his own world a lot of the time. He has a wild imagination and loves to let it run. It’s perfect for quarantine because he can create scenes in his mind where his favorite characters come to life and are playing with him. Right now his absolute favorite show is Octonauts on Netflix.

Baking has been another favorite pastime we’ve all enjoyed together recently. We’ve made countless loaves of banana bread, poked holes in focaccia bread and pulled together our famous Friday night pizza dough about a dozen times this last quarter. I’m not sure how many cookies or cupcakes we’ve made – I’ve lost track!

Ben is really starting to develop patience and understanding for the process of baking. He’s building awareness and the ability to slowly mix with control so the ingredients don’t go everywhere. His absolute favorite thing to do regarding baking is the decorating.

For years now I’ve said Ben is as sweet as they come and I really mean it. He’s extremely loving and affectionate and absolutely adores his little sister. I can’t get enough of the two of them playing together.

Now that Hannah is working so hard at becoming a talker, sometimes Ben tries to be an interpreter. He’ll often say something like “I think Hannah means….” or “I have absolutely no idea what Hannah is talking about!” He’s quick to be her little cheerleader to encourage her when she uses the potty.

Lately Ben has been in an adventurous eating phase and has been very eager to try new foods. I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out with our garden this summer. Hopefully with his involvement in the growth of several vegetables he’ll be inclined to give them a try.

I don’t feel like we’ve hit the “why” phase where 10,000 times a day Ben asks “why?” He’s extremely curious and asks really thoughtful questions, but it’s not always “why?” A lot of times he’ll just ask “Is a narwhal a type of whale?” or “where do coyotes sleep?” or “can you show me a picture of a houseboat?” His questions often end up being more along the “how” lines than the “why” lines. I will say, though, that I love his inquisitions and find it so fascinating to see how he processes new information.

Ben has done a lot of growing up this year. I have heard that age four is oftentimes quite a magical one, and we’re quite looking forward to it. I enjoyed so much about age three and it’s been a rather humbling experience to navigate my little threenager. We are so excited to get to know Ben as a four-year old. He has so much to look forward to this year!