Benjamin is highly verbal. At twenty-one months old, he has left the two-word sentence in his dust, and he is now fully capable of expressing all his desires, which is why most of the time he sounds like a walking menu with trucks thrown in. “No like it pita,” he insists when we put hummus on it. “Ben turn,” he hollers when Zach is playing with, well, anything. “Train, take it,” as we left someone’s house, and then “train, keep it,” just in case that would work, instead. And, my personal favorite. “Mommy eating big one.” (He was talking about pieces of watermelon, people. Get your mind out of the gutter.)
But, words are not his greatest gift, despite how cute it is when he says “ladder, go up!” then crouches down for “ladder, fall down.” No, his talent is clearly in the cuddling department. Zachary, on the other hand, is not a cuddly child, although he does like to snuggle with me. This is a trait, his father likes to remind me, that Zach comes by honestly. His mother isn’t much of a cuddler, either. I do, however, like to snuggle with my kids, and one of them is clearly supremely gifted at it. Zachary snuggles because he needs the comfort; Benjamin cuddles because that is what he does.
Ben is ample, he is strong, he is affectionate, and he loves to fit his body into the voids left by other people’s bodies. And, as much as he likes to cuddle with people, he likes stuffed animals even more. He feeds his giraffe blankie from right off his plate. He runs about with his arms fiercely embracing bears and dogs and dolls. He has them kiss each other, and he provides them with plenty of kisses, himself.
This, too, is an honest trait. His father was stuffed animal obsessed, by all accounts. As a child, J had a bunk bed, because the top bunk was necessary to house the impressive plush collection. Ben clearly got the gene, because every time we take him off to his bed, he clutches yet another stuffed animal to him. “Cow come with!” he implores. We comply, even though he is probably going to need to register his bed as a brothel if any more animals take up residence there.
Someone is following in Daddy’s footsteps.