Over the last week Benjamin has been perfecting his first word: cat.
Not Mommy. Not Daddy. Not food, or nurse, or milk, or play, or up, or no.
We do have a very lovely cat, Cleo. She has a beautiful white coat, and she loves to hang around us during the day. Then there is the fact that her and Benjamin are on the same vertical level most of the day. While Cleo tends to avoid Colin and Caleb, she seems to have taken a liking to Benjamin. She never runs from him, but rather lets him get near enough to pet her, which he does quite gently. They often play with each other by waving and batting hands/paws, also in a very gentle manner.
The nice thing about this first word is that Benjamin has a very pleasing way of saying it. There is no southern drawl or harsh, flat "a" sound in the middle. He starts with a round, British "cah" sound, and finishes with the softest "t" at the end, so soft it often sounds more like a k than a t. Whenever he sees Cleo, he points and smiles and repeats it over and over again: "caw-t, caw-t, caw-t."
He is managing to communicate in many other ways until his vocabulary grows. He finally picked up the sign for "milk," which I persistently taught him so that he would stop thumping my chest with all his might when he wanted to nurse. And actually, he would call that sign "nurse," since that's what I always ask him. ("Do you want to nurse?" - I make the sign, then he makes the sign. Now he does it on his own). He also knows a sign for food (pointing in his mouth.) If he doesn't want something, he quite violently shakes his head no, which is much nicer than hearing "no" screamed at you all day.
In regards to food, I have another little carb boy on my hands (much like Daddy and Caleb.) There is no fooling this boy. Tonight I made a Chicken Broccoli braid, which is basically a crescent roll laid flat, stuffed with chicken, broccoli and red pepper in a mayonnaise base, and then rolled up in the crescent roll. It's really tasty, and Benjamin loved it - the bread and chicken at least. If I tried to give him the veggies, he shook his head no. As soon as he saw something in colour coming at him, that mouth was clamped shut. But more than that - I even tried to hide a piece of broccoli inside a chunk of bun. Seeing only the light beige of bread, he eagerly ate the bite, only to roll it around in his mouth and spit out the hidden broccoli. He does seem to enjoy the baby food vegetables (sweet potato, squash and peas), as long as it's not at dinnertime, so I give him those for snacks all day. If I try to feed him baby food at meal time, he gives me this look like "are you kidding me? I'm not eating this when you're having that!"