It's actually new that Ben knows that his name is Benjamin Brian. For a while, he didn't WANT that to be his name. If you asked him his whole name, he might tell you that he was 'Ben David' (David is Jackie's middle name). My favorite, though, was when he insisted that he was 'Ben Little Ben Hickok."
By chance, Ben is the youngest. He came into the world less than a minute after his brother, but he is absolutely the baby. He has all the traits of a youngest child- he is sweet, fun, social, and easy going. I have always been fascinated by birth order studies and when I learned we were having twins, I wondered how being multiples would skew the traits that are typical of different 'spots' in the birth order. My kids, though, are aligned with everything studies say about the oldest, the middle, the oldest son, and the baby. I read once that youngest children grow up expecting good things in life, and that they are often optimists, and I love thinking that is what life has in store for Ben. He sees things differently than the other two. For example (and I love this about him), he notices beauty in the world. While we were in the car the other day, the sun was breaking through the clouds and you could see all these rays of light. Ben piped up from the back, "Oh, this is a beautiful view." He tells me when he sees a beautiful flower or a beautiful girl. He just notices little things and it's very sweet.
Ben is very attached to his brother. Jack is definitely the leader and Ben is happy to follow, and he wants his brother as close to him as possible. Hence, their beds. The beds used to be on opposite sides of the room but then the boys insisted on sleeping on the floor in their sleeping bags so they could be next to each other. Once the weather turned colder, they really needed to sleep in their beds, but they agreed to that only if they could be together. Jack will often reach out and stroke Ben's hair or 'pet' him, and Ben loves that. It's so interesting and heartwarming to watch them sometimes. They really don't like to be out of arm's reach of the other.
Ben is pretty creative. For example, he took the wheels from a building kit the kids have and put them alongside this horse so that the wheels would turn the horse into a 'Rob-bike' for Robin (the part that Ben usually plays in the adventures of the Dynamic Duo).
Without going into too much detail, I'll say that potty training Ben was really tough on both of us. It was consuming, frustrating, and prolonged. Finally, though, we had a breakthrough and have never looked back. As a reward, he got to have a special lunch date with me. He loved the one on one time and couldn't believe that only he was going. As much as he loves his siblings, he loves his mom more and definitely eats up any one-on-one attention that he gets. He also loves the 99 and will often ask when the "whole family can go to the 99 and grab some food." Now that he has the bathroom routine down, he will ask, "Mommy, are you so happy of me when I go in the potty?" Yes, Ben, I am very happy of you.
About a year ago, Lily and Ben had a hard time getting along. I think Ben was a little threatened by this younger child since he had always been the baby. Now, though, they are best of friends. Both Lily and Jack like to be in charge, so they are often butting heads now. But Ben is happy to go along with Lily's crazy schemes and the two of them are great together.
Both boys love to be in our bed. They say that we have the best blankets and that our bed is so comfy. Though they don't often nap, I still make the attempt most days, and I will sometimes find them snuggled together in my bed. Once, one fell asleep on top of the other and they both woke up crying because they were so tangled up that they couldn't get out!
Ben also LOVES mini-hot dogs. We had them every Sunday during football season and for the next six days, Ben would ask when Sunday was going to come again. He says cute things like, "Actually," and "I suppose." He will sometimes say that he neesd to take a 'snooze' on Nana, and then cuddle up with her. There are some words that he pronounces with a New York accent ("woth-ah" for 'water') and others that he apparently heard in the South, ("chay-ah" for 'chair'). He loves music and dancing. When he was learning to walk, I said he was like the penguin in Happy Feet who had to have his feet moving at all times. Now that Ben is more comfortable and confident (thanks to resolving the bathroom issues), he is back to that happy go lucky guy he was then.