Ben is our 'Baby A'. Other than for a day a couple days after he was born, he has always been the biggest of the boys. Somehow, Drew beat him by a couple of ounces at birth (3lb9oz for Ben, 3lb11oz for Drew and 3lb4oz for Jack), but Ben gained those ounces quickly and never looked back. Most people, that don't really know the boys, remember "which one" Ben is because he is quite a bit bigger than the "other two".
For me, the thing that distinguishes Ben is his gentleness. You will never meet a person that has a more gentle soul than our Ben. It has always amazed me, and everyone else, how kind and gentle Ben is. Since Ben has always been quite a bit bigger than his brothers and he has also been the most physically advanced, he had a real opportunity to show those brothers who was boss. When the boys were still very young and Ben could walk and Drew and Jack were still scooting and rolling on the floor, he would go out of his way to not step on them or steal their stuff or hurt them. It was amazing. Everyone says that babies that are only a year old have no comprehension of other people and their feelings, well, Ben did! As Drew and Ben got a little steadier on their feet, Ben understood and was careful around them. Jack, on the other hand, with not a lot of coordination and 2/3 the size of Ben, would not think twice about tackling anyone that got in his way. Jack and Drew would have been so screwed if that was Ben's approach. When Ben wanted a toy that someone else had, he figured out that if he tossed a toy in their direction, maybe they would get interested in that toy and he could have the one that they were finished with. He was not even 2 yet when he was doing this. I couldn't believe it the first time that I saw him do it, I thought it was an accident, but he did it many times and was very deliberate. The affection and care that Ben shows to Charlie is also remarkable. He always stops to give Charlie some lovin' or to help him out. Ben really is a "Gentle Ben".
So anyway, I got a call from the school nurse a couple of weeks ago. She told me that she had Ben in her office and he was very upset and complaining about a stomach ache. It was actually Ben's first day back at school after being home for 2 days with a stomach bug. I thought it was really strange that he was not feeling well again considering he had been fine that morning and had not thrown up in over 36 hours. On the way to school, I began to wonder if there was something else that was bothering Ben. As I was walking into school, his kindergarten teacher (who is awesome and we love!) was rushing by the front door. She saw me and told me to wait a minute because she was going to talk to Ben. It seems that after Ben went to the nurse's office, it came to her attention that Ben might have had his feelings hurt by another little boy and she wanted to talk to him and figure out if Ben was really feeling ok, but just sad. It turns out that she was right and his tummy was ok. She helped him feel better and he went back to class. A while later, I was telling my Dad the story and his response was "not BEN, how could anyone be mean to Ben?!?!", my sister had the same reaction. She was about in tears that someone would be mean to BEN. She said that if it was Jack or Drew, she would not have liked it, but those things happen. She just couldn't figure out how someone could be mean to Ben when he doesn't have a mean bone in his body.
I hope Ben stays this gentle and sweet forever (minus the part about having to go to the nurses office when a boy says something mean to him). My guess is that his sweetness and gentless will not change because it is a part of who he is. What he has cannot be taught, it is a gift. Aren't we lucky to have him!!!