Even before the very day we cut his umbilical cord, our boy has been
a constant source of amazement, amusement and consternation. The story
of his coming to be ours can be found
here, and a copy of his
(and our) appearance in newspapers across the country (some with
accompanying giant color photos of the family), see
See the Benjamin Galleries, here and also the
newer one here. And now, Ben has his
own website, here!
Every day since has been a new challenge and a new opportunity
to witness the awe and majesty of the disharmonious coming together
of tiny synapses to form an incredibly large, charming, delightful,
funny and infuriating personality.
His first word was "Bob" (our dog's name - pic of him
with Ben, below).
I have described Benjamin to my pals as the kind of kid who seeks
to understand his universe by deconstructing it. My boy has an insatiable
appetite to see the insides of everything. By the time he was 1,
he had every single on/off button and switch in the house figured
out. 3 VCRs, 2 CD players, 2 stereo receivers, and about 1 zillion
toys to date have been victimized by Benjamin's curiosity. All of
these have been consigned to various landfills and recycling centers
throughout the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Region. Oh, and
he figured out how to set off the fire alarm at his preschool.
Benjamin is also the sweetest little love boy. He loves to cuddle
and make kissy-face, when he isn't terrorizing Bob or throwing a
hissy-fit. He's been telling me lately that, when he gets older-older,
he wants to be a fixit-tool-guy like his daddy. So you see, at 4
years old he's already got the manipulation thing down pat.
Benjamin likes to cuss. He called Gayle a "doo-doo head"
and when she told him it hurt her feelings to be called names, he
turned to her and said "hey, I was only f-cking kidding!"
Just the other day, we were watching a rented video called "There
Goes a Spaceship" starring Astronaut Dave. When I was trying
to put his shoes on and fumbled around with the laces, he said "Jesus
Christ, Astronaut Glen! Get it right!"
One of my favorite things about Benjamin is when he gets serious
and starts telling us stuff. His tales are filled with bizarre mixtures
of fact and fiction and he delivers them with the cutest determined
facial expressions. He is very expressive, and uses his hands when
he talks. It's a trip to watch him sort through stuff in his mind
- you can see it on his face. Alright, already! So he's too damned
4/2001 - Here's an excerpt from an e-mail message sent to my
buddy Rich about the boy:
--things here are status quo, same old same old, except for
Benjamin, who continuously finds ways of stimulating the oddest,
synapses. did you know that more than one violent is violence? i assume you know that infusing quantities of liquid soap in a
pre-school's fish tank will lead to the demise its residents...
and i bet you know that a hairbrush, when flushed down the
toilet, leads to late nite trips to the 24-hour home depot to
get a new toilet ring and various other plumbing parts, followed
by a long hot shower to cleanse ones self of the various and
sundry residue that accumulates in all the nasty little parts of
the toilet which one ends up rooting around in to remove said
how does a 4-year old know when he's "only fucking kidding"? and
why, out of the blue does one suddenly, urgently inform his dad
that, when he gets "older-older" he wants to be a "fix-it guy"
like his dad? and, what ever happened to my own ability to laugh
heartily with every molecule in my body like Ben does?
2/2002 - Holy Shit! He's 5 already!!! What a busy little
guy! He never stops! Here's what he's up to these days:
Benjamin has become the paper airplane king. He folds dozens a
day, and like snowflakes, no two are alike. Some of them are really
interesting, and all display the strangest, most interesting aerodynamics.
I know I'm going to be finding folded pieces of paper on top of
cabinets and behind furniture for years to come.
Benjamin has his own little workbench in daddy's wood shop (glorified
name for "Garage with a whole bunch of crap in it"). He
knows how to use a hammer and a screwdriver, and constructed a really
interesting birdhouse all by himself. We work together on Saturdays,
for as long as either he or I can tolerate it -- though Benjamin
has his own, boy-sized (but REAL) tools, he seems to NEED dozens
of my tools.... CONSTANTLY! Fortunately, there has been only one
very minor casualty -- once he bopped his thumb with his hammer.
That woke him up! He's amazed that I can take out the few splinters
he's gotten with my "special" tweezers with NO PAIN. He's
chomping at the bit to get his hands on my power tools.... I tell
him he can use them when he's 40.
We took him to LegoLand and San Diego Wild Animal Park for his
5th birthday last month, where Benjamin finally figured out that
roller coasters were cool. I can't wait until he's ready for me
to take him on the monster coasters at Magic Mountain. LegoLand
was lame, but the Wild Animal Park was very cool, except for the
fact that Benjamin chose that day to be the poster-boy for child-free
living. Boy o boy did he have a bug up his ass that day!
He's heavy into his Legos - he's into making weird vehicles, his
Tinker Toys (cranes and very tall structures), and his Thomas trains
(one may often have great difficulty navigating one's way through
the living room, as it's frequently covered, wall to wall with wooden
He still loves to curse and call us odd names. He calls us "shrink
rat," something he picked up from Toy Story 2, where we've
seen Woody (about 100,000 times) saying to the Old Prospector that
he must be "shrink wrapped"... Oh, and he picked up "foul,
reeking scum" from an animated Lord of the Rings video. And
to top matters off, my boy has learned the fine art of BELCHING.
He's a PRO! It's just lovely around here...
We're school shopping these days, desperately trying to find a
public school worthy of our boy. It's slim pickin's here in sunny
Southern Cal - any school worth going to requires a lottery or other
impossible hurdles. I'm praying he gets into SMASH (Santa Monica
Alternative School House), 'cuz it's freakin' cool, and exactly
the kind of experience I want my boy to have. Gayle thinks I'm insane,
he'll never get in. I'm banking on the fact that he's got just as
much chance as anyone, and we've been damned lucky so far. Boy do
they make it difficult to get into a good school!
2/21/02: This morning while I was drying off from my shower, I
overheard Ben singing quietly to himself. "Twinkle twinkle
little bell, how I farted in your shell."
5/17/02: Ben tells me he's going to name his 2 (!) children "Frickin"
12/28/05: Obviously, I've neglected my parental duty most
severely, having not made an entry to this informal Ben-blog in
3˝ years! It's gone by so damned fast and has been SO full,
it's hard to know where to begin an update!
Ben's in 3rd grade
now, at Pacifica
Community Charter School, in L.A., and doing great. It's an
amazing school (read about
it!), and Bennie owns the place. After failing to land a spot at
SMASH (see above), we stumbled upon Pacifica via a little ad on the
bulletin board at pre-school, and it turned out to be almost
everything I was looking for in SMASH, and more. He's also taken comic-art,
ukulele lessons, Tae Kwan Do (sp?) and more extra-curricular courses at Otis
and elsewhere, and is just about to start learning to play guitar.
He's been to Costa Rica, Mexico, all over California, and totally in
my face. He's currently addicted to his Tamagotchis, and is listening to a
lot of Green Day, Metallica (yuck!), and of course, Bob Dylan on his
CD Walkman. He loves to draw and write in his journal. He's not big
on sports (chip off the old block!).
We keep our
bed-time reading tradition alive, having now worked through the
entire 7 volumes of the Chronicles of Narnia and all of Lemony
of Unfortunate Events, plus every Dr. Seuss book known to man and so
much more. It's my very favorite part of the day.
Ben still cusses like a sailor. It's a challenge. We're working
on that. He's tall and lean and very particular about just about
everything. Like a true Jew, he has 1000 opinions, and none of them
are presented mildly. It's just so mind-fucking that he's so... BEN
in such a short time. Barely 9 years from zygote to a fully
developed boy... unreal.
I've added a Benjamin Gallery,
containing more photos of my boy (in addition to those below).
For those who've made it this far and have not yet puked, ye shall
be rewarded with pics!