What a difference a year makes

December 12, 2007

Finn & Santa 2006

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Finn & Santa 2007

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Boo Who

November 12, 2007

Finn spends a lot of time at the Metuchen train station.   The best time to go is early morning when NJ Transit run express and local on the outside track and the Acela whips along the center.    Mommy stands at the edge of the platform pumping her fist into the air like mad trying to illicit a special toot from the Engineer.    If we get the desired “Woo Woo”,  Finn and Mommy High Five and cheer for the train.  

Not surprisingly,  Finn donned overalls,  a thermal shirt, bandanna, and striped cap to portray a old-school engineer for Halloween.   Since a little is never enough,  Mommy insisted upon burning some cork to give the tiny train man a beard.    He hated it. 

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He was also not fond of his cap.  In fact,  he hated it.

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Mommy and her friend organized a Halloween parade in the neighborhood.    Mommy dressed as the conductor and the little engineer led the parade.   He hated it.    In fact,  he hated it so much that when we made the turn infront of our house,  the engineer tried to switch tracks and head for his front door instead of continue on the parade route.   When the conductor tried to re-direct him,  he threw himself on the tracks in dire protest.  

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Nonno & Nonnie,  who drove in from PA and were present for the spectacle, reminded me later that my brother (Uncle Joe to Finn)  threw a similar fit at his kindergarten parade while dressed as Count Dracula.   He huffed around his little brick school with arms crossed and brow furrowed.   He was downright scary.   The only problem was that he was not actually attempting to be “in character”.  He was just pissed to be in the parade. 

Finn did however like the Pinata that followed the parade especially once he realized the Pinata was loaded with candy.    

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*On a side note,  Nonno is sporting only a small portion (hat and tie) that make up his Blues Brothers ensemble.   My mother and father have been dressing as the Blues Brothers for years and have perfected an entire choreographed routine to Soul Man.    So you don’t need to wonder where I get my flair for the dramatic.

To be clear,  Finn is fully on-board with candy particularly Rolos.   After a short rest,  we went out for a brief trick-o-treating stint with some neighbors.   As much as I wanted him to be,  he really wasn’t into it.  All that up and down stairs was wearing him and me out.   At one home,  a woman handed him a package of peanut butter crackers.  He took one look at them and chucked them back in door.   I was mortified and apologized profusely to the woman.    My friend that we were with was laughing so hard that she had to sit down on the steps.    Needless to say, that was the last stop on the Kranky Kane Express.   

On The Outside Looking In

October 26, 2007

Finn has partners in crime.   His best buds, Henry (3) and Ike (1),  came over to play and cause some general destruction.   Babysitting three boys is an excellent exercise in family planning.    We moved rapidly through upstairs toys, downstairs toys, ring around the Rosie,  wheels on the bus, bubbles, and crayons.   All in the first half hour.    

I was getting Ike some milk in the kitchen when I heard, “Neah (Henry’s sweet name for me)  I locked the door.”  

My heart started to race as I ran down the hallway to Finn’s bedroom.   The brass handle wiggled wildy as I kneeled at the door listening to their giggles and thumping.  

“Ok boys.  Don’t be scared.  I will get you out,” I said as Ike inspected over my shoulder.

I reached up for the thin brass key over the door jamb and tried to stick it into the small hole.   The handle was still twitching.   “Boys, let go of the handle.”   

My mind was racing.  Their mom will never let me watch them again.  The bedroom window was cracked open.  I could climb in to free them.   Why do they make these keys so damn small?  “Stop wiggling the handle guys.”

After about two minutes of inept lock picking,  I finally said, “Henry,  can you unlock the door?”

One quick click and Henry’s sweet mug was grinning at me, “That was funny, Neah.”

“Are you okay?  Were you scared?”

“I wasn’t, but Finn was.”

Finn giggled as he evaved my attempt to hug him close and escaped into the wilds beyond his tiny green room.   Free at last!  Free at last!  My God I am free at last.

Mums the word

October 24, 2007

Finn is a man of few words.   In fact, he is a man of about 7 words.

Go

Car

Ball

Key

Cheese

Rower (flower)

Curl (Squirrel)

Maybe he will become a sound effects expert like that guy from Police Academy since he is pretty adept at mimicking the sounds of things. 

Wee-ooh Wee-ooh (fire engine)

Woo-woo (train)

Moooh (cow)

Ow-Ow (dog)

Eiow (cat)

De-Da (Duck or bird)

Aya (Airplane)

I try not to worry about his language development since the range of “normal” is pretty huge from 3-100 for his age group.    Yet still,  I can’t help obsessing especially when people say stupid things to you like … “Oh you are using a spippy cup with a spout.  You have to worry about his speech with those”  or  “He seems frustrated without words.”   As if I had not realized that.   

It is strange for someone like me who is such a big talker to have a child that is not.   But then again, I am not the only parent in the mix.   The Captain is also a man of few words who cultivated his own secret language until he was about 4 when his mother took him for speech class where he was rewarded with mini-marshmallows for correct pronunciations.

When I told the Captain that I was going to do a post about Finn’s words,  he retorted, “Well that should be a short post.”   Like father like son.  Pass the mini-marshmallows. 

Look Ma No Hands

October 10, 2007

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Cake!  Candles!  Plus they are playing my song.  It must be my birthday!  (Actually I know it is Dada’s birthday,  but I have to play to the crowd) 

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My own tiny cake!  Oh Nana, you shouldn’t have.   But I am so glad you did.

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Nana, this thing is falling apart.   Don’t worry.  I’ll improvise.

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 Hey, what’s the big idea!  There are still a few crumbs on that tray.  Hands off you three!

Happy Birthday to my old man (even if this post is about three weeks late).   Mama, you better get your act together.   

Happy Anniversary, Mama & Dada

September 28, 2007

This was in my inbox this morning…. 

Dear Mama & Dada,

I asked Nonno to send you this Happy Anniversary message since I am known for breaking keyboards. Well, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see you guys everyday, but especially on your Anniversary. I promise to be a good boy, not only today, but for one full week. Maybe longer. I love you both very much and can’t wait to be with you both tonight as we celebrate together. Thanks for having me.

Love Always,

Finn

My response….

Dearest Finn, 

Thank you for the Anniversary wishes.  You make us complete as a family and bring great joy to so many people…but we are still holding you to your promise of being a good boy “for one full week. Maybe longer”

Homebody

September 25, 2007

Finn took a break from Mom and Dad for a few days.   As the Captain and I headed out to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in the mountains of VT,  Finn barely looked over his shoulder at us.    In PA, he had both sets of grandparents, an aunt, a brown dog, lunch with a bunch of great aunts (aka The Auntiques), trips to Home Depot, rides on the War Wagon, visits to the library, swings, a homegrown gourd and pumpkin patch, a convertible with tires, cupcakes (twice … complete with candles and happy birthday despite the fact his birthday is not until February) neighborhood kids with a mini John Deere tractor and above all else roughhousing to keep him more than occupied for four nights and five days.  

On the fifth day,  we tiptoed into my parents house thinking that we might find him napping only to discover him in a fit of giggles roughhousing with Nonno.    He turned to us with a big grin and pointed, “Mama” … “Dada”.    Life is good.   Life is very, very good. 

We packed stuffed the car again with golf clubs, spikes, fly-fishing gear, stroller, pack-n-play, suitcases, buckets of ripe red tomatoes from the grandparents garden, gourds, maple syrup, a wooden train and other requisite toys,  prompting a  “John, see if you can find a spot to stuff in this kid” from me.  Finn, exhausted from his adventures,  snoozed head back mouth open from the on ramp for Rt 81 until the off ramp from Rt 287 in Metuchen.  As we pulled into Franklin Square,  Finn started clapping.   I couldn’t agree more.   It is fun to be away,  but it feels so good to come home.     

Timber

September 12, 2007

Rough housing is Finn’s favorite sport.    All it takes is a mention of “rough house” and Finn beelines for the master bedroom and hoists himself, padded dupey and all onto the bed.    He feverently motions for his Dad to lie down so he can demonstrate his keen sense of balance while teetering on his father’s stomach.    He dismounts either in the plank position, “Timber”, or by coiling into a tight tuck somersault. 

Perhaps we have the next Bart Conner on our hands.  Incidentally, Bart Conner is married to one of my childhood idols, Nadia Comaneci.  In the 1976 Olympics,  Nadia scored the first ever perfect 10 on the uneven bars.  I was 2.   Over the next few years,  I began executing somersaults across the bed or backwards over the arm of the couch.    My Dad, known to most as Butchie but bearing a resemblance to Bela Karolyi especially when he briefly sported a bushy mustache in the early 70s , would shout, “High Finish”  and I would fling my arms up overhead wrists cocked back at the completion of the maneuver… just like Nadia.   

PJam Session

September 2, 2007

Finn rocked out at his first summer concert last week.   He stayed up late to catch the opening act, The Danny Adlerman and Friends, in the parking lot of Metuchen Senior Citizens Center.  The Adlermans are husband and wife team who author and illustrate books as well as compose and perform music for children.   This dynamic duo happen to live right here in town.  From the first note, Danny’s “Up and Down Frown” got Finn out of his stroller and bouncin’ and clappin’ to the beat.   The child has soul.   Mommy is very proud.  Then he bolted into sea of strollers and lawn chairs and emerged in a throng of kids.  His first attempt at crowd surfing proved to be dissappointing since the hard-core Adlerman fans had Finn by a head or two at least.     

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Mommy relocated the mini-mosher to the VIP area at the side of the stage and he was able to get his groove on blissfully unaware that he is the only kid wearing his pajamas at the Jam Session.

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Two snaps up.

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A sweaty Finn collapsed in Mommy’s arms before the opening act, Mr. Ray, took to the stage.   Next year,  we’ll make the whole show.  No jammies required. 

Dumped

August 23, 2007

Finn dumped Mommy this week.   He now favors his new Brazilian babysitter.  I can’t say that I blame him.   I continue to ignore the cardinal rule of hiring a nanny:  The Nanny Must Not Be Hot.     Our first sitter was a lithe, raven-haired Slovakian with boundless energy.  Our second a statquese, exceedingly sweet local girl who was home from college for the summer.   And now he enjoys the fine company of a Brazilian beauty while Mommy works two days a week in the basement listening wistfully to the squeals of delight upstairs. 

Day One:  He played coy for about 3.2 seconds cautiously regarding her over his multigrain waffles and syrup.   Satisfied that she was completely ravishing,  he flashed a trademark one-dimple grin and giggled at her.    They were fast friends.   At the end of the day,  she was teaching him to blow kisses, which he half-mastered by puckering his lips and smacking a big paw over his mouth.    Instead of “blowing” the kiss,  he would just start to laugh.    When she finally went out the door,   he ran at it full tilt and started banging on it for her to come back.  

 When the Captain got home and inquired about the initial run,  I replied,  “I believe I have been dumped.”

Day Two:  He was asleep when she left so I collected him from his afternoon nap.   He looked clearly dissapointed that it was me and not her.   As I reached into the crib for him, He craned his neck peeking down the hallway for her.   

It is official … I am toast.