Back when we decided Finny was big enough to sleep in his big-boy bed, we were absolutely amazed that once he was tucked in for his nap or for the night, he stayed in there and just slept. There were zero attempts at sneaking out of his room, or sleeping in chairs, or on the floor. He loved his bed, and like his mom, he loved his sleep, so it has always been smooth sailing when it comes to bedtime.
Of course, nothing lasts forever...Lately Finny has been keenly interested in finding out what's going on outside his room after he goes to bed.
Visit #1: It started when he simply wasn't sleepy at bedtime, so after about an hour of chatting and singing to himself in bed, he got up to use the bathroom. We heard him shuffling around in the bathroom and decided to see what he would do next. Sure enough, a little blond head appeared behind the door, grinning at us, asking us what we were doing. (We were slumped on the couch watching mindless, TV! What else would we be doing at 9:15pm on a Tuesday?) John got up, escorted Finny back to bed, and chatted with him in the dark while rubbing his little back for awhile. Eventually, Finny fell asleep.
Visit #2: Once again Finny proclaimed he wasn't sleepy, and appeared behind the bathroom door again, gently asking if one of us would rub his back, as he was sure that would help him sleep. I went in, we sang, I rubbed the back, and he went to sleep a little while later.
Visit #3: The next night, John and I went upstairs to play Scrabble while we watched TV, so we turned all the lights out downstairs (except for the nightlight in the hall). We were both expecting our small visitor, and were curious to see if he'd figure out we were upstairs. Answer: Yep! We heard his bedroom door open, his little footfalls on the steps, and saw him peek around our bedroom door. He sauntered in with a casual "What are you guys doing?", checked out what was on TV, and acted as if he might stay awhile! The "back to bed" drill was enacted again.
Visit #4: We thought everything was great--hadn't heard a peep from Finny after he went to bed, so we went upstairs and went to sleep. At some point in the deep dark middle of the night, I awoke to find him standing right in front of my face, waving a Kleenex around, calmly asking for help blowing his nose. A bit freaked out, I complied, and he took himself back to bed. The following day we discussed his ability to blow and wipe off his own nose without having to come all the way upstairs to ask me for help. He replied "I will never ever do that again." I clarified that he should definitely come upstairs if anything was wrong--like he didn't feel good, or was scared, or couldn't sleep, but not just for nose-blowing.
Visit #5: Last night, Finny went to bed on time, we sang our song and turned out the lights. 12 seconds later he appeared in the kitchen to tell me he wasn't tired yet and couldn't sleep. I laughed and said he hadn't even really tried yet, and to please go back in. 15 minutes later when John arrived from picking up grown-up take-out food, out pops Finny, asking for some of Dad-o's trademark "talk a little bit" and backrubbing, which he was confident would help him sleep. That was the last we heard from him.
I wonder what he'll come up with tonight!
"You call Mom-O 'Peanut,'" noted Finn the other day, "and she calls you 'Peanut,' and sometimes she calls you 'Beh Beh'!" (A few days earlier I'd read him a note to me that Margot left, signed, "Love you, Beh Beh" (as in "baby").) Henry immediately chimed in with "Love you, Beh Beh!," and now he inserts it as a total non-sequitur in other conversations. I caught one such episode in the tub the other night. Press the gray arrow to hear it:
The eldest Micronack has suffered a significant loss this week. Sadly, while we were cavorting on the beach on Easter Sunday, Finny's Thomas engineer hat got lost. We're not even really sure when it happened--we just know that it was super windy that afternoon, and as I was changing Finny out of his cold, soaking wet clothes into some dry ones, the hat disappeared in the blustery chaos. It's not just Finny who's bummed out. We are all sad. That hat is just as much a part of Finny as his buddy Leo! No exaggeration, he's worn it all day every day for almost a year. There was some justified frowning and pouting from our boy on the way home, and Dad-o and I had to start thinking about how we would replace his cherished cap.
We found a decent substitute online, and ordered it right away. It's not exactly the same, but it does have Thomas on the front and the railroad crossing sign on the sides. As Finny and I were discussing our trip to the beach last night at bedtime, I asked him what his favorite part of the day was. He enthusiastically replied "going into the water!," and then quickly and somberly followed up with "But losing my Thomas hat was not so good." I agreed with him, and assured him that we'd found a new one and it should arrive in the mail within the next few days. I said "It's not exactly like your old one, but I think you'll like it." He looked at me, smiled, and said, "I think I'll like it, too."
The upside is that we get to enjoy the rare treat of seeing Finny's beautiful blond wavy hair until the new hat arrives.
Yesterday our guys experienced their first taste (literally & figuratively) of the ocean! Henry has been insistently talking about "seaside" (prominently featured in a Thomas story), so it was great to experience the real thing. We visited Natural Bridges State Beach with young pals Cyrus & Hazel, their parents Michael & Juliana, and their visiting friends Konrad, Lisa, and young Max. The boys had a ball wading (with assistance) into the onrushing surf, and though their jaws were chattering ("I'm a helicopter! AhBaBaBaBa..." shivered Finn), we had to drag them out for periodic drying/warming sessions.
Here's our little gallery, kicking off with Henry's "Young Man and the Sea" routine.
Boy oh boy, has our little Henry started to bloom! Before I get to the good part, I will back up a little bit...For the past few weeks he's been one heck of a cranky tot--crying and shrieking at the drop of a hat, even throwing himself on the floor, prostrate, kicking his feet about the most minor incidents. He's always been a little, shall we say, demanding, but he'd really been taking it to a new level.
Now, I am happy to report, we can see that our little G-Man has really turned a corner, and maybe all the drama and cranking around was just a way for him to show his frustration about what he wanted to be doing and saying but couldn't quite put together yet. He's really talking up a storm these days, using nouns, verbs, and even adjectives and adverbs! A few weeks ago, if he wanted something, he might have just said "Ollie!" and started crying. Now, he says "Dad-o get Ollie, please!" or "Get Ollie now?*" This is so exciting for us, and I can't adequately convey just how much. The fact that he's able to string words together and express himself is so much nicer than the constant whining and crying that we'd been dealing with. Henry seems to be so much happier, too. He's smiling a lot more, he's noticeably more relaxed, and he's enjoying communicating with his big brother (exclaiming "Toe Party!!!" in the bathtub as he grabs Finny's toes).
Another fun development is that of Henry entering the realm of the abstract. His little imagination is starting to fire up, and results in him claiming "I'm a squirrel! I'm Thomas! I'm Penny (the Pig character in one of his books)!" Even when Finny's trying to get him to play along with one of his games, Henry stands up for himself. For instance, Finny will try to make us all quails, and give us quail names**, and when he says to Henry "You're Chump (the quail)", Henry replies "I'm a squirrel!"
Regarding Henry's latest achievements, as Finny might say, "Hooray for Henry! Extra huggies and smooches!"
[* It's so helpful that he's started clarifying things by adding "Now." Oh really, Hen? Your flopping down & screeching were so ambiguous.
** For posterity: The quails are Pump, Dump, and Chump. Chump is the welder who has a little mask & torch. (Yes, there's a *very* elaborate backstory there...) --J.]
This is your captain speaking. Please, remain calm. Air sickness bags are conveniently located in the seat pocket in front of you. Now please, sit back and enjoy flying the Micronaxx Skies!
Finn was rocking some major hat hair this evening, and we compared his 'do that of a horned owl. He wanted to inspect it one more time before it got washed away, and as we lacked a mirror, I fired up my phone's video camera. Check out the results, including a rhythmic bead-popping duet (sort of the lowest-key Stomp performance ever):
Little Hen is, let's say, not shy in expressing his wishes, especially now that he can toss some words around. Lately he conveys his desire to be held by saying, "Dad-O, hold you??*" We're trying to teach him to have a little patience, but he's wily: Seeking to draw me nearer his high chair, he'll offer to pet us. Example:
H: "Pet... Dad-O??"
Me: "Uh... you want to pet me?"
H: "Nah" (meaning "Yah").
Me: "Uh, okay," cautiously extending an arm.
H: (seizing the moment & the arm) "Dad-O, hold you??"
He can be trying, this kid, especially as he tends to burst into tears (which he helpfully notes as "Cryin'?! Fussin'?!") if gratification is delayed. Ah, but then he can be so nice: As we've sung in the dark at bedtime the last few nights, he's combined elements of just-read Pat the Bunny, caressing my stubbly throat & chin and saying, "Pet, Dad-O... soft, face..." What a guy, what a guy; I think we'll keep him.
*Nearly every phrase features little pauses, then rises with the tone of an urgent, somewhat pained question.
We were delighted this week to see our friends Adolfo, Romina, & Bruno as they visited from Argentina ("Argentunafish"). As I was still in Germany on Thursday, Margot reported that after dinner the boys played in the basement & "spoke the universal language of Thomas." (Bruno is a *big* Toby fan.)
Yesterday the guys came over again & we enjoyed some more basement time before having a "meat hut" picnic in the park, complete with some impromptu face-painting. We'll have more photos & maybe a video to share soon; in the meantime, here's a great shot Adolfo captured of me & the G-Man (click for a larger version).
On a flight last summer, I had the misfortune of scoring a middle seat next next to a tremendously drunk young guy. When he wasn't passed out from the three cocktails Southwest had served him (for a 50-minute flight!), he began LOUDLY serenading me (and the rest of the cabin) with slurred info about his life. He couldn't shut up about how his girlfriend was blonde ("BLAAAHNDE!!") and hot ("HAAAAWT!!"), sharing way too much detail & repeating himself over and over.
Having "enjoyed" his performance art for two hours (thanks to bonus time stuck waiting for a gate), I finally escaped with my wits somewhat intact. At home I treated Margot & nearby Finn to a recap, making the little guy ask, "What is 'Blaaande'? What is 'Haaaawt'?" I tousled his hair and explained that *he's* blonde--to which he added, "And hot!!"
This week as I prepared to head to Germany, Finn asked out of the blue, "Is the 'Blonde, Hot' guy gonna be on there?" I told him I sure hoped not! Even better, Henry--who's clearly been on full record mode & is ready for some playback--started chiming in from the next room: "Blaaaand... hawwwt!!" What a proud dad I am.
Yesterday as Mom-O did a 10-mile walk (putting the "go go" in "Margot"), the guys and I fooled around with neighborhood trash cans, "rescuing" some discarded Swiffers & mops from the gutter. (Hey man, cheap thrills, and they were as happy as clams!) After hauling home our loot, we spent much of the day redistributing leaves around our driveway; here's a photo.
Soon enough it was time for me to head off to my flight to Hamburg, where I've now landed. Finn, recalling our extensive pirate lore, said, "Dad-O, if you run into any pirates, maybe you could bring a broomstick and beat 'em with it!" After we discussed the general incompatibility between long wooden truncheons & airline carry-on policy, he agreed, "Yeah, maybe you could just get a broom handle while you're over there."
And to that I say, Avast! Time to Swiff some scallywags into the sea!
In a happy accident the other day, I must have inadvertently left my phone on & set to camera mode. After some escalator-riding with Henry, I flipped on the phone & discovered this photo, just as you see it here--no fooling!