Fun around the house

Now that Finn is so active, it’s more of a challenge to keep him entertained around the house. Now that summer is over and Keith and I are back to work, it’s more of a challenge to do ANYTHING around the house.

One solution? Robots. Ours simultaneously cleans floors AND entertains the baby:

When the robot gets tired, we can always turn to kitchenware. A plain, old mixing bowl is sure to provide hours and hours of amusement:

Now if we can just get Finn to do some dishes…

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Absolutely Fine

As soon as my summer hit the halfway mark and the heat index rose, so did my anxiety levels. With each stifling week, I stressed more and more about leaving Finn to start the new school year. I envisioned myself unable to leave my screaming child at the door, or wiping away tears in front of my students throughout the day.

I visited a daycare facility and cried during the tour of the infant room. After I struggled to find one-on-one care for him, making arrangements with my mother-in-law for one day a week, my sister another, and a friend for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I still worried. Would the varying routine make things more difficult? Would my attempts to nurse him mid-day cause more stress with the extra coming and going? The guilt was relentless and unavoidable, it seemed. I talked about the situation incessantly, even soliciting help from the virtual world of more experienced mothers.

I tried to plan by spending “practice time” away from him and making sure he visited frequently with those who would care for him. I burned a CD of his favorite songs and took it to my friend’s house along with one of Finn’s much-loved books and muslin blankets. I heeded all of the advice I’d gotten and practiced a “strong, confident goodbye” in my mind. I promised myself I would not cry in front of him.

Then the time came. When on Monday I kissed Finn, waved a strong goodbye, and turned to walk out the door, he was bouncing around with my sister, dancing to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s rendition of “Got to Get You Into My Life.” He was fine. When his Gram watched him later in the week, he practiced walking by holding onto her index finger (finger only!) and played with a new bouncy-ball. He was fine. And when I left him at my friend’s house for the TRUE test, blowing him a kiss and attempting my “confident” wave, Finn was eagerly headed toward the lazy lab mutt for what might have been (oops) an open-mouthed kiss. He was fine.

Finn was fine, absolutely fine.

He — we — will be just fine.

Who’s the culprit?

Poor Finn has been waking up THROUGHOUT the night. And drooling again. A constant line of slimy saliva dribbles down his chin and onto anything below him. Tooth Eight: where are you, buddy? Complete your torture!

But that’s not all: last night and earlier today he also had a low-grade fever, and I’ve assumed that the two are connected. But then again, Keith’s been sick with something for the last few days… is he the culprit?

Or perhaps it’s got something to do with both of us. We did, after all, go back to work today, leaving him after a long summer of, well, very-togetherness. Could the stress of the change be manifesting itself physically?

Maybe it’s just something he picked up somewhere from one of the EIGHTEEN MILLION things he puts into his mouth daily…

At music class, he didn’t exactly PLAY his instruments:

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Plus, I’ve been twice to those “germ pits” I swore I’d let never him enjoy:

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Is child-rearing always filled with such mysteries — and guilt?

A perfect ten

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Finn. Finsty-Foo. Fat little Finch.

Your tenth month ranks highest on my scorecard for life. We’re coming to the end of our perfect summer — the one during which you, Daddy, and I spent almost every waking (and non-sleeping) hour together, the one when we sang and danced and splashed like three kids and laughed at all the same wordless jokes. You seem to understand that it’s all about the delivery. Oh, I could bask in your laughter for hours without stopping, Finn. Nothing would get done, but my heart would be a warm hum.

10months

As far as adult tasks go, nothing much HAS been done, actually. Our closet and loft are still overflowing with useless things. My yoga practice is nonexistent. The stack of must-read books by my bed is growing rather than shrinking. In terms of baby activity on the other hand, things have been VERY productive, haven’t they, my love? Although I’ll give you a five in the sleep category, you definitely score a ten on floor exercises and might be a contender on the balance beam. In the past month, you’ve learned to stand on your own for up to seventeen seconds at a time! You’ve also started to clap and bounce to music, mastered those slippery finger foods, and said your first words on cue: “up, up, up.”  You certainly are growing up, up, up.

In some ways, maybe it’s a bit too fast for us. It seems that we can’t move quickly enough to protect you from harm even in our own, small home, regardless of how many safety straps and bumpers we attach to things. Your tenth month was marred with minor injuries: a cut on your right baby toe, a toenail scrape on your forehead, a paper cut on your nose, a bruise on your temple. But your cells and psyche seem to rebuild faster than mine do. You’re up, up, up and moving, smiling, bouncing before I myself can get my bearings.

I’m terrified of the big fall we’re headed for, though, and hope you’ll forgive me for it. There’s only one way things can go after perfect: our lazy summer is coming to an end. We won’t have autumn leaves down here in South Florida, but you’ll feel the change, the loss, when Daddy and I go back to work. Will you rebound just like always? Will you still grin with your seven teeth, scrunch up your nose, and make your excited pterodactyl noise?

I have to believe that the answer is yes. We’ve grown so attached to one another, it’s true, but I’ve spied you in secret, content on your own, standing with your hands on the padded windowsill, rocking back and forth on your tiptoes as you watched the outside bushes shake in the breeze. You love the world too much to not be interested in what’s coming next.