Happy, Happy New Year!

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Our “winter” vacation begins…

So it’s here… the two-week vacation we’ve been waiting for since the academic year began in August. We get to take our time cuddling and chatting with Finn in the morning light and drawing on the sidewalk outside before the sun sets each evening.

At some point in the day, Finn usually joins his Daddy for some gardening and taste-testing. He loves to sample basil and beet greens straight from the ground, and then play peek-a-boo behind the tomato plants.

We’ve been able to do new things, too, like visit friends who have REAL farm animals — a far cry from the ones we see every day in puzzles and books. All it took to get Finn to finally make a “moo” sound was some hands-on experience with actual cows.

Touching a bull’s horns, however, was not exactly what Mommy had in mind…. I put an end to that “fun” pretty quickly.

I had more fun watching Finn play with the chickens. They were a bit too fast for him, but he gave them plenty of exercise. Unfortunately, I was too busy running after Finn and the chickens to get a good shot of the chase.

I don’t mind running after Finn, as long we don’t get to the end of our vacation any faster.

Slowing down (some) at 14 months

Dear Finn —

From months eleven to thirteen, you got faster and faster, darting around at full force toward anything and everything you saw — even, much to my alarm, the lake behind our house. It was all about getting there — wherever that was — and then you turned and charged for the next, newer, shinier destination.

At fourteen months, you’re learning to sometimes slow down. You’re learning to appreciate that life is not just about getting there, but BEING there. You’re learning to live a more thoughtful, creative life.

Your new patience gives you the ability to get those colorful shapes into the RIGHT places! The green triangle fits so well into — yes — the green, triangular hole! The red square fits NOT into the circular, yellow hole, but the square, red one! You are SO good at this, Finch.

You’re perfecting the art of puzzle-completion, too:  You’ve been identifying the turtle, shark, octopus, whale, crab, porpoise, airplane, school bus, boat, ship, and train for quite some time, but NOW you can put them BACK where they go. Sometimes you smile or clap once or twice when you succeed, even when you don’t know I’m watching.

Sometimes I watch you pull books off the shelves on your own and turn through the pages slowly, silently pointing at things you recognize. Other times, you bring a book to me and turn around and sit in my lap with it. You love to point to all of the things I ask about — Where’s the ladybug? The pumpkin? The kitty-cat? The birds? The clouds? The sun? — and if you don’t know where something is, you raise your hands, palms up, above your shoulders in question. You always, however, know where to find the moon, and as you point, you always say it — your favorite word — with one long, slow, amazed syllable: MLOOOOOOOOON.

Other words you quietly whisper, like “bubble” or “ruff, ruff,” as if they are part of some secret you’re trying to keep to yourself. You’re learning to appreciate the mystery and art of language, claiming your own versions of new words each day. Some, like “up” and “out,” have become confidently delivered commands that are a regular part of your vocabulary. Last night, when you didn’t want to go to sleep, we told you, “Sleepy-time, Finn. Lie down, please.” In response, you stood and exercised your new art of speaking. “Out. Out. Out,” you said.

For almost two weeks this month, you seemed to perfect the art of sleeping, too: you started taking a longer late morning nap, setting yourself a new one-nap-a-day schedule, and even sleeping through the night, although the teething started again just as soon as I started to expect a better night’s sleep. Three new molars broke through and a fourth is on the way, I can feel it, so it may be some time before you work on that particular art form again.

That’s okay. You’ve got plenty of others to experiment with. Some you’ve always enjoyed, and others you’re just discovering, like spinning in circles to music until you get dizzy, or your newest love, decorating the sidewalk — and yourself — with colorful chalk… something you simply call “ART.” It’s lovely — even on your butt.