Building things

As Finn turned 15 months old last Saturday, he was working hard to build his immunities. His forehead burned with fever while the temperatures outside dropped into the thirties — the longest South Florida cold snap in decades. We kept him inside, kept him hydrated, kept him close. We chased him with a saline mister and taught him how to blow his nose.

By Sunday, Finn was almost himself again, working hard at building character: both his and mine. He ran around the house throwing things (like my shoes) into the garbage can and resisting any nap that involved his head on a mattress. He wanted to be held, danced with, played with. He wanted to run around outside without a hat. I won that contest, bundling him up in mismatched pieces of clothing before allowing him out into the chilly air. Unable to find toddler-sized gloves, I shoved a pair of my own over his little hands. The large, empty faux-fingers stuck out at weird angles and complicated his daily ritual of snacking on beet greens and basil from the garden. He was still, I would have to say, moderately successful:

Most impressive throughout his fifteenth month, however, has been Finn’s growing vocabulary. His words are part of his every moment now, part of his way of labeling his expanding universe and building his relationship with us. He often tells me what he wants, demanding “banana,” “cracker,” “dance,” or, unfortunately when it comes in the middle of the night, “Mama, UP!” Not counting his sign language or things he merely imitates upon command, I can estimate the words he regularly says with full comprehension at over forty, although I’m sure he communicates others that we aren’t quite picking up on yet. His current repertoire includes the following: MOON, ART, MAMA, DADA, UP, DOWN, OUT, OFF, OPEN, YES, DANCE, BOTTLE, PEPPER, PASTA, BATH, BUBBLES, BANANA, CHEESE, APPLE, CRACKER, PUFF, SOCKS, SHOES, BALL, EYES, EARS, TEETH, GOOSE, BIRD, COLD, SPOON, OWL, RUFF, MOO, MEOW, GARDEN, HELP, MORE, BOOK, BLUE, TALL TREE, BYE-BYE, and when he’s being more ambiguous, THIS. Finn is building a world of words a few at a time.

At Tuesday’s fifteen-month well-visit, his pediatrician was pleased with his progress. The little man, himself, was not pleased at all, however. In fact, he screamed as he was weighed (24.3 lbs.), measured (33 in.), and otherwise inspected in relatively noninvasive ways. Then came the real fun: the three vaccinations in his arms. He didn’t scream for those, because his mouth was open and no sound was coming out.

My poor Finch had a tough week, it’s true, but he’s built up some resilience, too. Just like the fleeting South Florida cold, his misery never lasts for long… something we’re all thankful for: