Finn’s firetruck party

For Finn’s FIRST birthday, we spent weeks and weeks planning an elaborate Birthday Brunch Theatre at our house — only to have our air conditioning break down right before the party. THIS time, we decided to throw his party at a park, and how much easier it all was! The weather was unusually lovely: it was fresh rather than hot and humid, so we were able to enjoy being outdoors:

The park itself is fantastic, with old, shady trees, lots of space to run around, various playground areas for different age groups, and a colorful water feature that allows kids to run through spraying water and even squirt one another with “fire hoses.” Although Finn had the second-worst meltdown of his life right before we left for the party and was completely antisocial when we first arrived, he eventually managed to get in on the fun:

The high point for all of us, though, was definitely his fantabulous firetruck cake, which was a show-stopper. Made by my sister Ilianna and her boyfriend Brian, the cake was unbelievable, complete with ladder, fireman, a personalized “Finn-2” license plate, and surrounding cupcakes of fire.

We oohed and ahhed over the cake, sang happy birthday, chowed down, watched Finn’s 2 year video on laptop, passed out personalized fire helmets and firetruck tattoos, and then just spent the rest of the party PLAYING!

Finn had a blast, running around until about two hours past his naptime, when we finally loaded everything into three cars and headed home. By then, he was much too wound up to nap at all, but that’s okay: later that night, we all closed Finn’s birthday weekend by closing our eyes and getting some much needed rest.

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TWO YEARS OLD

Oh, Finn…

The world never stops with you around. Everything moves, turns, goes.

“Finn sees a firetruck! Moving! Wheels on it!” you’ll shout from the back seat. “Cement truck turning in circles!” You’ll spot them all long before we will, and we’ll turn to look, to catch the rush, the freshness of a sighting, as if we’re bird-watching.

Riding in the car feels like a hobby. You are not just a passenger; you’re on a quest, a journey, the two-year-old leader of the expedition, and we’re explorers along with you watching for hundred-foot cranes.

You take your expeditions very seriously. “Finn ride in Mommy’s new car,” you’ll say, and sit in the back with your hat on, a bottle of water in your hand, a book always open on your lap for reference. You expect a soundtrack for your little road trips, your current favorites being 1812 Overture and The Flight of the Bumblebee. You request them by name, over and over again. “More Flight of the Bumblebee,” you’ll say. “More 1812. Louder!” Sometimes you’ll play at conducting, which you think involves moving your arms up and down to music while ushering people aboard a train. These days, you usually have Mono by your side, too – but he’s only conducted once.

When we pull up into the driveway, you sometimes resist getting out. “Not inside Finn’s house. NOT. Stay inside Mommy’s car.” “Go THAT way,” you insist. Sometimes I can tell you want to go THAT way because it’s the opposite of where WE want to go. Other times, though, you simply want THAT way because it’s the way to, well, MORE.

At home, you have similar plans. “Daddy, get the shoes. Daddy walk. Go see the moon,” you say at night. Walking sounds better than sleeping. Talking sounds better than sleeping, too. In bed, you’ll stay up telling stories just to keep things moving… stories about people you know, books we read. “Uncle Brian is architect. Builds buildings.” “Sadie crying at school.” “Kitty Cat jumps in the pond.”  I’ll listen, humor you, let you humor me. Then I’ll try to bring things to a stop. “Sleepy-time,” I’ll say. “Book-time,” you might say back. Then you’ll get sillier, laughing in the dark: “Closet-time.  Tree-time. Birdy-time.” Or you’ll spend some time rearranging your animals, moving Mono and Bee and Sock Monkey and Bat and Blue Bear and Mama Fox from one side of the bed to the other – and then back again.

Even after you finally fall asleep, your mind and body keep going. Sometimes in a nightmare or night terror, you’ll move screaming from room to room as we try to comfort you. Other times while in between asleep and awake, you’ll talk and talk and talk, moving through everything you see around you, and even some things you don’t, like the dalmations you once said were running down the street outside. But when you called me in at two in the morning a couple of nights ago, you were fully awake, sitting up in bed. “Good morning!” you said brightly, ready to go, and although I was crazy-tired, I could barely resist the urge to squeeze, kiss, laugh, dance, play with you.

Yet what you say a lot of these days isn’t “Good morning.” It’s “Adios!” Oftentimes you say it to be sassy – when you want someone to leave. More often, though, it has to do with where YOU want to go. You’re so eager to keep moving, so eager for more of what you love dearly, so eager for your songs, your trucks, your moons, your books, your stories.

Me too, Finch. Let’s go.