Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

Sunday morning was a busy one for the Forseter trio. After breakfast, Finley and I headed off to the supermarket while Dan drove just about an hour south to the town of Norfolk, MA. Why, you ask? To pick up a very special craigslist purchase that I lined up for Finley. We got home and unpacked the groceries and soon enough, Dan called to say he was almost home and we should meet him in the garage. We raced down and opened the trunk, Finley nearly jumped out of my arms!
If you couldn't tell, inside our trunk was a beautiful fully equipped kitchen! Unfortunately for Finley, it was nearly nap time so we trudged back upstairs for a snooze. While Finley slept, we carried the kitchen around back and through the back door into the playroom. A perfect fit!
This thing is awesome! There's a sink, fridge, microwave, stovetop, dishwasher, oven, phone, cabinet, and even a working ice cube dispenser! It's a Little Tikes Country Kitchen that is no longer made and apparently, hard to find in good condition. Hooray for my craigslist scavenger hunt!

While I wanted Finley to have a nice, long nap--I was eager for him to see this new addition to his playroom. After two hours or so, he was up and ready for his surprise. We carried him into the playroom, still a bit groggy, for the big reveal and it was an instant hit. He recognized what was in front of him right away and got down to business immediately.
Can you see the smile on his face as he rushes towards it in the photo above?

He has to get up on his tippy-toes to put things into the microwave, it's adorable!
I loaded up the fridge with some nice wooden foods I'd purchased a month ago or so (in hopes of a kitchen coming to us) and Finley had fun exploring everything.
And yes, there's a working ice cube dispenser! How funny! After watching me a couple of times, he learned how to put the cubes in and then close to the door and slide the lever over so the cubes land in the cup.
I see many hours of fun in the months and years to come with this new piece of toddler equipment.

We've been playing with kitchen stuff for a while (our nice pots and lids, our bamboo spoons, our measuring cups, etc.) and I'm hoping he'll find it more fun to play with things in his kitchen now. He tried to put one of our big, heavy skillets onto his stovetop without much success (after loudly dragging it across our tiled kitchen floor), but I suspect he'll try again soon.

One of the neat things is that he's making sound effects while he works in his kitchen just as I have modeled for him over the past couple of months. When he is pouring from his tea kettle or coffee pot into a cup, he makes a "wsh"ing sound. So cute! When he shakes his salt shaker, he'll sometimes go "sh sh sh" as he sprinkles it into the pot or pan that he's using. All the things that I've been doing while we've been pretend cooking have not gone unnoticed I guess. I just love it! As he presses the non-electronic keypad on the microwave I've been making beeping noises and tonight after dinner, he was pressing the sticker keys and looking at me to make the beeps so I suspect he will be making his own sounds soon. After he "makes" some soup or eggs, he'll offer you a bite by putting the spoon near your mouth. But note: he needs his spatula for the eggs and a spoon if it's soup. If you take a pretend taste and say "mmm" or "yummy," Finley gets a big smile. He'll also taste it himself and then get back to cooking. I have a feeling that pretend play might become a favorite of mine to sit back and watch!

Our little top chef begins and ends his day playing in his kitchen now and it's nice to have a new go-to activity around here :) My next task is to get a video of all of this!

Our Little Bookworm

From very early on, we were reading to Finley. Way before he even knew what was going on, we read to him in his rocking chair, in the car, before bed, and even in the bathtub. Now that he does know what's going on (and then some), he LOVES books. He loves scanning the shelves for the one he has in mind. He loves handing it to you and then backing up to land in your lap (one of our favorite things he does these days) so you can read together.
Sometimes, he'll sit down with you to read only to pop up again instantly to go grab Agent P (giant penguin), Arty (small penguin) or his loveys (if we're in his bedroom). Nothing cuter than that!
He's great at turning the pages (sometimes prematurely if there's a page he's excited to get to) and enjoying pointing at different things on the pages so we can tell him what it is. Occasionally he'll reciprocate and if we ask where something is on the page, he'll point it out. He likes open-the-flap type books and books with buttons as much as plain old books with pages. If he wants you to read him a book, there's no way to get out of it--he'll just keep handing it to you until you give in and provide a lap to sit in.

A new twist to his reading repertoire is requesting to be helped into a chair (or onto the couch) and handed a book of his choice so he can read to himself!
His favorite books these days:
Go, Dogs. Go!
The Building Site (which I hide under the couch when I need a break for a few days)
First 100 Machines (a real page turner as you can imagine!)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
I Am a Train (possibly his top choice)
Bunny on the Beach
Goodnight Moon
The Word Book (dare I say it's short on plot, but good for pointing)
Hop on Pop
Goodnight Babies

I love that he's taken to loving books so much and hope it will continue as he grows!

Monday, March 28, 2011


At our playground up the street last week, Finley was entertained with the sand, structure, and his fellow tots. However, the most attractive feature in his eyes, was the grassy knoll where he could chase robins. He spotted one on the way back to the stroller and just took off after it. Similarly, on Friday, after visiting Dan at work, we headed off to the Harvard Square playground but didn't quite make it due to a robin pit stop. Finley nearly jumped out of the stroller when he saw a gathering of birds. I wish I could have gotten photos of him coming towards the camera, but I had to hang back as to not frighten the specimens away from our future ornithologist. He was certainly a man on a mission!
Amazing how close he could get! But eventually, each robin he would close in on would take off into the trees.
So after a long stare up towards the sky, he would scan the grass for another one to chase and he'd be off once again.
He was laughing while he ran and stopping every so often to make sure I was following him, and I kid you not--this was about a half hour endeavor. Finley was really in his element and while it was quite chilly out, this bird adventure made it feel like spring. I know both of his grandfathers would be proud of his new found interest in birds. When he'd had his fill, he came running back with arms up ready to go.
With the remaining twenty minutes before heading back to meet Dan, we finally got to the playground. Finley made his way into the sand and found plenty of tools to keep him happy.
This playground is so much fun, but we had to scoot. Once the weather gets a tinge warmer, we'll go back. It sure seemed odd to be digging in the sand with fuzzy hats and heavy coats on!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gym Class

A couple of months ago, we started going to a toddler gym class after school on Thursdays. My Gym is about 10 minutes from Beth's house so after I grab Finley, we head over. Each week, he tries new things, watches everyone intently, pretends to be shy, forgets how to do the new things he tried the week before, gives the teachers high fives, and sometimes a combination of all of these things or none of them. Did that make sense? It seems to me that Finley isn't the adventurous sort, but more of a careful participant and while that's okay for now, I'm hoping that as he gets more comfortable with the scene and the people, he'll continue to come out of his gross-motor shell. This past Thursday was the first one that I remembered to bring my camera into the play area and while the week before was a much more eventful class for Finley, I managed to capture some of what goes on most weeks.

We start with a snack at the little picnic table in the waiting area since I usually pick Finley up just as he's waking up from his nap and is often starving.
Then, we wash our hands and head in. Sometimes he bolts for a specific spot or activity, but often he surveys the room for a few minutes to get his bearings.
It's free play for like ten minutes and then circle time. Finley's great at sitting on my lap and stretching, clapping, and sometimes even waving as I say his name to the group. They teach a song, a dance, and a "move" such as a log roll or somersault. Then the fun part, the gym is ours!

After free play and some teacher led gymnastics or obstacle course options, it's "separation" time when a whole bunch of toys are dumped in the middle and the kids play together with the teachers while the adults go and hang out off to the side for about ten minutes. Finley's getting braver and braver during this part of class and while I wanted to get some photos, I tried to stay far enough out of his line of vision as to not distract him.
What a good boy!

His favorite parts about class: singing/clapping, climbing stairs and ladders, sliding, finding balls everywhere, crawling through tunnels, trying to "jump" on the trampoline, seeing the puppet show at the end, and after many weeks of avoiding it like the plague--Finley's beginning to find the joy in the ball pit!

All in all, the classes have been fun and very worthwhile. It's given me good ideas about new ways to play with Fin and watching the older kids in the class has been a neat way to get a little preview of what skills are coming down the pipe for our little guy. Plus, he's learning how to follow a routine, wait in line, connect with his teachers, share, etc. As a teacher and mom, I'm dually happy with that! Hopefully Dan will get to sneak out of work early on Thursday one week to take Finley to class, it's been such a fun experience that I think he'd enjoy it, too.

A Poorly Documented Visit

Dan's sister, Ellie, was here last weekend for a short visit and sadly, we took very few photos. Part of the reason for this was that Finley wasn't thrilled with being held by anyone but me (the usual family photographer) and the other part was that since he wasn't going to be in any photos with Ellie, I just put the camera aside for most of the visit. As our pediatrician predicted, Finley's mommy-separation anxiety seems to be peeking and while he's fine with other people playing with him and holding him when I'm not around--he puts up a fight when I'm nearby but not the one attending to him. Ellie took the brunt of this new phase upon her arrival and both Dan and I were terribly disappointed. However, Ellie saw Finley shed some tears when Dan had to hold him while I was cooking, so at least she couldn't take it personally. We're really hoping when we see her next (down in NY for Passover) that Finley will be over this stuff and ready to bond with his extended family. The few picts that I did take are somewhat Ellie-related, so here they are:

Ellie arrived with some tasty French macaroons that I couldn't resist sharing with Finley. One cookie a month won't cause a sweet tooth to grow, right? It will cause a great smile for sure!
Since Ellie recently had foot surgery, she's getting around well with the occasional assistance of a cane, which Finley thought was a pretty cool accessory.
The next few were snapped as we sat around waiting to go to lunch. Ellie was just off to the right of us, but Finley wouldn't sit in her lap for a photo opportunity. Arg! When I saw the photos later, I had to admit that we both looked cute, but Dan took a million shots of us and by the last one, I had had it! Can you tell?
Our apologies to Finley's wonderful Aunt Ellie who deserved more than the snub she got from her nephew. I suspect he'll be singing a different tune next time around!