Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Springtime Fun

It has seemed more like summer in recent days in Boston, but it is technically only spring so last week we planted some bean seeds.  After Finley went with me to Home Depot to get some pots for my class to plant seeds, he has been patiently waiting to plant his own.  His love of dirt surely plays into this, but I was thrilled that he was so interested and somewhat aware of the process.  With a towel spread on the kitchen floor after dinner, Finley carefully put dirt into his two pant pots from a bucket that we filled from the garage. Don't mind his outfit though...what can I say? 
Then, it was time for the much anticipated seeds! He pushed in three or four kidney beans into each pot and we covered them with dirt.  He helped me water them and then we carried them to the kitchen table where they will get some sun and we'll be reminded to water them daily!
The next morning, he asked to do more dirt and more seeds but seemed mildly satisfied to just water his handiwork from the night before. Phew.  I am guessing it will take at least two weeks or so until we see any growth, but I know Finley will be really excited when the first sprouts appear!  Happy Spring!

UPDATE: As of Wednesday night (when I noticed) and Thursday morning (when Finley was informed), his bean seeds have sprouted! Joy!!
 He wanted to put more dirt on them but I suggested just watering them and he quickly grabbed the watering can and soaked them nicely.
 More photos to come as the plants continue to grow!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pretend Finley

Well, this is a pictureless post...are you still with me?  Okay, it'll be worth it, I promise.  Finley has a terrific imagination and has been engaging in some excellent pretend play these past couple of months and I have failed to make a note of it until now.  While he still enjoys our presence nearby when he is playing, he is more than entertaining himself most of the time.  His typical pretend play involves either cooking at this kitchen or grill (making burgers, cooking a cake in the oven, washing his hands in the sink, cracking eggs for pancakes, etc) or working with his fleet of trucks.  A fleet is probably an understatement, but I won't embarrass myself with admitting to how many trucks/vehicles are actually in our playroom...but I digress...he digs with his excavator to make a pile of small koosh balls, wooden trees, mardi gras beads, etc. and is always clear about what he is digging: sand, dirt, or rocks.  In the midst of playing, he has turned to me and said, "this not dirt now, it's sand" before getting back to it.  He loads up his garbage trucks and travels around the playroom picking up trash (some days it's just trash and other days it is stinky garbage, go figure the difference).  His dump truck, fire engine, bulldozer, and cement mixer are often in on the action.  He'll talk to the drivers of these trucks and tell them what to do or simply ask them to stand and watch.  His little firefighter figure has developed into quite a Renaissance Man since he is also the garbage man and more recently the Shuttle Discovery astronaut/pilot.  Most other drivers are one note, just don't put the wrong one in the cab...he'll put him/her back in his/her place (and you, too!).  His play barn is also a great place for pretend play as he usually gets all the animals together for a birthday or puts them all to sleep in their pens.

His imagination can stretch to where he will improvise if he needs something that he doesn't have, like out in the sandbox he wanted a driver for his red truck but since we are people-free outside at the moment, he settled on using a small rock.  When the truck tipped over and the rock tumbled out, he said, "Oh no, the rock-driver fell down and got a boo-boo."  Inside, we put the two chairs from his art table back to back to make a train that he likes to drive and will invite us to sit in the back as passengers, these chairs also serve as a great tunnel for his wooden farm train to pass through.  Trains often go to Boston/downtown, but there are occasionally other destinations like the museum.  When Finley sits on the couch to read a book or watch a short video, he'll often put a pillow on his lap and call it his table before proceeding to eat a pretend meal complete with cookies at the end.

Bath time is always full of great pretend play with Finley.  He likes to make "bath soup" and serve it to some of the other toys floating nearby.  We have a family of ducks that are very popular in the tub and last night they were pretty entertaining.  The green mommy duck, the blue daddy duck, and the baby yellow duck (no figuring the genetics here) were swimming when suddenly Finley picked up the blue duck and said, "Time to go to work for the daddy duck" and pushed him away into the bubbles.  As the baby duck, I asked the mommy duck for a snack and Finley quickly dove his mommy duck underwater, brought it back up, and bonked beaks with the baby saying, "Here's something special for you, baby."  Art imitating life!

I was reminded to do this post after a funny sandbox interaction today in the backyard.  Finley and I were using our big shovels to make a tall pile that he soon renamed a mountain, when he said it was all finished. I said, "Okay, now what?" and he said, "Someone need to climb it."  I asked, "Who could climb it?"  Without hesitation, he said, "Pretend Finley can go up it."  Ha!  He pinched his thumb and pointer finger together and bounced them up the mountain to the top before saying, "Now, here comes Pretend Mommy."  When they were both at the top, Finley said, "They are singing on top of mountain" and no surprise when I asked, they were "singing Hot Potato" (a family favorite!).  I couldn't get over how cool it was that he had inserted his pretend-self (and me!) into his imaginative play :)

I'm sure there are other examples, but I suspect those above give you a good idea of just how creative and imaginative Finley is.  Being a child development major and a preschool teacher, I know how very, very important having an active imagination is and aside from that, it's just plain fun!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Purim, Finley!

Sunday morning, we headed over to the temple's preschool Purim carnival.  Finley chose to wear his firefighter costume--complete with fire chief helmet and hose.
He immediately spied the bouncy house and couldn't wait to get in, good thing we'd already bought a bunch of tickets and quickly handed over three!  
Dan had never had the pleasure of seeing Finley bounce in such a thing, so it was pretty fun to watch Finley but to also watch Dan watch Finley :)  Finley was a great sport, just jumping all around and landing wherever on whatever--back, feet, bottom, etc.  It was nice that there were only other small kiddos in there, made me much less nervous!  He didn't want to take off his firefighter jacket so once he finally came out, he was pretty sweaty but completely thrilled with himself.  We walked around the hall playing other carnival games and Finley impressed us with his skills.

But time and time again, he was back in that bouncy house!  Thankfully, we didn't have to keep giving tickets to the kind volunteer who was letting kids in and out.  Once the bigger kids were let into the carnival, there was more waiting and time limits inside but Finley was quite patient and enjoyed himself nonetheless.  It was scary when giant kids were bouncing all around him, but he handled himself like a champ.  We took a snack break to have some popcorn and hamantashen and then we decided it was time to show Finley that there was one more fun activity he had to try--a bouncy house obstacle course!  Being a bit on the small side, Dan had to accompany him through it and I got to watch and take photos.

Finley was laughing and laughing, but nothing made him giggle louder than when Dan would come crashing over the bolsters and land right in front of him.
And as soon as he would come out, he'd beg to go back and do it all over again.

Dan was a wonderful sport and went as many times as his son requested (I lost count after five), what a work out!  Finley clearly exhausted himself as his nap was quite epic that afternoon!!

Wednesday night was actually Purim, so we went back to the temple to hear the Purim story and dress up once more.  Despite being offered a couple other options, Finley wanted to be a firefighter once more.  There was a yummy pasta dinner followed by fruit and hamantashen for dessert, though Finley opted for a brownie.  Then, we moved into the room next door to watch the play.

Finley was quite taken by the people up on stage and enjoyed seeing them walk and dance around.
Whenever Haman's name was said, we had to say "boo! hiss!" and sound our groggers.  It took Finley a while to get the hang of it, but soon he was on board.

When the very abridged version of the story was over, there was a little costume parade before we headed down to the "big people's service."  Finley enjoyed seeing all the costumes and listening to the prayers being sung.  There was another costume parade and Finley and I danced our way around back to our seats after being given necklaces as prizes.  We sat and listened to the first couple of chapters of the story and one song performed by the Jews Brothers, which Finley loved!  However, we stayed one chapter more and paid a price.  Finley was freaked out by the big puppet of Haman that came out and all the noise of people booing and hissing.  Tears were shed and I was latched onto for dear life, so we made a quick exit trying to explain that the "meanie" was just pretend and he was gone.  There was a lot of "meanie" questions in the car and Dan and I both feared that we had scarred the poor guy and he'd have terrible nightmares.  At home, we explained again that he was not real and the people had scared him away back into a box.  He did not seem satisfied, but thankfully slept like a log and only asked about him once this morning...maybe next year we'll leave earlier or do a little more prepping of the plot for the little guy.

I continue to love watching Dan share and relive his Jewish childhood memories and experiences with Finley and I think we are all learning a great deal and having fun :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mommy's School

After I picked up Finley from daycare on Thursday, we headed back to my school to get some costume options for Purim.    I told him we would drive over to my school and he asked, "Will there be toys there?"  "Of course!" I said and off we went.  After raiding the attic, we went into my classroom to play.  Finley's been at my school a handful of times, but not since December when we were there with my assistant and her two elementary-aged girls.  He saw the trucks and put them on the floor right away and that reminded me that last time, the kids had used the koosh balls in the block area and moved them around with the trucks.  I gave him the bin full of kooshes and he immediately asked for some "pinchers" and I wasn't sure what he meant.  He made the pinching motion with his hand and I thought, "oh, the tongs!"  The little genius had remembered moving the kooshes around tongs last time!!  So I grabbed a couple of pairs for us to use and we got to "work."
Load, drive, dump, and repeat.
 I won't tell you how long this went on...the things we do for our kids...It was hard to get him to leave when it was time to go, but I suspect we'll be back :)

A unrelated video is posted below...Finley likes being wrapped up in our big fleece blanket like a "sausage" and then sitting on my lap to read books.  Kind of odd, but his laugh while he's getting rolled up is priceless and I had been meaning to tape it for a while!

A Week Overdue

Last weekend, we traveled down to NY to help Grandpa Murray celebrate a big simcha--the 50th anniversary of his bar mitzvah!  For those math majors, that made Panpa a spry 63 year old "boy" reading Torah in front of everyone at temple.

Finley was (overly) excited to go to temple on Saturday morning and impressed everyone sitting around us (and even his parents) that he sat through a nearly two hour service with needing just a few snacks and a few minutes of truck play on the floor.  He particularly enjoyed going up on the bimah with Dan and I for our aliyah (bimah means elevated area in front of temple and aliyah means the blessing before and after torah portion is read).  He liked when Ellie sang and when Panpa read the Torah, but the best part was when the kids were all invited up to sit on the steps on the bimah.  Finley saw all the other kids running up and he asked if he could go.  I said yes and he asked me to come, too, but I said "No mommies, just kids" and surprisingly, that worked! He went right up and sat amongst all the other little kids.  He soon found a better spot up on the top level and proudly smiled at as from up there, making everyone sit around us remark at how adorable and happy he looked!  Soon Finley's eye caught site of an older girl (grill) sitting in a chair up on the bimah and he walked over and asked her to come sit down with him and pointed to his spot, while she politely refused--it didn't seem to deter his efforts.  He bounced around her and continued to ask her to join him on the steps, what a hound dog!

After the service, we enjoyed some snacks and treats while Finley ran around with some bigger kids up on the stage during kiddish.  Finley took a nice, long nap when we got home and then it was time for more fun when Julie, Matt, and their kids Harrison and Maggie arrived.  Julie is Dan's cousin and they live in NJ.  Finley love horsing around with Harrison and Harrison was a very good sport.
Panpa had to get in on the fun and took Finley for a ride on his knees.
 We enjoyed a delicious dinner made my GG and then sampled an array of desserts that Julie brought from a pastry shop near their house.  Finley was having some ice cream when he asked for a bite of my dessert, a little slice of carrot cake.  After a forkful and his mouth still full, he said, "Put that cake right here, mommy" while pointing at his placemat.  What a lush!

The next morning, we played around at GG and Panpa's some more before heading home.  Finley napped for a good chunk of the ride, but woke up prematurely and need some help making it home.  After some singing, snacking, and goofing around--I handed him my itouch with an episode of Caillou on it.  We plugged in the headphones and put them on him, instantly he was a teenager in the way back of a minivan :)
 He still had about 10 minutes left of the video when we got home and he wanted to finish watching, so we were able to unpack and such while Finley sat in the car.  Couldn't have timed it all better if we'd planned it!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Purim Preview

With Purim just around the corner, Finley and I raided the dress up clothes collection at my school.  There have to be some non-monetary perks to working at a cooperative preschool, right?  Last night and tonight before bed, he tried some costumes on as we tried to figure out what he'd want to wear to the Purim Carnival on Sunday morning.  He excitedly put on the (somewhat oversized) firefighter raincoat, grabbed the hose, and donned the helmet--take a look!
 He looked around the living room for fires to put out and did his best hose sound effects with great success.
 Even Agent P got into the scene.
 But then it was time to change careers paths.  The construction worker/crossing guard vest is definitely a favorite, but tonight he added the chef hat before heading to the indoor grill.

 After some delicious burgers and buns, Finley took the chef's hat off and did some actual construction work while wearing his vest.
Who knows what Finley will don for the Carnival, but it has been fun to see him get excited to dress up.   Hopefully with garage sale season around the corner, we can start amassing a good costume collection of our own!