It’s been a HUGE month!
At 9 months Finn is on the move! It’s like you sit there and encourage your baby to move around, to crawl, to stand, and you think they’ll never get it. Then like two days later they do everything all at once and you think, “Crap, now they can get into everything.”
Funny the things you sort of forget. Like how we had to put gates across our staircases and couldn’t leave anything sitting around anywhere because out of a room full of toys, it’s your
gin and tonic coffee the baby wants to investigate. Time to get the safety hooks out and on the cabinets! But I’m excited to put together the “Fun Cabinet” in our kitchen, the one Finn can open and go through, filled with containers and lids and random, safe kitchen utensils. We broke out the music table, it was a huge hit. Whatever the case, baby-proofing is in FULL force.
After a couple weeks of Finn perfecting his downward dog and plank moves, I headed in one night for his “midnight snack” (at 4:45am) to find him sitting up in his crib—a first. From there, Finn started pulling up on furniture (or your leg, or the dog) before he successfully crawled. One day, I turned around for a second and when I looked back he was standing at his toy box. So now he wants to do that pretty much all the time.
I forgot how cute it is to fine your baby doing this. Standing in the crib, so proud, watching for you to walk through the door.
And he figured out how to use a straw one day while I was holding him and a (non-alcoholic) drink in the same hand as I chased Ethan around the Magic House. Suddenly, I realized Finn had hold of my straw and was sucking away, thrilled he’d discovered the magic that was a frozen lemonade. He’s done this to my iced lattes a couple times too—that could get ugly.
We place him in his highchair three times a day and he goes to TOWN on some food. We pretty much hand him anything, he eats it all. Right now the top favorites are raspberries, turkey meatballs, spaghetti with marinara (both kids adore this recipe), and grilled cheese sandwiches. All the sudden we went from mango puree in yogurt to full fledged meals. He still likes purees and yogurt and all fruit, but he wants and likes what Ethan eats so, for the most part, we give him a lot of the same stuff. No allergic reactions so far, so good!
Oh and he’s a PRO at eating popsicles, just like big brother. I make them in my $1 Target popsicle mold with fruit and coconut water (and some spinach) so he can have a big, fun, messy party on hot afternoons.
- he loves bubbles. We procured a bubble machine just to entertain the boys…and it totally works. For like 15 whole minutes.
- he still screams REALLY loud. Really, really loud.
- he’s back to saying Mama, though I’m not convinced he means me, it might mean “more food”
- he already loves “tackling” and “wrestling” with Ethan, but he especially enjoys hugs and kisses from big bro
- thinks anyone’s food is fair game, better be ready to offer a bite
- is still crazy about bath time. As soon as the water goes on, he’s trying to climb over the side of the tub in anticipation.
- he waves bye-bye and is very proud of this skill
- his favorite toy is a set of chirping eggs…he and Ethan are both obsessed
- there have been a few tussles when Finn tries to Hulk-smash Ethan’s “work” (legos, blocks, whatever) but Ethan is being pretty darn patient
- wants to be entertained or held if there is any sort of lull in entertainment…aka I get nothing done when he’s awake (unless there are bubbles, see above)
- gets SUPER excited when dad gets home from work and/or when I get back from being gone for any amount of time
- loves to watch brother be silly, he laughs and violently squirms as Ethan runs around and makes funny noises
- Ethan loves to move Finn away from his toys by picking him up from behind. I’m not so thrilled.
- he’s more attached to me than ever before, I see separation anxiety getting ready to rear it’s ugly head…
Probably my favorite development this month is Finn’s growing interest in reading books. We weren’t having tons of luck keeping his attention, the touchy-feely books made him a little happier but still squirmy, until I pulled out Where’s the Puppy? It’s hands-down the least-beautiful book we own, given to us at one of Ethan’s preemie developmental assessments at Children’s National Center in DC. No illustrations or vibrant colors, no adorable characters or rhyming rhythm.
But, whatta know, Finn LOVES it.
It is the complex tale of a puppy who keeps hiding behind flaps in the book. It took Finn about two seconds to figure out how to lift the flaps, laughing every time he “finds the puppy”. From there we’ve also had successful readings of Goodnight Moon, Where’s Spot, and B is for Bear…he’s clearly a genius. We read every night before bed and I can’t WAIT to start taking him through our massive children’s book collection.
My least favorite development? His early morning wake time, which ranges anywhere between 5:30am and 6:45am. He’s always been an early riser, that’s not new. While he used to go back to sleep while nursing or snuggling in bed with us, now when he wakes, he’s READY TO GO. There’s no sleeping in while Ethan watches his morning show, I just feed and wrestle Finn as he crawls all over us in the bed, smacking us in the face with the toys we hand him, yelling loudly in our ears, and trying to hurl himself off the side. One of these days I’ll realize it’s best to just get up. That 5:30am wake time is usually just reserved for Saturdays. Lucky us.
Other than that, we can’t complain!
He naps perfectly, is happy 98% of the time, always smiling, lovey, friendly…and now mobile.
This next month should be interesting.
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I’m always looking for fresh, easy, yet interesting week night meals for the us…by us I mean my husband and I, as we still eat on the couch after the kids go to bed. We like to kick it European style, eating around 8pm without anyone dropping food on the floor 27 times or asking for something the moment one of us starts eating.
Plus Ethan doesn’t do lettuce.
So big salads are a common thing in these parts, probably once a week at least. We’ve done Italian, garden, Greek, and clean-out-the-fridge-kitchen-sink varieties, but never Asian. So while reading Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, a pretty entertaining book about a foodie couple starting a wood-fired pizza restaurant just outside Seattle, I was intrigued by this Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad. Sure it had fish sauce in the dressing, something I’ve only ever used in curries (and with much anxiety, I mean, it’s fermented anchovy water) but it sounded refreshing and a great way to pack in some crunchy veg.
I tried it one night when we had lots of randomness in the fridge, including leftover baby bok choy, a few slices of grilled pork tenderloin, bell pepper remnants, and lacinato kale. Let me stop here and say, if you aren’t eating lacinato kale, you are missing out. It’s SO much more enjoyable in a salad than the curly variety. Anyway, I added shredded carrots, sliced cucumber and sugar snap peas (my fav!), plus a chopped green onion. We topped it with the delicious dressing—it’s not fishy, just sweet and light—some roasted peanuts, a little sriracha and BAM…it was incredible. And totally beautiful too.
While some of the ingredients may be new, I totally recommend giving this a whirl. Fish sauce and rice noodles aren’t too expensive (and I bet they are SUPER cheap at Jay’s International Market over on Grand Ave) and both will last in your fridge/pantry for a looooong time…you’ll make this again, be sure of it. And don’t stress about the other ingredients. Cabbage is extremely inexpensive but other crunchy greens you have around the house are totally fine, I always like to mix few together. The herbs are a must, at least cilantro and basil. Any protein will work, rotisserie chicken is especially tasty. Follow the recipe but substitute freely…it will be delicious. I’d say you can entertain with this dish too, the author recommends putting it on a large tray in the middle of the table and letting people dish out and dress it themselves.
Add some wine and it sounds like a party to me!
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
from Delancey, author Molly Wizenberg
serves 2 people, “big salad” style or 4 people as a side dish
3 TBSP fish sauce
3 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice (like ½ a lime)
2 to 3 TBSP brown sugar
6 to 8 TBSP water, to taste
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 fresh Thai chili, minced (I can’t find these peppers so I use a jalapeno or just a squirt of sriracha)
The Salad (add more of your choosing!)
4-6 ounces rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
2 handfuls napa cabbage, roughly sliced
1 handful kale, I prefer lacinato kale for salads
1 medium carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
½ cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
½ red or orange or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 handful sliced sugar snap peas
2 green onions, sliced on a diagonal
1 handful rough chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
6 ounces cooked meat, tofu or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
½ cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of the water, the garlic, and the chile. Whisk well. Taste: if it’s too pungent, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If you’d like more sweetness, add more brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Remember that you’re going to be putting this dressing on unsalted vegetables and noodles: you want the dressing to have a lot of flavor, but it shouldn’t knock you over. Pour into a serving bowl. (Covered and chilled, the dressing will keep for 3 days to a week.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, remove pot from heat. Let noodle sit in hot water until al dente, not mushy (or follow the package instructions for cooking the noodles). Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, make sure to get all the water out.
Divide the noodles between two or three good-sized bowls, depending on the number of diners, and top with the vegetables, herbs, and meat. Scatter the peanuts on top. Allow each person to spoon on dressing to taste. Toss well, and eat. (Alternatively, you can present this salad family-style: Toss the vegetables, herbs, and noodles in a mixing bowl and then mound them on a serving platter. Arrange the meat over the noodles, and top with peanuts. Each diner can scoop their own portion from the platter and dress it as they see fit.)