We tried something new this weekend.
Ethan has been scaling the playground climbing walls for years, making me think he’d take to the real thing pretty quick. We didn’t want to take him too early, it’s no fun to fail because you’re just not ready. But 5.25 years old seemed to be the perfect age…add to that a Groupon and chilly Spring weather and we had the makings of a perfect Saturday morning activity.
Climb So Ill, a very cool indoor climbing facility in the heart of Lafayette Square, was an amazing place for our first climbing experience. The building is an old power plant converted into this and several other incredible spaces including Element Restaurant (a place we’ve yet to try) and party venues. We got there right when they opened at 10am, Stu and Ethan got geared up with shoes and harnesses in just a few minutes.
We were given a quick orientation. Ethan’s face as he looked around the space was priceless. People were scaling the free climb wall, pounding down on the cushioned floor with loud thuds. Entertaining, but that section wasn’t for us…
Auto belay was the name of the game that morning. Since we are total novices, these systems were the perfect way for the boys to get climbing without delays. We were shown how to hook in and up they went.
Stu’s not big on heights but couldn’t help but go right to the top of the first wall. It looks a lot easier from the ground than it is, he was shocked at how high it was up there. Ethan went slow but sturdy, staying low but learning how to repel down and getting the feel for the harness. He gradually got higher with each try.
He looked like a little a natural. The socks and too-sizes-too-small pants were the cutest. It was fun watching him just go for it, trying something new and loving it. I was really proud of his positive attitude and willingness to go a little farther each time.
What did Finn do while Ethan climbed?
Ok this was only the last 10 minutes, there this app on my phone called Trucks and he thinks it amazing. Before whipping out the iBabysitter, we walked around, watched, had a snack, and bounced around on the springy floor. After 45 minutes nothing could keep Finn happy.
Good thing everyone was tired and ready to call it quits.
Ethan was totally psyched about his first climbing experience and asked to go again before he was even buckled into the car. I take that as a good sign, we’ll be back. Hopefully I’ll be able to give it a try when my foot is repaired!
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We blew right through the last two months so I figured it was time for an update…how will Finn grow up to be a normal, healthy kid without forever knowing exactly what he was doing at 17 months old?
If I had to pick one word that describes our second child at this stage, it would be BUSY.
Finn likes to go go go. Figuring things out, finding ways to entertain himself, or getting into anything and everything (mostly things he shouldn’t have). Finn loves to stack things, play with toys, ride anything, climb, run, attempt to jump (he’s yet to leave the ground), empty drawers, chase the animals, and play on the swing set. He can climb all the way to the top by himself and isn’t scared to go down the slide, which is kind of fast and dumps him roughly on the ground every time.
He’s weighing in at 23 pounds, his big, round tummy is the cutest thing ever. His stout little body is adorable…we hesitate to cover it with clothes just to enjoy the feel his soft skin and watching his chubby legs running around unburdened by pants. He has a million teeth with another six in various stages of growth as I write this. Tough like his brother, teeth never seemed to phase Finn.
We just returned from a beach vacation where Finn really enjoyed sand and water play. He dumped countless buckets of hose and ocean water, dug with shovels, and filled any vessel with sand. He wasn’t a huge fan of the small ocean waves lapping at the shore, he’d get close with a plan of refilling his bucket but then chicken out when the water came rushing at his toes.
His number one favorite thing to do? Anything big brother is doing.
Finn LOVES Ethan. We see Finn sneaking hugs and cuddles to an unaware Ethan, always watching to see what his idol is up to. And no one can make Finn laugh like Ethan can, they crack each other up every day.
So here’s a little more about what Finn’s doing at 17 months:
Words. Finn is getting more vocal by the day. He babbles frequently, with about 16-20 words ringing through clearly. These words are: Dew Dew (Dewey), bubble, dump truck, ny nite, turtle, water (wawa), duck, choo choo, shoe, sock, Dada, Mama, bug, dip dip, kitty, Hi, ball, uh oh, and we’ve got a strong start on Thank You and a dozen other words.
Sounds. He also knows some sounds: Ssssss like a snake, O o o o like a monkey, Hooo Hoo like an owl, Baa like a sheep, Moo like a cow, Bark like a dog, and Buzzzz like a bee.
Signs. He still uses the signs for please, hungry, more, all done, milk, and wave bye bye daily. Making him use the Please sign has greatly reduced the “MA MA!” which means “I want something” scream, the goal is for him to point at what he wants and say please.
Singing. In addition to talking, he loves to sing. Over Christmas we were singing the Star Wars theme non-stop and noticed Finn was singing it too. Now it’s the Jurassic Park being hummed every-day-all-day by Ethan and Finn can do that too. Never on command of course, but we catch him singing these and other tunes, like Twinkle Twinkle or just random notes, all the time. I’m so proud!
Play. He loves balls. Kicking, throwing, or just holding them and running around, getting SO exciting and saying “Ball! Ball!” whenever he sees one. He is addicted to buckles—no bag or backpack is safe in our house. He’ll stand at the stroller for 20 minutes buckling (and screaming for help unbuckling). He’s getting really good at shape sorting and “cleaning up” toys, he knows things have a proper place to go. Probably his favorite play activity is knocking down anything the rest of us build, giving us mere seconds to complete the task of rebuilding. He loves the Magic House, Kirkwood Discovery Room, and especially the St. Louis Science Center’s Discovery Room.
Books. We read at least two books at both nap and bed times, every day. Finn’s current favorites are Bugs Bugs Bugs, Beautiful Oops, Dinosaur Dig, I Love You Stinky Face, Little Blue Truck (city and original), and Where’s Spot. The construction bug has been planted, I think he’ll be a fan soon (which is good because we have quiet the construction-themed book collection). He is so patient when we read, often requesting the same book over and over, his vocabulary growing through repetition.
Food. He eats more than Ethan, broccoli still holding strong his favorite food. He also devours frozen gogurts, mac and cheese, clementines, cucumbers, vegetable medley, vanilla yogurt, avocados, quesadillas, black beans, strawberries, raisins, and can take down an applesauce squeezy in two seconds flat. He’s fully discovered sweets, enjoying after school gummy snacks with brother, stuffing his face with chocolate on Easter, and inhaling the occasional cupcake at a birthday party. But if he’s having a picky day, we always know he’ll eat broccoli. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Personality. Finn is chill and flexible almost all the time. He’s quick with a smile or a wave, isn’t afraid of strangers (unless he’s tired) and likes interacting with his toddler buddies. In the last couple weeks I’ve noticed him wanting more independence, not being so willing to leave an activity on my terms so we’re trying to give him more “transition” time these days. He has a nanny two days a week while I go to work (or the ER…whichever) and he LOVES her. He doesn’t give us trouble for any babysitters, just waves bye bye to us and goes back to playing. He’s very cuddly, backing up and sitting in our laps often, and loves giving “pats” when he hugs, which is about the cutest thing ever. He’s not interested in Ethan’s morning cartoons but does like to play a couple games on my phone and is mesmerized by family videos.
The age gap is getting a little trickier since big bro needs his own space and Finn always wants to be right in the middle of things, but I see the best-buddy phase in our near future. We’re definitely entering the injury stage since Finn is ever trying to throw himself off a ledge somewhere, which makes parenting two interesting. We’ve also seen a few tiny tantrums, always fun. I’m looking forward to the day Finn realizes I find those entertaining, not effective.
Finn is adorable and happy and so enjoyable. He’s growing so fast and getting more fun every minute. Here’s hoping we can keep the injuries to a minimum.