Wednesday, January 11, 2012

HAPPY (out with the old, in with the) NEW YEAR!

2012. Already.

December was a blur. Holidays can feel a bit rushed and crazy in general, but add to the mix a close to 2.5 year old in addition to a family gathering in Florida, and multiple those feelings by a factor of 10. Given that I wasn't a math major, the equation might not be exact, although in my best estimation, I believe it is close.

Christmas this year was amazing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it with my little girl by my side. Oh, and my husband and dog by my side, too...don't get me wrong! It is just so fun, though, to witness Finnley bridge the gap between cluelessness and true ah-ha-edness! She now realizes that Santa is some guy that she talks to about presents, and then those presents show up! Oh yeah, and she needs to be a good girl for Santa to bring those presents. The whole business of it was a bit of a spectacle sprinkled with magic and delight...all bringing new meaning to the term "Believe". I will savor those moments we had leading up to the big day just as much as the big day itself, maybe even more. The build up is really where the magic and deliciousness is at, isn't it?

Florida was a new twist on an old holiday. The entire Ritter clan was under one roof (although we spent much more time out from under it given the 82 degree summer-like days). Finnley thought that the pool (or as she liked to call it, puddle) must just be part of her present. She was a prune more often than not, but I am glad for it and the fact that she is such a water-babe. There was a lot of card playing, drinking, lounging, working out, grazing, fish-bowling, and other sorts of loveliness-ing. As a small individual family unit, we have yet to spend a big holiday in our own home. It is a wonderful thing given those circumstances, though, that fond memories can be made anywhere, and that home is more a part of your heart that travels with you than a structure that you leave behind.
To add to the adventure and chaocticness (why is that not a word???) of it all, Finnley decided it was a good time to potty train. Nothing says "holidays" to her like freedom from diapers, I guess. She was staying dry during nap times and longer outings, and she seemed to really have the capacity to "hold it" if she wanted to. So, we went for it. Not wholly ideal when factoring in airline travel and several days away from home, but when is anything in life ideal? Here we are less than a month later, and Finnley has graduated from diapers. She is now working on her master's of undies, and she really only has a few more credits to go to get that degree. The only time she is in a pull up is for overnight. She pees on the potty at our request sometimes, but mostly at her own discretion. She poops on the potty like a champ, and trust me when I say that that is no skill to take for granted! There are rare accidents in general, but nothing ever "full-blown". This kid is a rockstar. I do like to feel I had a little something to do with her success, but I will gladly give her the spotlight and all of the credit.

More on the topic of "out with the old" sorts of things, Finnley has also transitioned from her crib into a toddler bed. Actually, transition is not really the right word at all. One night she slept in her crib. The next night she did not. The End. No getting used to it. No crying. No fussing or blathering. No wandering. No middle of the night rendezvousing. No nothing. She is just a big girl, and that is all there is to it, thankyouverymuch.

One thing that Finnley is still transitional on is napping. She can't decide if she is done with the whole lot of it or not. Pretty much, if Finnley needs a nap, she will ask for one. If she doesn't ask for one, she probably really doesn't need it. Granted, now...these rules could not be applied to all (or even most) children, but they do apply to our little girl. The days where she doesn't nap, she goes to bed a bit earlier. She might be a tad bit more ornery, but most people wouldn't know the difference because she is still a pretty laid back and happy kid. The only thing (or, ahem...person) really affected by the lack of a nap time is ME. That quiet alone time was precious. That coveted time was like 18K gold in the jewelry world of getting things done around the house (including blogging). Life is ever-changing, though, so you (and, when I say "you", I actually mean "I")just need to get used to a new normal. (Can you tell that today was a napping day at our house? Here I am! Look at me!)

We rang in this new year in a splendid yet low-key fashion, just the way I would prefer it. It is more special to spend time with a few close friends than it is to be with a bunch of drunk and obnoxious strangers. We still were around a few obnoxious sober people, but they are certainly more tolerable than falling over drunks in my book. In a somewhat surreal yet happy twist of fate, our former neighbors from Colorado have recently moved to "North" Jersey. They reside only a little over an hour drive from our house, and they were able to take time to join us for New Year's Eve and day. Their little boy, Joey, is certainly one of Finnley's favorite friends. (As a side note, the two have been promised to each other so long as neither is grotesque, unemployable, or seriously unlivable-with in the far distant future. Or also if we just change our minds, or they run away in protest.) The two of them had a blast together, and they even partook in their first ever sleepover. I cannot believe that they / we pulled it off given their ages, but it happened with almost no incidences of which to speak. Can you think of anything more adorable than a toddler slumber party of two? That's right, you can't!
Kicking off this new year, Finnley and I are excitedly back at gymnastics class and starting back into more / new routines. Structure is good at this age. It is also important to manage little people expectations. Finnley is a happier kid if we get out and do "things" and see "people". I don't mind that one bit, and I am eager to oblige in as many ways as I possibly can, within reason. So, we have added a "mommy and me" preschool class to the mix. It only meets one day a week for 1.5 hours, and each session is only 4 weeks long. It is the perfect precursor to "real" preschool, which Finnley will begin in the fall (insert heart swell and melt all at the same time!). My babe is a little bit shy, but beyond that, she loves school. We are also getting back into music class come this Friday. Music is certainly a favorite for Finnley. So, we have planned activities 3 days a week for this month. Our other two days during the regular week will be a mix of anything and everything necessary, fun, or something somewhere in between.
I do love myself a new year and a new beginning. A fresh take. New stuff and things to put on the clean-slate calendar. Another part to love is that I get to enjoy every second of moving forward on this journey of Finnleyhood. She is quite the thing to watch. I hope you all enjoy seeing glimpses of what I / we do every day. It is a privilege to be an onlooker in her life, and a joy (minus a few to-be-expected tantrum and "no!"-laden moments) to be her mom.

With all of that being said, a joyous "out with the old" and Happy New Year to everyone!

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