While I knew it would be tough leaving Finn for a week to go traipsing around the Caribbean, I was not prepared for the most difficult part: retraining us all on our roles in the family upon our return. Our first inclination once home was to spoil Finn, but that coupled with his first inclination - which was to completely exploit us - added up to a week of extreme whining.
The whining I can deal with. What I wasn't prepared for was the shark bite Finn applied to my chest in the middle of a whine session. That caught me a bit off guard.
I'm happy to say that I think I handled it well, insofar as I didn't kill him on the spot. Kitty handled it far better by sending me to the basement to watch TV while she took Finn upstairs.
The whining got markedly better toward the end of last week and heading into the weekend we were almost back to normal. Apparently Finn felt that he had punished us enough and was willing to let bygones be bygones. And so it was with great anticipation that we headed out to Christmas Creek on Saturday for our tree and another shot at a Santa picture. I bought a new camera before we went to Belize, so I was really counting on being able highlight the definition in Finn's tears as we put him on Santa's lap.
I had been coaching him all week that he needed to sit on Santa's lap so he could tell him what he wanted for Christmas, but his response every time was that he wouldn't sit on Santa's lap, but he would sit on Mommy or Daddy's lap and we could sit on Santa's lap - a configuration that I was looking forward to explaining to Santa.
We got to Christmas Creek early and were first in line for Santa. Too early it turns out, since we stood there for 45 minutes waiting before finally bailing out because the little Santa cabin was getting too claustrophobic. Unfortunately, that much waiting had taken its toll on Finn and he spent the remainder of the trip moping & crying. Since he refused to explain why he was crying, we were forced to assume it's because he hates Christmas. That or his hands were cold, since it was 30 degrees out and he wasn't wearing mittens. One or the other.
Of course, after we left the Christmas wonderland and drove ourselves all the way back to Seattle, Finn was magically happy again. And as I type this now, he is rolling around on top of a balloon... pants/underwear-less.
In other words, everything's finally back to normal.