Thursday, December 17, 2009

Night owl

This is one of those parenting moments when you can not keep from laughing and will put a smile on your face for years to come.

Above is how I found Finnan at 10:00pm. Two hours after I put him to bed. I knew he was still up around 9:30 as we heard animated shrieks coming from his room. When I hadn't heard anything for a little while, I went in to turn off his lamp. Instead of seeing him curled up with his face pressed into an open book, I found him surrounded. No wonder he could not go to bed, there was no room. The three books he took to bed clearly multiplied. After clearing his bed and turning off the lamp, I offered Finnan panda to cuddle with. He turned me down. "" He grabbed two of the three books he was allowed to keep in bed with him and turned over holding on to them in the dark.

In regards to Finnan's nightly reading habits, both Atticus and I are pointing fingers at each other. Atticus stays up late. His best working hours are after midnight. I am a book lover and can not go to sleep without reading a book. He clearly shares aspects of both of our personalities. Just not in any combination we had anticipated. True to Finnan's pajamas, he is a little night, how am I going to move Jude out of our closet and into Finnan's room? (Ironically, Jude ended up in our closet instead of our room because I needed to read in bed :))

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Follow That Bird!

Every once and a while Finnan takes very, very long naps. Sometimes, he doesn't even wake up until morning. Yesterday after he had napped for 4 hours, we assumed it would be one of those naps, so we put Jude to bed and settled down for a movie. Well, Finnan ended up waking up at 8 and crawled in next to me on the sofa. Never wanting to waste these moments, I decided to let him watch his first full-length film. Apparently, Accidental Tourist wasn't very interesting for him, or us, for that matter, so we searched through the instant netflix options and started Follow That Bird.

Follow That Bird is a Sesame Street movie from our childhood. The basic plot is that the Feathered Friends society decides that Big Bird should live with a bird family. So he is placed with the Dodos. Big Bird becomes very unhappy and runs away, trying to get back to Sesame Street. In addition to Big Bird having no directional sense, he also has the Feathered Friends Society trying to track him down and some seedy characters trying to catch him to make money. Luckily, all of our favorite Sesame Street characters are searching for him as well. I remember seeing this movie in the theater with my friend Susan and specifically remember being very moved by it, crying when Big Bird was locked in the cage and feeling joyful when he returned to Sesame street. It was made in 1985 so I would have been 4 or 5 at the time.

Being only 2, Finnan was not quite as taken with the movie. He did fixate on certain aspects though. First, we mistakenly mentioned Elmo. Well, as I always suspected, Elmo was not a character on Sesame Street during our time, so Elmo never appeared (although Atticus tried to convince Finnan that Telly was actually Elmo). Secondly, at one point there was a tractor in the movie. This was the end of any cuddling with me. He jumped up and never ceased to ask about the tractor for the rest of the movie. Numerous times we thought (or hoped) he had forgotten about the tractor as he seemed engrossed with his trains. Then, he would look up at the screen and desperately call out for the tractor. Also noteworthy, Finnan continued to assert that the Count was actually a monkey, and he did not understand why none of the birds in the movie could fly. He did think the movie was very silly and it was fun watching him. It is clear he is far from being ready for a movie theater. After napping for five hours, he still was not ready for bed at 9:30. We finally got him in bed, but when I went in to turn off his lamp at 10:45 he was still reading.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuck inside

Little boys are not meant to be inside for more than a few wakeful hours at a time. This holds true no matter how cold it is outside, how much it is raining, or how runny their noses are. We have been very lucky this fall/winter. Although we have had a decent amount of rain, it has not been that cold, or cold for more than a few days at a time. We also have seemed to avoid sickness. That is until December came. December has brought us colds, eye infections (in all four of my children's eyes), an ear infection, and croup. Still, we have been lucky. Finnan's eye infections, which were so bad he could barely open his eyes cleared up after one application of the drops. When we took him in for his eyes, they caught his ear infection at the very beginning stages. Jude still had drops left over from his month long battle with goopy eyes, so when his started oozing, I was able to stop that right away. And although Jude's croup is keeping us stuck in the house, it is a very mild case. Still, Finnan has been stuck in the house for too long and Jude's croup is keeping us further quarantined. All of this sickness also seemed to correspond with incredibly cold and rainy weather. Finnan can go out in the backyard for brief periods, but then some common sense overtakes my need for him to expend some energy and I have to corral him back inside. We are tired of being inside! But, once again, luck is on our side. In a week we will be headed down to New Orleans for almost two weeks. And even if the weather does not fully cooperate, my little guys will have their favorite people doting on them.

Jude eating solids

I think I figured it out. (A resounding knock on wood.) Mix everything with banana.

Up until last week Jude has not been interested in eating solids, or, more specifically, he has not been interested in eating solids off of a spoon for me. Atticus and my Mom somehow managed to force pureed fruits and veggies into Jude, but I was unable to manage it as it took some coordination and force, qualities I just don't seem to have. On the other hand, he would devour a whole banana for me. So, I decided to mix chunks of bananas with his pureed foods. He now seems excited to eat and will open his mouth willingly for me. While this may seem an obvious solution, I do think I also stumbled upon it when the timing was right for Jude. I also took a tip from a couple of friends with babies not interested in solids. Yogurt. Once he got a taste of yogurt he seemed much more willing to open up to see what was coming next. I am going to try to get through some more of the pureed baby food that I made, but will probably skip over to finger foods shortly. He doesn't have the coordination to feed himself (I guess it runs in the family :)), but I think he will have more fun eating and I will have more success feeding him.

And, the best part of Jude eating...he is much easier to entertain at restaurants! The pictures above were taken at Radial, my favorite breakfast place. Jude got to enjoy his banana and water while I was able to eat my southern eggs benedict and Atticus, his pinapple upside down pancakes, without me nursing or Atticus juggling. We will treasure this stage as I know, based on experience, shortly Jude will not want to sit in his high chair and want to hop from lap to lap, play under the table or run around in circles. Oh wait, we already have one of those toddlers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Growing up fast

When people ask me how old Jude is, I have to stop and think. For some reason, I always want to say 3 months. In reality, he is going to be 7 months old next week. Atticus often says when we had Finnan, someone pressed the fast forward button on our lives. We have two little boys changing so fast right in front of our eyes. Regardless of how much you take the time to enjoy each moment, they keep changing and we never feel like we have gotten quite enough.

Over the course of a day, Jude went from eating his toes or toppling over when I propped him up in a sitting position to sitting perfectly. I think his favorite part of sitting is being able to drum. He has also become quite the dancer (although not when sitting up, yet). With or without music he will become inspired and lift up his arms and legs and wiggle his hips. He especially loves to dance when being held outward with his bottom propped on my hip or n the bathtub. He has started to chatter a lot and will go from typical baby babble and bubble blowing sounds to mimicking a screech owl, all in good humor. Finnan and Jude seem to have conversations with each other, mostly with Finnan copying what Jude is doing. It's hysterical, but isn't it suppose to be the other way around?

With his dancing, chattering and general participation in what's going on around him, Jude has gotten remarkably more fun in the last week. So, no, I don't still want him to be 3 months old. In fact, I am guilty of wishing he was starting to walk, which was my favorite milestone with Finnan. I guess, it is just a matter of my brain catching up to my life. And to think, I still occasionally catch my self writing 2008.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My little reader

Finnan has always loved reading. I started reading to him when he was only days old. I wish I could say I did this to promote a love of reading, but, quite frankly, I did this because I did not know what else to do with him. I would run out of things to talk to him about and when it's just you and a baby there is very little to narrate. So, we read a lot. When he got his first soft book for Christmas, he started turning the pages right away.

Two years later, with the distractions of trains, trucks, and tools, Finnan still loves to read. He can not go to bed without three books. (For some reason, every time a question calls for a number, the answer is three. How old are you? 3! How many hammers are there? 3! A few weeks ago his answers changed from 2 to 3. I guess he figured out 3 is usually the better answer.) Recently, we have had to put a lamp in his room so that he can read before he falls asleep. When we check on him before we head off to bed, we'll find him using his book as either a pillow or a soft animal.

A few days ago, he was looking through his book on the sofa. I sat down next to him so that I could read the book to him. He immediately gave me a distressed whine, "No!!! Mine!" Then, he jumped off the couch (with his book of course) and got another one of his books for me to read. He gave me the book, saying, "Mama." And then sat down with his book, reiterating, "Mine." Okay. So while I read I Stink, a story about garbage trucks, he looked through I Love Trains. ( You can guess what most of his books are about :))

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two weeks and no blog

Watching the trains at the Botanical Gardens

Happily being pushed in the swing by Finnan

My two cowboys riding the horse together

Look at my tongue!

Just because I haven't blogged in a while doesn't mean that I haven't had anything to blog about. In the last two weeks, we prepared, decorated for, and celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and my aunt's family. My normal down time was then spent working on a 32 hour consulting gig for UNAIDS (my first in 8 months!). But, now that the project is done, I can provide a few snapshots from the last two weeks.

Since my family left Chicago for Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago, every couple of years we have been celebrating Thanks-mas with my aunt's family. This year we were lucky enough to have all 7 of them drive to Atlanta for the holidays. To make their trip worthwhile, we wanted to make their time here perfect. Atticus and I picked out a tree while Finnan ran and hid among the tree stalls and for the first time our house shines out to the street with a tree inside and lights outside. We cooked a Thanksgiving feast, but, more impressively, managed to fit all 14 people at one long table (well, 13...Finnan slept through the meal). On "Christmas" (black Friday) we exchanged gifts. Conductor Zoe seriously took over the trains while carpenter Delia slid under the table to drill and hammer away and gardener Finnan frantically made sure every blade of grass in the house was mowed. (This was the second day of the visit. On the first day Finnan just stared in awe at his older second cousins' play.) We had a great time and were very thankful for the company and hope we will be doing it again soon! Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get any good pictures...

We have also visited the Botanical Gardens a few times in the past couple of weeks to see their train exhibit. The exhibit is only two oval tracks, but Finnan and Jude could both watch the trains for quite some time, with Finnan pointing out the engine and "boose" and Jude curiously feeling the foliage around the track. In general, Jude has been very interested in plants recently. He loves our Christmas tree and if he is fussy when we are out and about, finding a plant for him to touch will make him happy. Recently, he is also loving swinging, riding my leg horse, dancing, and sticking out his tongue. Finnan seems to share these loves, which occasionally causes a bit of drama, but most often leaves them both smiling and laughing together. Finnan seems to do funny things everyday and I haven't done a very good job cataloguing them, but I did want to share a few. The other day he lifted up his shirt and started nursing his panda, while proudly smiling and saying "Ba-be...milk!" (I'm actually surprised he hadn't done this sooner or since, but his expression was priceless.) I also recently caught him blowing kisses at tractors :)

Ok, hopefully now I'll get back to more regular and thorough blogging! (Not likely with a weekend trip to Chicago and a two-week trip to New Orleans coming up....but I think I just found a New Year's resolution, or at least another one to add to the list.)