Friday, February 26, 2010

"Hammer do it"

I have no shame. My child was crying and I left the room and got the camera. In my defense, I saw a lot of this face last week. Finnan was not feeling well and not napping well. His brief hour and a half naps (yes, I am spoiled) left him tempermental and touchy. His terrible twoness also seemed to spike last week and it seemed that when he wasn't crying from some infraction, he was whining about something else, and then when he wasn't crying or whining, he was impishly testing his boundaries.

Finnan has started assigning blame. In this picture, he hit his finger with the hammer. Apparently, this was the hammer's fault. The good news is, he thought that me taking the picture was pretty funny and everything was better :)

And, as all things with young children, Finnan's bad week passed. He is still giving me a run for my money in the obedience department, but I will take that challenge any day over whining.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

9 months (cue tear)

Although I have been shocked by how quickly Jude reaches every month, I have not yet been emotionally affected by these milestones. When he actually turned 9 months on Sunday, I was equally unaffected. However, choosing pictures and thinking about this post is getting to me. What a happy, beautiful baby he is...a happy, beautiful baby who is on the verge of so many changes. Ok, Alison, breathe. Now for the details of my 9 month old.

The doctor's visit: Jude was clearly weary of the doctor's office today. Every time he left my arms, he wailed. His crying distracted the nurse-in-training so much that the first time she measured him, she was off by 2.5 inches. Luckily the doctor was able to fully examine him while in my lap. Everything checked out. We were concerned that skin rashes Jude had been getting might be eczema or an allergy, but the doctor thought it was just "winter skin" that almost all of the babies he has seen have. Jude weighed 18lbs 14 oz (22nd percentile, 2 lbs more than Finnan weighed at this age) and was 28.25 inches long (50th percentile). His head circumference was in the 70th percentile. Jude was not due for any shots, but, unfortunately, had a routine finger prick for anemia. Jude found this finger prick and the following several minutes of squeezing drops of blood into a vile agonizing. Finnan cowered in the corner during the ordeal.

The schedule: It took us almost 9 months, but we now have order in our lives. I like flexibility, but I found it difficult to manage without a schedule. So, with a little observation and tweaking, our lives generally follow this rhythm:

6: Jude wakes up and nurses. (This part needs some further tweaking :))
7-7:30: Finnan wakes up.
7:30-8: Breakfast
9:30: Jude naps.
11: Jude wakes up.
12: Lunch
2: Jude nurses and takes his second nap. Finnan takes his nap.
3:30: Jude wakes up
Between 5 and 6: Finnan wakes up. If he doesn't which happens occasionally, I will wake him after I put Jude to bed.
5: Jude eats dinner
6: Finnan eats dinner
6:30: Jude takes a bath.
7: Jude nurses and goes to sleep.

Luckily, my children value flexibility as much as I do and this schedule does not rule our lives. Jude can skip his first nap without much consequence so we can still got out in the morning for special trips to the aquarium or zoo. I do try to protect his nap for everyday activities like errands and small trips to the library or park. I also love that this schedule gives me time with each of the boys separately and some alone time.

Eating: Jude only started eating solids well when I drastically cut back nursing and implemented a schedule for meals and nursing. Over night we went from 6 nursing sessions a day to 4. He did not seem to miss those 2 feedings (perhaps because all of the nursing sessions occurred at random) and immediately started to eat more solids and experiment with more foods. He then went down to nursing only 3 times a day when I stopped night feedings. I can not say he was unaffected by that, but I don't think that had to do with the weaning. Jude is eating all kinds of pureed foods and will eat the veggies and fruits equally. He also enjoys the following finger foods: cheerios, puffs, goldfish, bread and butter, bagels, cut up grapes, avocado, cheese, beans, pasta, bananas and pancakes. It doesn't seem like he could (or wants to) make a meal out of only finger foods yet and he enjoys the purees. Despite a drastic increase in his appetite for solids, he will often be very unpleasant at the beginning of a meal. He'll scrunch his face raise, clench his fist and make a screechy noise. Getting the first bites in (or figuring out what he will eat for the first bites) can be difficult, but then once he starts eating he will eat a lot. I've found that I can avoid this face if I put out some very desirable finger foods (like goldfish) or if he is very distracted (at a play place or restaurant). He is not drinking out of a sippy cup on his own yet (and has not taken a bottle since in about 6 months). Sitting down and feeding Jude at home typically takes 30-40 minutes somehow, he just keeps eating...

Sleep: Night feedings are over. Jude was waking up at least twice a night for the past couple of months. I kept thinking that this was not a big deal and would not go on forever. I was tired, and more debilitating, I started experiencing anxiety. I started to clench my jaw and was having trouble falling asleep. However, I still did not think to do anything, until about two weeks ago when I went in to feed him at 11:30, I felt angry with Jude. With that, I realized that I could not do this any more. I let him cry through his second night waking that night and lined up my sleep books in the morning. I decided to use the extinction method outlined in Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. This meant after I put him down for bed, no one would go in there until the predetermined morning time, which I set at 6. I moved to the guest room for the following week and turned the white noise machine on high. I can not listen to Jude cry. Atticus roughed it out and stayed in ear shot. Atticus said the first night was very bad. But then it got drastically better. Unfortunately, still two weeks after starting this, Jude still will wake up every now and then and fuss for a few minutes. But, I am staying away. I really do want the night waking to end. According to Weissbluth, Jude's night time waking habit was my fault. And as much as I would like to put the cover of this book on a punching bag for all of its guilt-ridden statements, he is probably right. I responded to every peep Jude made and didn't leave him until nursing him. And since his crib is in our closet, I hear every peep. I really think this is the only method that was going to work for us given Jude's stubbornness and my lack of will power. On the other hand, Jude is an excellent napper. He takes two solid naps a day which together total about 3 hours. If he falls asleep in the car, I can wake him up, move him to his crib and he will go back to sleep without much ado.

Activity: Jude has been happily sitting and watching the world for some time. Since he has been so content doing so, I hadn't been expecting much movement from him, but in the past couple of weeks he has started getting up on his hand and knees, rocking and doing a backward scoot (which often leaves him stuck under the couch- see the last picture above). He is also holding himself up in a push-up position. It definitely seems like he is working toward crawling. He also likes lunging toward me (the third picture above is mid-lunge) and trying to crawl into my lap. If I hold out my hands he will pull himself up to a standing position and also can stand holding on to things unassisted (with a spotter near by as he does not know how to fall properly yet). In the past couple of weeks he has also started to wave, clap and do the sign for touchdown. He enjoys his bath, playing with musical toys, dancing, looking out the window, the Little People farm, and watching Finnan play (especially with trains). Like most babies, he has a touch of separation anxiety and has a preference for me. He has started a Kindermusik class, which has been a treat for both of us. I have just started doing the signs for all done and more with him and have the intention of introducing more signs. It's just a matter of thinking about it.

I am impressed with anyone who made it to the end of this post! Recently, I have been wishing I remembered more about Finnan's progress to crawling, his schedule and eating habits and I hope I will not have to wonder when I think back to this period in Jude's life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pot Pie!

My friend, Christi, started a great new blog, Foodwise, Childwise, dedicated to healthy recipes our children will eat. I had been wanting to post my contribution to her blog for a while and Finnan's request for pot pie for breakfast and lunch today reminded me. (Check out the blog, it's great!)

No, what you are seeing is not staged. That is indeed a two year old piling peas onto his spoon.

I have been serving pot pie to my little cowboy weekly for about a year. He has yet to grow tired of this creamy, crusty, vegetable and meat filled dish. "Pot pie" was his first two word combination. His love for pot pie has even extended goodwill to other vegetable filled dishes. This weekend he picked up a pea from his pasta and said, "Pot pie!" I conferred that yes pot pie had peas and he gobbled up all the peas in the dish.

My pot pie recipe is an adaptation of Chicken Pot Pie IX from the website

Pot Pie

1 lb. of chicken or turkey breast (cooked and cubed)
3-4 cups of vegetables (I use a mix of carrots, celery, frozen broccoli and frozen peas)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 9-inch pie crusts

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Add vegetables to a saucepan, cover with water and boil until cooked (abut 20-25 minutes)

3. Drain vegetables. Add chicken to vegetables.

4. In saucepan, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until in thickens.

5. Place vegetable-chicken mixture in the bottom pie crust. Pour liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several slits in top of pie.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. (Note: When served hot the filling will ooze out of the slices.)

Snowman! (Part 3)

(Part 2 was decapitated with a shovel. Sigh.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Yesterday, we got 3-4 inches of snow. It was beautiful! Finnan was very excited about all of the snowmen that he was going to see. Apparently he thought snowmen just appear when it snows, so he wandered around the backyard and then the front looking for a snowman. Of course, he was disappointed. And then he was further disappointed in the snowman Atticus constructed for him. (Our snow was very fluffy and wasn't shaping particularly well.) Oh well. So Finnan made the best of it and our yard got a "snow-cut."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lunchtime Shakira


Jude has become quite the mover and groover in his highchair, at home and out. Needless to say, we are quite entertained by it as are any waitstaff and neighboring tables.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The fallen

Atticus may protest, but I think I am a pretty laid back mom. For the most part, I think I am successful at taking a deep breath and letting things go. Maiming of books is not one of those things. Last night, I ran into Finnan's room after hearing a suspicious ripping sound. I was too late, his current favorite book, Richard Scarry's Best First Book Ever, had only about 4 pages still in tact. He has done this two other times. The first was another favorite book, Gigi and Zachary's Around the World Adventure. And the second was a book I had lovingly picked out for him for Christmas: Toy Boat. Reading this blog, you know Finnan loves books. But, I love them even more. I won't even dog-ear a page in a book.

This action is still irking me. And then there is the dilemma: do I buy him a new book? The obvious answer would be no, he can't learn that it is ok to destroy books. On the other hand, this book has been so good for him and his vocabulary development. I have also grown to love the book and would like to share the book with Jude. I do not think he does this maliciously nor is it a common occurrence (especially since he takes a stack of books with him whenever he gets in bed). Finally, this book was particularly special to me because my good friends Christi and Shelly got it for me before Finnan was born. You can see where this is going. I ordered him another copy. I was able to find him a used copy from, which offers free shipping on all used books and donates a percentage to literacy programs around the world. The website does a good job of making you feel good about buying books from them. So, not only did I buy him another copy of The Best First Book Ever, I bought him three other books and voluntarily paid 19 cents for a carbon offset of my shipping...honestly.