Sunday, March 28, 2010

While we were sick...


While the rest of us were miserably sick, Jude has taken off. First, he had to prepare himself. He started by not sleeping well. I thought this was a result of him "sleeping" on our chests for a few nights while he was sick, but I think it has also been a by-product of his brain/body preparing for developmental leaps. Then, he started eating and eating and eating. He is now polishing off kid-sized meals at restaurants, adult-sized slices of pot pie, and bowls of grits meant to be split among a couple of people.

Well nourished and with adequately sleep deprived parents, Jude has become more mobile. I would still not say he is crawling, but he will stay on his hands and knees for a few feet before commando crawling. He has learned to get back to a sitting position from being on his belly. And, as you can see from the video, he has learned to pull up. He loves standing and especially loves the sand table. It is clear that he has been watching Finnan. Between attempts to eat sand, he is filling up beds of dump trucks and curiously trying to handle the shovel and other tools. However, these newfound skills have not increased his desire to be by my side. He'll wiggle and lunge out of my arms only to look up at me with outstretched hands moments later. This is very different from my experience with Finnan, who was rolling out of rooms. I think Jude will be staying my baby a little bit longer, which is fine with me (as long as he stops trying to eat wood chips at the park).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Touch-A-Truck Day

This past Saturday, Decatur filled a parking lot with many of the city vehicles on display. Not only did they allow children to sit in the driver seats of all of these vehicles, but they allowed them free reign. Every button was pushed, lever moved, switches flipped, horn beeped, and siren blared. I think every young visitor to the lot was overwhelmed (some with complete joy, some with fear of the noise, and most somewhere in between). Finnan became very focused on arrival. It seemed as if he couldn't crack a smile because he might miss something important. He was amazingly attentive to me as if I held the keys to these amazing vehicles and waited patiently in every line and graciously offered turns to other children. He explored a digger, two fire trucks, a dump truck, a police car, a garbage truck, and a roads and drainage vehicle. He even got to share in the joy (also a very serious, focused joy) with his friends Christian and Ansel. We missed the police motorcycle because a police siren went off and terrified Jude. We also headed out before we got to the tractors and cement mixer.

Since Ansel also had a baby brother who was bothered by the noise, Lynn, Lisa (Ansel's parents) and I managed to steer the boys away from the trucks a little early and picnicked on the square. Ansel and Finnan ran around the square together doing nosedives into the grass and rolling around together. At one point, Finnan took off his shoes and started climbing a small tree. Ansel tried to deliver him his shoes, but he refused. Apparently, he is turning into a regular Huck Finn.

When Atticus came home Saturday night, he asked Finnan what he had done during the day. He responded with a a resounding, "Trucks!" (This is significant because it was the first time he has answered that question without a prompt.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two and a half

Finnan is two and a half tomorrow. I can’t even start to list a few adjectives to aptly describe him right now. Depending on the week, day, hour, most adjectives describe him. He is fun, imaginative, creative, active, sweet, cuddly, impulsive, demanding, persistent, destructive, particular, generous, and careful. And that was all before breakfast. I know- this is what it means to be two. Nevertheless, going through this for the first time, I feel like I have joined him on his emotional rollercoaster. I am constantly asking myself questions: How should I encourage this behavior? How can I get him to stop that? Am I spending enough time with him? Is this worth intervening? How can I foster brotherly love? Will he stop whining? What will he be like in a couple years? Is there any way I can freeze time so that he will be two forever?

And I do really think about that last question. As many times as I have to take deep breaths during the day, I am filled with love, joy and pride hundreds more. I love having him home with me. I love eliciting a smile or a laugh. I love being the most important person in his life. And as you can see by the following, I love thinking about and talking about him.

Play: My favorite development since his turning two is the growing complexity of his imagination. Scenarios develop from all of his toys. Specific passengers need to be picked up at the train station, the boat (a rocking seat) is in some serious waves and is about the crash, or the tractor (the car from his rollercoaster) is bringing hay from the barn (his closet) for the horse (Jude). At the moment he likes to talk about farms and sharks the most. When he is pretending to be a shark or farmer, be careful not to call him Farmer Finnan. You’ll get an immediate, “Nooooo, farmer!” only to be followed a few minutes, “Nooooo, Finnan” after you have called him farmer. It’s hard to keep up. He loves to be outside and our backyard has become a little boy’s dream. The tree house, sand box, swing, dump trucks, tricycle, wheelbarrow, shovels provide endless entertainment whether it be 40 degrees or raining. I had Atticus put locks on both the gates, so he can play outside by himself. He could play outside by himself for hours. Much of his play revolves around “work.” A couple of weeks ago, my mom made us kitchen curtains. Finnan hadn’t been feeling well and was particularly whiny, but when he saw Atticus get his drill, the whining stopped. Finnan immediately went to his tool chest got his own drill, drill bits and hammer and got to work. He imitates all things Atticus does with tools, indoor and outdoor. When he has a tool in his hand, Finnan’s focus is amazing.

Speech: At two, I feel like Finnan barely surpassed the minimum vocabulary requirement (before “intervention” should be considered). In the past six months his vocabulary exploded. He is using hundreds of words and stringing them into sentences. He repeats everything. Not just everything you say but everything he says himself, as if he is trying to perfect the way it rolls off of his tongue. His language skills still cause a lot of frustration for the both of us, as either I don’t understand him or he can’t form words in a certain emotional state. He has started narrating books he is reading (After every page in Dear Zoo he says, “I sent him back.”) and he sings made up songs. Although he has randomly counting things, he has not seemed to master colors. Everything is green. Since he is speaking more, I am starting the manners push. We are working on please and thank you, yes mommy/daddy (to be transferred to yes ma’am/sir) and sorry. It will be exciting to watch him grow more competent and confident in his speech. I’ll also be excited when “Now!” is no longer his most commonly used word.

Jude: This has already turned into a typical brother relationship. Finnan has mastered the art of generously assigning one toy to Jude when they are playing. Jude already is not listening to his older brother’s rules and taking the one of the numerous other toys around. Jude is already batting Finnan away and pulling his hair. The other day I was cooking dinner and had Jude in the exer-saucer. Finnan was entertaining him when he suddenly started crying on the floor holding his finger. Not thirty seconds later Jude starts crying holding his finger. Ahh…the start of a beautiful relationship, I am sure. However, Finnan is very excited about Jude moving into his room. Or, at least he is excited that he’ll get to use a wrench to take the crib apart and put it back together. We’ll see how excited he is when Jude shows up in the crib.

Fears: Finnan has been afraid of the dark for a couple of months. He doesn't like to go into dark rooms and needs a light on when he goes to sleep. He is also strangely afraid of washcloths floating in the bath.

Other: Somehow his inconsequential appetite feeds his endless energy. Atticus described him perfectly when he said he eats like a snake. I guess this is also why he weighed in at only 26 lbs a couple of weeks ago and one of his commonly used phrases is “Pants fall down.” He is still wearing diapers. Occasionally when his pants fall down he’ll take off his diaper and ask to use the potty. Nothing has ever come of it though and since he isn’t expressing much interest and could stay in a dirty diaper all day (although based on observation by Gabriela, when he has a dirty diaper he often gets destructive), I don’t think I’ll be initiating potty training soon. He did however, teach himself to put on his Velcro gym shoes recently. He has started talking about and attempting to play football, basketball, baseball and “soccerball.” At this point, all the games seem to be an excuse to dive onto the ground. He needs about 14 hours of sleep a day and still wakes up grumpy about 75% of the time. He likes to watch TV and is often asking me “watch for a bit, watch TV for a bit.” He is limited to shows on Instant Netflix: Thomas, Dora, Caillou, and Mighty Machines. He still loves all books. The last time we went to the library he picked out a horrible book called Farmer Goff and the Turkey about a maniacal farmer who wants to kill his turkey but doesn’t because he wins blue ribbons. As we were in line checking it out he told me it was his favorite book. Ok, Finnan.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


After both Finnan and Jude each had two packs of yogurt on Friday morning, finishing off the 4 6-packs of Yo-Baby and Yo-Kids yogurt that I had bought earlier in the week, I realized we were spending almost $20 a week on yogurt. Ouch. Two boys, under 3, downing $20 just on yogurt!

I started having visions of what the grocery bill would look like when they were 5 and 6, let alone 16 and 17. Then, Atticus reminded me of our friend Jackie. On a brief visit last fall, she had mentioned making her own yogurt. Now she does crazy things like tap trees to make maple syrup, so at the time I didn't think of it as something I could do. It turns out, yogurt making is easy. I found someone willing to sell their unused yogurt maker to me (for $15) and Monday morning I got started. To make yogurt: boil milk, let it cool to luke-warm temperature, mix in some milk powder (for a thicker consistency), and add a small amount of yogurt (for my first batch I had to buy a pack from the store, but from now on I can use my own yogurt). This mixture is put in the yogurt maker and sits for 10-12 hours, then put in the fridge for another 10-12 hours. With the yogurt maker, seven 6 oz containers cost less than 2 dollars (that includes any add-ins and the use of organic milk).

And, voila, Tuesday morning Jude was happily eating homemade yogurt sweetened with maple syrup. I am excited to experiment with various fruit and vegetable add-ins, with the hope that his repertoire of yogurt, yogurt and more yogurt can be expanded.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

10 months

This monthly update really snuck up on me. How has it been another month already?!?

As alluded to in the previous post, Jude's 10th month has been marred by ear infections and further complicated by four very stubborn teeth. The day after his 9-month check up he woke up extremely fussy and with a high fever. Ear infection #1. Two days after completing his full course of Amoxicillin for his ear infection he started to get fussy again and had low grade fevers. By this point it was clear that his teeth were coming in, so, I just assumed it was his teeth. After 3 days of the low fevers and fussiness, I had to know what his ears looked like, so I took him to the doctor on a Sunday morning. The first ear the doctor looked at was infected and she saw the beginnings of a hole (not quite sure what that means). She could not even see the inside of the second ear until she dug out multiple swabs of pus which turned out to be from a ruptured ear drum. This was the second time his ear drum has ruptured and the second time he has needed to go on a secondary antibiotic in less than three months. The ear infections compounded with his incoming teeth have not given Jude any respite. Even after starting his secondary antibiotic and ear drops, he had a fever for four more days. He was not as fussy as one would expect but wanted to do little more than lay on my chest.

Skills: All that being said, he hasn't had much time to master new skills. He is not yet crawling, though has started to move more directionally and will do a forward commando crawl (his favorite destination being my lap). His preference for me has grown stronger. He will be fine with others if he does not see me, but once I am in sight, he needs to be with me. Jude is attached to me so much, some jealousy has arisen in Finnan. A few days ago, when I was holding Jude, yet again, Finnan said with much gusto, "Daddy, take it [Jude]!" Jude is also getting more verbal and loves to point and say what I think means "that."

Likes: He very much enjoys either mama or Finnan-led story times. His favorite books are Dear Zoo (loves the flaps), Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (can't top monkeys beating on drums), and Cock-a-doodle-Moo (his book from music class). Walks and baths have been very calming for him this month. He really enjoys standing at the train table and playing with the tracks (Since this invariably ends in Jude destroying Finnan's track creations, we can't do this too often or too long.)

Dislikes: Food. After a brief period of eating everything, we are back to wanting to eat yogurt and waffles only. Sigh. He'll settle for other dairy products or carbs, but those seem to be the two foods he'll be excited about. I'm blaming this one on the teeth for now.

Jude continues to be one incredibly sweet baby. It is such a blessing to have a baby in the house. Jude is constantly bringing smiles to our faces (whether they be from laughter, sweetness, or sympathy). And to top it off, he has started sleeping with lovie in hand and his little butt up in the air. There is nothing better than ending your day with this sight.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Four teeth...

Four teeth coming through (his first), two ear infections, one ruptured ear drum and a fever make for one miserable, but very sweet and cuddly baby.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bath time!


When I was pregnant with Finnan, I devoured books about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and life with a newborn. On one trip to the library I came across a video about the role of dads in early childhood. I checked it out thinking it would be something important for Atticus to watch. In actuality it was probably more important for me. The video described the different ways that fathers parent and the value of that difference (think throwing a child in the air, wrestling, or using potentially dangerous tools).

Jude has been trying to get on his belly in the bath for the last week, but I haven't let him. A baby on their belly in the bath? That just seems like trouble. Well, when Atticus gave Jude his bath tonight I was called in to this scene. Obviously, Jude loved being on his belly in the bath and there was no harm to it. And, it looks like we might have a breaststroker on our hands (taking after his mama :)).