Thursday, November 18, 2010

A life lesson

While we were at Southern Belle Farms this past Sunday, a calf was born.  We were able to see the calf with its mother at 3 hours old.  Although it had not yet mastered standing, the calf was surprisingly big.  I was amazed the mother was still standing.  That is, until I saw her udders.  I felt for her.  I think it would have been impossible for her to lay down.  Finnan was very taken with the cow and calf.  Asking what the mother was eating (err...the placenta) and what the farmer was doing (helping the calf nurse).

Finnan: What is on her back (really her behind)?
Me: That's blood.  She just had her baby.
Finnan: She got hurt?
Me: No, she didn't get hurt, but when you have a baby, sometimes there is blood.
Finnan: Did you have blood?
Me: [Silent Smirk]
Atticus: A little.  Just a little bit, but she did not get hurt.


Below are some more pictures from our day.  The best way to describe Southern Belle Farm is an entertainment farm.  It is a working farm, but it seems like only for fun crops- pick your own fruits, pumpkins, flowers.  They also had an array of animals, but they seemed to be for petting and feeding.  They had a corn maze, hay ride, giant pillow jump thing, corn pit, corn cannons, pumpkin cannons, pedal powered go-carts, pig get the idea.  This year Finnan's favorite part was their little playground where they had a child-sized pedal-powered tractor.  He could not get enough of acting like a farmer.  He kept getting off of his tractor, putting his hand over his eyes (as if shielding the sun) and gazing around, occasionally waving.  I guess farmers do this in his world?

Finnan's beloved toy tractor.

A try at the real thing.

Waiting for the pig races to start.

A highly coveted souvenir.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jude is 18 months

Jude is toddling between baby and little boy.  He amazes me every day with things he can do.  He leans himself back in a big boy swing, eats with cereal with a spoon, drinks from a cup and is working on hitting a baseball off of a tee.   Most of his day is spent in a game of chase.  When playing with Finnan, Finnan will say 1, 2, 3, and then Jude will scream GO!!! as they tear through the house.  His game does not end there and continues when it comes to clothing and diapering him or while shopping.  He can be such a terror in stores that people have actually let me go in front of them in line.  Jude is clearly meant to be free.  Ultimately though, Jude is still my baby.  He loves to be held, cuddled, and read to, and will whine incessantly at my feet if I can't get to him soon enough.  And he still has perfect baby cheeks.  

Atticus used to describe him as 'a force,' and this remains true now.  Jude is bold and forthright in everything that he does, whether that is exploring, climbing, cuddling. . . or screaming.  It is highly advisable not to put yourself between Jude and whatever it is that he is keen on doing, the results are often disastrous.  One of his first methods of communication was a very assertive point of the finger, and both Atticus and I have often walked the entire house during the wee hours of the morning, carrying Jude and being directed by his outstretched finger (which also seems to change direction for no reason whatsoever).  Luckily, the offer of a popsicle or chips or an attractive distraction will often assuage his determination for nothing in particular.  Although now he is considerably more verbal than we remember Finnan being at this age, with a vocabulary of probably 50 words or so, he surprisingly does not use 'no' frequently at all with us (Finnan is a different story).  Instead, he has opted to shake his head (with vigor) when we offer anything that he doesn't want.  "Jude, are you ready for night, night? Jude, can you sit in your seat, please? Jude, do you want to put clothes on?"  On the other hand, Jude is a very well-mannered toddler in that he often says please and thank you, and he always waves bye-bye with an offer of hug/kiss.

Jude is a product of his environment and is unquestionably all-boy.  He loves to wrestle with his brother, play with trains and trucks, dig in the sand or mud, and play ball.  He already verbally differentiates between footballs and baseballs.  He can not yet jump, but practices every day.  Thankfully, he ultimately requests my hand before he launches himself off of Finnan's bed.  He loves animals.  When feeding the goats this past weekend, he stuck the feed directly into their mouths, pulled away when they nibbled on his fingers, and then proceeded to put his fingers right back in their mouths. 

Jude did well at his doctor's appointment, keeping himself busy playing in the sink and using the extra chair as a climbing/jumping implement.  He weighed in at 23.5 lbs (20th percentile) and was 2'8" tall (50th percentile).   Jude has three teeth left to go (not counting his two-year molars).  He often still wakes up at night, requiring one of us to go lay in the bed in his room and sing to him.  (We are very thankful that his crib is in the guest bedroom!) His food sensitivity to tomatoes and berries has disappeared and although I feel like he has slowed down in consumption, he still eats a wide variety of foods.

Atticus has always commented on how having kids puts your life in fast forward.  I honestly have not felt that way until these last 6 months, but this summer and fall have flown by, leaving me to marvel at how much my boys have grown and changed.

Friday, November 12, 2010


From 9-2, I had a quiet house.  I actually enjoyed working for the first time since my recent consulting started in July.  I had five hours without interruption and without worry of interruption.  And for the rest of the day, I did not have to think (ahem, stress) about when my next free hour would be to try to sneak in some more work.  

Jude joined Finnan at Gabriela's for the first time today.  She said she would call me if he started to cry.  Although I kept the phone close by, I was pretty confident I would not hear from her.  Jude has grown up with Gabriela, seeing her multiple times a week since he was 4 months old.  In fact, for the past couple of months, Jude has been getting upset every time I take him away from the play group action.  Today, he seemed to immediately grasp that he was spending the day there and before I even reached Gabriela, he found a dump truck to race around the yard.  Finnan whimpered at my legs a bit before I left, but all I heard was Jude shrieking with delight as his dump truck gained speed.  I had planned to pick them up at 1, but at 12:50 I got a call.  Jude had just fallen asleep in a stroller, so Gabriela said she would call when he woke up.  I got the call at 2 and headed over there.  Jude was sitting peacefully in Gabriela's lap eating an orange.  He didn't even budge when I got there.  He was content and happy.  Gabriela said she was shocked- he did not complain once.  She said he called out for Mama when she was changing his diaper, but she quickly picked him up and brought him outside to make popcorn with the other children.  As I was talking to Gabriela he joined Finnan and some of the other children collecting worms.  They were digging and loading the worms up in the wheelbarrow.  Occasionally the children would scream and scatter, then sneaking back toward the worms to load them up.  He was one of them.

Unfortunately, Gabriela isn't able to take on another child regularly right now.  However, I am hoping Jude will be able to go a couple of times a month.  It not only helped me getting some work done, but I was also ready for a break.  A few whine-free hours and seeing him in that environment was exactly what I needed.

Saying "Cheese!" after his first day at Gabriela's

Somebody likes Thomas

Tonight, Finnan fell asleep in the bathtub at 6:30, and no, I'm not kidding. He is obviously a firm believer in playing till he drops, literally.  Fortunately for Jude, this meant he had the train table all to himself.  He bypassed all of our other trains, dug out the four Thomas trains and has been dutifully navigating the track.  His focus is very sweet and as he goes around the track he is saying, "choo-choo,", "woah!,""scuse me," "here you go," "oh no," "uh-oh."  He is making it pretty hard to put him to bed.  Right now I just want to gobble up those chubby cheeks...but I won't...the moment is too perfect, and every time Atticus asks for a hug, Jude politely shakes his head.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An enchanted Halloween with a bit of fright

First, thank you Mom for making these great costumes.  When she delivered them a couple of weeks ago, I had a momentary fear that after all of her work, they would not wear them.  Boy, was I wrong.  They loved them.  When told he was cookie monster, Jude started running through the house making monster sounds and Finnan wanted to wear his costume at every opportunity.

The baby panda's first public debut was on Saturday night for the "Enchanted Forest," a festival inspired by Gabriela and Sara (a play group mom and Waldorf teacher).  Lanterns lined a path through the woods on Sara's large property.  At nightfall, the children wandered on the path stopping at stations along the way.  The stations were manned by parents who put together scenes based on nursery rhymes and then gave out a homemade treat.  Little Jack Horner, Where o where has my little dog gone, Little Boy Blue, Jack be Nimble are examples of the scenes.  Atticus and I did Itsy, Bitsy Spider.  I'll admit- I was intimidated by the event and almost did not attend because I did not want to create a scene.  Luckily, my friend Christi told me a few of her ideas and I realized how many nursery rhyme scenes could be created without much effort.  I was very impressed by the evening.  The children enjoyed it and in the end I had fun sharing my scene with the children.  I am already thinking about next years' scene!

On Halloween night, we gathered at David and Shelly's house with Jarrett and Christi for a chili dinner and to decorate cupcakes.  After an attempt to get our excited children to pose for pictures, we headed out trick-or-treating!

Trick-or-treating is not a huge event in our neighborhood.  Less than half of the houses have lights on, but we only planned on stopping at a handful of houses, mainly to say hello to friends.  Jude did not really like wearing his hat.  But he learned quickly, in order to trick-or-treat, he needed it.  Before he got to the front door of any house he would ask, "Hat?", put it on, and then immediately take it off as we left the house.

At one of our last stops, we had quite a scare.  Our group of kids and another group of neighborhood children that we know congregated on a small porch at the same time.  All of a sudden I heard Atticus yell, "Get her down!"  A witch's cape had caught fire from a luminary.  Atticus was right next to her trying to hold the cape away from her skin, but was holding Jude and the porch was packed with kids.  I don't know how her mom did it, but she did an amazing job of rushing in and getting the girl to the ground.  Christian and Elsa were crying.  Finnan was shocked into silence.  Jude was oblivious.  And I was shaken for the rest of the evening.  It wasn't until Finnan got home that he started to react and he woke in the middle of the night and ended up in bed with us- a first and I can not imagine it was a coincidence.

So that we did not end on such a scary note, we stopped at three more houses before calling it a night.  When we reached Russ and Shelly's house, they had run out of candy, so they offered the kids fruit.  Amazingly, the kids dove into the fruit and they all started eating it.  By the time we got home, there was no mention of candy at my house.  I know my father-in-law would think I am cruel, but I have the candy stashed away until someone asks for it...and still no one has touched any Halloween candy.  Don't get any ideas, Paw-Paw!