Friday, December 17, 2010

Pants on Fire, Self-Fulfilling Prophesies, and Peter Pan by Proxy

The other day, Will asked his sitter, Maggie, if they could play with the "small toys" (choking hazards).

"No, we have to wait until Finny takes a nap. Otherwise he might put them in his mouth and that would be bad!" she explained.

Will looked at his baby brother (BARELY a baby; eleven months old today!?!?), then back at Maggie, and said, "I think Finny is tired."


I don't think there are a lot of people who LOVE feeling unmoored, but I still probably land somewhere way, way, way over on the "HATE IT" end of the spectrum.

However, I unintentionally give myself a hard time about how bothered I am by it. I'm constantly trying to talk myself out of feeling stressed, as if it isn't taxing to a) not know where you'll be living in 2011, b) not know where one kid is going to preschool or what you'll do to fill the other one's days, and c) feel like you want to do some more work in your field, although you can't see a way to add more work into the daily schedule of motherhood.

I'd like to spend some time on a project I first developed three years ago while heading up my Intervention & Assessment classroom. It's an important idea for a curriculum that's desperately needed in our high school classrooms, and I've seen the need for it firsthand, and...I just feel way too out-of-the-loop to know how to jump back in. And there's the time issue, which is kind of a huge one.

Anyway, I'm putting this out there in the spirit of that Secret book Oprah loves so much. I've never read it, but I think the main point is that you're supposed to tell the universe what you want and then things start happening to grant you your wish(es). I do have a hard time with the concept that "it's as easy as that!" because of, you know, the starving and disease-ridden and oppressed millions who...just didn't want it badly enough?

BUT, one day in August of '07, I was talking to myself in the car about my current job, and how it wasn't right for me. The schoolyear was due to start again in less than a month, and I said something out loud like, "I really wish I could find a place that really suited me, where I felt like I could do everything I wanted to." And mere days later, I got a call from the director of the I&A classroom asking if I was interested in taking over the lead teacher position. If that job had been a tangible object, it would have literally fallen in my lap.

So. Wonders never cease, right?


Finny is eleven months old today, and this morning I woke up and thought, "I will absolutely cry on his first birthday."

I know how fast this goes now. Bear with my analogy, if you will: Motherhood started out feeling like a train, and I was the conductor, and the upcoming mile markers thrilled me; then it became a symbiotic thing where I still had my role, but now the train had a mind of its own (like Thomas!). And then I had another kid and started to feel like I was running down the tracks in pursuit of this runaway car, and if I could just--move--faster--?

Finn SO VIVIDLY remains a nursing, crawling infant in my mind, and part of me harbors the preposterous hope that time isn't linear and we'll get back there someday. I can't believe we're only moving forward, at a pace that's beyond my ever-shrinking sphere of influence.

He slept all the time, I remember.

 And now he's this sweet and handsome and charming little blue-eyed BOY.

(Or "Chubby little man!" as Will calls him.)

So Finny and I are at odds: he wants to grow up, and I'd prefer that he didn't. And although neither of us is the conductor of that particular train, I have a feeling Finn's going to win this one. And THAT makes me feel like crying.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All in a Month's Work

You know when you have "Call so-and-so!" on your list, and then as the days tick by with no time for phone calls there is SO MUCH MORE to tell so-and-so, and you try to keep track of it all, and then you have to block out more and more time for this supposed phone-based catch-up session, and before you know it, it's been a month? Or more? That's what happened on this here blog.

First, I didn't want to jinx anything by discussing the sale of our condo. Real-estate-wise, how have we been burned? Let me count the ways:

-new construction home delayed by two weeks, then a month, then another month, and finally doesn't come through *plus* we have to do battle with the builder to get any money back for our upgrades

-rushed condo purchase leads to...interesting...upstairs neighbors, a far-less-than-ideal location in a busy intersection

-the whole thing about the economy tanking and our not being able to sell said condo for anywhere near what we paid

-our first buyers for the condo, five months after it goes on the market, back out post-"under agreement" for no reason at all, before the home inspection's even happened

And those are just the biggies. So you can forgive us for being closed-mouthed when it looked like we might actually, honest-to-goodness get out of our place once and for all.

But it happened. We closed on November 29 and moved in with my parents. And (Mom, Dad, I love you, thank you for being so wonderful, but) that's pretty rough on a 30-year-old with a husband and two young kids. There are trade-offs, and the good of escaping a home we KNEW we wanted to escape CERTAINLY outweighs any bad that accompanies this temporary situation. I won't get into all the pros and cons, but please believe me when I say, for all the short-term perils of a crowded house and six conflicting schedules, I'm vastly grateful to have the opportunity to conduct a house hunt that is Thorough and Thoughtful rather than Rushed and Desperate.

Then, the kids' "new things" kept piling up and changing. Will went from saying "Cranbezzies" to "Cranberries" and I didn't cry because at least he still says "Peamup and jelly," and that's about the cutest thing that's ever happened, maybe to anyone. My big boy has been in his big-boy bed for four months now, and he has never had one iota of angst regarding that transition. He HAS been working through a cough for the last month and a half, which means when he partially wakes up in the middle of the night, Dave and I completely wake up. We've recently begun addressing this problem (for us) with something called Wal-Zyr (for him), a Walgreens-brand antihistamine approved for 2-year-olds. It's been fabulous, as has my discovery of Walgreens. Hey, did you all know there's a place that sells the same stuff as CVS but has, like, great coupons and Jingle Bucks on top of already low prices and steep sales? You probably all did, but as my turn as a bargain shopper is relatively new, I had not known. (My mom got concerned when she realized I was suddenly all about the coupons--I had to reassure her that it was, in fact, my classic What's The Point of Doing Anything Without Going Whole Hog? routine and not the more worrisome We're Broke So I'm Off to Fight that Lady in Line for the Last Bottle of 99-Cent Apple Juice life crisis.)

Back to Will! He's as verbal and as gargantuan as ever. We just ordered size 10.5 double-wide sneakers for him. If you don't have a two-year-old, trust me when I say that's RIDICULOUS. He says things like, "I'm tempted to see everything!" and "Finny, you're such a cute little munchkin!" In other words (ha), he parrots us all the time, but also seems to know what he's saying. It always takes me aback when he paraphrases something I've said, as if he needs to make it his own, or just comes up with something spontaneously--lately it's been on-the-spot songs narrating his thought process, like when we were at his bestie Connor's house and he sang, "I want to hold--hold--hold--Con-nor's hand--hand--hand." I didn't have the heart to tell him it was bordering on copyright infringement and the remaining Beatles would surely sue if they caught wind of his plagiarism.

And Finny? Finny walks, runs, pivots, swivels, bends, lunges, squats, and generally runs me ragged. I can't believe I used to sit on my playroom floor and despair while Will toddled around me and Finny lay sleeping on my lap. THOSE WERE INDEED THE DAYS.

Finn also continues to sign, tries to talk--he can half-say a lot of words when prompted. Much like Will at (almost) eleven months, nothing is safe around that boy. He is, however, less of the Dismantling and Reassembling variety than his older brother--Finn's more a "Let's hurl this ball/block/4-pack of paper towels as far and as hard as I possibly can. Over and over and over," sort of guy. His new game is to kiss me repeatedly, with a wagging tongue and an open, drooly mouth. It would be positively disgusting if he had one less dimple and stubbier lashes and eyes with no twinkle, and if he was missing that guttural, joyful chuckle that punctuates our days. Instead, that sloppy French kiss is out-of-this-world adorable, and I'm constantly squeezing him and then pulling back to ask for "Kisses?" He even makes a "MWAH" noise. He's crazy cute, demands an audience, grunts heartily when he needs something, beats his chest as he circles the house, smiles at everyone, snuggles us all, and LOVES his Cheerios and his mozzarella. Purees are, like, SO three months ago, says his expression when Chicken and Summer Vegetables are on the menu.

And see? This post is already ages long, and I still have covered maybe .0000003% of everything that's happened since last I wrote here. I still have to put up pictures of Thanksgiving and tell you about the many wonders of the boys' Mary Poppins-esque babysitter. For tonight, I'll leave you with these:

My sweet and exhausting boys. And also Bulldog the bulldog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Look Who's Walking Too

Just two days shy of his ten-month birthday, Finn decided it was time to be a toddler. Literally.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weaning Begins

At nine months and one day, Finny had his first taste of formula. I must say, he seems to have enjoyed it QUITE A BIT. First I mixed it with breastmilk, thinking I might have to ease him in. He devoured the combo, then housed two additional bottles of straight formula. As you can see, he also appreciates the independence and portability the bottle affords him.

The backstory is: after a goal of six weeks, then twelve weeks, then four, five and six months, I found myself nursing-goal-less. The one-year mark was still a full six months away, which was as long as I'd already been breastfeeding. I have D-MER, which makes every feeding a bit of a mindgame. Still I wondered--can I make it to a year? Go straight from breastmilk to cow's milk? 

Finn had started with solids, and I thought about weaning, but I liked that I was still breastfeeding. I didn't particularly like breastfeeding itself, mind you--Finn was getting more and more mobile and antsy, and fighting both him AND the hormones while trying to keep him from biting me--that part wasn't fun. And he's been such a snacker, never much of a bonder; it wasn't as if I was going to miss having him reliant on me for his nutritional needs, right? Or for comfort? Did he even get comfort from nursing?

These questions jockeyed for space in my brain while I Just Kept Going. Day by day, feeding by feeding. 

On Sunday, Finn's nine-month birthday exactly, I bit the proverbial bullet and bought a can of formula. I told Ceci I felt self-conscious doing it, like it was contraband. "Remaining symptoms of PTSD," I explained to her. I got home with it and read the label: USE WITHIN 30 DAYS OF OPENING. Well, I thought, I'll never use all that powder in a month. What a waste of money. I eyed it cagily. You again. I left it in the cabinet.

The next day, a few hours after his first-thing morning feeding, Finn was scrounging for more. We were in the playroom with our sitter Maggie, and I thought of that canister in the cupboard. "I'm going to try it," I said to Maggie. And I did. And it was such a relief, to have done it, no matter what happens in the next few months.

It reminds me of the argument that feminism isn't about forcing women to keep their maiden names or to work outside the home when they have children; instead it's supposed to allow for options and opportunities. I am so, so happy that I was able to battle the obstacles for nine full months, and that I can still nurse Finn when it works for us--I'm also so, so happy that I have alternatives.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finn at Nine Months

 Second sons are the wandering ones,

 so we were the best of friends.

  I never felt more like myself

 than when I stood beside him then.*

*Jim Cuddy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thank You, Finny!

An hour and a half of napping this morning, 70 minutes and counting this afternoon, happy consumption of chicken/green bean/carrot/prune casserole at lunch, gales of laughter with every kiss on his nose and every game of (mostly inadvertent)'s been a good day.

And so I don't forget: another difference between the boys that's been striking lately is the way they take in the world. Will was so furiously tactile; we all remember how at about nine months he'd put his fingers on our faces, in our mouths every time we made a noise. It looked like he was trying to learn by feeling how we did it. Finny seems visual instead. He always seems to be puzzling things out, and he is ALWAYS watching. He's been more of an imitator (sticking out his tongue when we do, for instance) from the get-go than Will was, and Finn never wants us or any of his beloved toys out of his line of sight. Recently his constant attention to Big Brother has paid off in a lot of independent standing and deft manipulation of the toy drawers in the playroom. Oh boy.

But have I mentioned how cute he is? One look at that face and you'll understand why, nap or no nap, I'm madly in love.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Will's (Second) Second Birthday Party

This is the last batch of photos and then I promise I'm DONE blathering on about Will turning two, even though I still can't believe that's he's two. Two!

(Although I can kind of believe it when he says things to Finny like, "You are half-nakies, little man!" or gets on his pretend-phone to ask for a takeout salad, telling the person who's ostensibly writing down his order, "Anyway, we'll figure it out." (He then added, "Cookies?"))

Will celebrated his second b-day with a bunch of aunties and uncles and his Nan and Mamp and also his best buds (and their younger siblings). He had So Much Fun, and has been talking about it ever since.

Playgroup babies: The second batch (so far)
Natalie at 2.5m, Finny at 8.5m, Brendan and Riley at 2.5 weeks
Auntie Nikki with Baby Natalie
The birthday boy and his fans

The littlest Noon wanted to know where his cake was

I love you, man.
(Will and Connor)

I photo-bombed the Orrs. Classy.

A 3-D Thomas cake? Nothing better.
The cake was so good, it levitated
On this day, it was Thomas' face and not his engine
that was very useful (to Will, anyway).

Abby enjoying some Thomas cake

Will slipping into a Thomas-cake-induced
state of unconsciousness
Mamp, Will, Nan
Uncle Ryan, Dave and Finny, Rick (who?) and Kenley

"Abby, Finn's a younger man," Susan pointed out
after this (Finn-initiated) liplock occurred.

Auntie Melissa and her fiance Pete,
who was elevated to "Uncle" status when...
...he took at least some credit for this
Thomas Rock Quarry track and ramp set.

Auntie Ceci and Connor.
Yes, she had full-term twins two weeks ago. Really.

Auntie Lo, Auntie Alro (plus Brendan), Auntie Kerry

Reading his new "Trucks Go" book 

Not so sure about his conductor's cap

After the party, there's the after-party
FYI, Uncle Chris is in none of these photos because he was designated photographer--and did quite a nice job, might I add (LAUREN). Thanks, Chris! And thanks to everyone who made this day and every day of Will's life thus far so very over-the-top-with-joy happy.

The Same, Also Different

I've written a few times here about these frequent "revelations" that Little Brother is a whole 'nother human being, separate from Big Brother. In the last few months, though, those "They're different!" moments have dwindled, while the "They really are brothers!" revelations have surged.

As with most things related to having children, their similarities can be wonderful and then sometimes really cruel.

Finn is now following in Will's foosteps when it comes to falling asleep in the car. It's GREAT when we're driving for at least thirty minutes but not more than forty-five; I can count on Finn to fall asleep and then stay asleep once we're parked in our garage (just like Will used to do), but I'm pretty sure I can also keep Will awake so he doesn't have a real-nap-ruining catnap.

Today we didn't go anywhere in the morning, and Finn's nap in the crib was painfully short--half an hour. I figured I'd get him up and really exhaust him for the afternoon nap. Nice try. Half an hour--and ending as I type this. Meanwhile, Will's been going down from 1-3:15 every day, but guess who woke up at 2:30 today? Unh-hunh.

The days of no plans PLUS no solid naps make me feel like a prisoner in my own life. I try to arrange the day around these boys, and then they refuse to be on a regular (Will) or any kind of (Finn) schedule. So I make the executive decision never to be so foolish again, to simply take them out in the car every day, all the time, whatever it takes--but I'm often thwarted there, too.

There is no sure thing, I know, and that's the biggest similarity of all. Both of these kids will be changing things up on me for the rest of their lives, and every day will be different. Some days, though, that's a tough pill to pop.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Will on his Second Birthday

You're two. The world is yours!
You spend your days with good friends...

...and family...

...and when everyone says you look like a football player,
you're compelled to dress the part.

Your daddy and little brother have a special spot in your heart;

but only Mommy is "your love-love."

Well, Mommy and cake.

On your birthday,
the sugar crash hit at bathtime.
Still, you wanted more birthday.
"Daddy, you read Will five books!"

A big boy bed for a...sigh...big boy.
A beautiful, wonderful, lovely and joyful little big boy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flashback to August

Grandmom and Grandpop paid a visit last weekend, which meant a few things:

1. Will clung to one of Grandpop's hands at all times.
2. We got to eat some decadent dessert, courtesy of their hotel restaurant.
3. I finally got my hands on an enormous set of pictures from our Jersey Shore vacation.

(I'm wondering if "Jersey Shore" will ever be an innocuous phrase, ever again?)

There are a lot of people who take a lot of pictures in our immediate family on the Noon side, so please believe me when I tell you that I practiced restraint in choosing "only" these photos to post:

 The first thing Will said every morning was "Go see cousins!"

 I think you can see why.

 He has so much fun with this gang.

 The shirt says it all.

 "Jenna pick Will up!" was also a common refrain.

 Finn snoozed on Auntie Cindy at the beach...

 ...while the rest of us played.

 Finn loved the beach, but he was frustrated with us for not letting him eat the sand.

 The family shot.

 The four of us.

 Celebrating Will's birthday early--do you think he liked that plan?


 A sunrise documented by Grandpop...
while I slept soundly inside.
(I had to take advantage of Finn's wonderful nights of sleep, didn't I?)

The Boston Noons head back home.

I don't have a lot of pictures of Finn sans pacifier, but it was shortly after that trip that we decided to wean him off it. And then we decided that we really preferred full nights of sleep to a frustrated, vocal baby who missed his pacifier, so now he gets it once in a while--about as often as we get to sleep through the night.

These pictures make me miss the beach, the summer (even the humidity), and mostly our faraway family. Hopefully Christmas will be here before we know it.