Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Situation on the Shore

...is that Finny has his third tooth! And it is not even one of the front ones--it is the one NEXT to his left front tooth (I have no idea what it's called--I know front teeth, eyeteeth and molars, and I know that some are called incisors but I'm not sure if they're next to molars or not). Anyway, he had seemed like he was teething (continuously) due to the drool and the chewing and the pacifier love, but since his bottom fronts are in, we assumed the top fronts would be next and didn't check the rest of his gums. Today I idly ran a finger across the roof of his mouth, and holy cow! There was a ridge emerging, so I flipped up his lip and there was a perfectly obvious white tooth. It had fully broken through.

I don't know why I'm writing so much about this tooth. Perhaps it's because Finn now has THREE teeth, whereas at 7.5 months, Will had ZERO. And we all know how much I like evidence backing up my groundbreaking theory that DIFFERENT CHILDREN ARE DIFFERENT.

I'm done now.

PS-Our week at the Shore is nothing but awesome. We have been "GTL all day, baby"; that is, if by Gym you mean "one run into town followed by an offensive amount of eating," Tan you mean "burn in weird patches," and Laundry you mean...well, laundry.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Baby Whisperer V. Lady Luck

When we were all in various stages of sleep training with our first children, my playgroup friends and I constantly compared notes on what we did, what we'd researched, and what we struggled with.

I hated to use CIO with Will, but it was quick and effective--at least when I used it to combat a hitch in his normal sleep patterns. We first used it at five months (sitting up distracted him from sleeping), again at eight (cruising was the culprit), and then sporadically and as necessary if teething or illness set him back. But Will slept through the night VERY early, and was regularly snoozing for eleven hours in a row with no snack by the time he was two months old? (My archives might have slightly different information, but I'm too tired to search.)

Anyway, staying asleep was the norm for Will, although to get him to sleep we were always happy to brush his teeth, read him books, rock him while singing, and tiptoe out once he was asleep.

Then Finny arrived, and we just couldn't. Somewhere in those first weeks, we started putting Will down while he was still awake. He cried, so I suppose that was our most recent CIO attempt, but it took two nights. TWO NIGHTS. And now he falls asleep all on his own, every night and every naptime.

Enter the second child, shiny and new! Because successfully nursing Finn was at the forefront in those early days, I didn't just allow co-sleeping...I planned for it. As we approached four months, Dave and I decided it was time to go to the crib. Not the bassinet, not the travel crib, but his for-real, down-the-hall, my-very-own crib. That was absolutely problem-free for Finny. I missed him, of course, but I didn't have to perform the frequent monitor checks that I'd done for Will, nor did (or do) I wake up in an all-consuming panic because I had a dream that he was still in our bed somewhere.

Even in his crib, though, I wanted to answer the call of the nursing infant, so Dave and I made a deal: he fetched, I fed. Somewhere between five and six months, we changed it up so that Dave was trying to persuade Finny not to eat, to rock him back to sleep instead, but that only sometimes worked.

Whenever I doubted our choices during these first seven months of Finn's life, I remembered that multitude of conversations from Will's infancy, particularly something my friend Mo had said. One day, she told us that Ryan was waking up and doing an hour or so of "Daddy time" around two a.m. "He just wants to play, and it's no big deal," she said (or something like that). Mo was also the friend who threw out all the how-to books because "they don't apply." About sleep specifically, she was hilariously annoyed that the author-pediatricians got to take credit for a sleep plan that works, when it was actually some cross-section of timing and luck that made THAT plan work at THAT juncture for YOUR baby.


Last Wednesday, I had a sleep-deprivation-related meltdown. I called Dave at work and made a weepy, exhausted plea for something to change. "I've found my threshold for consecutive nights of interrupted sleep," I told him, "and it's six-and-three-quarters months."

For the next three nights, Dave slept in the playroom and made a point of NOT bringing Finn to our bed until it was at LEAST 5:30 in the morning. By Saturday night, Finn was cooperating enough (still waking up, but not begging to eat until his 6:30 wakeup) that Dave could sleep in the master again.

On his seven-month birthday, as I was putting Finn down for his nap, he started to arch allllllll the way back while he was also busy ignoring my whispered version of "Twinkle, Twinkle," and my inner mommy ear heard his whine and just KNEW: he wasn't scared of me leaving or sad to be abandoned--he was mad, and he was REALLY tired. So I put him in bed (with Scout*, who is desperately seeking new batteries by the sound of it) and said "I love you, good night," and left. He cried and crawled for thirty minutes, then slept for just over thirty. Fine, whatever.

But that night! Oh, that night!

He cried for 15 minutes after I left, and then he slept. All. Night. Long. From 7:45 p.m. to 6:45 a.m., and it was GLORIOUS.

Today's afternoon nap was 8 minutes crying followed by 90 minutes napping, and tonight he whined for a grand total of 3 minutes before conking out at 7:20.

I know this is interesting to maybe six people, but it's worth recording here so the lesson is underscored, easy to come back to: I listened and waited for Finn to be ready to cry it out; I trusted myself; I stuck to it; and then the other 99% of this success story,


*Thanks to Melissa for this guy--we all love him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finn at Seven Months

Finn's seventh month was a big deal in a way I don't remember Will's being. I think because I stared at Will all day, every day, his big milestones stand out: sitting up at five months, crawling at seven months, cruising at eight, teeth, babbling, walking, talking...

Months 0-2 of Finn's life were all about Adventures in Breastfeeding and juggling two babies' needs. Months 3-6 were the Baby As Accessory era, in which I strapped Finn onto my chest and took him with me to all of Will's activities. And then, as his six-month birthday came and went, we all went to Ohio to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday.

And we watched as Finn's brain came online, just like that.

First, he started babbling. (Footage to come--that particular video isn't uploading right now.)

Then he took his first dip in the pool and, as we know from his love of the bathtub, he's a natural swimmer.

He claps when he sits up from a crawling position, and because we always cheer and say "Yay!" he is now clapping whenever he hears anyone say "Yay" about ANYTHING.

He splashes on command. He stands in his crib, pulls up on the couch, and only wants to move--just like his big brother.

At 22 and 7 months, respectively, these guys get along so well and love each other so much, it's crazy. I'm grateful for it, and I hope it continues always--the horseplay, the laughter, the hand-holding at lunch (oh yes, there's spontaneous hand-holding).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trot, Trot to Boston

Here's Will (22m) doing his rendition of the trot-trot song. (Is this a regional thing? In case it is, I typed the lyrics below the video.)

Trot, trot to Boston,
Trot, trot to Lynn.
Watch out, [name--in this case, "Gogo"]
Or you might fall IN!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mobile: Not Just a City in Alabama

A month ago, Finn began to lurch awkwardly around. He could thrust himself backward using his arms, and he could rise on feet and hands and then FLOP! He could roll across a room--but he was not yet crawling, and for that I vowed to be thankful until the day it wasn't true anymore.

It's not true anymore. His flops became more coordinated, and he developed an army crawl that allowed him to slow-mo, and as of today the kid can CRAWL. I-see-what-I-want-and-now-I'll-go-get-it, full-on forward motion, crawl.

I am exhausted just watching him, since I can only imagine (in terror) what having two mobile kids will bring to my already-overflowing table. At the same time, of course, I'm grudgingly admiring. And then there's the "How is Finn almost seven months already?" time-lapse alarm going off in my brain.

Nonetheless, congratulations, Finny! I hope you'll always be as determined to get what you want as you are today. (Just not at three in the morning anymore, if you can help it, mmkay?)