Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Joyful Boy

 Whether strumming

 or reading;

dressing up;


 attempting to spell

 or jamming with Mamp,

 hanging with babies*

or setting up camp--

 When you show us your strength,

 when you slow down at night,

 when you dance with your brother
 and cuddle him tight;

When sometimes you whine, as a two-year-old will,
even when you are cranky--I love you then, still;
But mostly your cheer is so clear it's a joy
to watch you grow up, my big blond-headed boy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Nap a Day Keeps the Cabin Fever Away

Boring toddler sleep-pattern post here--mostly for my own "journaling" purposes, so feel free to just look at the photos.

At fifteen months, Finn was still sleeping from 8-6, then taking a longer morning nap and a funky do-I-need-it-or-not afternoon nap. I thought this was weird, since Will was basically down to one nap a lot sooner, but nothing needed to change...until something REALLY needed to change. Finn was sort of fussy all afternoon long, and he didn't seem like he was getting enough sleep in a 24-hour period, and it was also tough mentally for me to stay home for his nap and then stay home for Will's nap in the afternoon. That's a little too much hermit living for someone like me.

I was lamenting Finn's need for two naps per day when I got together with my Isis moms (aka, my longtime mental health support group) for dinner a week ago. "He's sooooo far away from one nap a day," I groaned.

Two and a half years of playgroup therapy

The next day? I pushed him to one nap, and it worked! But as Ceci says, one day's a fluke; we did it again the next day, and again! It worked! Finn has had only the one nap a day for seven straight days (today is his eighth). 

Unexpectedly, in nap-training Finn, we've had to sleep-train him, too. I suppose it's not a huge surprise that daytime and nighttime sleep are so closely related, but Will was always a great nighttime sleeper and a fine napper, except for those days when he'd fall asleep in the car or seem to need a nap so much earlier/later than he had the day before, and I'd lose my mind because NO MORE INCONSISTENCY! But Finny always woke up between 6 and 7, and I just assumed that's who he was.

(Isn't it hard to walk the line between "That's just who he is!" and "Let's throw a million schedules at him and see what sticks"? It is for me.)

Anyway, we've been putting him down at 7, then crying him out at the oddest hours (one night, 2 a.m., another night 5:05) while his brain gets sorted anew. Last night he slept from 7:20 to 6:30 in the morning, and it was divine. Then I spent every five-minute car ride of the morning (thank goodness we live only five minutes from Will's preschool now) jostling his car seat at red lights and singing obnoxious "FINNY!!!" songs to keep him awake. 

The one other thing that's different is that we trained Finn to put himself to sleep A LOT earlier than we did Will. In fact, I think Will was fifteen months when we finally decided that, with a newborn entering the household, Will was going to have to fall asleep NOT in our arms. Also, he weighed about a million pounds already, so the rocking was truly grueling. Finny knows how to fall asleep, but he also knows how to screech at top decibels if he's looking to protest. So in the last weeks, we'd been going in and putting him back down when he screeched, and forgetting that at his age he actually can understand us. When that clicked in, I started saying "Finn, it's time to go to sleep. Mama's just in the other room, and I'll see you after nap." 

And hallelujah! It works.

Next up on the list of Developmental Milestones For Which I Can't Wait? The dissipation of stranger anxiety and separation anxiety and the mean little overlap of the two. Finny's happy to play at Will's preschool, to play with our sitter Maggie, to play with my parents--but the second I try to walk out of the sitting room at the gym, he gets completely freaked. I'm trying to use reassuring words in that situation, too, but I remember Will just growing out of it, certainly by eighteen months, and probably not because of anything I said or did. Oh well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Boys

The Easter bunny came this morning! S/he (we still haven't decided on a pronoun in this house) delivered some miniature construction trucks, a tow truck and a police car, as well as some contraband candy.

The three stages of Discovering Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs:




 We went to 9:30 Mass, and the boys were wonderful. Afterward, I told Will I was so proud of him.

"I did such a good job," he agreed. "And I was so quiet. Just like I said!"

Of course, it didn't hurt that two Easter bunny chocolates were waiting for him at home.

Happy Easter, everybody!

Friday, April 22, 2011

There Can Only Be One, Too

I wrote this post about Will just after he hit fifteen months. It was also a couple of weeks before Finn was born, which is shocking to me. How was I not panicking that I was about to have a baby when I still had...a baby?!? Will didn't feel like a baby to me, though.

Finn does, and so I'm amazed by the non-baby traits that keep cropping up. Here's a partial list of his words as of this week:

Up, outside ("ah-sigh"), upstairs ("usta"), car, truck ("uckuck"), Will ("Bee-uw"), more, uh-oh, hi, buh-bye, hat, dog, Nan ("Naaa"), Mamp (he said "Mampa" today), Dada, Mama, bread, Goldfish ("goh")...

He loves to read, particularly: Fire Truck by Peter Sis, Opposites by Sandra Boynton (and add "oppa" to the list of partial words he can say), The Three Bears by Byron Barton, and Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.

(He also loves belly buttons, and saying "tick" as he lunges for yours.)

He still signs "please." Then there's the ubiquitous "yeah" and "no," accompanied by the appropriate head movement. This has been going on for at least a month, and it's the most helpful thing Finn's done in his short life thus far. As long as you can make your question conform to a yes/no format, you can ask him anything! (It wasn't as helpful as I would've liked the other morning, when I was trying to get him back to bed after a 5 a.m. wake-up and said, "Do you want to go back to sleep?" "Naw," he said firmly, turning his head left to right. Oooookay. What now?)

This week was a triumph of sorts for Finn: Monday was his first "one-nap" day, and I rearranged our schedule for every subsequent day so we'd have the best shot at keeping the streak alive. And we did it! Dave and I may have had to maneuver some weird 2 a.m. CIO sessions, and I might have whispered some bad words under my breath after today's nap (consisting of one hour) ended abruptly today, but overall: success!

Finn's definitely a cold-turkey kid. We cut him off from pacifiers altogether overnight, and that was that. We did the same with bottles somewhere before thirteen months, and he was cool with that, too. He's never attached to a "love-love" the way Will did with (his now multiple) Gogo(s). Finn prefers people. He's a nuzzler and a snuggler.

At his fifteen-month appointment, he came up 28 lbs. and some undetectable amount of inches, since he wouldn't stand (literally and metaphorically) for his height check. Our doctor guess-timated 31, but I think he's closer to 32. Will was 34 inches, and you can clearly see the differences in body type when you compare Finny wearing this same 3T PJ one-piece from the pictures of Will at the exact same age.

"Right now, he's heftier than he is long," chuckled the doctor. Let me tell you why this is unsurprising: I thought Will could eat, but this kid can Eat. A normal breakfast for Finn consists of a cup of diced peaches, two slices of raisin bread with peanut butter, a WHOLE banana, and a cup of milk. He eats a mid-morning and an afternoon snack, and his lunch and dinner are as preposterous as his breakfast, in terms of volume. We buy three gallons of milk per week; one for Finn, one for Will, and one for me and Dave. Guess which one has a bit left over on Sunday? THE ONE THAT IS SHARED BY THE TWO FULL-SIZED ADULTS.

I submit as evidence: his tummy is about to bust out of this Idaho tee courtesy of his Great-Aunt Kathy (Dave's godmother) and Great-Uncle Tom.

As I'm sure most little brothers do, Finn watches his big brother like an Us Weekly paparazzo. Lately, though, Finn's also been branching out into some independent play. He used to sort of hang around Will, waiting for attention or to see what was going to happen. But he still laughs uproariously at almost anything his brother does.

My sweet fifteen-month-old has probably had five tantrums so far, but each is a total "Whuuuuut?" experience for me, since my two-and-a-half-year-old has never really had ONE. Yet. (And when Will starts to whip his arms around and makes his preparatory shrieking noise, we say, "Will, stop it. Hands are not for hitting." And he STOPS. And then snuggles with us, likely because he feels guilty or something sweet like that.) Finny does the full-on sequence of tantrums like the ones I've seen on YouTube: 1) Whine with an open mouth, baring splayed, emergent front teeth; 2) Intensify the nasal tone of the whine, throw head back further; 3) Fall to floor in despair, 4) Roll side to side, screaming at the floor as if it's to blame for your woe; 5) Wonder vaguely what you're supposed to be upset about, allow yourself to be distracted by something more fun, end tantrum.

So far I've watched with a bemused eye, because I really don't know what to do with this irrational behavior. My older kid is SO rational. You explain things to Will and he processes my reasoning and moves on. Oh, not so with my Finny Finn!

And fifteen months later, I honestly don't know how I ever lived without him.