Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Whirlwind Recap

October began with our first of two annual trips to Edaville, this time to see Thomas. We went with the five Flemings plus Mindy and Jack, and the kids had a great time (as evidenced by Finn hysterically crying as we tore him from the Tilt-a-Whirl after his second ride). I did too, until the eightysomething-degree weather combined with MY two rides on the Tilt-a-Whirl caught up with me. (Paul, just before the ride lurched into motion: "A baby would just fly right off this seat. It's been here since at least the early '70s." [Jiggles the handlebar] "Oh, and this thing's useless.")

We went apple-picking, too, with Ceci and Connor as well as the three Orr ladies. Have I mentioned here yet that Will and Abby have announced their betrothal? Abby's dad, Ade, asked when the happy event would take place, and Will confidently replied "When we're five." Of course, Will has also informed us that he and Finn are "going to our wedding now, and I'm wearing a suit!" and mentioned a handful of other arranged marriages, but this one seems pretty serious:

Two things I love about that series of photos: one, that Connor is usually grinning his face off, and two, that the Orrs and the Noons have produced similar pairs of same-sex offspring. Note in the last picture how the blond Bobbsey twins are off to one side smiling while Finn and Natalie look suspicious and, in Finn's case, kind of surly. I love it.

Mid-month, we attended birthday parties for close friends Kenley (3), Jack (2) and Catherine (3). I don't have pictures, although Kenley's party featured an enormous blow-up dinosaur (huuuuuge hit), Jack's was great because I got to watch him go through the gamut of facial expressions (he has my favorite face to watch--the most adult reactions on an adorable peanut face), and Catherine's was of course the birthplace of the soon-to-be-famous ABC Karaoke Crooning Duo, where Connor and Will discovered a love of the stage, the microphone, and the sound of their own voices.

We then celebrated Halloween early with the Spooky Walk. Both Will and Connor dressed up at Lightning McQueen, and Finny borrowed Ryan's costume from last year (thanks, Ry!) that was conveniently a sweatshirt and sweatpants, so we didn't have to pry him from the full suit to change a diaper or relieve him when he complained "Too tight! Tooooo tiiiiiiiight!" Jack also walked with us most of the way, but I didn't get a picture of his perfect fireman's costume because he was too busy dodging his dad as he ran through the crowd to find the candy:

Then we partied at the obstacle course in honor of Connor's third (and the twins' belated first) birthday:

Inger with just-turned-one Lia,
who wanted to get down and run with the big kids.

We finally hit the end of the party trail this weekend, although my Halloween birthday boy husband turns thirty-three tomorrow, so we did go out with Kerry and Christian for THAT occasion while Nan and Mamp babysat. It turned out to be a mildly treacherous drive because of our freak pre-Halloween snowstorm, and the month that started out feeling like July is ending up more like January. It's a very weird finish to a jam-packed and fun-filled October.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Third Time Around: A Bulleted List

  • I swear I won't believe this down the road unless I record it now: my once-marveled-at (among my family, at least) memory is shot to pieces. My ability to multitask has vanished. My brain is toast. Today I couldn't find my keys for the third time in as many days. They were in my car, in the ignition, running the battery while some Music Together songs blasted in an empty minivan with its headlights on. I had left them there for AN HOUR.
  • (Also, yours truly, the keeper of three calendars--monthly on the wall, daily in my planner, Google calendar for iPhone use--has so far managed to forget a prenatal appointment entirely AND double-book dinners on a night out.)
  • This just in: I'll never be the kind of woman who surprises everyone with "I'm already six months along!" Nope. As I said to Ceci, there just isn't enough midsection for me to hide anything for that long. And once I start showing (to friends, three months--to strangers, based on the due date curiosity that's just begun, it's apparently four). I think I'm over the disappointment.
  • I feel babies move pretty early. With Will, I was 18 weeks, give or take. With Finny, I was closer to 14, and with this baby, there were suspicious sensations even at 13 weeks--although, given how horrible my stomach still felt then, it was hard to be sure. If I can't have "You don't even look pregnant!" gestations, at least I can feel the flips earlier, right? God doesn't give with both hands, I suppose.
  • As I've talked about with my mother-in-law a few times, I don't understand the handful of women who LOVE being pregnant. Even during my pregnancy with Will, when I felt relatively comfortable throughout and didn't have any other kids to sap my energy, I still didn't *prefer* pregnancy to non-pregnancy. There were things that I loved (see last bullet point), and I appreciate(d) the experience, but I really didn't get why anyone would want to replace their regular clothes with a different, less attractive wardrobe, or why they would want to swear off alcohol, or in later months, the chance to sleep belly-side-down.
  • I especially don't get it now that I've experienced this pregnancy brainlessness. Again, it's more than worth it for the baby that comes at the end, even WITH the bummer nausea that accompanied this one from weeks 8-14--I'm not saying it's all bad. It's just that for me, some pretty significant pieces of my identity get put on hold for the duration, and that's NOT a part of pregnancy that I can savor or spin positively.
  • (Maybe I just don't have that specific gene. I think my friend Laurie has that gene, and I'm admiringly baffled by her. She also really didn't show until she was six months pregnant, which sort of blows my God/two hands theory out of the water.)
  • By the way, this baby is moving like a speed demon in my lower abdomen right now. One thing I do like about maternity jeans is that when you're sitting down and the stretchy waistband is pulled against your stomach, babies (or mine anyway) are much easier to feel. 
  • I run the dishwasher twice a day and cycle through the laundry about as often. Yet we perpetually have a sink full of dishes and hampers piled high. Why? How?
  • Will came into the room for my ultrasound this morning. I thought he'd be all "Hi, New March Baby!" (what he calls it) but instead he looked at us like we were crazy when we tried to show him the feet and face, and then he wanted to know when we could leave. Oh well. At least he proudly carried the profile photos out into the waiting room.
  • When you're not finding out the baby's sex (which we aren't this time--for the first time!), the middle of pregnancy really is sort of long. Thankfully I have my two whirling dervishes to keep me distracted.
  • It also helps to make time fly when you aren't getting anything ready for the new baby pretty much until he/she arrives. Being a preparation nut, I'm usually at least writing wish lists for the third trimester by now, but I just don't have the spare time or the inclination. Also, after two babies, I understand that my need to feel prepared doesn't actually result in being prepared. So, why bother? We'll figure out the sleeping arrangements and the name rest of it at 39 weeks, right? Plenty of time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finny at 21 Months, Addendum

I never posted Finn's eighteen-month stats from the doctor (poor, poor forgotten second child), so I'm tacking them on here, three months later. Whoops! You were:

30 lbs (95th %ile)
33 in (86th %ile)

I also didn't include these pictures in the twenty-one-month post. This is Finn feeding Riley, his future wife (if all relevant parties have anything to say about it), and at the bottom, trying to fill Daddy's shoes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, "Con-Con"!

I don't know how many people are lucky enough to say they have or had a best friend--a real best friend--at three years old. But Will is that lucky, and his best friend Connor is three TODAY. Connor is the kind of kid who is always thinking up something fun to do, and in that vein their dads reported that the two of them took the stage last weekend at a friend's party for some karaoke ABC's. That is the sort of thing Will wouldn't do on his own, I don't think; Connor brings out Will's adventurous side, and I love him for that (among many other reasons). Although they occasionally struggle to share toys and they're working on turn-taking, they are always, always excited to see each other. Like I said, lucky.

 In honor of Connor's birthday and their totally wonderful friendship, I put together this birthday movie. To paraphrase Mater, you boys definitely made the right choice of "bes' friends."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Twenty-One Months of the Finn Man

The first thing you need to know about Finny recently is that with a months-long verbal explosion has come a personality shift. He's still the same boy who loves to jump before looking, gives us the sly eye before teasingly contradicting us--his favorite game is to announce that something is "hot" until we declare it cold or warm, and then debate us in between fits of giggles. He also likes to point at his transportation decals and say with an upward inflection "Truuuuuuuuuck?" as he points to a bus, grinning.

But probably like most kids, Finn is empowered by this boost in communication, and there's something more confident in his manner now that he understands and is being understood. His crankiest period of the day is the typical one, post-nap and pre-bedtime, and particularly right after he wakes up. Yesterday, after a three-hour nap, he grumpily drove with the rest of us to Costco. He kept darting away from us and then freaking himself out once he knocked into a stranger's legs. Finally I pulled him aside while he was crying for "Daddy!" (who was quickly thrown over for "Mamaaaa!" as soon as we switched--you know how it is) and said "I'm going to give you a time-out if you keep crying. There is no reason to cry. Do you want a time-out?" "No," he sniffed. "Then stop crying." That was that. It might not have been if we hadn't been leaving anyway, but we were, and I was able to make jokes and cajole him until we were back in the car. THAT never used to happen, and I attribute it to bridging the verbal gap only because I remember it happening (several months earlier) with Will; as soon as he registered that we "got it," he was so much easier to appease, to reassure, to explain things to.

Finn is also more fun, because I don't feel compelled to baby him all the time. If he can comprehend my instructions (for the most part), I can trust him in our backyard or at his toddler program. We can concentrate on teasing each other, and I can encourage him with some success to play fair with Will and his other friends, to give and take and share. It also means that most of the time, I can allow him to join the big kids like he so desperately wants. Here he is apple-picking with the mighty three-year-olds (and Lala, not pictured):

It's really fun to hear him cobble together sentences. The other day he asked Ceci "Where Brendan and Riley?" Today he said "Time-out for Will?" And he's constantly saying simple phrases like "I did it!" and "I reach," or "I fell." All parents have different points on the timeline that signify where their kid moves up a level in person-hood. For me, this developmental jump is a big one. "I swimming!" isn't just bathtime conversation to me--it's how Finn can tell me he's proud of himself, a way of soliciting my praise and attention, and it makes me happy. He makes me happy.

Because he copies everything Will does, Finn pees in the potty every night before bed--the little potty. And once he's half-naked, he starts grunting "COOKIE? COOKIE!" Afterward, he gets an alphabet cookie and walks around with it hanging from his mouth. He also shouts "LUSH!" meaning "flush" while he's sitting there, and I have to remind him that the little potty doesn't flush. So...he takes it into the bathroom and flushes it there. This one doesn't miss a trick.

Finny kisses my belly and says "Hi, baby!" and I can now really see him as a big brother. He'll be talking to the baby, kissing him or her, probably trying to pounce while I attempt to deflect him. But it makes sense now. He's not just my baby anymore (although he'll always be that, too); he's a person with ideas and plans and perspectives and opinions, and I get to know him a little better every day. It's awesome.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is There Room for One More?

By next March, we'll need another horse on the carousel.

And another ticket to the firehouse tour.

And some matching tee-shirts for the TWO big brothers.

March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, 2012, to be exact;
we're having another baby!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Preschool for Everyone!

On the first day that felt like fall, Will and Finn got into their warm gear
and got ready for school.

Of course, because Finn is my second kid, I forgot to prepare him
for dropping Will off at preschool.

When we got back into the car, Finn gestured toward Will's empty carseat
and said, "Where Will? Where Will?"

The first two days of Finny's drop-off playgroup confused him.
His (wonderful) teacher--he plays with four other toddlers in her home two mornings a week--
said he was crying off and on.

But by day three, he had begun his current routine:
cries in protest for 15-30 seconds when I leave, then he's "perfect" throughout the morning.
He's happily eating lunch when I come to pick him up, and he's never in a hurry to get home.

Will and Finn with Connor (far left) and Jack (far right)

Will has been loving his new preschool from day one. Just loving it.
It's a much more relaxed environment than his previous one,
and he barely acknowledges me when I leave, although he greets me excitedly when I return.

with Connor

I'm learning that Will's a typical boy in many ways.
Although he's extremely chatty, he talks way more about his toys and projects
than his friends at school--whereas the moms of his female classmates have told me 
they've heard a lot about Will from their kids.

"I'm the best convertible driver IN THE WORLD!" he proclaimed.

 These pictures are obviously not of Will at preschool, but they reflect how socially at-ease he's become.
I think Finny has a lot to do with his development--he really notices other kids now, and you can tell he thinks about how he's treating them. Sometimes his experience as a big brother makes him feistier and more physical than his friends (and I) would like, so it's not all sweetness and light.'s still a whole lot of that, too.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Last of the Birthday Posts (I Promise)

Interspersed with his multiple parties and his actual birthday, Will had a few more noteworthy events this week. The one without photographic evidence was his three-year checkup at the doctor. The general gist was: still 95th %ile in height and weight (40 inches, 40 pounds), passed his eye exam, totally healthy. The more specific story is that he chose the shot in the arm over the FluMist, got another shot in the other arm plus the finger prick (followed by the bloody finger squeeze, UGHHHH), and went through the whole thing with nary a complaint. In fact, he was positively chipper. I heard them talking about him outside the doctor's office, the nurse and Will's pediatrician using words like "amazing," and "mature." (I feel I can brag about this because Finny then got one lone shot and yanked his arm away even while my dad was holding him down, then cried about the injustice for half a minute before getting distracted by my suggestion of eating a banana. So...I don't think I got two of these, is what I'm saying.) (Not that I don't and won't have things to brag about re: Finny. Just, different things. You know.)

Another highlight was Auntie Lo's visit, complete with a very appropriate Dr. Seuss gift ("Happy Birthday To You," which is way longer than we all remembered) and cupcakes.

And finally, Grandmom and Grandpop showed up at the tail end of the Barn Babies affair to surprise Will a day early--they came back again on Sunday to visit with the boys.

That concludes the recounting of Will's week-long third birthday celebration--I swear. I have a lot to say about preschool and Finny and all sorts of stuff, so that's coming up.

There's more to us than just our birthdays, Mom. Get a grip.