Margot, Finnegan, and I had a terrific time this week in Leadville and Boulder, CO, and Finn proved himself a wonderful traveler. We're glad to be back at sea level, breathing the thicker (albeit smoky) air and getting the small guy back into his familiar crib.
Among the highlights of the trip, we got to introduce Finn to his cousins Patrick ("The big guy") and Charlie ("The 'getting bigger/no longer the baby' guy"). Here you can check out a gallery (HTML) of the three of them in action--but be warned, you may want to don protective eyewear before glimpsing such cuteness .
Well, we had a wonderful time in Leadville with Finn's grandparents, cousins, and aunt. The weather was fantastic, we got some nice scenic drives and walks in, as well as plenty of relaxation. There's nothing like sitting on the front porch looking out over a vast green valley surrounded by enormous snowy peaks as far as the eye can see.
Of course we also had our share of sleeplessness since Finn's routine got all cattywompus, but overall, he was a total champion. He never cried during the many altitude changes, and he was charming the socks off his elders with that dimple and big smile. Speaking of smiles, Finn's got a new addition to his grin--his first tooth emerged this week! He was teething on John's finger, and John felt something distinctly sharp on Finn's lower gums...and lo and behold, there was the tooth!
Another milestone was achieved just tonight upon our return home. We've been trying for about a week to help/let Finn figure out how to get himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night (which has become quite frequent these days). We have adopted the "wait 10 minutes" rule before going in to help him resettle, in large part due to the fact that "helping" him seems only to wind him up more, and he's getting to the point where he should be able to soothe himself. The past few nights have been awful--many more episodes of wakefulness and crying, for longer stretches. Tonight, we put him down for the night, and after 30 minutes he woke himself up and started crying and fussing. We waited, and he cried more, and got madder, and we waited some more, and he seemed to be calming himself down...and after about 12 minutes, he had put himself back to sleep! So now we know he can do it, and we'll continue our wait-and-see approach before we "help". I hope this is a sign of more positive sleep developments to come.
Greetings from Leadville, CO! We arrived with Finn and Grandma Nack yesterday evening, after a fairly long day of air and car travel. Finn was a total hero: the takeoff and landing did not bother him one bit, and he only squawked a little bit in the car on the way up to Leadville as his ears adjusted to the high altitude. Leadville is at 10,200' so we are taking it reeeeeally easy. The thin air makes for a low-energy, slightly headachey, and very dehydrated first couple of days, so Finn has been napping like a champion today in between meals .
We're staying with Margot's folks, who take up residence in the cool mountain air each summer. Margot's sister Laura and her two boys are here, meeting their cousin Finn for the first time. The grandparents are thrilled to get some more quality time with Finn, especially now that he's smiling and cooing a lot. They can't get enough!
Given the (relatively) giant melon little kids have to cart around on top of their necks, they need plenty of exercise, and baby docs all seem to recommend plenty of "tummy time." This weekend we got the squirrel going with some extra TT--all while perched on his dad's tummy. Good time (and happily, no spit-ups!) ensued. Here are some pix.
Now I feel like we should put one of those little Christian fish on the back of our car, except that the fish should have a big fluffy tail... like this:
Answer: Asleep! (For now, anyway.) And even better, neither he nor I nor the house have caught on fire, fallen into the sea, or anything similarly disastrous.
Today marks a pretty big milestone: Margot had to fly to Seattle for work, and she's no doubt in the air right now, nearing San Jose. The Squirrelmaster General and I have been kicking it bachelor-style since, oh, 4:40am, ably assisted during the day by Carol.
Tonight I took the small guy on an hour-long walk, bathed him on my own, and got him down to rest (albeit after some false starts and rookie moves by dad; those PJ's are just *not* gonna go on properly). Who knew that the developmental milestones we'd be celebrating would be mine?
Just when you thought it was safe to go near the play mat...
daaaah NUH, daaaah NUH, daaaah NUH...
We used to think that Finnegan was part whale, but now we know the truth: he's actually a voracious Great White Shark! Make the mistake of venturing too near his maw, and you'll soon feel like Roy Scheider in Jaws.
The kid's devotion to getting anything & everything possible into his boca is impressive--and it's *growing* . Behold what happened just after I tried to wipe away a little drool:
Cue the James Brown: "Papa's got a brand new Bob! (Heeey!)"
Man, who woulda thought I'd get to the point of raving about a sweet, sweet new stroller?? And yet here we are.
Margot, knowing Finn's & my shared penchant for long weekend walks, scored us a pretty terrific Father's Day gift--namely a silky-smooth, fast-wheeling Bob stroller. Check it out!
She gave it a bit early (yesterday) so that we could enjoy a full weekend's worth of rolling funder (oh jeez...). Behold!
Thanks again, Nut! ;-D
New Dad John is having a fine Father's day weekend with our little man. I surprised him yesterday with a new, more rugged stroller, since he really enjoys taking Finn on long stroller rides through our neighborhood. With all the uneven sidewalks, curbs, and tree roots, our little green stroller was not able to manage too well. Now with our bright orange "BOB", complete with real tires and shock absorbers, both Dad and Finn should have a smoother, more enjoyable time.
We also gave Dad a little brag book, with the help of Aunt Laura's scrapbooking skills. So now Dad can carry little photos of Finn with him when he travels, and show all his colleagues how cute our boy is.
After a night with John and I alternating duty on Finn's sporadic wake-up calls, Dad was a little groggy this morning, but happy to see our little guy when it was truly time to wake up. Here are a few shots (HTML).
It's been too long since I've posted pix of our young friend! He's been a busy boy...
Upon learning of the passing of rock pioneer Bo Diddley, Finn started playing the harmonica (seen here, at left). He also wrote a little song for the occasion, using Bo's signature riff:
"Bo Diddley's dead,
Bah DAH duh dah dunh...
Goin' down in a hole.
Bah DAH duh dah dunh...
Nobody ever gonna see him;
Bah DAH duh dah dunh...
Might get eaten by a mole.
Bah DAH duh dah dunh..."
From there Finnster donned his old-timey prison stripes, with mom set to match in hers, and had some good times on the bed. Naturally all the downward-facing excitement resulted in a huge... well, let's just say you can see the aftermath in this set, but thankfully not the event itself. You can also see our little guy starting to become aware of these fleshy little "feet" things hanging out somewhere south of his tummy. Without further ado, here are the shots. (HTML)
This week marks my second week back at work, and also the passage of my 36th birthday*. The number 36 has been much harder for me to deal with than the mental and emotional challenges of being back at work! I knew I was of "advanced maternal age" while I was pregnant, but somehow, being 36 puts me unequivocally in my Late Thirties. Not something I'm super excited about.
Transitioning back to work has gone relatively smoothly. I was really dreading leaving my little Finn with someone else during the day, and worrying about how he'd deal with the transition. I'm sure this is true for all working moms, and it's probably harder on the mom than the baby.
The good news is, both he and I are doing really well with it. Our babysitter Carol (not a Nanny, but closer to a surrogate Granny) is terrific, and she and Finn get along like gangbusters. Plus, I get to see Finn at lunchtime, which is nice for the both of us. And knowing that Finn is in really good hands lets my brain focus on work, and I am glad to be back, having just taken on a new, challenging assignment that will demand a lot of my gray matter.
* Meanwhile Finn turned 100--days old, that is.
[PS: Speaking of Carol, here are a pair of shots of the two of them in action. --J.]
...and hello sleep-deprivation!
Well, it's official. Finn is now waaaaay too big, even for the Amazing Miracle Blanket we've been using to swaddle him for sleep. He keeps busting out of it Incredible Hulk-style, with arms and legs akimbo after only an hour or two in bed. He wakes himself up as he struggles to get untangled, so we've decided just to quit swaddling cold turkey.
So the upside is, our little guy is growing up! And the downside is, he probably won't sleep quite so long or soundly without the confines of the swaddling...with his arms free, he's more prone to waking himself up or thinking that it's playtime instead of sleeptime. We got our first taste of this last night, with several wakenings after his 8:30 bedtime (9:30, 10:15, 1:15).
The other factor playing into Mom and Dad's sleep deprivation is the fact that Finn's sleeping pattern is evolving, and when he partially wakes in between deep sleep cycles, he's more awake and often doesn't resettle very easily. So we SWAT team him with shushing and the pacifier in hopes of getting him back to sleep before he gets a second wind. This is harder during the day/naptime when his room is lighter and there's more to look at when his eyes open. We had a weekend full of 35-minute naps and unsuccessful attempts to get him to roll over and go back to sleep. So we're working on it, and believe me, it takes a LOT of patience to try and settle a wakeful, unhappy-about-still-being-in-the-crib baby. For 30 minutes of trying, you may get nowhere, or you may get another 1/2 hour of sleeping. Our babysitter Carol is also doing her part to help get Finn to resettle himself without so much intervention, and we'll be giving her a Presidential Patience Medal, too!
As a new mom, I have started keeping a mental tally of so-called "losses" related to pregnancy. Some are welcome and expected, others...well, not so much.
Post-pregnancy weight loss? Hooray! I'll take more of that, please. 35 lbs in one week must be a record, and I have continued to slowly shed the remaining extra 10 lbs of pregnancy weight thanks to breastfeeding.
Losing pregnancy-related constant heartburn? Thank goodness. I was about to become a major shareholder in Gaviscon, but once Finn was born, my heartburn was over.
Losing what seems to be a ton of my hair? No, gracias! This part sucks! Apparently when you're pregnant, you stop shedding hair. But a few months after you give birth, all that hair you didn't shed for 9 months starts coming out by the handful. I shed so much I could start my own wig factory! I'm surprised I actually have any hair left, but I guess to the casual observer I look just fine.
Losing sleep? Well, no one's a big fan of that, but what are you gonna do? Finn's actually doing really well here, sleeping longer and longer at night, which is a blessing for all of us, so I can't really complain.
The three of us had a ball on Saturday visiting with our hilarious friend Reen (aunt to our friend Hughes). She brought a great little sampling of books (including some by Sandra Boynton, known for her greeting card illustrations) and confessed to having spent a couple of hours in the kids' section at Borders, enjoying all the great stuff that's out there. Regarding the ever-popular (and gnawing-resistant) "board books, " she says, "I'm looking forward to being a major contributor to the Finn Library (hardcopy branch)." Here are some photos. (HTML)
"In a world gone mad... Can one young hero navigate the Terrycloth Frog all the way into his mouth??"
Suspenseful, isn't it? Tune in below to watch the Finnster try to put these new "hands" of his to practical use: