Calling All Whales

Finn makes a lot of noise when he sleeps. I mean a LOT. And there’s a definite cycle of sounds that he goes through when he is in REM sleep (vs. the deep, limp-noodle slumber). He goes through a series of grunts, throat-clearings, squeaks, sighs, squawks, and other vocalizations. I liken him to Aqua Man–who had the power to communicate with fish…
But while Aqua Man used only his telepathic brain to communicate with anything aquatic, I think Finn is more specifically communicating with pods of migrating whales. We haven’t yet narrowed down his specific whale song, but I think it’s either gray or humpback whales. We are kind of waiting to see which breed shows up at our doorstep at 3am, asking to chat with Finn. We’ll let you know who comes a-callin’.


Knuckles, thy taste is *victory*…

Normally you’d think a “knuckle sandwich” doesn’t sound too appealing, but to Finn there’s nothing finer.
To date he’s struggled to find his mouth with the proverbial two hands and a flashlight. Now, though, he’s getting closer, closer to tasting the sweet succulence of his fingers anytime he’d like. His latest technique is to use one hand to support & boost the other towards his lips–a very cute little process as he grunts slowly towards his goal.
Unfortunately it’s a very hit-and-miss affair–where hits include foreheads, cheeks, and chins (his own and others’). I feel like I’m watching the X-Wing pilots during the Star Wars finale: “Al-most theeerre… Al-most theeere…” “Stay on tar-get, stay on tar-get…!
I haven’t been able to catch our man in the act photographically (it’s like trying to catch the appearance of his dimple–something a team of wildlife photogs would set up in a deer blind for two months to glimpse), but I’ll keep trying.


What’s that we’re stepping in?

Associated Press, 11pm Pacific: A new Gallup/Zogby International poll of a random sampling of grown-ups at 983 Delmas Ave. reveals that those cold puddles on the floor are suspected to be:

  • 83% Finnpuke (dribbling from shoulders to carpet)
  • 9% water from a pan used to heat bottles (for use by D.A.N.C., the Dad Auxiliary Nursing Corps)
  • 6% Margot’s blood, having rammed her foot into exercise equipment in the dark, screamed, and sprung a leak
  • 5% Finnscat/-pee (the less said on this one, the better)

Yes, it’s been a long evening…


Soothing the Savage Infant

Unfortunately, for the past 2 days, Finn has had inexplicable evening bouts of outrage (oh, and a midday bout today). Of course this happens right when we’re trying to put him to bed around 7 or 8 p.m. He goes from zero to screaming his head off in a split second. John and I run through the possibilities–dirty diaper? hungry? gassy? reflux bothering him? should we keep him upright? lie him down to nurse? He doesn’t seem to want any of it and just keeps howling no matter what is offered. It’s frustrating for all three of us. I end up feeling inadequate, John ends up feeling bad for both Finn and me, and I think we all feel like the howling will never end.
It’s John who really shines through on these trying evenings. He demonstrates such calm, patience, and empathy when he takes Finn in his arms, swaddles him, and “shushes” him until he finally, unexpectedly calms down and falls asleep. Then John carefully takes him upstairs and gently deposits him in his bassinet, allowing me to take a hot shower and shake off some of the tension. We don’t know, of course, if Finn will stay asleep or wake up and start freaking any second, but at least for a few minutes we have peace thanks to Dad.


Finnegan Nack, modern artist

Must… resist… urge… Must *resist*… new parent stereotype… to talk about… kid’s poop n’ pee… but alas, I cannot.

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of Finn’s neck feelin’ dirty and pukey…

Well, let it never be said that our boy isn’t a productive member of society–really putting the “gross” back in Gross Domestic Product. The wee man has been “sailing the seas of cheese,” auditioning for a future as the mayor of the British hamlet Cheese-upon-Ear!
Finn’s been putting out the business from both ends, and in volume–the Fountains of Bellagio, spraying in slow-mo, backlit by spotlights while Clair De Lune plays in the background. Or maybe we’ve started hallucinating. 😉
The good news is the yucksville antacid that Margot has been administering by pipette three times a day seems to be working–not suppressing spit-ups, obviously, but at least keeping Finn from hurting (and hence freaking) quite so much.
PS–Maybe we can at least make some lemonade from these lemons, getting Finn some kind of NEA grant for his performances. 😉


The cast of the next Star Trek franchise

John and I love nickhames. For each other, for our friends, family members, for inanimate objects, you name it. We have already come up with a slew of them for Finn, but the one I find myself using most of the time is Captain Squirrelulon. I think it sounds like a character from one of the Star Trek shows…”This is Captain Squirrelulon of the Starship Enterprise." [The "Rank + ‘-ulon’ suffix" thing goes back to our love of the name "Gen. Zebulon Pike."  –J.]

In addition to Captain S, there are several other potential Star Trek characters inhabiting the NPR airwaves. (I have been listening to a TON of NPR as I sit in the nursery while Finn chows down.) I don’t know where they find their reporters, but they have some of the MOST interesting names you’ve ever heard. It’s fun to imagine them in their Star Trek uniforms milling about midships or crawling through Jeffries Tubes…Here are some of my favorites:

  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson (sounds like some sort of intrepid Old World explorer who might get passage on the Beagle)
  • Robin Gianattassio-Malle
  • Ofeibea Quist-Arcton
  • Kai Risdahl
  • Cy Musicker (who actually does music reviews on Friday afternoons!)

Captain Squirrelulon could have quite a time commanding that crew!


Home is where the heart is–for real

“Home is where the heart is.” It’s a cliche so familiar that I’ve never given it much thought. With Finn here, though, I get it. In fact, about a month before he arrived, I realized that I was no longer doing my usual whiny song-and-dance about the lameness of San Jose. I mean, sure, it’s not Manhattan or Brooklyn or Seattle, or even Boulder or Boston, but at this point who really cares? As long as our little crew is close by, everything else kind of fades into the background. 🙂

I’ll tell you one other thing: I’m coming to understand the importance of savoring every little moment of goodness. With his throat-burning spit-ups over the last week, Finn has kind of put us through the wringer. Tonight, though, he’s been a happy, alert little bambino, enjoying (well, at least not shrieking through) his first in-tub bath. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy watching him with Margot, listening to her sing to him just now from the other room.
Pics to follow shortly.


“Battered Veg”

We really like Finn’s doc, Mena Sathappan, a groovy Indian lady whom we visited on Friday. Sometimes, though, her accent makes for slightly funny misunderstandings. The Finnfatha has been experiencing some crummy acid reflux, so she suggested some methods for helping:
Dr. S: “Do you have a veg pillow?”
Me: “Uh… I’m sorry, a…? {thinking, “Veg, as in vegetable?”}
Dr. S: “You know, something to elevate his head?”
Me: “{thinking, “Ah, WEDGE”} Oh yes, absolutely.”
Margot and I enjoyed the “veg” thing particularly because we have a running joke about tempura being “battered veg,” based on a skit from a British comedy show. Once we got the wedge pillow, Margot said, “Man, if Finn spits up on this thing, it really will be ‘battered veg,’ in every sense.” 🙂
We also enjoy the doc’s pronunciation of “esophagus”–“EE-so-FAY-gus.” Makes me want to ask whether there’s a book of Aesop’s Fables about the EEsoFAYgus!


Finnegan Nack has a Posse!

In the spirt of Andre the Giant, Charles Darwin, and many, many others, I’m pleased to say that Finnegan Nack has a Posse!

The only slight snag is that in the time since I made this graphic, the wee man has packed on three pounds and two inches. In relative terms it’s as if I added 45lbs. and 7in. in the last month!


Driving Mr. Baby

Driving around late at night in an attempt to get your overtired infant to sleep gives you a lot of time to think. Finn had a rough go of it last night and would not settle down and go to sleep, so at 9 pm I set out with him in the Green Peanut and circumnavigated San Jose.
Have our lives changed since having a baby? Absolutely yes. Do we love Finn more than we could have imagined? Again, absolutely yes. Are we resentful that we will be sleep deprived for many years to come? Of course. But I remember that he’s just an infant, and John and I have the unfair experience and advantage of leading scheduled, planned, and rational lives–something that tiny Finn can’t even begin to comprehend yet. And I also know now about some things that change inside you when you become a mother–the mama tiger comes out and you’d do anything to protect your child from harm, pain, green meanies, and sickness. So even while you’re hating the fact that you’re ineffably tired and you’re stuck in the car, driving around endlessly so your kid will sleep, you do it because you love him and you want him to be ok. And then when you get home and he stays asleep for a stretch of 3.5 hours, you feel a little better for everyone involved.


Weighing in, Wise Sisters, and….

I had one more “W” but I haven’t slept in days, so I’m a little dotty!
Finn had his one-month check up today at the pediatrician. After a few recent days of lots of spit up, sleeplessness, and rowliness after feedings, we asked the doc if there might be something wrong. She checked him out and he has a bit of acid reflux, which is irritating his throat and esophagus. At least we now know that there’s a reason for his discomfort, which we are (frustratingly) not able to do much about. We will give him zantac to help reduce his stomach acid, and try to keep him more upright after feedings to help gravity keep the food down. Hopefully within a few days his throat will be feeling better. I’ll also be trying to feed him a bit less than I have been, because he seems to have been taking in more than he could actually stomach.
That maybe why he–drumroll please–weighed in at 12 lbs 1 oz today! That’s a gain of almost 3 lbs in one month. He’s also up to 23 inches already! So he’s definitely growing and thriving, which we’re really happy about.
Many thanks to my wonderful, wise sister, who counseled a freaked-out and frayed me over the phone late last night and suggested that Finn might have reflux, based on her experience w/ her own son. She was right on the money and was a really welcome voice of calm reason when I called. Thank god for sisters who’ve been down the “new mom” road before.


Waking and Walking

Finn is getting bigger and more interesting by the day. He’s packing on the oz’s and he’s spending a lot more time awake than just a couple weeks ago. When he’s awake, he spends a lot of time looking around, tracking shapes and faces, and trying to figure out if those little hands that are waving around belong to him. Most of the time he is really calm, and seems to enjoy sitting on the front porch with me, watching the world go by.
Today I tried out a new sling so I could wear him on my chest and walk around hands-free. He really dug it–fell asleep and didn’t make a sound for about an hour as I walked down to the coffee shop and back. Being hands-free is really a luxury–it feels like I spend about 98% of my time holding him. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it really hampers my ability to do anything else (like eat lunch!).
We are visiting the pediatrician on Thursday for our 1-month checkup. I can’t wait to find out how much he weighs! He’s a thirsty kid and seems to be thriving, which makes us very happy.


“Peety Weety”

Greetings from a very, very dark room where the Finnfatha is dozing while Margot catches a late-evening shower. We’ve had a nice week with the Liggetts in town, helping enormously as I’ve made the transition back to working full time. I should have a few more pics to share soon, but this whole making-a-living thing kind of cramps my photographic & blogging style. 😉
Before my folks headed back to Illinois, my dad reminded me of some silliness I hadn’t heard in years. Instead of the traditional “This little piggy…” routine, his aunt used to get after his feet with a different approach. She’d start with the baby toe, calling them out by name & building up the drama:

“Peety Weety…
Polly Lutey…
Lady Thistle…
Lotty Thostle…
And a Great Big Domendite!!

Heh heh–nice n’ bizarre, eh? 🙂
In any case, we had fun today “Documenting the Domendites” via a little kit given to us by Margot’s friend Janine.


Like father, like son?

We’ve chosen a shamrock theme for Finn’s blog, but from the looks of the image below, he might rather imitate his dad’s blog. 😉


Plans for Finnland

We look forward to li’l Finn gaining the power of locomotion (well, we think we do…), at which point we’ll convert our basement to “Finnland.” Maybe at that point we’ll invest in things like an awesome kiddie Skullcave (a mere 2000 Kroners). 🙂 (Who comes up with this stuff?)



That, apparently, is the number of blood cells that the Cord Blood Registry was able to capture from our young master’s U-cord. (The idea is that the stem cells in that blood can be used later in life if medical needs arise.) Apparently the registry was hoping for at least 100M cells but was able to store nearly 2 *billion*. Now, for all I know 2 billion is nothing, or maybe they always give parents these stats so that it sounds like your kid is a real champ (for all I know, they could tell me that his fan belt needs to be replaced and I’d probably buy it). Even so, it’s music to his new parents’ ears.


Many Thanks

John and I want to take a minute to explicitly thank all of our friends and family who have been so tremendously supportive in advance of and during our first week as parents.
We feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have pals who will bring us delicious chow, call to check in and see if there’s anything we need, how we’re coping, and offer helpful advice on breastfeeding and other mysteries of babydom. Not to mention all of you who’ve sent books, clothes, toys, and everything a little boy could need to get off on the good foot. We can’t say “thank you” too many times! We do hope that we are able to return the favor to all of you at some point. You all mean the world to us, and of course to little Finn, who has a lot of really fantastic grandparents, aunties and uncles to get to know as he grows up.


Songs in the Key of F

As probably everyone knows by now, babies can hear their parents’ voices in utero, and it’s possible that playing music for bambinos stimulates their development.  Not wanting The Artist Soon To Be Known as Finn to hear only his mom’s voice, and having learned that babies respond more to high-pitched sounds, I decided to “serenade” Margot’s belly with the falsetto tones of Neil Young’s Vampire Blues.  Instead of singing “Oh I’m a vampire, baby, suckin’ blood from the earth,” I changed it to “Oh I’m a Vampire Baby, suckin’ juice from my mom…”  This seemed to go over pretty well, earning a few kicks in my general direction. 🙂

Other Finn-themed faves:

  • Devendra Banhart “Michigan State” — which I relentlessly turn into “Finnegan State”
  • Coldplay “Yellow” — but not anymore (adios, jaundice)
  • Traditional “Finnegan’s Wake” — totally incomprehensible, but high-spirited good times.  (We won’t actually keep a bucket of whiskey by dear Finnegan’s head.)
  • The Who “Finnball Wizard” — got such a supple lip.

Pink, Fat, and Happy

We are just back from the pediatrician’s office for a jaundice and general health check-up. Good news all around! Finn is pink, not yellow, and has gained 7 oz in the past 4 days. He’s now back up to 9 lbs 2 oz and is eating like a champ. His little belly button stump came off at the Dr.’s office and she cauterized the little bit that was left with silver nitrate so it will shrink up and the button will be an “innie” instead of an “outie.”
Barring any other unforseen issues, we’re in the clear until our 1-month check-up when we start immunizations.


Visions of Michael Scrima

Some years ago Brent Spiner, the actor who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, released an album called "Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back."  I’ve thought of it several times over the last few days, as Finn’s peepers (and skin) have had a decidedly yellowish hue.  It’s pretty common for babies to have a little jaundice as their bodies learn to process bilirubin (which sounds like the name of someone’s accountant, but isn’t).  Fortunately Finn seems well on his way to working it out of his system, and he’s pinking up nicely.

The whole thing made me think of a cautionary character from my mom’s family’s past.  My mom and her sisters (and subsequently the next generation of us kids) were always told, "Don’t drink coffee, or you’ll end up yellow like Michael Scrima!"  Kids love hearing about this magical power of their parents’ drink, not to mention getting to say "Screee-ma."  Poor Michael; who knows what happened to him, or why he was yellow, or whether he even was yellow at all.  He’s probably at a Starbucks somewhere right now, enjoying some Grande Vente caffine bomb and wondering why his yellow ears are burning. 😉