Monday, December 22, 2008

The Negotiator and Blind Santa

Fintan likes to negotiate. One of the first phrases he ever spoke, was: "Five more minutes?" Lately, though, "five" has given way to "three". I'll say something like, "you have one more minute to play and then we have to leave," and Fintan will counter with "Three more minutes!" Or I'll say, "You can have a cookie after lunch" and Fintan will come back with "Three cookies!" But he hasn't really mastered the finer points of negotiation yet...or, it would seem, of numbers. Tonight I whispered in his ear: "Only two more nights before Santa will come down our chimney" and Fintan whispered back: "Three more nights."

And if anyone needs a laugh....and don't we is a video* that might do the trick:

*Only one person was slightly hurt in the making of this video

Oh, my little nursling

My sweet Coen is growing up so fast--even faster than his big brother did. With Fintan it seemed ages before he was old enough to eat solid foods, but with Coen it feels like it's taken no time at all. And now on Christmas Eve--his six-month birthday--he will enjoy his first meal from a spoon. I don't know why the thought brings me to tears. With Fintan I never understood the sadness that came with milestones. I only rejoiced in them. But this time it's different.

Is it that this will likely be my last natural-born baby? My last nursling? Yes, it must be, because my heart just broke a bit typing that. I won't go into why it is so--there are many reasons. For now I just want to write about, and relish, my last days as sole provider of nutrition to my baby boy.

I love nursing my babies. Unless you've done it yourself it may be hard to understand why. Even if you have done it yourself not everyone feels the same way. But I love everything about it. When my boys were tiny I loved the searching. The figuring each other out without turning on the light at night. The finally making the connection and relaxing to let my baby eat and feel his breath on my skin. As they got older it's the increasing solidness of their little bodies. And the knowledge that I did that for them. Put the rolls on their legs and the curve in their cheeks. It's also the fact that where Coen once only cried from the discomfort of feeling hunger, a discomfort he didn't understand, he now demands his milk with purposeful bellows and fake coughs from across the room, or with lip-smacking and huffing when in my arms. He knows exactly what he wants and he wants it now. It always makes me laugh, no matter how sad I might feel, when he tells me he's ready to nurse.

I love his concentration while he fills his belly and then, even more, when he pauses to give me a milky smile and says "ohhh, ohhh" like he's sighing with pleasure. His brother used to do the same sort of thing, and my heart will always melt at the memory of it. And often when Coen is cooing, as he did with Fintan, his Daddy will lean over my shoulder to say, in a funny voice, "Drink your milk. You go drink your milk." It's all just achingly sweet to me.

I know it isn't over yet. We have many months still to go. But I'm mourning the end of certain parts of the experience: the nonsmelly breastmilk-only poo, the no teeth for biting, the I-have-nothing-better-to-do-because-I can-barely-get-around-yet phase. The teeny-tiny body snuggling time. He's already not so tiny anymore.

Of course I will also celebrate all of the new experiences (except for the biting--ouch!). I can hardly wait to take pictures of Coen's first solid meal, or to see his first tooth pop through his little gums. I can't wait to see him proceed from rolling to his destinations to scooting and crawling.

I don't know how it's possible to look at the very same milestones with such eagerness and yet such agony. But such is the life of a Mama.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Make a wish for good weather!

I know everyone dreams of a white Christmas, but please join me in begging the Universe for clear skies and dry roads in the days immediately afterwards. If the weather cooperates, Dawn and her family may be going to meet Dante! So I'm putting in my request now for a safe trip for my friend and her family. I'll be sending along big hugs for Dante and his Mama and Daddy, too.

Visiting Santa

The boys and I saw Santa on Friday afternoon. Fintan finally got his official request in, so I think he's now covered for Christmas morning. All Coen asked for, and his wish was granted only moments after this picture was taken, was a healthy chunk of Santa's chin whiskers to add to his scalp belt which is coming along very nicely lately. (Here, wanna hold him?)

Gosh, I love those boys of mine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Still praying for a miracle

Dante's mom sent out a message last night saying that his final cancer treatment was unsuccessful. The neuroblastoma has returned and there is nothing more they can do. She just wants him home to enjoy his family for Christmas without pain. Please send your good thoughts and prayers to this family that they will have the Christmas they need and deserve.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wake up, coyotes, It's Christmas!

We have coyotes living in our chimney. Sleepy coyotes. Luckily we have just the toddler to wake them up:

And soothe the savage beasts with a song:

And warn them, musically, that they'd better shape up pronto. They'll be sharing the chimney with the Jolly Old Elf himself in a couple of weeks:

(Note how Fintan never forgot his audience---what coyote wouldn't want a bit of "grandma's steak"?)

So Fintan is ready for Santa. The coyotes are ready for Santa. All that's left is to send a message to the North Pole (and maybe copy an exterminator?) so that Santa is ready for THEM.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bad bucket

This morning Fintan was really cranky. Nothing made him happy. He was demanding and whiney and bossy and had one meltdown after another. Finally I took him into my lap and said, "Fintan, I don't understand. What's wrong? Why are you so sad?"

He sat quietly in my lap for a moment then lifted his hand and pointed. "That bucket is making me sad."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feedin' Fintan funnies

Fintan has been a crack-up lately while eating.

The other day Pat was trying to encourage Fintan to eat the last of his soy corn-dog after Fintan told him he was "all done!" Pat asked "Wouldn't you like to dip it in ketchup and take another big bite?" And Fintan said, "not exactly".

This morning after Fintan told me he was "all done!" I looked at his tray and said "you should eat some of your grits. You haven't even touched them!" And Fintan said "yes I have," then stuck his finger in the bowl and held it up, "see?"

Then at lunchtime today he was eating his pasta and corn and he stopped and looked around for a moment and announced, "I need a bowl full of mush!" and I said "Oh you do, do you? And what about a quiet old lady whispering hush?" He nodded and gave me a toothy smile.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thirteen stairs

So, the evening started out well. Fintan and Coen were both happy. Fintan was eating his dinner (grilled fish, crackers, and sliced tomatoes) and Coen was watching him and not crying. So I felt industrious all of the sudden and decided to make Irish brown bread for Pat. It's a "quick" bread so you just have to mix it up and bake it for 50 minutes. No kneading. No problem. I could whip it up in 10 minutes and then put it in to bake just before taking the boys up to have their bath--which I could surely do in 50 minutes.

The bread came together fairly quickly--except that I didn't have enough buttermilk. The ingredients stated 1 3/4 cup so I thought I had plenty, but I hadn't read the recipe carefully enough and it said to continue adding buttermilk until it was the consistency of thick brownie batter that you would then pour into a loaf pan. Mine was the consistency of chunky peanut butter. Great. But the recipe also said that you could limit the amount of buttermilk and make a "free form" loaf. Perfect! So I free-formed it and put it in the oven. As I was setting the timer I realized that with less buttermilk the bread would probably need less time to cook so I set the timer for 35 minutes. The boys would just have to have a quick bath.

As soon as something needs to be done quickly everything slows down. I kept forgetting things (like, um, jammies and diapers....towels) but eventually everything was ready. I put Fintan in the tub first and then undressed Coen. I picked up that cute little nekkid boy and gave him a big ol' kiss on his round cheek. He's so irresistable! Then as I lifted him a bit higher to transfer him into his little tub inside the big tub, I heard "tttthhhhhbt" coming from the general direction of his bottom....and a warm sensation spread slowly across my thighs.

Breastmilk poo. Ew. And then some more....and then some more...and then just a little bit more.

Okay. I remained calm. I couldn't leave the room because Fintan was already in the tub, and we were dripping poo as well. But that's okay, I had wipes, everything was okay. I grabbed one wipe after another and cleaned my baby's tiny bottom and his legs, and his feet, and his back and his...just kidding, that's all. Then I put him into his little bathtub. Then I got up to survey the personal damage. It was bad. I stripped off my jeans and wrapped them up in the bath mat that had taken its fair share of the of the mess and shoved them both in the washer (which is within arm's reach of the bathtub). I cleaned my legs up with baby wipes and then, of course, I bathed the boys in my skivvies because I couldn't leave the room to get fresh pants. Fine.

By this point I'd forgotten about the bread in the oven....but it hadn't forgotten about me. The boys had both been thoroughly cleaned, but were still in the tub, when I heard the timer go off. I quickly, but carefully got Coen out of the tub, dried him, diapered him, jammied him, and moved him aside to start on Fintan. Every 10 seconds the timer went off. I pictured my brown bread shriveling up in the oven and bursting into flames. I g0t Fintan dried and jammied quickly and then scooped up Coen and we started to head downstairs at the achingly slow pace of two-year-old Fintan Patrick.

You might think that knowing my house was lit gloriously from within would give me pause in heading downstairs pantsless on a dark night with curtainless windows. But it didn't. My bread was burning, people! We headed down the stairs. Fintan scooting down on his bottom and Coen and I walking ahead, as usual, in case he took a tumble. Now, the underwear I happened to be wearing was, ahem, (pardon me for saying) a g-string that was held together in back by a small circle of metal. Fintan happens to LOVE little circles of metal (think, coins which he calls "caps"). So the whole way down the stairs I heard:

"What's that on your bottom, Mama?" thump
"What's that on your bottom, Mama?" thump
"What's that on your bottom, Mama? thump

For thirteen stairs he asked me that. And for thirteen stairs I answered:

"They're called panties, sweetie."
"They're called panties, sweetie."
"It's part of my panties, sweetie."

Then I laid Coen down on the rug in the living room and raced to the kitchen with Fintan padding after me in his footies. I stood in front of the picture window and checked the bread. It was brown and poofy and sounded hollow when I thumped it. Perfect. The bread was saved. My PRIDE however may never be.

And what's the deal with all the poo and the underwear-at-the-window events happening at my house? I think we're developing a theme here.

I guess the moral of the story is: Cover your eyes when you turn up my driveway. A call ahead might be prudent. And if you pinch your nose when you walk through the door, I won't be offended. I'll just offer you a clothespin.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My little optimist

About two hours after I took this video Coen and I headed to the doctor's office where he was diagnosed with bronchitis and started on antibiotics. Also, he only slept for 15 minutes total today. What a guy, no?

Monday, December 1, 2008


Coen rolled from his back to his belly for the first time today! Fintan was sitting in his chair, eating, and again he was the only one to see him do it. I saw him only after he'd finished rolling. So Coen only likes to show off for his big brother and why wouldn't he? I overheard Fintan saying this to him earlier in the day:

"Do you love your big brother, Coen? Do you love your big brother? Well he loves you, too."