I believe my days of glamour are over. I haven’t dyed my hair since pre-conception and my grays are quickly multiplying. My formerly-stylish clothes are now so lackluster, and I’ve had no time or desire to shop, so for my birthday yesterday, I wore an old dress that exposed the giant straps of my nursing bra. To combat the clutter that we never have time to organize, we resorted to shoving piles of junk into the bedroom and shutting the door before my family came over for a quick and low-key celebration. Worst of all, we ordered bland take-out food that I barely had time to eat before I had to retreat into the nursery to feed and settle Finn for the night.
I was not the star of the evening. But that’s okay; we’ve got someone else who’s the dazzling focus of attention these days:
This year I didn’t sneak away into another room to make you a Valentine’s card with lacy doilies, red and purple hearts, a glue stick, and pictures of birds cut out from recycled magazines. I didn’t get you a fancy, new shirt to wear out to a gourmet restaurant we used to frequent for a big-bodied red zin and ravioli with truffle sauce. I didn’t even stop off at the market to pick up chocolates to eat at a Valentine’s picnic under the stars tonight.
This year’s gift is messier, stinkier, more exhausting. A constant source of worry. He took 39 tough weeks to make and will continue to require constant daily maintenance. You can’t put him away in a momento box next week, either, for he’s not a token of my love for you.
He IS that love in perfect, tangible form. He is me and he is you — smoother, softer, sweeter — with bright eyes looking out at the world and seeing that it is so much greener than we ever thought.
We won’t know for a few days whether Finn has contracted the chicken pox from my itchy (but wrapped and covered) case of shingles, but yesterday’s four month visit to the doctor indicated that he’s otherwise still a healthy, rapidly growing sprout! At 16 lbs, 13 oz and 25.5 inches, he’s at the 90th and 75th percentiles respectively. A big baby for little people. He’s so unbelievably amazing that sometimes I wonder if he really could have come from me! Even his disposition (clearly not mine) is impressive these days: on the morning after he got two long needles in his legs, he woke up grinning as usual. He’s also laughing a lot — at Keith’s cheesy French accent, my whispers, the fork as it disappears into my mouth, and, of course, himself in the mirror:
it’s shingles. Four nights of very poor sleep apparently compromised my system enough to give my long dormant chicken pox virus a wake-up call. Although I can’t pass shingles on, and do not pose a risk to anyone who has had chicken pox, any direct contact between Finn and the affected part of my face may expose him to the virus. I find it sadly ironic: despite all of my efforts to keep Finn safe, I’ve become his most obvious threat.
So this past week, Finn decided that the status quo wasn’t good enough. Although he’s been sleeping in his crib from about 8:30 pm until around 5:30 am since late December, we had four nights in a row during which he woke up screaming every time his head touched his crib sheet. This situation highlights a larger problem — the fact that we’re not establishing good sleeping habits by putting him down completely asleep in the first place — but still… why was he waking so readily and easily all of the sudden? Why was he so miserable when he awoke? Was it a growth spurt? Teething? The fact that it’s been colder out? That the heater was on?
By Thursday night, the lack of sleep and worry over Finn had manifested itself physically all over the right side of my forehead and scalp: I broke out in hives for the first time in my life! Luckily, the last two nights have been easier, so I’m hoping that Finn will continue to sleep better and that these itchy welts will disappear soon. In the meantime, we’re expecting that Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Nap Solution will arrive in the mail today. We’d like to teach him to go to sleep on his own both during the day and at night — and without putting him through any harsh “cry-it-out” methods. I can’t — and don’t want — to control everything in Finn’s life, but I do want him to feel happy and secure.
Last week was record-setting. Over the course of a couple of days, Finn developed a confident, targeted grasp, a preference for sitting up, AND an astounding finger-to-toe dexterity, as evidenced in the photo below. His interest in nibbling on his stuffed organic cotton “green bean man” may also indicate an early enthusiasm for veggies! Let’s keep our toes crossed…