Finn… Kruger?

The good-natured baby you see above is hiding something.

If you look more closely, you’ll see that he’s wearing his Freddy Kruger tee-shirt — suitable attire for someone who turned last night into a pretty repetitious production of Nightmare on Sweetgum Ave. In fact, as I write this with a pounding headache, both Finn and Daddy are currently convalescing in dreamland, Dad in the comfy temperpedic, baby on my lap… which points to the problem: it’s becoming increasingly apparent that everything revolves around Finn’s naptime. When naps don’t go well, he gets hyper, resistant to sleep, more likely to wake at night. For parents accustomed to a child who usually sleeps from 8-6, wake-ups at 9, 10, 11, 12, and 4 are indeed a nightmare. I’m willing to do almost anything to keep this from happening.

Obviously, the problem is ours, not Finn’s. Yesterday we disrupted his schedule for our social visits: a visit to see some friends and their adorable new baby in the hospital usurped a portion of his afternoon nap, and then dinner plans with special out-of town visitors ultimately ended in a later bedtime for the little guy. But the problem is bigger than that. As I mentioned in a February post, he generally sleeps well in his crib at night, but during the day wakes up as soon as his head touches the bed. This translates into a lot of baby-in-arms napping, a practice that’s been a drain on everyone, including my mother-in-law and sister, who care for him on weekdays while I’m at work. If Finn hasn’t slept well while I’m gone, I ultimately resort to rocking with him for almost two hours when I get home just to get that sleep in; if I don’t, he won’t stay down at night and we all suffer. This past week, however, we started trying something new: putting him down asleep in the crib on his stomach for supervised naps. My fear of SIDS has always kept me from placing him on his stomach, but since he’s nearly 6 months old and we’re only talking about an hour at a time (or hopefully even two at some point!) with someone close by, I feel like it’s a safe decision. We’ve had some success with the change — but yesterday he woke up each time after 40 minutes. Argh!

I knew I would be a cautious parent, and knew that my life would never be the same again, but never thought that I would become someone who lived each hour with an eye on the clock! I hope that today’s clock-watching brings all three of us a night full of dreams rather than nightmares.

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FINN IN HIS GARDEN

Here’s our little gardener getting his hands dirty:

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Our future vegetarian was eager to sample some greens! Don’t worry — we made sure this wasn’t his first experience with solid foods.

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He’s not sampling the nasturtiums yet…

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Finn and the beanstalk?

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My brief return to glamour: a South Beach lunch

Yesterday we headed down to Lincoln Road to enjoy an afternoon while the weather is still so delicious. We took some mommy’s milk in an insulated pack so that Keith could feed Finn while I could have a glass of champagne with my salad. It was one of those rare occasions when I was able to drink my bubbly and have it too. In between sips of an old favorite, I still had my new one across the table in Daddy’s arms:

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After Finn finished HIS bottle of vintage March 09, he started on his second course: Mr. Green Bean Man:

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He wasn’t happy in the stroller for long. He soon brought me back to real life with his new habit: high-pitched screeches that sound like they might be used to communicate with dolphins or certain species of exotic birds. All it took to restore peace in our party, however, was a transfer into the baby carrier. As I stated in the last post, he prefers to be upright with the rest of us, crossing through the world as an active participant:

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With Finn out in front, heading the way, we were able to leisurely enjoy not only our lunch, but our entire afternoon. I even got to buy a lovely new dress at Anthropologie, stop for an iced soy cinnamon latte at Starbucks, and taste-test some coconut ice cream at The Frieze. At the end of the day, I was invigorated… and Finn was exhausted. He slept in the car on the way home, and then after his bath and bedtime snack, he was OUT for the night, sleeping until 7:15 this morning! Considering that his wake-up time is usually around 6 am, it felt like an easy Sunday morning — well, almost…

Notes at month 5

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At five months, Finn wears size 9 month pajamas. His thighs measure ten inches around at their chunkiest spot. Surprisingly, he is still flexible enough to put his feet in his mouth, but only one at a time. EVERYTHING, if possible, is mouth-bound: his toes, my knuckles, the head of his sock giraffe, the pages of his cardboard books; it is the way he prefers to take in and test out the world. He still drinks breast milk exclusively, but will soon begin solid foods, for he loves to sit with us at the table, staring mesmerized as we eat, smiling when we crunch through chips or cookies.

Finn is also captivated by the bath, the sight of running water, the ceiling fan in any room, lights that go off and on. He doesn’t like the dark, however. Occasionally he cries if he wakes up at night — not because he’s hungry, but because he wants comfort and reassurance. Once he gets it, his wail turns to a sleepy smile or happy screech at midnight.

During the day, Finn laughs predictably at Gram’s funny faces and Dad’s silly voices, but also surprises us by giggling at the sound of a leaf scratching against a blanket or an eraser rubbing against a sheet of paper. He startles and cries at the rip of velcro and the ugly noise his dad makes when he clears his throat, but is instantly soothed by the songs of Jack Johnson or my rendition of The Beatles’ “I Will.”

Finn appreciates everything from coffeehouse rock to reggae, classic R&B to classical Mozart. He turns his head toward the radio when NPR advertises Lakme with a clip of “The Flower Duet.” He doesn’t sing opera yet, but dances daily, often in front of a mirror. The “baby” in the glass is a source of glee — unless he is pouting, in which case Finn becomes increasingly upset at the increasingly sour expression he sees before him.

A walk outside is almost always another source of joy, but not in the stroller so much: he prefers to be worn in the Bjorn, facing out toward the world, although he’ll cock his head to the side every now and then, using his peripheral vision to make sure we’re still there. Head on, he studies ducks, egrets, herons, and coots, but is most interested in people as they jog, walk, bike-ride by. He always smiles at strangers. Although he sneezes in the bright sunlight, he loves being outdoors on windy days, when he breathes in and exhales excitedly with each gust and then plays with the wooden chimes on the patio before he tries to eat them.

Up close, Finn is communicative, affectionate, and curious. He speaks in sighs, raspberries, high-pitched squeals, choppy vowels and consonants that come together like some strange, secret language that I sometimes think I understand. What I understand most, however, is without sound: he fixes his eyes on me without blinking and reaches his small hand up to touch my face.

Finn’s favorites

My days of working motherhood may be relentlessly unvarying, but Finn’s days, moods, expressions, and preferences take on new color and texture by the hour. As his #1 fan and personal biographer, I feel qualified to share some of his more recent favorites:

Finn loves certain sounds. His favorite for months has been his dad’s absurdly nonsensical “french” accent, featured in the last post, but last week, he decided the phrase “floppy flounder” was enough to send him into a fit of laughter, and two days ago, he began deriving immense enjoyment from the word “sock.” Don’t ask me why:

His favorite facial feature seems to be his lips:

As adults, we take such pleasures for granted, but Finn gets a kick out of just, well, standing. Sometimes we can entertain him for some time by repeatedly standing him up, sitting him down, standing him up, sitting him down… and as you can see by Keith’s stance, such activity can be tiring:

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He most definitely loves babies, whether in the mirror (see 2/11 post) or in flesh and blood. Yesterday, after a quick but intense reintroduction to his cousin, Finn did not hesitate to reach out and shake hands. Here he is with Cyrus, Cyrus’s mom Estee, and my mom:

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I’d venture to say that Finn’s favorite pastime is to lie flat on the ground on windy days and stare up at the leafy trees waving around overhead — and I’d like to think he that he loves it most when his mom shares these moments with him…

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