Thursday, September 27, 2012

dear finn,

Dear Finn,

Please tell me, what is it about the dog food, the cat litter box, and the toilet that are so freaking fascinating to you? What is it that draws you to these things more than any other, and devastates you so when you are taken away from them?
What, Finn, WHAT?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

this parent stuff

Oh man.
I'm reading the Harry Potter series again (actually, I'm listening to them - what a magnificent narrator, and I LOVE being read to), and it appears that I've become a COMPLETE SAP since becoming a mom.
I was SO looking forward to starting listening to these books again - it's been years and years since I read the Sorcerer's Stone, and there are some I only read once. So this morning, I settled in and queued up Chapter 1. All of a sudden, as the story started unfolding, and I was listening to a story about a baby who was Finn's age losing both of his parents and growing up for ten years without anyone who cares about him.
And then I burst into tears.
Not just once, but several times throughout the course of the first four chapters.

I've noticed that there are some things that affect me in different ways now that I'm a mom, particularly when it comes to kiddos and I've realized that I've become almost fierce in my feeling toward my son, like some sort of animal protecting its young. I've also come to realize that I have this welling up inside me anytime I see or hear about a child being abused in any way.

My question: How the HECK am I supposed to function when my emotions are so volatile? How the heck am I supposed to keep my head and "keep calm and carry on"if Finn is being bullied at school? And most importantly, how am I supposed to read Harry Potter to my kids if I'm bursting into tears all the time?
Sheesh. This parent stuff.

Monday, September 24, 2012

up and at 'em.

We're gettin' there with this walking thing. Or rather, standing. We're very, very, very good at standing. Once we get there, though, we kind of run out of steam. Which is just fine because I can turn away and turn back, and lo and behold, he's still in the same place. Loving it :)

Finn got a super sweet gift from his aunt before he was born, but I've just started bringing it out now since some of the pieces are still a little small for him. It's a handmade arc called "S.S. Noah" and is filled with pairs of animals in various hilarious get-ups, as well as Noah and his wife (what was Noah's wife's name, anyway?). Finn's favorite game of late is the "taking things out, then putting them back in" game, so this is the perfect toy for his purposes. I even like playing with it, so I'm sure it will see a LOT of action in our house in the years to come.

Still in one place for now - savoring each moment. I know it won't last long and I'll be chasing this guy around before I know it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

tubby time


This is one of those posts that Finn will be talking about at therapy in a few years.

So we got Finn this new tub. In our new house, we have but one bathroom and in that bathroom, we have a super roomy shower, but no bathtub. Up until now, he's been bathing in the kitchen sink, which has been less-than-convenient, particularly when it's filled with dirty dishes.
So last week, I decided that was it, I'm buying and installing a proper tub in the bathroom.
Except that we don't really want one in that bathroom (we will when we put in the new one upstairs, but there's not really a point in putting one in what will eventually just be a glorified laundry room, now is there?).
And we have better things to spend $500 on (wood stove, anyone??).
Luckily, I ran it past my Facebook friends, and they convinced me that a tub is a silly idea, so I went searching for an alternative. After some searching, I was able to find a tub made in Sweden that doesn't use all those nasty plastics and that folds up to almost nothing. Win.
So last night, we had our maiden voyage with the tub. Chad and I were happily sipping our glasses of wine when Finn made "the face".
I guess it's a testament to how relaxed he felt in his new tub that he decided it was the opportune moment to poop in it, but for goodness sakes, is nothing sacred anymore? He hasn't pooped in his bath since he was about 5 months old.
So here we are - 2 posts about poop in the same week. Sorry Finn - hope you have good insurance when you grow up.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a boy and his sheep.

In the process of weaning, Finn has become much more attached to his fluffy friend. Once an occupant solely of the crib, Sheep has started coming on outings with us and seems to be a sense of security for my boy. He absolutely beams whenever he sees his sheep and clutches it closely to him, giggling (before, often, chucking him to the floor, but still...).
As a child, I had "Blank", my ever-so-creative name for my soft pink blanket with satin lining, as my lovey, and it appears that Finn has chosen this sheep as his. Yes, I know it's something that he'll have to outgrow at some point in the future, but I do love seeing him with his arm around that grubby, fuzzy body.
This little one is growing up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

starting from scratch.

OK, so as of approximately January first, I expect to be completely unemployed.
This is a good thing. I made the decision to leave the jobs that I'm currently in - for a variety of reasons, they were the wrong fit for me, and I'm excited to take the next step. I want to have more free time and to spend it with Finn or otherwise doing things that make me happy - baking, knitting, and renovating this house of ours. So it's all good.
But it's also terrifying.

My plan is to start up my massage business again. I was trained before we left for the UK and really loved it, but was also working a full time job while the massage business took off, and by the time I was building a clientele, the summer was over and we were off to England.
I had always intended to start up again when we returned to Maine, but this happened, that happened, and I allowed myself to be swept along rather than dig in my heels and do what I really want to.
It's a little scary and intimidating to think about putting all my eggs in one basket since I've always had backup plans up the wazoo, but I really want to make this work and I love the idea of working for myself, helping others, and being able to help support my family doing both of those things.
So I'm excited, but there's also that little voice (YOU know the voice), who I try really hard not to listen to, but who is really, REALLY loud sometimes and I start thinking maybe I should do something safe and secure. I've been riding this line for a while now and I think it's finally time to jump. I want to do something that's good for me, good for my family, and good for the community. I hope that I can get enough of a client base established so that I can only work on islanders, which is why I'm starting my practice at a quiet time of year. It would be nice to live out here and not be beholden to the tourist population, to have security year round instead of just in the summer.

Plus, there might be one or two other things in the works...gotta keep busy, you know ;)

So, not exactly a Finn-centric post, but my life is pretty Finn-centric, so in the end it all comes back to him.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Over breakfast this morning, Chad and I negotiated which of us would clean up the poop fiascos in our house.
We lead such glamorous lives.

Before Finn was born, we decided to "go" with cloth diapers. For the most part, it's been a super decision that we're happy with. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how Finn is digesting his food when I get to deal with it in such a personal way, and I think it's given us an "up" on the future, when (I've been told) we'll be catching vomit in our bare hands...maybe even with the added bonus of being in our own bed. Ooh, boy, looking forward to that (I'm looking at YOU, Angie)!

And then there are those other times...

Like the diaper that conceals its true contents until the very last minute and I'm confronted with avocado poop - or beet poop (both of which look very similar going in as coming out) in great profusion...these diapers are bad enough to change (oh no! It's a 6 wipe-r!), but I really have to psych myself up some days to clean them. The anticipation, for the record, is much worse than the actual reality. I am completely immune to poop now.

(Fun fact: Chad has a fork in our bathroom that he uses as a scraper for those particularly stubborn loads).

Then there was the time when I changed Finn's diaper just before a bath and the poop was squirreled away - not in the diaper, but between his cute little cheeks, so when I went to put my arm under his bum to carry him to the tub...well, you get the idea.

You understand, of course, why there are no photos to use as visual aids today.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Finn's getting quite spoiled this week.
His "Grammie Jan" (my mom) is up from her home in Connecticut and he's spending hours being completely spoiled by her and her partner while slowly luring them - as he does with everyone - into his web from which none can escape.
Not that we want to.

It's so nice to see them walking by together as I sit in the shop that's recently become so quiet after a busy summer crowd dispersed. Family has always been important to me, my mom in particular since she was a single mom for most of my life and I grew up with her. Having both of my birth parents, my step-mom, my mom's partner, my aunt, uncle, and cousin all on island with us feels similar to the island I remember when I was a kid, when five generations of my family lived on the island and I saw my great, great grandmother weekly for bean suppers. There's something to be said for predictability, for knowing virtually all the faces you encounter in a day. There's something to be said for knowing someone's story as you stand behind them in the checkout line at the grocery store. There's something to be said for the ease with which I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.

There's something to be said for this place we have chosen to live. It may not offer some of the opportunities found elsewhere, but it more than makes up for it in those that it does.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

happy times

 Back with some happy times...Even though I've taken a dearth of photos this summer, Finn is so photogenic that OTHER people can't help but take a click here and a click there. 
For this, I am eternally grateful, particularly when they capture such a happy guy hanging out with his grandparents.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

being a mother

It's been two months since the events I'm about to describe and I'm just now feeling far enough away from it to write about it in a tone that won't sound like hysteria.

The week before we were to go away for a week long vacation with friends, Finn got sick. It started out with a low-grade fever and sniffles, so we thought it was teething. He'd had seven teeth for months and we were just waiting on that eighth one to pop through. The fever started on Tuesday night, and by Friday morning, it wasn't any better and we brought him to the medical center on the island.
Aside: We decided to wait the three days to see if it would work itself out and I've got faith in the human immune system, so I figured the longer his little one gets to work without antibiotics, the better it will be in the long run. I'm also trying not to be one of those hypochondriac moms who fly off the handle at the smallest sniffle.
At the medical center, we were told that Finn had an ear infection and were prescribed some antibiotics. I felt ever-so-proud of myself for having gotten it all sorted out before the weekend and looked forward to his fever going down within 24 hours.
But it didn't.
In fact, it got worse. Friday night was awful, Saturday night was worse, and by Sunday morning, he'd managed to get up to about 104. I had an itchy feeling in what I'm coming to recognize as my mother's intuition. We had already postponed our departure to the week long vacation we had planned and I was starting to think we'd be making an unrelated trip to the mainland when I realized that he wasn't moving his head. It's something I'll never forget looking down at Finn and realizing he couldn't look up at me. Instantly, I called the on-call doctor at the medical center fearing the worst - meningitis. We were in an examining room half an hour later and made the decision to go to the ER for blood tests and a possible spinal tap.
The next hour of my life is quite possibly the worst I've ever had. I left the medical center and had to drive to find Chad so we could get on the 1:00 ferry. Chad (of course) was working at the end of a dirt road  about half an hour away. The drive there, alone with Finn in the car, was absolutely terrifying as I watched him in the rear view mirror, realizing how fragile he still is, even though he's no newborn. Realizing how much he counts on me and wondering how the hell I could deal with seeing him in the hospital, hooked up to machines with tubes, unable to hold him in my arms. More than one sob escaped my lips while I was en route to find Chad. By the time I got there, I was so far gone that all I could manage was "Come home. We have to go to the ER" before I was down the driveway and headed home to pack.
All I wanted to do was huddle in a corner and cry, but I had to find people to watch the dog and cat, I had to find a place to stay on the mainland, and I had to get our stuff together and get on the boat. Luckily, I have a great support network and managed to get all of the above without completely losing it...until I got to the ferry line and the images of Finn lying on a hospital bed came flooding back. I lost it. I'm not going to lie.
After what seemed like an epically long boat ride, we finally arrived in Rockland along with my sister, who was a total rock the whole time we were at the hospital (which was a long, long time).
The staff in the ER was awesome, his doctor was phenomenal, and we were super happy with Finn's care, but it was trying, exhausting, and completely draining. It was decided that my 12 month old son would have to have a spinal tap to test for meningitis, along with tests on both his blood and urine. Two blood getting attempts in each arm proved impossible and left me with completely frayed nerves. After declining the offer of a catheter, a sticky bag was attached to collect Finn's urine, which proceeded to leak all over my skirt when he did finally pee. By this point, I was completely beyond usefulness and Chad took over for the big event -the spinal tap.
I'm sorry, but really? A spinal tap on a 12 month old? I'VE never even had one. How the hell am I supposed to make that call, to stand by while someone sticks a needle in my kid's SPINE?
But stick a needle in his spine, they did, and when all the tests finally came back, all we knew was that he probably didn't have meningitis. Some blood had wound up in the spinal fluid sample, and they weren't able to do the appropriate white/red blood cell comparison. We still, however, had no idea what was going on.
In the meantime, though, the nurse at the ER gave Finn some ibuprofen and within about 20 minutes, his neck stiffness was gone, his fever all but disappeared, and he was perky and smiley. Ibuprofen. 20 minutes. All better. If I hadn't been so stressed out, I could have laughed.
The final word on the matter was that we were to administer some antibiotics to Finn for the next week in case it was viral and after a double injection (into both thighs) as a final insult to injury, we were free to go at about 11pm, 8 hours after we had arrived.
Thankfully, a friend has an apartment we could stay in overnight and my sister, in quite possibly one of her awesomest moves ever, left us dinner and a bottle of wine on the kitchen table, in addition to setting up Finn's pack & play and making the bed for us.
We finally did get to our vacation house and had several awesome days with some good friends, so all's well that ends well, I guess. Finn's fit as a fiddle now, playing contentedly with his toys as I type up this epic entry. Understandable if you don't read this whole thing. I think it's more a purging for me than anything else.
What I can't comprehend after all of this is how parents of terminally ill kids do it - having only had a taste of a possibility of a scary diagnosis, I absolutely can not imagine the guilt, terror, anger, and second guessing they go through. There have been a few families I've known who have had to endure that agony, and I really don't think I'm strong enough for it. I've never ever known love this strong, this complete, and to have it threatened was all it took for me to completely crack.
Sorry. I know this isn't all light hearted and smiles today. I just had to get it out.
There's a quote that I keep thinking of that I think encompasses this perfectly:
Being a mother "is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." (Elizabeth Stone)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

summer times

So as I've been virtually absent all summer long, I thought I'd give you a taste of what Finnley James has been up to...

Finn is in high demand and has lots of social engagements with his contemporaries. M & D are twins born exactly a month before his birthday. Being born so close together, they have many similar interests - they like to eat sand, steal each other's water bottles, and generally give their parents heart attacks at any possible opportunity. They were fast friends and are already making plans to get into mischief for many summers to come.    
J is 6 months older than Finn, and he has been the standard upon which I measure Finn's development. He's the "cool guy" who Finn looks up to. I can almost see the wheels turning when he watches J splash at the quarry in his cool super hero suit.
O is the most precocious member of the class of 2029. She was practically running hurdles at 9 months old and is already bilingual. She's got lots of cool tricks up her sleeves.Here, she gives Finn lessons on how to pop seaweed like bubble wrap. 

B is just a few weeks older than Finn, but his verbal prowess is already legendary. On this occasion, Arts Night, he showed off his mad skills identifying the cold cubes in the cup as "ice". Finn, meanwhile, agreed with his customary, "da".
Luckily, the two go the "wear your awesome Go Fish t-shirt tonight" memo.

Man, these kids (and others not pictured) are all so awesome...they've all got their own little idiosyncrasies and are already their own people. I'm constantly amazed by watching them.
Somehow it didn't really occur to me that these guys are people from the get-go, but I am just beginning to understand how fully formed they already are and how we're the slow ones who need to catch up and get to know them. Cool beans, these little ones are. They're completely individual, working on their own timetables, and are going to be one heck of a gang in a few years.

I can't wait.

Monday, September 3, 2012

oh, hi.

My guys (the one on the right's got a(nother!) cold - he usually doesn't look so dazed. 
I think he may be in need of his first hair cut, but I'm going to ignore that for now.

My big (furry) kid and my little one. I think Nugget is less than impressed, but she's SUCH a good girl.

Now that the summer is over, life will get back on an even keel and I'll be around lots more.
Looking forward to it.