Happy Birthday Finn-shallah

25 Jan

I recently read through the late December through January archives of this blog and re-lived the excitement, anxiety and impatience that led up to January 24, 2008.  It’s nice to be able to laugh about it now. And to appreciate that so many friends and family were part of the anticipation and adventure with us.

Our challenge to predict Finn’s arrival attracted lots of guesses and comments. People were sure they were on the right date. But if you’ll look at the calendar, you’ll notice the last guess was over a week before Finn made his debut. In fact, the calendar doesn’t even go as far as January 24 because we were so sure Finn would have come long before then. I personally bet on him coming 18 days before then. Oh silly silly me.

Kelly Standiford wrote: “Doctors and ultrasounds don’t know everything. I know red headed babies (I’m assuming yours will be one) and they don’t come until they’re good and ready. Sorry, but I really hope I win.” Kelly, the next time we’re in South Bend, I’m bringing you your much-deserved prize.

I’m also bringing  one to Cody, who spoke the wisest words I should have listened to but didn’t: “I know this might seem impossible, but try to enjoy being able to take care of your baby just by living, breathing, and eating. Soon, you have to deal with poo/pee, then lack of sleep, then technology (monitors, baby wipe warmers, robot nannies, etc). Rumor has it that eventually you even have to try to reason with them, though as a rule we don’t do that in our household.”

But despite the long wait and the fear that I would be pregnant the rest of my life, at 12:26 am Cairo time on Jan 23, I felt a crazy stomach cramp while I was drifting off to sleep. I didn’t want to get excited so I didn’t say anything, I just laid there and tried to go back to sleep, then another one hit nine minutes later. I woke up Patrick and we started writing down the intervals between contractions. My mom, who had been jumping out of bed at every noise for the past three weeks, got up, woke LeAnn, and at 2 am we were headed for the hospital. At 7 am, I put down the Martha Stewart Living magazine I’d been reading, posed for pictures like I was ready to kill Patrick, when really I would have just killed for some McNuggets and then at 7:45am Finn Javier Mason was born, took a look around, and started screaming his head off. We were smitten.


Today we gave him extra hugs and were a little more forgiving when he stared us dead in the eye from his high-chair, grabbed his food and threw it on the ground. On the way back from the gym I told one of our taxi drivers that it was Finn’s birthday. He was thrilled, then touched my shoulder and quietly said “it went by like it was only a week, didn’t it?” He patted my back and sent me off and when I was walking away I remembered he’d had a son who died of cancer before he was ten.

We took Finn to the toy store to let him pick out a toy for his birthday. We should have guessed he’d want everything. We ended up with an activity table, a little truck for him to push around, and two Egyptian hand puppets, one is a boab in a galabayyia, and the other is a woman in full veil. Everytime I look at her I think she’s going to lecture me on how I’m not dressing Finn warm enough, just like all the real Egyptian ladies here do.


We headed over to see our friends, the Penrods. They have great kids who Finn adores. We sang to Finn and had pyramid birthday cake. Finn wasn’t quite sure what to do with the frosting, but he eventually got the hang of licking it off his fingers. He and the kids ran/crawled around for a while and the rest of us played Guitar Hero. Lydia does a mean Crazy Train and Patrick is truly a guitar god. I however, am not so good with the timing.


When we got home we called family and tried to goad Finn to say hi. Finn rolled his eyes and pounded on the keyboard. I took him upstairs, got him into his green dinosaur pajamas and rocked him long after he had fallen asleep. It’s been a long year since he first joined us, but sometimes it really does feel like it’s only been a week.

Happy Birthday Finn!


6 Responses to “Happy Birthday Finn-shallah”

  1. Javi (not the brother) January 25, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    Cool things that have happened on the 24th (courtesy of Wikipedia):

    1984 – The first Apple Macintosh goes on sale
    1941 – Aaron Neville and Neil Diamond are born
    1949 – John Belushi was born (get Finn a sweater than says “COLLEGE” on it to mark the occasion)
    1962 – Jackie Robinson is elected to the Hall of Fame. Get him a Brooklyn Dodgers uni and burn that Yankees one he was wearing, Patrick.
    1974 – Ed Helms was born. He’s been on The Daily Show AND The Office. How awesome is that!?

    Happy Birthday, Finn!

  2. Kay January 26, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    Oh, Finn we are so glad that you and your beautiful curly red hair are part of our lives. I was just remembering yesterday how for several, I mean several weeks I would jump out of bed in the morning and run to my computer in hopes to read of your arrival. By Jan. 23rd it was starting to get old. I’m sure your Mom, Dad and Grandma’s would agree with me. Happy Birthday, sweet, sweet baby!

  3. Luisa & Javy January 26, 2009 at 3:40 am #

    Happy Birthday Finnshallah! The video is hilarious! I can’t decide what’s funnier/cuter: Finn’s “What the heck is going on here and do I know you people?” look or the adults (especially you Patrick!) providing the background dialogue!

    As to the prebirth excitement, LeAnn and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The hospital check-in itself was a comedy all on its own!

  4. Stacy Andrew January 26, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    Thank you for the video! Finn! Happy Birthday, you sweet thing, you!

  5. Dre January 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    The post-delivery was pretty hysterical, too, what with the hospital initially not having a room to move you to (despite having already paid for a suite), to a broom closet being transformed into a room, to wanting to move you to the 4th floor (where the accounting department was), and FINALLY to a room at the inn. Ah, Egypt.
    Where DID that week go? Happy Birthday to our most gorgeous red-haired grandson!

  6. aunt yvette January 31, 2009 at 11:25 pm #

    Happy Birthday Finn! I know it’s late, but I thought of you on THE day! Even say your grandma, and nick celebrated your big day in the hospital (big bump on the head) just like you did one year ago. Make a mess with the cake kid, your mom probably won’t let you do the big mess thing for long.

    Look at you go! Mom and Dad get ready, once they start walking, they end up in some strange places. Their toes become little gecko suction cups and they start to climb up things like the fridge and on top of the TV. Good Luck! Miss all of you.

    Lots of love,
    Aunt Yvette, Uncle David and Nick.

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