Today Julian and Katrina and I went to Betsy's house to decorate cookies. Betsy made some gingerbread cookies and coated them with white icing, which are then perfect to draw on with edible markers, though Gina and Andrew also painted. Gina is very creative and coordinated with painting, I was impressed!
We did this last year too, and Gabriel spent maybe 5 minutes with the cookies before abandoning the project for Gina's train table. Julian, on the other hand, sat for quite a while coloring, then putting sprinkles on icing. It helped that Gina was sitting next to him, as he really likes her. And she didn't deride him for "scribbling," as Gabriel does.
Julian and Andrew actually played together for a while too, a first.
When it was time to go, all three kids were jumping off a couch onto a mattress and having a grand time. I was glad that Julian had some playmates today. And me too; it's always nice catching up with Betsy.
One advantage of giving the boys dinner before Dave gets home is that I'm not distracted trying to have grownup talk with my husband. Tonight during dinner, we goofed around making up new words to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer":
Then one froggy twisted sleeve
Santa came to bray
Moo-Golf with your doze so right
Won't you grab my sleigh tonight.
A surprise side-effect of all the laughter: Katrina sat CALMLY in my lap! She was sufficiently interested in her silly brothers that she forgot to move around constantly. Truly a treat. She is far more responsive to social activity than I remember the boys being at this age.
Speaking of reindeer, Gabriel stayed at Kids Inc all day today, to attend a holiday party. And, apparently, perform in a little show the kids have been rehearsing, which I hadn't heard a thing about. He came home with a little Vixen "costume".
Gabriel....how NOT to start the day: at 5am, I heard Julian crying. Upstairs to investigate, and I found that Gabriel had gotten up and made his bed (!), then had pushed Julian out of bed and was trying to make Julian's bed. Julian just wanted to sleep and so was crying. At 5am!!! Julian went right back to bed, but Gabriel had to be threatened with not getting a gold star (ooh). Thank goodness that actually worked. I was in no mood to drag him out to the garage.
Gabriel is suddenly into picking his own clothes. This morning, on a day when we're experiencing a cold snap and rain, he shows up in shorts and a T-shirt. Why the shorts? Because they have a number on them. Somehow Dave managed to persuade him to put pants on, but changing a Thomas T-shirt wasn't worth the battle.
A few thoughts on 3...
Betsy agrees that the transition from 1 to 2 children was harder than from 2 to 3, at least so far. The experience of having already transitioned from one child to more than one has definitely paid off. There certainly are challenging times when all three need something from me, but for the most part, how to get dinner made and cleaned up every night isn't a daily mystery. It's just more hectic (especially tonight when the boys were all over Katrina and I didn't dare turn my back while making dinner).
But that's while one of the three is an immobile baby with simple needs. Karen at the gym says that now that her youngest is starting activities like dance, gymnastics, music, etc, shuttling all 3 of her kids around is the hardest time. I asked her if it was unrealistic to insist on only one activity per kid at a time, and she said it was, especially since some activities require a big committment (like soccer practice 4 times a week).
What a different childhood I led. A different time, in a very different place. Even though I've spent most of my adulthood in suburbs, I'm not sure I'll ever really belong in them. But my kids will. All three of them.