Sunday, December 03, 2006

12/3/06 The Holiday Party

I'd really been looking forward to my mom's group's annual holiday party. I love the cookie exchange, which I used as an excuse to turn into a cookie-baking fiend this weekend, partly just to experiment.

Unfortunately, reality crept in. I had to wake Katrina from a much-needed and hard-won nap to go to the party, and she wouldn't go back to sleep for the entire party! She had a few short naps, the longest courtesy of Carmelita's very nice and wonderful husband swinging her in the carseat, but I spent most of the party trying to calm her and get her to sleep. (Betsy's ultra-mellow 3-week-old baby Dylan made not a peep the whole time!) I missed being able to talk freely with my friends, and their interesting husbands, and missed being able to so much as get dinner for the boys (which Heike and Carmelita kindly did for me).

Still, not all was lost. The boys had a great time (except for one incident, and I'll get into that), and once again I was reminded what marvelous and generous friends I have, even if I couldn't exchange more than a few sentences with anyone, and with only 3% concentration at that. And, when I got home, Dave had cleaned up the family room and the entire kitchen, and I'd left a major cookie mess behind! Best of all, Dave was refreshed and relaxed from a nice block of hours off from kids, and had plenty of energy to deal with Gabriel's misdeeds and to put the boys to bed. His almost cheerful demeanor (and that's saying a lot for that sworn curmudgeon!) when we got home was a huge reward for me.

The one black spot was about Gabriel crashing into things, a growing problem.

This afternoon, Dave caught Gabriel smashing a dump truck into Julian's tricycle, knocking him down and making him cry -- and then kept doing it! This is something he's done several times now, unmoved by Julian's wails. Inside, we've had to remove their beloved indoor dump trucks for getting smashed into walls and furniture deliberately. It seems I confiscate a toy every day for being thrown or crashed into something.

When we arrived at the holiday party, Gabriel found a big dump truck and started pushing it around the house. I got down and looked right in his face and told him very clearly that he absolutely may not crash it into anything here, and especially not into anyone. I warned him I would take the truck away immediately.

Not 15 minutes later, I caught him knocking down a tower of blocks with the truck, and I took the truck away from him. He was furious with this, and started with his rude obnoxious behavior, in front of people this time -- a stretch even for him. He demanded the truck back, stood right in front of me when I was sitting on the floor and stuck his tongue right in my face. At first I was stern with him, then tried laughing at him with the tongue-sticking, but all that did was make him lick my face defiantly. He stood close to me, staring at me, saying rudely, "FINE Mommy, I don't care" (he thinks that's a very strong insult). I wanted to strangle him -- I had enough on my hands with Katrina. Finally, dinner and other distractions got him out of it.

But at home, we had a big talk with Dad about this behavior. He lost his weekly Thomas-watching privilege for disobeying me and then being so rude to me. (Really, it was the rudeness -- the disobeying I can chalk up to little-kid boisterousness, though I am getting very tired of the crashing-into-things problem.) To my relief, he was sad and contrite, instead of escalating defiantly as he so often does. Still, I have no doubt at all that he'll be crashing things tomorrow morning.

Julian didn't have a nap today, and was a time bomb himself. But, mercifully, he'd taken his sweet pill today and was a perfect angel at the party, and then at home. I felt an irrational twinge of annoyance at Katrina that she wouldn't let me enjoy Julian being so sweet and agreeable. He got to watch Thomas on a DVD in the office -- a huge treat!

Katrina...oh my. This poor baby. She just couldn't get it together at the party. I called Dave on the 3-minute drive home and asked him to meet me in the driveway and pull the boys out, because I was going to drive around until she fell asleep. My stress level was very high from all the crying, and I had a splitting headache. But Dave wisely suggested that instead, I give her a bath and put her to bed, even if she was still crying. I just wanted to not hear crying for more than 15 minutes!

But Dave was right. I scrapped together some energy and launched into baby-bedtime mode, her cries pounding into my head. But, incredibly, as soon as I put her in the bath, not only did she calm down, but she went into adorable-smile-coo mode! I was floored. Where did this come from?! It was a very nice treat after all that fussing and crying. Which of course wasn't her fault...she just needed to go to bed. And very comfortably settled into the bassinet right after the bath, wrapped up, noisemaker on, pacifier, comfortable familiar place. Finally.

I wanted to take pictures at the holiday party, but was way too occupied with baby.

Still, I got a few experimental photos this morning, with Katrina in a Christmas-y outfit. It's a nice reminder that really, most of the day she was wonderful. We could all use some of that.


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