Saturday, April 15, 2006

Julian goes on an easter egg hunt

Julian seemed fine this morning, despite his sorry day yesterday. In retrospect, his persistent temperature all day with no other symptoms at all, all gone today, plus the hives on his hands, makes me wonder if something else is going on.

For the third Saturday in a row, Julian's soccer class hasn't happened. The first week, it was postponed, and the last two weeks, the rain-soaked soccer fields have been closed (is this what it's like to live in Seattle?).

It was cloudy and sprinkling this morning too. In the late morning, Dave took the boys outside to kick a ball around anyway, and I dejectedly checked email. Bing! Turns out, my 2004 mom's group, which is a much larger and more active group than my 2002 group, had an easter egg hunt and potluck scheduled this morning. I checked the clock -- it was 10:55am, and the gathering started at 11am, at a community room at a sports store in Sunnyvale (hastily relocated from a park due to weather). I quickly cut up a cantaloupe to bring for the potluck and grabbed Julian -- just in time actually, since Dave was about to take Gabriel on a bicycle ride.

The 2004 group has quite a few "senior citizens" like me, including two women who are 43 and 44 and who are both hoping to get pregnant with their 2nd. They both seemed genuinely happy for me about our little October surprise, which made me feel good. Unexpected pregnancy stories have to be hard on women who've gone through years of fertility treatment, but they were nothing but gracious and excited for me.

Most of the gathering was kids eating and moms (and a surprising number of dads) yakking, but the highlight was the Easter Egg Hunt. Egg hunts rarely last more than a few minutes, especially when the group of kids has a lot of very enterprising and determined little girls! Julian was his usual hesitant half-bewildered self when the kids were let loose in the area with eggs scattered around -- he just didn't know what to do. With my help, Julian came away with 4 eggs filled with cheerios and Goldfish, and he really liked carrying his paper-plate "basket" around. Toddlers can be tyrannical, but they are so cute carrying baskets!

I was very glad to have a fun thing for Julian to do on this rainy day. And it's always easier on us to have the boys apart, despite the fact that they play together, really together, happily more and more these days. Still, they might play great for an hour, but you never know when you have to drop everything to make sure no one's bleeding.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Julian foils our plans

So much for our grand plan of a long day together. Dave had a day off work that happened to coincide with a sleepover. Tonya offered to pick Gabriel up from Kids Inc, and she'd keep the boys all afternoon and for the sleepover, so we had the whole day and evening to do something fun like go to the city. A very rare wonderful opportunity!

But, Julian awoke with 101.5 temperature this morning. Foiled! He wasn't going anywhere. Well, except a regular well-baby checkup he happened to have scheduled that day anyway. Dave took him so I could finish our taxes (grrr). Incredibly, despite the fact that he hadn't been eating to his usual high standard for a week, he's still in the 35%-ile for weight. The pediatrician actually thought that the hives on his hands the previous evening might be related to the temperature.

Julian really truly wasn't feeling well, so he spent a lot of time on Dave's or my shoulder, just being held. Then he had a rare treat: he got to watch a LOT of TV! I usually tape 3 hours of PBS on Sunday mornings, even though most of the time they only get to watch half an hour of Thomas. That came in handy, as Julian zoned on the couch, looking so sad and sick. I set aside any squeamishness I had about unlimited unsupervised TV, as that is very rare here, but he really was too sick to play as he usually does. (I can't resist pointing out: always with the adorable crossed feet!)

In the evening, Julian felt a little better, and was allowed into the office for a few minutes. He likes playing with Tux Paint, a drawing program for kids, on our desktop Mac. But the mouse is even more fun to play with as a phone. He put it to his ear and "called" Gabriel (who was at Tonya's on the sleepover). How sweet.

Then, Julian found a calculator and used it as a "phone." I asked who he was going to call, and he said, "Papa Paul! Papa Paul give me orange, and I put it in my MOUF!" I guess Paul and the oranges made quite an impression on him!

Though his fever today definitely dampened Julian's mood (and perhaps mine, but I no longer get completely disappointed from major missed opportunities...that's just life with kids), on the whole it was pretty nice to have him alone all day. He hardly ever cries when Gabriel isn't around to make him cry! It was just as well that Gabriel wasn't around when Julian was so unenergetic and blue, even though I missed the little bugger. It rained all day today anyway, so maybe my great ideas about going to the city wouldn't have happened anyway. And the city will always be there (I say this a few days before the centennial anniversary of the earthquake and fire that levelled the place 100 years ago!).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gabriel and Julian go to a rodeo

On this first non-rainy day in weeks, we drove to the San Francisco Cow Palace to see, well, cows! The rodeo is in town for a week, and another mom in my mom's group suggested it as a fun destination for kids. Rhoda and Justin (3-1/2) joined us, as well as Kristi and daughters Erin (3-1/2) and Kate and Allison (18-month-old twins).

We went during the daytime when most of the big rodeo-type events weren't going on anyway, so it was very mellow. Mostly, we went to see the animals and hopefully catch some early trials of sporting events.

And we did! We saw some sheepdog trials first, including visiting the penned-up sheep waiting to be herded. Julian was typically hesitant, but curious. Gabriel said that he didn't want to see cows (recall his toddler-years terror of cows), but he had no problem with any of the big animals and surprised me with how interested he was in them. That is, until a tractor came into an arena to set up for an event -- that trumped any animal!

We walked around the paddocks and saw horses, many varieties of cows; goats, and one animal you'd never expect to see at a rodeo: a camel. (Yes, a camel!) We walked by the "cow salon," where cows were being prepared for show: washed, shaven, fluffed and dried -- I've never seen such pretty cows! ("Mm, looks delicious!" joked Kristi, quoting politically-incorrect Southpark.) Then we went inside to the arena and saw horses "dancing," (really, being turned in circles and doing a choreographed pattern), then chasing a cow. Gabriel and Julian really liked watching the horse run after the cow. Some very nice judges gave all the kids ribbons, which they prized as though they'd won them for something other than being, well, little kids.

The boys' attention started to drift around noon, so we took one last walk through some indoor horse stables, then made our way home. I think they liked the beautiful drive as much as anything. It's been raining so much here that on the first clear day in weeks, the hills were green and lush, the air clear, and it was beautiful. Gabriel is really into "mountains" these days, as well as any body of water, so he had a great time shouting out "LOOK! MOUNTAINS!" as we drove down scenic I280.

As we were driving away from the Cow Palace, though, we drove through downtown Brisbane, a seedy suburb of San Francisco. I was struck by the urban feel of it; groups of people waiting by a bus station, liquor stores, bars on windows, people walking on crowded streets -- even graffiti on street signs. It brought back so much, a familiarity, a realness that I am now comfortably sheltered from in our sterile suburban Brady Bunch land. Or perhaps uncomfortably sheltered from. I've never liked how plain our neighborhood is, and I was fascinated by seeing such a real, gritty, different life, so close to where we live. Or perhaps having been holed up at home for two months having been so sick has made me hunger for any new sights. In any case, it makes me more determined to get out and see more of the world we're surrounded by, and beyond, despite our upcoming October limitation!

The boys were in a great mood when we got home after the rodeo, and so was I. Still, I was tired and took a long nap after Julian went down (agreeably), woken up by Gabriel having to show me his latest pile of rubble (still on the earthquake kick). I ran so late that we ended up going out to dinner, where I mused about how really good Julian is. Stacey was just telling me with great regret that she and Scott have to give up on going out to eat for a while, since Cassie (now 2) is just impossible. I relate to her regret, because it means no breaks from cooking and cleaning up!

We too have had our moments at restaurants, but after some initial testiness tonight, Julian sat quietly and ate his chicken penne with broccoli with a grownup fork from a grownup bowl, amusing himself with crayons afterward. Though Gabriel set a very high bar for troublesome toddlers in our eyes, still, Julian is really pretty darned good. That said, Gabriel has been a very very good 4-year old, we have virtually no issues with him, so we have nothing to complain about. He's been delightful lately -- rambunctious and very energetic, but asking a lot of questions and showing new signs of maturity.

I also mused that Julian has really never gone through a difficult period with food, nothing longer than a day or two. My happy guess is that he's not going to be like his grandfather or father when it comes to being very particular about food, which I suspect Gabriel could be (hopefully I can manage that...but how?). Julian is just more open and agreeable about food -- opinionated sometimes, certainly, but for the most part, he happily eats what's in front of him.

But, just as we were finishing up dinner, I noticed hives on Julian's fingers and hands, including on his palms. Where did this come from? Maybe it was some seasoning in his dinner, or maybe a late reaction to something he touched at the rodeo? They didn't seem to bother him, and had faded by bathtime. I guess we'll never know until we see it again, but hives don't show up out of nowhere. Still, it seems he's more skin-sensitive than his tough older brother, as there are other times I'll see red patches or small strange things that go away fast enough not to be of note, but I never see stuff like that on Gabriel.

Tomorrow, both boys will be at Tonya's for the afternoon and then for a sleepover. I think I'll take my newfound freedom from constant pain and talk Dave into going to the city -- we haven't been there in months!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gabriel's beautiful baby

I reminded Gabriel today that we were going to have a baby here, and he said, "Oh good, I like babies!" So I asked him, "Do you want a baby brother, or a baby sister?" and he said, wide-eyed and very sincerely, "A baby sister." Then, after a pause, he added, "A really beautiful one."

Julian went to Tonya's today, having held down his food for 3 days now, thank heavens. I jump every time he opens his mouth wide open, sticks his tongue out and makes a gagging sound -- which he does frequently just to be a goofball!

Though I still have reservations about the preschool/daycare Gabriel is going to, today when I picked him up, he hopped and skipped holding my hand as we walked to the car. It reminded me of his cousin Aidan coming off the airplane when the Engel family came to visit last August; just a happy innocent expression of enjoyment. I remember Sadie's mom telling me how Sadie cried and cried whenever she picked Sadie up from her new preschool (so much so that Sadie is now going back to Tonya's!). It makes such a difference to know that your kid is happy. That, to me, makes his "new preschool" is a success.

Gabriel now remembers the name of some of the kids he plays with, though he always starts with Kenda. His class is mostly boys, so I'm not surprised he finally remembers Bill and Ping and Andrew, and another girl he always says he doesn't know her name. He's so much more interested in the girls! But I'm so glad he's playing with lots of other kids his age. He seems really happy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gabriel's "snowflake"

Another rainy day! I took the boys to the park anyway this morning, only to find it soaked and empty. Still, we took a walk around the soccer field and got sprinkled on, getting lucky that the rain picked up for real just as we got back to the car. Even if we get rained on a little, I absolutely have to get the boys out of the house every day.

Gabriel was very taken with a 100-year-old photo in the paper this morning, of a building that had toppled in San Jose from the 1906 earthquake (the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the disaster is a big deal around here). All day he was talking about buildings falling over and the ground shaking, and piling toys up to make rubble, and I talked to him about earthquakes. Later, when Dave got home and I asked him to tell Dad what the ground shaking is called, he said, "a snowflake!"

What really caught my ear in all this earthquake talk was his new acquisition of a figure of speech. He said something along the lines of: "The ground was shaking, and it was, like, 'Oh no!'." Two weeks in a new school and he's already using expressions such as "it was like,..." !! Can valley-girl talk be far away?

Julian's appetite is virtually nil, and his energy is down a little too, but he's been in a sweet mood and seems to be OK otherwise. 48 hours and counting since his last upchuck!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Julian's tummy

We thought Julian was in the clear Sunday. A late, lazy day started with him eating just a little cereal, and his mood was great. Though it was threatening rain, I took the boys to Serra Park just to get out. Gabriel liked pushing a dump truck around the water poles, and Julian of course liked kicking a ball. I'd have to see other 2-year-olds to know for sure, but my goodness, he does seem good at kicking the ball! They were having so much fun I was almost grateful when it started to rain in earnest and I had a good excuse to get them home and Julian down for a nap.

But Sunday night, Julian woke out of a dead sleep and threw up all over his bed, carpet, pajamas, himself. So I kept him out of daycare again today (Monday) and took him to the pediatrician. She said they've been seeing alot of gastroenteritis, but he has no other symptoms, other than loss of appetite and throwing up every 24 hours or so. So, stay the course: give him only mild foods, try to get him to drink, and see if this passes.

I offered Julian a "little milk" yesterday, and he said, "No, BIG milk!". I guess he's learning his opposites!

Today after Julian's nap, I was perusing a vacation rental Web site, and ended up looking at exotic places that aren't in our immediate future, partly just to show the boys some fun pictures. I asked them, "What do you think about...the BAHAMAS!" and Gabriel said, "Oh, yeah, I love that place!" Then, after a pause, he added, "Do they have any toys there?".

Cross your fingers for Julian's tummy!