Saturday, May 06, 2006

Gabriel and Julian go to Gina's birthday party

Next year, I'm doing what Betsy did for Gina: a party at The Little Gym. An hour and a half long, the kids LOVE playing in the gym area, there's a separate room for cake that can get trashed, and they provide little water bottles as party favors.

Once again, the boys' personalities shone through. Gabriel wasted no time in running around like mad, laughing his head off nonstop. I remember wondering in swim class when he was a toddler if I thought so just because I was his mother, or was he really the most enthusiastic child there? I found myself wondering that again, because he was utterly exuberant.

At one point, they did a parachute time thing, and the teachers asked the group of kids the colors of the panels on the parachute, and as soon as the teacher put her hand on a panel, Gabriel jumped out with the answer. I wonder if he's like that in school, very eager to participate and shout out the answer?

Gina was adorable in wound-up pigtail braids (her Aunt Alice loves to do her hair) and pink dress. Next week, Gina and Gabriel start swim classes together, yay!

Julian, on the other hand, stood like a statue staring at all the kids. Even when the activity was to run in a circle, he so steadfastly refused to move that he ended up in the middle of the circle. The knowledgeable teachers tried to draw him in, knowing that often a kid is just being clingy, but that wasn't it. If I left him, he still wouldn't move, it wasn't about me! Just like in music class, it became almost comical, with my mom friends coming back to me from time to time to laugh and ask me what on earth was with him? He wouldn't budge!

Then, out of nowhere, Julian kicked into gear, and then challenged Gabriel in the exuberation department, running like crazy and laughing. He did so just before the teachers brought out a big basket of balls -- perfect! So, despite his usual slow start, he had a great time too.

I got mad at Gabriel for pushing Julian flat on his face too many times though. I never know where to draw the line: what is just brother rough-housing, and what is just not right? I fretted about this so much that I had dreams that night that Gabriel was tumbling Baby#3 against a wall. Gabriel's pushing wasn't malicious, but had it been on concrete, it would have hurt. As it was, Julian just got up laughing, and Gabriel never touched anyone else. I never know what to do.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Gabriel and Julian's haircuts

Boys in childcare all day today, Tonya picked up Gabriel from Kids Inc (thank you!). Wish I got more done, but I got a lot more done than I would have otherwise.

Tonya has a haircutter come to her house every 2 months or so, and we've taken advantage of this service twice now. Of course, we pay for the haircuts, more than we would at Supercuts, but the convenience is completely worth it. And they've gotten great haircuts, from the same person, so it's perfect.

They are SO cute with their short little haircuts!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Gabriel and Julian's carseats

We had quite the fun day today!

First, a rare peaceful morning with the boys playing quietly in the family room.

While Gabriel built one of his towers, Julian sat and read a book. So sweet.

Then, swim class.

Julian swam across the pool completely by himself for the first time! He slides off the side of the pool, so he doesn't even get a head start by jumping in, so he really has to swim the whole way.

Then he tells teacher Gina, "I want to swim to Mommy, ONE more time," holding up his ONE finger.

In playtime, I was clawed constantly as he swam to me again and again, no matter how I tried to escape his underwater antics. I'm very much looking forward to going somewhere with a beach so that he can play and splash and enter the water gradually, so I can turn my head and not worry that he's about to drown!

After swim class, we drove to Babies'R'Us to check out carseats. On the way there, the Queen song "Bohemian Rhapsody" was on the radio, and for some reason, the boys found this song absolutely hilarious! There's a section in the middle of the song that has a lot of odd lyrics, octave changes, and funny sounds ("Let me go!!!"), and the boys listened, looking at each other, and then cracking up with each new lyric. Who knew that song was so funny.

My mission at Babies'R'Us was to experiment with various carseats on the store's sample car bench. This was useful, and gives me renewed hope that we don't have to go the minivan or full-size SUV route, at least not right away. Here I tried a booster, harnessed carseat, and infant seat together. This could work!

But, I was told that the store has a no-photo policy, apparently to ward off competitors copying their displays. Very silly in this day and age of camera phones. We won't be buying six carseats there.

After lunch, the boys played outside, and "accidentally" dumped a huge load of dirt onto the lawn, a big Dad no-no. I was working inside, and my mom-alarm went off when it was too quiet, and I found the boys busily scooping the dirt back, apparently hoping to complete the task before they were discovered. I pretended to be stern, but really, they were so cute and so earnest in their work that I was delighted, especially to see them cooperating so well together.

Later, Julian was fascinated by a bug he found stranded on the walkway ("Look mommy, a WORM!"), though he poked it well beyond a tortured death. I can just imagine him and his cousin Aidan at work uncovering critters together! Meanwhile, Gabriel was building an elaborate 3-tiered track inside.

I made a hasty dinner for everyone, then took off for my second ice skating class. I had so much fun! Today we learned about T-stops, and practiced forward crossovers. I'm getting a much better feel for the best position and the value of slightly bent knees. I'm having so much fun with this, I don't even mind that I won't be able to skate easily when Miss October comes.

Speaking of whom, Miss October is jabbing me all the time, coming up with new creative motions. It almost feels like the baby is painting the walls inside sometimes. I'm still pretty sick most of the time though, I really hate the way I feel. Fun distractions like ice-skating and swim class are essential. I really look forward to having the energy and wherewithall to chase the boys around for more than a few minutes again.
Maybe in about ten years.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Julian's goggles

Today at swim class, I got Julian some goggles (conveniently, I can buy them at the swim school). His eyes were so irritated and red last time, it was essential. He took very well to them and didn't protest at all -- I was prepared for a battle remembering Gabriel's reaction to goggles, but I keep forgetting who I'm dealing with.

They worked great. After swim class and playtime, Julian's eyes were just fine, though Gabriel was very puzzled by the rings around Julian's eyes. He was even more surprised to hear that he had them too!

I'm going to repeat myself here, but both boys are doing so well in swim class. Gabriel doesn't stop smiling or laughing, and he pays attention to the teacher and makes a real effort at doing everything right, mostly obeys the teacher and really puts himself into it. The teacher has him hold a ring out on front of him, and stroke one arm at a time, grabbing the ring after each stroke. He uses his arms in a passable crawl stroke in playtime now too. But mostly, he has SO much fun. Yay Gabriel!

And Julian...this little boy has a drowning wish. I just can't keep his head above water. He takes his own breaths in class now, inconsistently, but still sort of can. Still, he comes up coughing sometimes, having tried to get a breath underwater -- but even before he's caught his breath or finished coughing, he goes right back under. If I sit him on the side, he slides into the water immediately, without making any attempt at a jump. He refuses to dive in from a stand (which Gabriel did with great enthusiasm at this age), but I think if we worked on him, he'd get over that. And, today in class, we started him on his arms, telling him to splash them, and to watch Gabriel. Though Julian isn't as natural at Gabriel at doing the motion, he listens and imitates and tries -- and he did! It was great to see him attempting to use his arms while swimming too.

But in playtime, Julian is impossible, jumping into the water nonstop, whether or not he can rescue himself. By this age, Gabriel was pretty good at jumping in from the steps and swimming back around to the steps. Not Julian, he just just jumps in, again and again and again, sometimes with a goal (like swimming to me or to the side), but rarely an attainable one. It is constant work keeping track of him and pulling him out of the water, only for him to grab a quick breath and go right back under. It is not relaxing at all! But I'm so delighted that he loves the water so much that he is in it -- well, under it -- constantly. The goggles only encourage him to go under.

Tonight I went to an outing with my Mom friends, to a place called Dream Dinners. There, we each prepared 6 meals each to bring home and freeze, made at prep stations completely outfitted with ingredients and measuring tools. And it was fun! Meantime, while I was preparing gourmet meals, the boys were at home eating mac'n'cheese, talking about Julian's new goggles.

Dave reports that after the boys' dinner, he took them both down the block, Gabriel riding his bicycle and Julian riding a tricycle. This gives me grand visions of the whole family riding together soon! Both boys have a long way to go...or do they? It can't be that far off! I'm starting to see that one thing I was really dreading about baby#3 was putting the rest of our lives on hold for a while, being back in baby mode. But the 3rd baby doesn't dominate the family dynamic, he/she can't put us into baby mode single-handedly as the 1st baby did. Gabriel and Julian are active little boys who want to do things, and I want to do things with them -- that's not going to stop because of a baby. It can't. So maybe my grand visions of snorkeling and camping and cycling aren't going to be put off for 3 years as we'd thought. Asking Gabriel and Julian to wait is too much. And yay for that!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Gabriel and Julian's "Mad World"

Some months ago, a song became a mild hit called "Mad World," sung by Gary Jules, a cover of the original song by Tears for Fears. I loved the Gary Jules version, but was curious about the original version. It appears on the Tears for Fears best hits album, which I bought and put in my car. I meant to only play it when I was alone, but one day some weeks back, Julian was in a screaming fuss about having been forcibly placed in his carseat after glaring at me like a petulant teenager with his tongue sticking out while he ran down the "get in or get put in" countdown. If there's too much kid noise in the car, I blast the grownup noise -- in this case, Tears for Fears' "Mad World." A few times of this strategy, and they both grew to like the song.

So now, Gabriel refers to it as "my favorite song." When I start the song, as soon as they hear the distinctive percussive opening, they both shout, "YES!" as though they were at a live concert. It's so cute, it makes me laugh every time. Julian actually tries to sing the music, mimicking the heavily synthesized sounds. Someday they'll be very embarrassed that 1980s pop was ever a favorite!

Speaking of singing, Gabriel and Julian have both been singing together more and more. At first, I thought they were singing songs they'd heard at Tonya's, but then I realized that some of them must come from Gabriel's preschool, and Julian picks up on them. Some of them don't sound like anything at all, and i think they're just making them up. But they sing in unison, looking at each other, occasionally laughing, reminding each other of the words. I've got to capture this on video, it's really cute. It'll be very interesting to see how they sing with their musical cousins!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Gabriel and Julian "Pump It Up"

Today our Sunday outing was to Duncan's 4th birthday party, at a place called "Pump it Up." It's a place with huge rooms with several inflatables -- slides, obstacle courses and gigantic jump houses. There must have been 30 kids invited, so it was a perfect place for a big party. The party started out in one room with various slides and jumphouses, then moved to another room with yet more, then into a banquet room for pizza and cake.

I half-expected Gabriel to get stuck in the inflatable obstacle courses, as he did in a similar thing last fall at a fair. He's really not that good at climbing up the "ladders" in those things, but this time, he did fine. He almost didn't stop laughing or running, he had such a great time tackling all the equipment.

Julian, typically, would have nothing whatsoever to do with the jump houses or obstacle course, not with me, and certainly not on his own. But, the second room had a ball play area, with nets to hold the balls and a backboard with various holes to throw the balls into. This was much more his speed, and he had a great time kicking and chasing the balls.

I did get Julian to go down one big slide, but only when I carried him up the ladder (urf) and then held him while we zoomed down. Those slides go FAST, and the stops at the bottom are not designed for adults, who barrel right over them onto their butts! Fortunately, Julian laughed the whole way. I went down with Gabriel a few times too, he loved doing that with me ("come ON, Mom!").

I love seeing them zoom around happily, what a perfect party!