Saturday, June 17, 2006

6/17/06 Gabriel and Julian get weighed

It was time...this weekend was the big experiment with carseats in the back of my car. Also, I needed to decide which carseat or booster I'd bring with me on our upcoming trip back East.

To that end, I bought a backless booster seat, rated for 40 pounds, 40 inches, and 3 years old, of which Gabriel only meets the age criteria. I know other people who've used these for travel even though their kids didn't quite fit that, and saw another similar-looking seat rated for a lower weight, so brought it home with the intention of consulting Dave.

This led to actually measuring and weighing Gabriel. And some of our dilemma is removed! His stats:

Gabriel at four and a half: 39-7/8". 32 pounds (pathetic!).

Julian at two and a half: I didn' t measure his height. 29 pounds.

So, Gabriel is close enough to 40" to call him such, and that will help feel better about using boosters. Really, weight is pretty irrelevant at this age (according to our pediatrician, it did matter for forward-facing him when he was 19 months old and still not 20 pounds) -- it's height and where the seatbelt falls on the child's shoulder that matters. But the laws about carseats mostly use weight. Another example where safety and legality aren't always in line.

Dave's first experiments with carseats in the Outback didn't look good. He had a hard time getting a carseat, a convertible harness/booster seat, and an infant seat installed -- you can sit them all in there, but actually installing securely changes how they all fit together. And, of course, there's no LATCH in the middle.

But then, Dave discovered that our gigantic-looking Britax Marathon actually fits in better than the narrow (we thought) Graco carseat we'd planned for Julian, since the Marathon is narrower at the top. Just as well, because the Graco carseat is intended for smaller toddlers and is rated up to 40 pounds, just like the Britax Roundabout that Julian is in, and Julian's head is now just a little higher than the top of the Roundabout. It's even possible that he's now technically too tall for it, though he's quite safe in it. Still, Gabriel had been in the Marathon for months by the time he was Julian's age. It's time to rotate these guys.

We decided to also get a booster seat with a back, especially since it turns out to convert to a backless booster anyway, to see if that will work. Gabriel really really wants a real seatbelt anyway, he tells me every time he straps himself into the Marathon. (A booster seat isn't installed, it just boosts them up a little and they use the car's seatbelt, not a built-in 5-point harness. The law and safety ratings are actually pretty unclear about when a child can go to a booster seat, especially when you can buy a backless booster that claims to be rated down to 1 year old!)

Finally, here's what we ended up with. We CAN cram 3 carseats into the back of the Outback, but not with a booster, since it'd be very difficult to reach the seatblet latch. The Britax Marathon, the convertible carseat/booster (in carseat mode), and the rear-facing infant seat all fit. In fact, Dave tried replacing the rear-facing infant seat with the Britax Roundabout (rear-facing) and that fit too. Wow! There's some overlap, and it's tight, but it's doable.

For my East Coast trip, I'll bring the convertible carseat/booster for Julian, and the backless booster for Gabriel. Though the back of a booster does help position the seatbelt strap so it's more comfortable, so maybe I'll see if I can fit the backful booster in the carseat bag along with Julian's carseat.

I'll be so glad someday when we're done with carseats and boosters. That won't be until at least 2012!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

6/14/06 Gabriel and Julian sing

I'm getting more and more comments about Gabriel singing all the time! Today it was his former teacher at Kids Inc, who said another mom asked about him humming and singing as he plays. The teacher noticed it too. Our next-door neighbor also asked too, and on and off I've heard other comments too. Of course, most kids like to sing, but I'm getting enough comments from various sources that makes me think that Gabriel does it more than most kids, at least, around other people. At home, he sings to himself ALL the time as he's playing.

Thing is, he really didn't start doing that until Julian did. Julian actually sings more, and more creatively. Julian answers questions in song sometimes, or he'll make up new words to a tune, or make up a song altogether, or just sing something he knows while he's in the car. They sing together quite a bit, sometimes not even looking at each other, just singing along while they work on something. Other times, they make up a song and words and laugh together as they work it out.

It's only now dawning on me that it might be more prevalent in them than many of their peers. It reminds me of when Gabriel was a toddler and I'd tell people he liked to spin things, and most would answer that their toddler did too. But I realized later that Gabriel really really liked to spin things and did it far, far more than most other kids (to the point that it was a flag for PDD, Pervasive Development Disorder). Similarly with his lengthy and frequent tantrums, it took some years before I connected that I was living in a different tantrum world than most other moms. And so now with singing, I'm starting to wonder if Gabriel and Julian individually, and together, really sing quite a lot (where "a lot" means relative to typical little-kid singing). So I wonder if I should put them in a boys' chorus or something? In any case, it's a delightful, sweet characteristic. Not every talent or interest HAS to be followed up with a class, of course.

Last weekend, Dave was away at a Rallycross school on Saturday, and a competition on Sunday, at Thunderhill racetrack in Willows, CA. He talked our friend Paul into going, which meant great pictures. (That's Dave driving with an instructor in the car with him.)

Meanwhile, I went scrapbooking with my friends on Saturday, but first took Julian to his usual soccer class. Sunday, my mom's group had a picnic and I took the boys there, along with some Rice Krispies treats that Gabriel "helped" me make. Gabriel had a great time on this turning play structure, that my mom friend Sandy and her husband Cliff spent a lot of time turning kids on -- I think they were having more fun than the kids! Naturally, Gabriel was surrounded by girls. He seems to prefer that!Of course, Julian found a ball (also Sandy's), though was fascinated by Cassie playing in some dumped-out ice.

While we were at the park last Sunday, Julian came to me and said he had to "go poops," to my surprise. His poop training is back on track at home, but rarely if he's outside. This time, he was at a fun, distracting park and had to come find me to tell me. Good for him! After our June-July trip East, or perhaps even during, it's underpants time for him. I'd do it now, except I really don't want to deal with a new potty-trainer on a trip, in unfamiliar surroundings, airplanes, long car trips, etc. I've got to get him some fun underpants, that sort of incentive will go a long way. Gabriel still has the first set of underpants I ever got him (the Nemos), which he's had for almost 2 years now. They still fit fine, and are holding up great (Hanes), but do look a little dingy by now.

Yesterday morning, Julian came into our bedroom while I was just getting up, and climbed onto the bed and under the covers to join me. "I come seep with you," he said, then "I get under banket, there, all tuck in. You on dat side, I on dis side. We all tuck in under banket, both together." This sort of monologue is very typical of him, a play-by-play as he goes about some little task. Just about every day, I'm surprised to hear some new term from him -- not just vocabulary, but concepts, like "both" and "together." I really shouldn't be surprised; he's been saying things like that for months, but there's so much of it I have to remind myself he's only 2-1/2 and many of his 2004 peers are still just putting words together.

His excellent language completely changes how I interact with him as compared to Gabriel at this age, who was just starting to say a few words. I think of Julian as a much older kid, much less a baby, and have little conversations with him, consult him on things, explain things to him. I did with Gabriel too, but on a much different level because I didn't get any feedback. Julian also remembers things, nothing like his cousin Aidan, but this morning he commented that he has a baby in his tummy. I explained that only mommies have babies in their tummies, but I was surprised that he remembered this from a few days back. I shouldn't be, really, but Gabriel is only now coming out of his strong tendency to live and think entirely in the present, so I'm more used to that. Of course, I know that by the time he's in preschool, his peers will have caught up; really, there's really no long-term meaning to having been language-advanced, but it sure does make for a very different toddler experience. Then again, so does having a moderately sensitive, agreeable toddler!

Are Gabriel and Julian going to be the next hit brother singing act? :)


Monday, June 12, 2006

6/12/06 Mom falls behind

Bad blogger! Bad blogger! I know, I know, there's no need to "keep up," but wasn't that why I started this? The urge is certainly still there, but it seems that opportunity to write conflicts with bouts of feeling horrible. Or, feeling so well that I don't feel like sitting and writing.

Not last night. It took hours to be able to lie down without intense stomach pain, and then only after I gave in and took a tylenol with codeine. At dinner, there was nonstop relentless pressure on my stomach from what felt like gas, but who knows. In some ways, October seems so close, like in terms of getting our upstairs finished by then...but in other ways, October seems SO far away, like if I'm going to suffer for four solid months again!

At least the past few weeks I've been keeping a pretty good exercise regimen. Monday mornings I try to swim a little, usually only having time for 10-15 minutes, but then I go to the fitness room and stretch, do pushups, and a little bit of weights. Then Monday nights, I try to get to prenatal yoga. Tuesdays and Thursdays, more swimming, stretching, pushups and weights. Wednesdays, conditioning class at my longtime gym. Fridays, Ballecore (combination of ballet, yoga and pilates). And, of course, Thursday nights, skating, though I only have two more classes. Saturday mornings...I try to swim at the Y also, but that's dicey, since the Childwatch doesn't open until 8:30, but the lap swim closes at 8:55, so it's a pretty small window. (Dave takes Julian to soccer, and I bring Gabriel to the Y with me.)

Last Thursday, my friend Beth (who can actually skate) met me at the rink and we skated together after my class. She got a few pictures of my class, though the lighting in there makes for horrible photos. Here we are learning "spirals", really just an arabesk on skates (that's me all the way on the right). I'm really stuck on backward crossovers, that's what I most wanted to learn and I just can't do it!

Gabriel and Julian have been pretty good lately, for them, though rambunctious. They had an unusual weekend in that Dave went away for the weekend for a Rallycross class, so they got grumpy, sick me to themselves! Still, the weekend was rescued by the fact that I had a scrapbooking date with my mom pals, so I got Peggy to take care of the boys on Saturday. They were SO excited to see her, and waited for her on the front porch. Peggy left during Julian's nap, and when he woke up, he said on and off for hours, "I'm sad because Peggy's gone," then he'd forget she was gone and wander around the house calling, "Peggy, where ARE you?!". I'm sad that Peggy is expecting her 2nd baby in August and I'll probably won't call on her around then, though she never says no. Of course, I'm very happy for her, she's a great mom. I wish I could be 1/100th as calm as she is.

Two mornings ago, Julian came into our bedroom while I was still in bed, and piped, "Hi, Mommy!" Then, "let me see your hands....hey, your fingers are too long!".

Gabriel came out with something yesterday in the bathtub about having a baby in his tummy. I chuckled and told him no, only Mommies have babies in their tummies. "Not Daddies?!" he said genuinely.

Other times, he sees me chewing gum and asks me about it, and I tell him it's icky, it's only to get bad tastes out of my mouth, because I'm going to have a baby. Then he asked once, "Is the gum going to make the baby come out?". Oh, if only!

Julian pulled a plastic bag out of a crate where I keep them (in his reach, I'm sorry to say), and wanted to play with it over his head. Though I doubt he'd suffocate, it's just not a good idea, so I suggested a paper bag instead. Then, following Stephanie's lead, I cut eyeholes out for him. This turned into making the boys "masks," which they were delighted with. Julian stomps around in big steps, making growling sounds, and calls himself a monster. Amazing how easy it is to please little kids with a little creativity (which is about all I have!)

Lots more to tell, but I've got to go have breakfast.