Saturday, November 11, 2006

11/11/06 Mom goes for a swim

I swam today!! I actually went for a rejuvenating, life-injecting, spirit-refreshing swim. I was so excited about going that my car thermometer reading 52 degrees didn't dissuade me.

I was thrilled to WALK across the parking lot to the pool for the first time, with spring in my step. As I approached the entryway, I heard a crescendo of music greeting me -- the world is celebrating my re-emergence! OK, it was just high school band practice, but no less climactic.

What a difference it makes not to be pregnant. I could breathe, I could flip-turn, I could really stretch out, I could sprint. It felt absolutely wonderful! And it wasn't cold at all in the water. I was still able to swim 1000 yards without stopping too, which took some time to build up to in pregnancy.

Though I'd told myself I wouldn't leave Dave alone with all three kids for a while, I think I'm going to have to reneg on that. Katrina slept the whole time I was gone, and swimming is actually a pretty short trip, as compared to dance class. It's in everyone's best interests that I'm in a buoyant mood all day anyway.

This afternoon I did a brief photo session again with Katrina, this time in the family room.

This closeup distorts her face, but shows her odd eye color, a sort of muddy vague gray. Gabriel's were like that too and turned into the rich brown that they are now, but I don't see any brown from the side in Katrina's eyes, as Gabriel's had, and as Julian's has now too.

This afternoon, there was about an hour when everyone in the house was asleep! Except me. Julian took a mondo nap, and Gabriel fell asleep in the little kids' chair. Thank goodness, because the boys are usually really grumpy after a sleepover night.

In today's NY Times, there's an article about the difficulty and disagreement among child psychiatrists in diagnosing mental illness in children. Recalling our less-than-satisfying experience with a child psychiatrist, I was intrigued to read that there exists a disorder called "oppositional defiant disorder." Could Gabriel have a touch of that? It's characterized by "often loses temper," "often argues with adults," "is often touchy or easily annoyed by others," "is often spiteful or vindictive." No, none of those describe Gabriel. He's just....well, oppositional and defiant!!

A attempted self-time photo from yesterday. There's never a good place or way to do these, and having a floppy, wiggly baby that requires three hands to hold in place doesn't help. Katrina is a vigorous, slippery little thing, often in constant motion when awake, and can be pretty hard to hold. I don't remember such squirminess from the boys, especially not mellow Julian. Happily, we have had some times recently when she relaxed, put her head on my shoulder and almost cuddled (though nothing like her ultra-cuddly oldest brother).

She's actually been a great deal less fussy lately, still with times when she's wailing her head off, but of course, babies do that. More and more we know why. We know enough to check her rear end every time she cries now, since she is astoundingly productive. (In fact, while everyone warns about getting peed on by boys, Katrina trumped that action with a projectile poop that travelled at least two feet to splatter my shirt!). And she's getting more soothable as well, and has lots of time during the day when she's relaxed and just looking around with a bright, wide-eyed expression. Nice baby.


Friday, November 10, 2006

11/10/06 Katrina smiles

There is no doubt in my mind. Today, after a long nap, a good nursing, and yet another clean diaper, Katrina was in a great mood and wide awake. I made a face at her and smiled, and then she smiled back at me, maintaining eye contact, rather than fading into half-sleep as she's done before. It absolutely was a responsive smile, and it was beautiful.

And I'm also certain I heard a few coo sounds today! Once I thought she said "HI!". I didn't think the adorable baby sounds came until about 8 weeks old; at least, I'm pretty sure the boys didn't make those sounds until about then. Then again, it could be the Mom Amnesia thing (essential for procreation of the species).

I don't think she counts as a newborn anymore. She's also already losing that drowsy newborn thing. The rooting reflex is just about gone too, though she still has the newborn startle reflex.

You all might be getting tired of these photo sessions, but I'm having no end of fun experimenting. Today's experiment was with colors. I love this outfit, a gift from the Rojas family (Peggy, Miranda & Co.). It's a strong pink that looks great on Katrina. I think I like strong colors best, odd since with the boys I really didn't care much, and they wore a lot of baby pastels. But now, I have years of experience with bad pictures to shape what I like!

The boys were at Tonya's this afternoon, and will be all evening for sleepover. I feel a little guilty for enjoying the day so much without them, just me and my sweet little baby, who's hardly been fussy at all. I don't feel guilty for enjoying nursing her in peace, rather than having to yank her off time and again to go peel the boys off each other.

I think the hardest thing about this three-child thing is the differences in life phases between the boys and the baby. Part of me wants to be in little-boy mode; another part wants to be in baby mode, and I can't completely commit myself to either. It's a little schizophrenic.

It might be easier if the two life phases didn't both demand my immediate attention, but at the same time the needs of those two phases are very different. And it's really more than two phases, it's three, though Gabriel and Julian are pretty close to each other in terms of their care & feeding. Perhaps too close, since their rambunctious play together causes half the trouble!

Dave and I have a nice evening planned, with a yummy dinner from Whole Foods and catching up on our Netflix movies. Baby allowing, that is.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Video experiment: Gabriel and Julian goof-dancing

Steph said Aidan and Remi thought the crummy little video of the boys kissing Katrina was funny, though I can't imagine why. Maybe this will tickle their fancy though!

Originally saved in Quicktime format:

Originally saved in MP4:

Looks to me like the Quicktime version came out better. And no wonder, it's three times the filesize. Though YouTube suggests MP4, I guess I'll do QT, for movies from my videocamera (which suffered a devastating drop in the hospital and now has screen damage). Little movies from my still camera are still relegated to AVI, which doesn't convert well either.

11/9/06 The light cube

In an attempt to be an involved and engaging mommy this afternoon, I dug out and assembled a toy Gabriel got for his birthday last year that I'd put away and forgotten about. This is a Lite Brite cube, a plastic cube with a light bulb in the middle and holes you put colored pegs into. It has templates for patterns, with a single letter recommending a color to put in that hole, which Gabriel had no trouble with (even though he'd never heard of V for Violet). The toy also came with a portable version, which Julian played with. A big hit, though I can already see trouble with the zillions of tiny pegs all over the place.

It wasn't easy getting the thing assembled and the boys to clean up enough other junk to bother, especially since this all happened during a Katrina tired-won't-sleep Fuss, but Gabriel really liked it in the end.

Katrina was great today, even with the hour in the afternoon when there was no pleasing her. She was awake throughout Julian's music class, and mostly just looked around and flailed her limbs in response to all the activity. She took a good long deep nap this afternoon, another emerging pattern. We've been having less trouble getting her to sleep after the bath too; I think she almost expects it now. Life with baby is definitely a lot easier and happier when she is too.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

11/8/2006 Katrina the no-fuss baby

Incredible. We had hours of Happy Baby Fun Time today, or really, time when Katrina sat peacefully in the bouncer or carseat just looking around. She even relaxed when I carried her around as I made dinner one-handed. What a difference a happy baby makes!

Our evening routine is evolving. I nurse her, give her a bath, then she's usually crying tired by then, and I put her to bed. Sort of. It's a process of cycles of calming her with swaddling and pacifier, usually interrupted by some awake time, then she'll relax if I lie down with her, swaddled and pacified. I wish holding her would calm her down, but it never does.

Last night she woke up pretty much every 4 hours, but she was awake for almost an hour starting at about 4:30am -- awake but calm. I can live with that.

It was a peaceful afternoon, if you include hammering, banging and sawing upstairs. Still, that's less racket and a lot more peace than the boys make together (I asked Tonya to keep Julian this afternoon so he'd nap).

I'm still determined to make up for my botched photo sessions of Katrina in the beautiful hand-knit outfit from Bonne Maman. I tried again today, with pretty good results. I'll never get the adorable pose I got the first time, but I got some adorable new ones.

Here's a short boring crummy video of what Katrina does during these photo sessions. If anyone on YouTube bothers viewing this...Anyway, to take pictures, I have to guess when she's going to hold still, and when she's going to make a cute pose. I can't imagine doing this in the old days of film and waiting days, instead of seconds, to see your picture.

Katrina does so many smile faces I really am starting to think they're real. Today she looked right at me, not drowsy at all, and beamed a full-face smile, just as I'd smiled at her. Coincidence? Perhaps, but it was delightful anyway. She does it enough that it will be hard to tell when the smiles become true responsive smiles, which start at about 6 weeks old anyway. And she's almost 5 weeks old now. Already.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

11/7/06 YouTube's newest fan

This morning I checked something quickly on YouTube, then had to go talk to the electrician. Next thing I knew, Julian was surfing YouTube, and found all sorts of little kid-friendly videos! I don't know how he full-screened the videos, nor found a skateboarding one that kept him entertained for nearly half an hour. So much for my high horse about my kids never watching videos!

Another one-wakeup night last night. I could get used to this!

I made it to the Y today, put Julian in the Childwatch, but then had to push a fussy and tired Katrina around a parking lot for 20 minutes until she relaxed and fell asleep. I even tried trotting a little -- boy am I out of shape. It'll be a while before I can really run, not that I ever did.

Katrina often cries when I put her in the carseat. Today, she got some welcome distraction from Julian showing her yesterday's preschool project. Other times, Julian tries playing peek-a-boo. What a sweet brother.

Terrific Halloween photo of me and baby! My friend Lacy is an uber-scrapper and has been honing her photography skills accordingly, and it shows.

Gabriel went on a playdate with Quinton today. Lisa (Quinton's mom) said Gabriel was pretty good, but that Quinton was naughty, trying to instigate trouble with throwing pillows off the couch, making weird sounds and motions in front of Gabriel to bug him, wrestling....GEE, sound familiar?! Naturally, Gabriel doesn't connect that he does exactly the same things.

But, thanks Lisa for a relatively calm afternoon, since Julian took a car-induced nap (transferred to the living-room couch), and I only had to deal with double-boy-duty for about 2 hours.

Which was ample time to catch them jumping on the couch and throwing toys over the fence into our neighbor's yard, and to send Gabriel to his room. I swear it seems that 95% of what I say to the boys are corrections, scoldings, directions, threats, and punishments. Brothers. Could I really have lived with another one?!


Video Test 2

This one started out as much higher quality & resolution, but YouTube's format conversion makes that pretty useless. Next to try is actual MPEG-4s, but that means using my videocamera instead of the video mode on my nice handy still camera.

Halloween at pre-K, Gabriel gets eliminated from his first musical chairs game.

Incredibly, hours after I'd posted this on YouTube, a few people not only viewed it, but commented and rated it?! Who on earth else would care about Gabriel's musical chairs?!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Video test

Attempt to embed a video from YouTube. You've seen this already: Brother Love.

Hey, it worked! Will improve resolution for next videos.

(Thanks to Charles Statman for this capital idea)

11/6/06 Bonne Maman goes home

Extra! Extra! Backhoe meets fire hydrant. Geyser on sleepy Parnell Place!

The offending backhoe (part of a repaving crew that has closed our street all week) attempts to quell the water with its bucket.

I doubt the workers were very happy about the picture-taking (or the laughing), but I couldn't resist.

Attempted a quick photo session with a reluctant Katrina to verify that I know what camera setting ruined those adorable photos with her in the hand-knit outfit. It was the ISO AUTO HI mode, which set too high an ISO level and introduced "noise" into the photo. Now I know I can get a good picture...that is, unless baby is unhappy, which she was a lot today. The background of the photo is a beautiful flannel and fleece blanket Bonne Maman made for her.

Bonne Maman flew home today, wah! Such a nice visit, and she got to spend lots of relaxed time with her grandchildren in their home setting. And we got a lot of nice time together too. During the five days, Katrina's outlook on life improved a little bit each day, making everything so much easier for everyone.

Last night took some doing to get baby to sleep at 11:30, but then she didn't wake up until 5:30! And then went right back to sleep after nursing. Yay! But of course I know better than to think this marks a trend.

Today in the car, Gabriel was listening as a campaign ad aired on the radio, and he said, " (something I couldn't make out) for trying to win. I think there's a race!" You got it kid!

(Don't politicians know that the sure-fire way to get elected is to run on a platform of "I don't do automated telephone campaign messages"?)

Much upstairs remodeling progress (new doors arrived and being installed, electrician almost done), but that also means lots of contractors traipsing around the house. I'm so looking forward to having my house back.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

11/5/06 Katrina at one month

One month old today! Already!

This baby is growing so fast I'm not sure what to do. At this rate, she'll outgrow the bassinet before our upstairs is done enough to put the crib in! Weeks ago, a size 1 diaper seemed absurdly huge; now they're essential. I'm digging into 3-6 month sized clothes I'd dismissed as unusable for months yet. It almost seems like she's bumping up against the head support thing in the carseat too.

What a great break for the whole family: a wonderful night and morning! Katrina woke up at midnight, 4am, 6:45am and 10am; nursed and went right back to sleep each time. I stayed in bed until 9am! Better yet, Gabriel got up and colored quietly for two hours, and Julian didn't get up until 8:30am. It was all peace and harmony around here this morning. Ah.

We stopped Gabriel just as he was setting Julian up for a "haircut" today, kid-scissors in hand, ready to snip!

Mom and I took the boys (and girl) to Ortega Park to ride bicycles this afternoon.

This was fun, but wow, I can really appreciate the effort Stacey put in chasing two bicycles and a tricycle when she took her kids and Gabriel! I had to remind Gabriel many times not to get out of sight, and a few times he took off deliberately, instigating Julian to follow.

But for the most part, they rode around happily, together and apart, including setting up a "race" on a horseshoe court. They had such a great time and got in lots of riding.

For this outing, it's essential to have two adults, one to watch the baby and one to keep track of the boys.

Then we stopped for a snack under the big rotunda in this park, a striking and unusual feature. It's a popular place for tai chi groups in the mornings.

Katrina mostly slept through the whole outing, but woke up as the boys were having a snack. And happy! She was very active looking around sitting in my lap, and Bonne Maman's lap also.

And she cooperated for another group photo session, though her brothers weren't quite so good.

I like bicycle outings, I hope we can do lots of them. Though I had to run after the boys a lot, at least I *can* run now!

Bonne Maman flies home tomorrow, wah!