Saturday, December 16, 2006

12/16/06 Gabriel and Julian go to a Holiday Party

I picked Gabriel and Julian up at Tonya's today from Sleepover, but first, we stayed for Tonya's Christmas party. Santa was supposed to show up to give out gifts, but cancelled, so Tonya's daughters did the honors.

Gabriel got a Darth Vader Mr. PotatoHead set, and Julian got a take-apart truck (which was of great interest to Gabriel too, unfortunately). Katrina stayed at home with Dad, for once not having to be roused out of a comfy nap to get dragged around after her brothers.

At one point, I said something to Gabriel about Santa coming to the party, and Gabriel asked, "you mean the real one?!"

The boys were in true form back at home, with Julian being edgy and Gabriel being a major pest. But we got it under control when we got Julian up for a nap, and Dave took Gabriel out shopping for a birthday present for Julian. This is another problem with Julian's awful birthday date -- normally it'd be fun to shop for him, but combined with Christmas-shopping crowds, and common toys being out of stock, it's no fun. This is why I sent Dave to do the dirty work!

Katrina photos from yesterday, a short experimental shoot.

She had me up twice last night, which I've gotten un-used to! Lately it's been just once a night, but of course I always know things can change. I also don't sleep well with her right next to me because she's a very noisy and agitated sleeper, and every little peep or snuffle sets off the Mom-smoke-detector in my head and wakes me up. She's a very wiggly baby, rarely just sitting and relaxing in your lap, always moving her limbs. And even when asleep, she's in constant motion.

I've been experiencing a new guilt about being an older mom. For some reason, this bothers me more with a daughter than sons, I guess because I think she'll care more. I remember watching my mother as a little girl, and adoring her as a beautiful angel, the one to look up to and be like, whose perfume I'd wear someday (Fiji!), whose clothes I'd wear, who was my model as the perfect woman (the innocent days before girls looked up to starving supermodels, I guess). But how can Katrina look at me like that, when I'll be more of a grandmotherly figure? Later, she'll miss out on years of having her mother in her life, as an active, independent, close family member to visit and talk to and be with. Instead, I'll be an elderly parent to care for. When she's my age, I'll be pushing **90** !! Even now, I feel the tug of wanting to be a grownup, of seeing my golden years not far on the horizon -- a very different phase of life than nursing a 10-week-old baby. Gabriel and Julian...somehow, I just don't imagine that they're going to care or think about it the same way. Perhaps that's sexist of me.

I know it's silly to fret about it, because of all things in life I can do little about, it's my age. Everyone assures me that people live longer, healthier lives now, and especially me since I've always been committed to exercise and have a lot of energy. But if anything will age me fast, it's my kids!


Friday, December 15, 2006

12/15/06 Sleepover

Sleepover night -- no boys today and tonight!

So, dinner & a movie tonight.

And baby oogling.

But, no fighting. No throwing. No rude talk. No screaming. No crying. No messes.

Just peace.


There will be h*ll to pay tomorrow.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

12/14/06 Technology

Our Internet connection has stunk for a few weeks now! It hangs up for a few seconds to a few minutes, and ping tests show dropped packets during those hangups. Comcast has been here and verified that there's no inside wiring problem, and referred our complaint to "network". Meaning, black hole.

So, we ordered DSL yesterday. Ironic!

Now that we have a new phone/answering system, I ordered Caller ID and Call Waiting Caller ID. I love this! Why have we lived this long without it?! I'll be call-screening a whole lot less now. Turns out, my cordless headset phone that I've had for years supports Caller ID.

Gabriel: Great today. He asked me tonight if he gets a gold star, and I said yes. He doesn't need to actually see a gold star, he's happy with just being told that he earned one.

Gabriel spent much of the afternoon working on a fairly difficult puzzle, taking his characteristic order to a new level. First, he started with the upper left corner and then put all the edge pieces in place clockwise until he had the outline. Then, he filled in the inner pieces in the same order, solving the puzzle in a spiral pattern. I swear, that kid....

Julian: Decent today. Darling in music class, and very agreeable about a living-room nap this afternoon. A real pest later when it was time for him to leave the office, and he got in big trouble for grabbing some papers off Dave's desk and "tossing" them.

Katrina: Perfect. Her long stretch of sleep was from 11pm to 5am last night, yay! I took her and Julian to the Y's Childwatch, and left her there awake. She didn't fuss much, and went to sleep in a swing. She was fascinated and completely adorable at music class, then napped much of the afternoon. When awake, she was all beams and smiles. She's stopped crying in the bath, and loves it when I float her around the bathtub ("floaties," holding up her head). She sure is a wiggly baby though, rarely relaxing and snuggling on my shoulder, full of vim and vigor. (What is vim, anyway? I could use some!)

I absolutely HATE having to rouse Katrina when she's just settled in for a comfy long nap, for the 5 minutes it takes to pick up Gabriel from pre-K. I just need someone here for a few minutes, but instead I have to disrupt both Katrina and Julian. The days I pick Julian up at 5:30pm, I often have the same problem twice. This poor baby gets run around like crazy, and that's with me pretty much staying home after 2pm or so.

Julian too -- he was happily working on a puzzle, for nearly an hour, when I had to drag him away today to get Gabriel. Without Gabriel around to distract him, Julian's concentration on a single task is remarkable for an-almost-3-year-old. It's easy to forget that when you live with an attention span and focus like Gabriel's though.

No photos today, again. How did that happen?!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12/13/06 All healed

Today I had one final OB appointment, to check on my surgery incision. Amazing how fast things heal without foreign objects! Though the incision is still visible, it's not painful and is much smaller. Finally, I can really put the whole pregnancy and its physical aftermath behind me.

At the doctor's office, I found something interesting on the wall. What's that? A photo of me and Katrina?! No, just a mirror. It was entertaining trying to keep the camera out of the picture.

Katrina in a beautiful toile-like outfit, a gift from Dave's former manager and his wife. Unfortunately, baby was tired and grumpy at the time, so no cute faces.

Katrina technically slept through the night again, if you count 11:30 - 6am as "through the night."

Tonya kept Julian all day, so I had a nice relaxed afternoon with Gabriel, welcome after a hectic morning of cleaners, painters, and appointments. Gabriel and I set up the lights on the Christmas tree, as well as the mantle garland and the few other paltry decorations we have.

At one point, out of the blue, he told me, "I love it when you call me 'hugabug' Mom!" 'Hugabug' is my nickname for him. We got talking about nicknames, and he asked me what my nickname is. I told him that he can make one up, and he said, "Ok...Basket!" Yeah, Basket Case is more like it.

We took a "pajama trip" to Redwood City to drop Dave's car off at the "car doctor" for scheduled maintenance tonight, meaning all three kids were bathed and in pajamas for the ride there and back. That made us think: when my car needs service, we'll have to figure out how to make Dave's car work for all three kids. But we will. To think, we were shopping SUVs and even looked at a minivan when we knew we were going to have three carseats, thinking it was impossible to get three carseats into the Outback. Not only did we do it, but Betsy even found carseats narrow enough to squeeze two of them (
Sunshine Kids Radian 65), plus an infant seat into the back of her Saturn wagon, one of the few wagons even narrower than my Outback. So we'll figure it out.

Last music class tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

12/13/06 Yoga Day

I went to a yoga class this morning at the Y!

It was a lot different than prenatal yoga. I think partly because it's at the Y and not at a yoga studio, it was lighthearted, the teacher cracked jokes, and there wasn't any spiritual stuff or scented mists or bell chiming or Oms or anything. He teaches it very technically, which I like.

Still, yoga is about concentration, breathing and relaxing; none of which I could do well when the class ended at 11:40am. I knew that Katrina was running out of time in the Childwatch, and I still had to get home, give Julian lunch, nurse Katrina, call Carol Capper, take a shower, and maybe eat something myself -- all before picking Gabriel up at 1pm! Not conducive to letting my mind go.

I left the yoga class early to go to the fitness area to do a more intensive workout. "Intense" in my poor shape means I have to really work hard to last 5 minutes running on a treadmill. Blah. Still, doing weights, abs and stretching felt great because of the 50 minutes of yoga.

My friend Carol Capper has a swing she wanted to get rid of, so I picked it up after picking Gabriel up from pre-K.

Yesterday, I had a horrifying moment that made me want to find something else to put Katrina in when I'm in the kitchen. Gabriel was playing on the couch, and Katrina was in the bouncer on the floor in the family room. I left the kitchen for a minute or two, and came back to find a pillow over Katrina's face. Gabriel had been playing some game of putting a pillow on her head and it fell. The shock that rings through your body when you see a pillow on your baby's was awful. I thought I could trust Gabriel around her, but clearly I can't. It wasn't malicious, just stupid 4-year-old stuff.

After I gathered myself, I talked to him very seriously, without getting angry, about never, ever putting anything on baby's face. He still got mad at me and acted pissy for about an hour.

It so happened that Carol offered me the swing the same day, and I quickly accepted. But, the swing wasn't inside for two minutes before I remembered why our last swing got little use: it's greatly fascinating to older kids, who will swing it, pull on it, climb it, play with the buttons, and generally create numerous hazards to a baby. I suspect I'll only be able to use it when the boys aren't around.

Julian needs a haircut.

His hair is getting mop-toppy, though I think it's pretty cute. I took a few experimental photos of him with a light right behind him -- one of the few times I actually prefer the flash version of the photo!

And look at those lips...I've always thought he has a gorgeous mouth.

I've found a way to sometimes break Gabriel out of one of his stupid states, whether it's being unbearably rude, or his new "victim" state (in which he creates a scenario to scream and cry and say he wants something): the camera! I haven't been able to take any video of him following me around being rude, because he runs away as soon as I pull out the camera. Yay! Today, taking pictures got him goofing around on my chair got him out of victim mode after a timeout.

The painters are here. This will mean many more days of contractors traipsing around the house, Julian not taking naps upstairs, having to keep the family room clear, no privacy, much noise...but it's the last big thing before we're down to nits. Is it possible we'll actually, finally, move back upstairs?! I'm starting to forget we ever did live up there.


Monday, December 11, 2006

12/11/06 Katrina "sleeps through the night"

Technically, Katrina slept through the night last night! "Technically" is the keyword here, because being woken up at 5am is still being woken up.

Still, last night, my 9-week-old baby slept from about 9pm to 5am, a solid 9 hours. A fluke? I don't think so. She won't necessarily do that every night, but she's been pretty consistent about only waking up once, or twice if you count 11pmish, and mostly going right back to sleep. I haven't had to pace her around in the wee hours in weeks!

I've been jotting down the time she nurses, because I'm so discombobulated I can never remember -- even just an hour after nursing! And, if it's less than two hours after nursing, she doesn't nurse well at all. In that case, if she cries, she's almost certainly just tired, and almost always goes right to sleep if I put her down.

But noting her nursing times is instructive and interesting. Today's times were almost exactly 3 hours apart -- her times, not mine. Yesterday, it was more like every 2 hours (hungry girl!). Though this consistent pattern presents dilemmas sometimes, like if we need to go out 1-1/2 hours after nursing, for the most part, it makes doing and planning things much, much easier.

The hardest time to get her to sleep is in the evening. That's too bad, because I have this wild idea of going out for two hours on Thursday nights. Which means Dave would have to get the boys *and* Katrina to bed on his own. That's a lot to ask of anyone (well, except Peggy).

But I am going to do my utmost to get our evening/dinner routine in shape to make it as easy as possible. Because a new 13-week session of ice-skating lessons starts January 11th, and I want to be there!

12/11/06 (no photos today)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

12/10/06 O Christmas Tree

We called it right on Julian sleeping in the living room last night. First, he woke up crying complaining about his ear hurting. Then, not 15 minutes later, he woke up throwing up (including the Motrin we gave him for his ear, I could smell the grape) all over his makeshift living-room bed. Poor kid! And YUK! It was a half-hour cleanup job all told (kid, PJs, bedding, floor, parents...).

Fortunately, he seems fine today, and no complaints about his ear. The hard part has been not feeding him, but we managed to hold him off with a little bit of Cream of Wheat and some bread and some Pedialyte this morning.

I found a great way to distract Julian during breakfast! I was anxious to get out and do a brisk walk or maybe even jog a little (even though I'm a terrible runner). So, I took Julian out in the jogging stroller around the neighborhood. But, just as I was about to set out, I had an epiphany:


Standing up on the rollerblades, it felt different than it ever had. What gives? Ah -- ice skating lessons! The few skating lessons I had this year made ALL the difference. I could maneuver, move backward, propel myself, and best of all, STOP. A whole new world has been opened up! I'm still no skater of course, but at least I'm not flailing my arms like a sideways helicopter anymore, and that was with the support of the jogging stroller!

I took Julian around the neighborhood, skating as fast as I could, which wasn't very fast with the rough asphalt. I stopped at a dead end and tested my crossovers (gone!). Julian had a great time, and wasn't home to see Gabriel and Dave chowing down on eggs and toast.

I was euphoric for hours after my skate, and have new determination to take more ice skating lessons. I told myself: remember this moment today, even if the worst of Gabriel emerges again tonight. You had a GREAT moment today.

Gabriel? What Gabriel? An angel floated down and quantum-leaped into my bristly little boy's body today. He's been sweet, cooperative, charming, even adorable, all day. My, is he easy to love when he's like this.

The magazines would all say "positive reinforcement!" but I don't need that advice. It's so easy to hug him and tell him I love him and how happy he makes me, when he's so...well, when he's...well, not him. That sounds wrong, but I'm not sure how else to say it! Actually, he was very much "him" -- applying his characteristic focus and determination and enthusiasm to being sweet and wonderful, like he was plunging himself into a project. I told him many times how proud Dad and I were of him for being SO good, and how happy he makes me, and what a good kid he is. He beamed.

Gabriel spent much of the day setting up a "loop-de-loop" train track, even cleaning up the rest of the family room to make room for it. He's ready for a more sophisticated track-building system.

We went to Home Depot this afternoon to get our Christmas tree. I managed to temper my disappointment about missing the mountains with happiness about getting our tree at all. It's always fun to get a Christmas tree. We got a really nice, full, lush one for $24. It's up in the living room, but not decorated yet. (After all, I'm too busy typing about it!)

I didn't go to the Las Madres 2004 group's holiday party today, as I'd planned. Julian's tummy, Julian's need for a good nap, Katrina's crying at last week's party, and Gabriel's being older than most of the kids, plus spending the day getting and setting up our tree instead, all said: stay home. I love those parties, so I hated missing it, but Sunday evenings are a stretch for us anyway.

While moving things around the living room to set up for the tree, I had an opportunity to photograph Katrina in a great mood. Between her overall, shirt and the quilt background, it's quite the confluence of clashing patterns!

I also experimented with an ultra-close closeup. Too close; the camera couldn't focus well inches from her face. Here's the best I got.

I'm pretty sure we had a tough day yesterday, but thanks to today I've already forgotten about it.

12/10/2006 (Happy 30th birthday to cousin Jason today! I've not seen him since he was 12 years old, but when he was a child I sent him birthday cards every year. I always think about him on December 10th.)