Thursday, March 15, 2007

3/15/07 Park time

Aunt Stephanie sent this wonderful "Animal Boogie" song book and CD with illustrations and lyrics, that is absolutely adorable, and the boys LOVE it.

But you'd never know it looking at this boring video clip! The humor is in the inactivity -- this cute song that you're supposed to shake, stomp, leap and fly to, and the boys just sit like complete couch potatoes listening to it.

What you don't see is that they were running around, shouting and out of control before I put the music on -- then they scrambled up to the couch, opened the book, and listened intently, immobile, faithfully turning each page with each new verse.

This afternoon we had some much-needed quiet time when Julian and Katrina both took a nap. Gabriel entertained himself with the Animal Boogie book, quietly singing the song to himself as he read the book. I managed a candid capture of this sweet scene.

Gabriel really amazes me with his ability and desire to entertain himself. He'll play like this for hours, building things, reading, talking through stories he makes up. It actually makes me feel guilty, especially this week. I've been overwhelmed with a mounting sleep debt, a grouchy baby in the afternoon, plus other family worries back East, and really haven't been engaging Gabriel in the precious time we have alone together in the afternoons. Instead, I've been relying on his remarkable independence. I know this won't harm him long-term, but I feel an intense tug of wanting to make the most of our few remaining months together before he becomes a genuine schoolkid.

Yesterday afternoon, I was playing with Katrina on our bed, and singing with Julian: "There were five in the bed and the little one said, 'Roll over, Roll over,' so they all rolled over and one fell out!" At the word "out," I'd give her a tiny nudge so she'd complete a rollover, which sent Julian into peals of laughter, and made her laugh too. We did this many times, and at the time I noticed that Julian has gotten really good at singing along.

Today in music class, we did that same song, and I was absolutely amazed at Katrina's reaction. She flailed her arms and smiled and made gurgly noises -- I swear she recognized it from our games yesterday! Is that possible at 5 months old?! She was very engaged and happy in music class today, but definitely responded to the Roll Over song.

Someone also observed in music class today that she's "weight-bearing." I hadn't heard that term before, but indeed, she'll support herself standing for a minute now, of course with help balancing by holding her hands. That's new as of a few days ago. It won't be long before the predictions of early walking will start to pour in, but we have her older older brother as a perfect counterexample to that. Gabriel was weight-bearing starting at around 2 months old, and was standing quite well around 7 months old, with help balancing. Did that mean skipping crawling, and early walking?! Hah! Not even close!

Unfortunately, driving back from music class, Katrina fell asleep in the car. I think my great luck with transferring my first two babies from the car to a crib is shot here, because even fast asleep, she still will not rest her head on my shoulder. What is wrong with this baby?! So of course she wakes up, and that was it. No morning nap at all. Urgh!! So I putzed around at home, cursing my plight, then decided to drag us all to Trader Joe's.

On the way, impulsively, I drove by a nearby park to see if the 2004 Las Madres group still has Thursday morning playgroup there. Yes! Talk about turning water into wine -- a chore I was dreading turned into a delightful visit and park play.

Julian had loads of fun playing with Andrew and Gina. Every time I looked for him, he was running happily after one of them, laughing his head off. Ultimately he played with Andrew more, as few kids can keep up with Gina for long.

Meantime, Katrina lounged happily in the stroller with her feet in the air, smiling at everything.

It made me feel guilty yet again, since both Julian and Katrina had a grand time being outside. When Gabriel was a baby, I took him to parks all the time. Now it's a downright rare occasion. I've got to change that, especially since the parks around here are so, so good. Maybe fewer scheduled activities and more park playgroups

I also got to practice photographing one of my favorite faces, belonging to this amazingly agreeable baby with the most compelling eyes. I'm just in love with this little guy.

It wasn't as hard an afternoon as they've been this week, even though I had a big deadline because of skating tonight. I made some breakthroughs in practice today, marvelling at how skating reminds me of my high school gymnastics days when you're working on a particular move, have an epiphany followed by the joy of "I DID IT!!" Dance is a little more incremental, you don't have specific tricks that you either do or don't do. Today the tiniest weight shift turned a clumsy flailing into a passable 3-point turn (I think that's what it's called), in which you transition from skating forward to backward, on one foot. Now if I can mirror that to the other one foot...!

Only a few grownup skating classes left in this session. Wah! I'm just getting started! But I'm also getting anxious to take dance again, and swim. Dare I think about my future in increments of more than five minutes?


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