Thursday, May 03, 2007

5/3/07 Room to grow

Today we went to "Erin's house" for a little birthday gathering for Danielle, who's cared for Erin since just before Erin's twin sisters were born. A perfect excuse for some kid backyard play, mom-yak-time, and pizza and cupcakes. It doesn't get more wholesome than that.

Julian with Erin, Kate and Quinton.

I didn't get the shot where he was sitting at the table with only the girls, entertaining Kate by showing her half-chewed mouthfuls of food, complete with vomit sound effects. According to Kate, this performance was hilarious.

Katrina got to experience her first piece of furniture dedicated to the function of high-chair-ness (as opposed to the portable strap-on type she and her brothers have had to stoop to). As you can see, there's quite a bit of room to grow.

"Room To Grow." That's Katrina, all right. RTG. The story of her short life. I think that'll be a title for a scrapbook page.

Katrina didn't do so well at her weight check appointment today. She's 13 lbs 10 oz, having put on a mere 2 oz ("essentially nothing" said the doc) since her 6-month appointment, and that's with eating solids 2-3 times a day, no eating issues, no illnesses. She's slid from 10th percentile to 5th, and is close to falling off the chart. Even Gabriel waited until 9 months old to do that.

Fortunately, our pediatricians are not alarmists, and since all other health indicators and developmental milestones are fine, the pediatrician said it's almost certainly just genetics, especially with a brother who had the same pattern. If her growth rate (and I do emphasize rate since her actual weight is within normal bounds) continues to drop off, in a few months they might consider some testing, as there can be other reasons babies don't put on weight. But the odds of that are very low.

Offhand I believe Katrina is the healthiest of the bunch so far in life, despite -- or perhaps because of? -- her increased exposure. Perhaps because of her petiteness, I realized today that I perceive her as being more fragile than Gabriel or Julian at this age. I doubt she really is, but I don't think I'm as rough with her. Also, I'm not sure I'd still say she's an ultra-energetic baby anymore, with a lot more calm moments. Still very wiggly to hold though.

Though I doubt I deserve it, I need more time off from children and babies. I'm just not a good mom some days. Many some days. Some days I lose my patience with the boys so easily that I can't stand to look at myself in the mirror. Today was like that, even though I had a fair amount of grownup time: an hour at the Y this afternoon, and a nice coffee-cheesecake-catchup with Betsy.

There's really no reason I couldn't go back to work full-time and put them all in childcare. Millions of people do it all the time. Most Dads do it without a second thought. So why don't I? Wouldn't I be happier? Or would guilt and the sense of failure drown out the relief? Shouldn't I be able to take this? I'm their mother for Pete's sake. I'm supposed to adore them, be devoted to their health and joy, relish every instant with them, guide them thoughtfully with just the right touch of freedom to explore. Why is it so much easier to do that when I'm away from them? Why can I love them so completely when I'm looking at a picture, yet be so quickly irritated when I see the same scene in real life? What is wrong with me?! Maybe I'm just not cut out for the day-in-day-outs of little children, yet I love them fiercely. Just like my own dad.

I think I'll do what I often do when wracked with guilt and ambivalence: sneak into the boys' room as they're sleeping, and give them a hug and a kiss, so I can love them at their most lovable. Then tuck their blankets around them even if they don't need it.


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