Tuesday, June 26, 2007

6/26/07 A clean-up day

Gabriel started a new swim class today! At a new swim school, DACA. Actually, it's not new; I took him there once, before they moved, when he was a baby, and hated it.

But now, it's great. It's closeby, the pools are well set up for teaching kids and letting parents watch, and the office seems to be pretty organized (even though I'm not crazy about the registration system, which involves leaving a voicemail and they call you back), they have a deck supervisor to answer questions, direct people to classes, get things, and keep things moving along. I guess some people must be pretty fond of cramming things in, because DACA starts swim lessons at, are you sitting down, 6:30 AM!! Though some might argue that Gabriel's 8:30am lesson is pushing it.

Gabriel liked his lesson, partly because the water was warm. He also really liked the basketball at the end, in which the teacher holds a hoop on a floating stand, and the kids throw a basket into it. I'm not sure what this has to do with swimming, but all the kids I saw in classes liked it.

I had the day "off" from kids today, other than Gabriel's swim lesson (and I really enjoy spending that time alone with him; he was so happy too). Good thing, because I was still rattled from a scary day yesterday. That's how bad I felt: it was downright frightening. I guess I've never had a migraine and a fever at the same time -- not a good combination.

But, going to bed at essentially 8pm, after resting from 2pm on except for only the most critical childcare tasks, and sleeping all night, seems to have taken care of it. I was still weak and tired this morning, so much so that I was planning to skip ballet class (a new Tuesday staple). But at the last minute I decided to go, mostly because the headache wasn't gone, and getting out and doing things can really help. (Serious migraine sufferers can't go out at all, so I'm grateful.) After pushing myself through class, a sound nap and something to eat (after not a bite yesterday), had me good to go. In fact, I got a fair amount done this afternoon. But at dinnertime, I could feel the headache creeping back, and it's barely holding at bay now. That actually scares me now, instead of making me mad.

One thing I did today was sort through my very oldest boxes of junk, the few that survived a flood in the basement of our house in Brooklyn. Most of it was "why on earth did I keep this?" stuff, but when I stored it, I hadn't led nearly as much of a life yet. Still, I came across a few priceless items. One was an autobiography, amusing for someone still in high school, but it must have been an assignment from my English teacher, Frank McCourt. I also found some written thoughts about my future as a writer, and mentioned again encouragement from Mr. McCourt.

(If the name sounds familiar, that's because Frank McCourt later wrote a memoir about his childhood in Ireland, called Angela's Ashes, which won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a poor movie. But I'll always remember him for asking the class, "So. What did you have for dinner last night?")

Another funny thing I found was a bunch of folded-up notes that I inexplicably kept, several of thousands I passed with my friends in high school, often during class, and most often with my friend Liza. Nowadays, kids text-message each other instead of passing notes, but oh, how much must be lost in the medium -- the goofy handwriting, the little doodles, drawings and symbols, the emphases, the playful formatting (like writing the whole note in a spiral), the color of the pens, or even the type of paper (Liza and I had a thing for writing each other notes on graph paper).

I threw away most everything, but kept a few of these notes, as a reminder to myself for when Katrina is in high school of what goes through a teenage girls' mind. Frankly, it's very, very little. I doubt that what goes through teenage boys' mind is sufficient to fill a 3x5 index card. In fact, it probably requires only 3 letters. And you all know which three.

And I sent an amusing sampling of these notes to Liza, who now lives in Minnesota, an environmental attorney whose own daughter who must be 10 or 11 by now. With a letter, hand-written on graph paper.

Fast-forward 25 years....Katrina has learned a few new tricks. She's starting to bang two objects together, taking great delight in the sounds she makes. She's figured out how to push herself backward when she's sitting, sliding on her skinny little rear end. And, I think, she's starting to imitate. She makes this sound and waves her hand, so she started it, but if Gabriel starts it, then she'll do it too.

I captured a bit of all three of them doing this (see Katrina in the mirror). The first of a chorus!

Katrina's in good hands at Tonya's, as Tonya's daughters like holding babies. When I arrived to pick them up today, Tonya's middle daughter was holding Katrina, and they were both having a grand time. Julian was playing out front with Tonya's younger daughter, showing off his artwork for the day.

Oh heaven help me, I can feel this headache coming back. When I die, I want my brain donated to migraine research. Let them pick through what's left of it after raising three children, and maybe find what is miswired to cause this cruelty. To think, mine are mild.


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