Sunday, August 12, 2007

8/12/07 Double run

Last night when we returned from our "date night," some toys had mysteriously appeared on our doorstep. I had a good idea what this was about (hand-me-downs), and then an even better idea: hide the little hammer that came with a cute castle toy with balls to push down.

Sure enough, the boys were drawn right to the toddler toy like it had a tractor beam. It's a perfect toy for a very young toddler or a baby on the edge of becoming a toddler, but a 5-year-old starting kindergarten? I mean, really!

Naturally, this presented a fabulous opportunity for more fighting and discovery of inequities. Somehow the yellow ball had more value than the red one, and the battles only devolved from there.

However, I'm happy to report that the boys direct all their antagonism at each other. When I remind them that it's *Katrina's* toy and stick her in the fray, they mostly help her play with it, in their overbearing sort of way. She seems to understand the concept of putting a ball in a tower, though you have to push the ball down through the tower, and that she doesn't get yet.

The boys were driving us insane today, running around screeching in circles so much that Dave and I could barely exchange a few words, like to try to figure out what to do that afternoon. There was no shortage of things we each wanted to do, with various combinations of kids, but it was painfully difficult to talk to each other and make it work.

Finally, we managed to form a plan: I'd take the younger two running, and Dave would take Gabriel to buy a bicycle. Not for Gabriel, for Dave, since Gabriel rides much too fast now to keep track of on foot, and he's ready for bigger and better things than going around the block.

My master plan has succeeded!!! Before we ever had kids, I imagined that kids would finally get him exercising, that kids would force us to get out and do young and athletic things. So Dave got a bicycle, and I went running. (I think we'd have been quite happy going wine-tasting too, sitting down on a shaded patio overlooking the valley with a cheese and fruit plate.)

Somehow, I pushed Julian and Katrina in the doubler jogger. I did the flattest route there is at Rancho San Antonio, one that Sonia routinely does with a double jogger (and heavier kids), so in theory, this was doable. And in practice, it was too.

But hoo boy, those usually-kind uphills were tough. I was just barely keeping a running gait, but fell far short of a running pace. Still, if workout is what I was after, workout I got. But when I run, it's not workout I'm after. It's spirit-lifting, perspective-shifting, musing, mood management. All the logistics of a jogging stroller and two young children is counter to that, but being outdoors and surrounded by trees and hills, you can't help but to feel some revitalization.

I chatted with Julian a little, between gasps for air as I struggled up the hills. And inbetween Katrina's loud "aahhhhHHHH" sounds. She always has her feet in the air, silly baby.

Silly baby has really thrown me for a loop this weekend with naps. Amend to: without naps. Both days, only one nap. Both days, several attempts at naps at around the usual times and given the usual signs of needing a nap, but both days, only one so-so nap right around the middle of the day.

This sucks in a few ways. One, I'm not ready for her to drop a nap. Two, she's not ready to drop a nap; she's tired and high-maintenance and edgy all day. Three, Julian has daycamp next week, which means 12:30pm pickups every day, which is suddenly smack dab in the middle of the naptime she did take this weekend. I can't express how much I don't want to spend all afternoon with a baby who really really needs a nap but won't take one.

Sometimes it's overwhelming. I try not to think about how different my life would be with just the two boys. I already think of myself as transitioning to life with little kids, instead of babies and toddlers, but the moment I think of it that way, I remember: oh yeah, I'm still nursing an infant. The doubts and regrets I had about having a 3rd child while I was pregnant have come to bear almost exactly. It's futile thinking, since here we are, but sometimes it creeps in anyway. People do this on purpose? Of course, there are many times -- more times, in fact -- that I feel grateful and amazed that I have three children. And I know this pressure is short-term, that the sense of being crushed under the demands eases every month as the baby matures. But moments of reflection and a broader perspective are few and far between, and hard-won, when I'm pulled on so constantly and so hard.

18 months....18 months is when a corner is turned. And somewhere between 2 and 3, you start to come up for air. I'll take a very deep breath then.


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