Wednesday, August 22, 2007

8/22/07 The Opening

Today the biggest Whole Foods in the West (no kidding!) opened in Cupertino. It's huge, and has a "bistro," space for cooking classes, and a greatly expanded produce section, including a large section for Asian produce. I can't wait to see it! We needed some staples anyway, so I packed up the bunch. Suspecting it might be crowded, I still thought we'd drive by it to see if we could squeeze in a check-it-out visit.

For-GET it! I couldn't even get into the parking lot! And I've never seen so many pedestrians on trafficky, noisy, busy Stevens Creek Blvd. It's already a real stretch taking 3 kids grocery-shopping; going to the opening day at a brand-new Whole Foods is insane.

So we bailed to Trader Joe's, always a worthwhile alternative. A nice manager there asked me if the kids had been good enough for balloons, and before I could signal behind the boys' backs "NOOOOOO!!!" the damage had been done. In fact, the boys had never behaved better, and certainly deserved a reward. But please, stickers!

Even before we got in the car, they were batting the balloons at each others' heads. Then I had to untie the balloons from their wrists and untangle the ribbons to get their carseat straps on. Then I had to confine all 3 balloons to the wagon back, so they wouldn't flap around in the car and block my view, against loud protests from the boys. Then I had to get the balloons out of the car without losing them, already toting 3 bags of groceries and a very grouchy demanding baby. Then Gabriel kept taking Julian's balloon, stirring up pitiful wails that just couldn't be ignored. Then they fought over Katrina's balloon. Then the boys pulled the balloons all around the house, constantly getting in my face or getting in the way in the kitchen. Then I banished the balloons upstairs, to new choruses of cries, threats ("if you put my balloon upstairs, I'm going to....") and insults ("you're STUPID mommy!").

On balance, the crowds at Whole Foods were looking mighty good as compared to those confounded balloons.

After Gabriel recovered from the balloon banishing, he went outside and played quietly until dinnertime. Turns out, he was quite busy building a dirt road. He couldn't understand it when we explained to him that we went through a lot of effort to pave the pathway so that we didn't have to walk in dirt.

Katrina is little fun to feed these days. There are moments when she's semi-content, when you've hit upon the right item to shove in her mouth, and the acceptable pace at which to do it. But the Fuss, and the accompanying shrieky whine is always brimming, ready to be unleashed at the slightest blip.

Tonight I got lucky with a quinoa-broccoli-chicken combination, but she kept grabbing the spoon and knocking food everywhere. Finally I remembered that at some point with the boys, I had to give them their own spoon to hold to keep their hands busy. So I gave her a spoon to hold, and then it occurred to me to try to show her how to use it. Right away, she protested and pushed my hand away, but I managed somehow to guide the spoon with a little food into her mouth.

It was amazing. She stopped, looked at me squarely in the eye, held my gaze for a moment, then a broad smile lit up her whole face. "Ah-HAH!" she was saying. "I can do this MYSELF!!!" After that, she made serious efforts at putting the spoon into the bowl, scooping, and then putting it into her mouth. Her coordination was all over the place; she has no idea how to do it, but it was clear she was understood the sequence. Julian was 12 months old when he started to spoon his own yogurt; maybe she'll take after him on this one.

Katrina takes after Gabriel on other counts though, and that is the giggly, delighted, determined, repeated crawling toward trouble. I don't know what it is about my computer's power button that attracts babies so much. It's small, and only has a tiny sliver of a green light, and has obstacles in front of it, but she seems to know that this is a high-impact thing to play with. No amount of moving her to the other end of the house or distracting her with a new object made her forget it. As I was preparing dinner, I could hear the delighted trouble-giggle as she made her way back to the office again and again. Just like Gabriel and stairs.....oh NO!

From one milestone to the is starting to spoon food, and another is starting....KINDERGARTEN!


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