Thursday, September 27, 2007

9/27/07 Picking up

Welcome Back Parents Night.
Back to School Night.
PTA Family Picnic.
Chicken Dance.
Fall Festival.
PE Day.
Library Book Day.
Friday Folder.
Weekly Homework.
Reading Log.
Sharing Day.
Student of the Week.
PTA donation.
School donation.
Class donation.
Classroom supplies donation.
Fall fundraiser.
Volunteer Days.
Halloween Parade.
Parent-teacher meeting days.
Reflections Program art contest.
Early Tuesdays.
Kindergarten Half Days.
No school on Staff Learning Day....

Oh Lordy, revive me! And that's just from a few weeks for one kindergartner, at a relatively undemanding school (no required classroom aiding, for instance), and for me, a mom who's avoiding involvement as much as possible, unlike my Good Mom friends who volunteer and fundraise and pick up their children from school.

No wonder I feel like I have a day off tomorrow. It simply can't be done without Google Calendar.

Gabriel's school district is closed tomorrow for one of several special learning days for the teachers. Tomorrow's Staff Learning Day is to discuss three approaches to teaching social studies: text path, digital path, and active path. I am not making this up.

I had another day alone with Julian today, since Katrina was at Tonya's all day for the last time, a remnant from the summer. Or is it? I couldn't believe how much I got done today, much of which revealed how behind I've gotten on other things. This darned running habit so far sucks up all my baby-free time on MWF mornings. I'm not sure how "real" runners with full-time jobs juggle this; "real" runs take a lot of time. Maybe I'm just too slow. Anyway, I think I'll keep Katrina at Tonya's for another month, since we're on notice from our architect to start picking "finishes," which means flooring, sinks, countertops, windows, etc, now, and that's a lot of work, time and shopping. None of which mixes very well with an almost-toddler.

Though Julian and I had a great time together most of the day, I wasn't a very fun date in the afternoon while I was on the phone with USAA talking remodel financing. He was grateful for the nap and I had a tough time waking him to go get his siblings.

Earlier in the day, as we were leaving the Y, he happily grabbed my hand and squeezed it and said, "I just love you SO much Mom!" Awww.

Gabriel is Student of the Week in his class next week, so by Monday we need to put together a poster, with photos, magazine clippings, drawings, lists of likes and'd be fun except that I'm looking forward to Katrina's party on Sunday instead. It's meant to be small and simple and low-key, but I still plan to prepare some food and decorations and have fun trying to make a Kat-erpillar cake. And I'd have fun helping Gabriel make his poster too. Is too much kid fun in one weekend possible?

Gabriel wanted to pick up Katrina, so I put him in her arms and then took some pictures.

He quickly found out that she's not all that much fun to hold, being squirmy and grabby and pretty heavy for him (about half his weight!). But he got a kick out of it and wanted to again right away. "I might drop her though...."

Still, I think these photos will go well on his Student Of The Week poster. Gabriel's teacher said kids love hearing about other kids' families, and the first thing Gabriel said was that he wanted to put a picture of Katrina on his poster. One of the CDC staff told me that he's been talking about her birthday next week too, and confirmed that he never mentions his brother!

Even though my stress level and blood pressure go through the roof when all three are together (mostly because Julian kicks into Pest mode to impress Gabriel), something inside me feels more content, at home, complete, when I have all three of them together. When I have just Julian and Katrina, as I often do these days, it's like something's missing, like I'm just keeping busy until Gabriel gets home and life begins again for real. Of course, a 3-year-old and an almost-1-year-old is a pretty full complement of children, who deserve my full enthusiasm and attention to pre-toddler and post-toddler life. But with Gabriel in school, doing his own thing, sometimes it feels a little like we're hovering around the edges until he's back in the mix. Then when he's back, the circuit is complete, the ring is lit, the power is on. With his being in school, it's like he's the pulse of the family, as though his activities and schedule and ups and downs in the day and week drive the mood for the rest of us. Such as: a day off for him feeling like a day off for me.

Katrina news: she likes pushing wheeled vehicles around now, and Gabriel is unusually generous about loaning her his beloved Passenger Train.

And, she's starting to point! We're not sure at what yet, but she seems to understand that us asking "Where's....?" in a sing-songy questioning tone means to look around and point randomly. It's a start. Well, semi-point, with an open hand, like her older older brother did, but much earlier, which means, right on time. Pointing is a distinct language-development milestone, and since her babbling and sounds haven't really moved much beyond the initial "blah-blah-blah," (again, like her brother), the pointing is a good sign that language is developing normally. And it's fun.

Heh, I couldn't resist digging this up. Two short videos of Julian at almost exactly the same age.

Julian's "vocabulary" at almost 12 months old:

Julian says Mama:

Even he didn't have much of a vocabulary yet, but his responsiveness, clarity and understanding of the back-and-forth of "conversation" almost shocks me now, as Katrina is nothing like that (not for talking, anyway, though she will get into a fine spitting contest if so invited). And he was a lot calmer, sweeter and cuddlier to hold! Oh my little angel, what happened?! Then again, who'd ever have guessed that we'd be saying that Gabriel is the easiest one of the bunch?


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