Whew, the boys must be wasted. And it shows with Julian, being a big pain in the rear at bedtime. But, it's understandable.
They had a sleepover last night (and they're both very into them now!). Then swim lessons this morning. Julian got his "green ribbon," which means he advanced a level. Good for him! They hung out at home for a while, then Dave took them out for lunch. Then I took them grocery-shopping. Then they played outside and rode bikes while Dave did yardwork, then Dave took them to the nearby BMX park with their bicycles for two hours. Gabriel was very proud of himself that he'd gone over some of the bumps. They were both so filthy afterward that we gave them a bath before dinner.
Meantime, I was on with Katrina all day, and I do mean ON. Today was the day of The Stand, in which she pulled herself up to a stand every chance she had, but then would get stuck and cry. She needed attention and intervention every few minutes, and that was with a liberally applied "let her figure it out" policy. Not good on a day I wasn't feeling very well or energetic, despite starting off the day with an old-fashioned high-impact aerobics class at my old gym.
I took Katrina to an open house across the street, meeting up with numerous other nosy neighbors checking it out. One of those neighbors I invited inside our house to get the grand tour -- neighbors are always curious what our house looks like on the inside, given its unusual outside. I always prepare them to be disappointed!
Katrina was being impossible, crying and insisting on being held, but then not letting me hold her. She needed to get out. So I took her to Whole Foods for some nonessential shopping, and got Gabriel to come with me, then Julian didn't want to be left behind either. So, all three it was. The boys were pretty good overall, but it's still hectic keeping track of them in a crowded grocery store. Thank heavens for the salsa-sampling table today, with the corresponding chips that kept them all three busy for a while. I had to get Gabriel to go find Julian once, and Gabriel brought him back leading him calmly by his hand, it was very cute.
We ran into Betsy and her clan of three too! It was sort of a relief to see a kindred spirit, grocery-shopping with three kids of just about the same ages. And, in the same setup too: baby in the cart, the other two walk. To think, lots of moms wait until they have childcare for one before grocery-shopping, and here Betsy and I dare it with three. The real daring part is doing it at packed Whole Foods on a Saturday.
My nonessential shopping included picking up some ingredients to try a simple Spanish chicken-cutlet recipe I saw on 30-Minute Meals today. I really like Rachael Ray; her recipes and style are very accessible, and the show isn't overproduced. It's just her talking about the food, doing it very casually (like using a coffee cup for measuring rice, and approximating spice measurements in her hand), no music or silly closeups of turning the oven on, and no pre-cut ingredients that some flunky cut up before the show, and no dishes partially made already ("this takes a while so I have one already started...."). She pulls everything out of the pantry and fridge and carries it to her prep area, opens packages and pulls out bowls and pans and knives just like you and I would do. Well, as I would aspire to do anyway. I'm sure it's still contrived (how handy that the box of rice is right there at the front), but still, the way the whole show goes is fairly convincing that you really could do this in 30 minutes.
But, despite my best intentions, I didn't make what I saw or shopped for today. By the time I got my act together tonight, it was too late to try something new, and I knew the boys would come back from the BMX park tired and hungry. Maybe tomorrow.
My mind has been spinning on a new-not-so-new idea on how to solve my weekday schedule problems. The idea comes from my friend at my old gym who's a marathon runner with 4 young children: a nanny at home two days a week. That's what she does, to run and to have the flexibility to do activities with her kids. The idea has many possibilities. With someone else here, I could pick Gabriel up from school, take Julian to music class, go running, do office and remodeling things -- still with the kids, but without hard pickup/dropoff times. The other non-nanny days would be preschool days for Julian, and I'd have Katrina alone during those mornings and could take Gabriel to school (the morning nap problem is a little easier to work with and is temporary anyway), and would send Gabriel to the CDC for MWF afternoons. Then I could stop morning CDC care every day, and Tuesday-Thursday afternoon CDC care for Gabriel.
Some weekend support would be nice too, so that Dave and I can do things together, without tag-teaming or being overrun by children. There is still a lot to be said for finding infant care for Katrina MWF mornings when Julian is in preschool. But then Gabriel is at CDC/school full-time. I'm still mulling it all over.
18 months. 18 months old and the pressure starts to lift. I remember now that I felt this exact way when the boys were babies too: love my babies, but feel intense time and activity restriction. 18 months isn't that far off. And now, I can also look ahead and see that there's a lot of fun in store: taking walking, talking, potty-trained, self-feeding and now, two-wheeling, boys bicycling at a BMX park is exactly the sort of neat thing I'd envisioned doing with kids. Right now, I can't easily participate in those things, but someday, we'll have three of them doing it. Wow.