Tuesday, October 09, 2007

10/9/07 The Draw

Today after picking up Gabriel from school, I took all three kids to a medical center for Katrina to have her blood drawn to test for a peanut allergy. I was delighted with how well-behaved the boys were -- and helpful, as now Gabriel is strong enough to open and hold the numerous doors one has to pass through in a medical center, reducing my stroller struggles.

Before I had a chance to signal "Nooo--OOOOOO!", a kind lady at the lab offered the boys lollipops while we were waiting. Fortunately, the lollipops didn't cause the trouble I anticipated ("I WANT IT **NOW***!!!), but I sure as heck wasn't going to deal with being handed a sticky lollipop with a hasty, "Here Mommy, hold this," when I had a wiggly baby-almost-toddler to keep under control. Not to mention losing my door-holder help. Nope, the boys had to wait until they got home, where they sat at the dining room table with a plate in front of them for the lollipop. Mean old me. I really hate lollipops.

But look at that little sneak eyeing her brother's lollipop!

Calculators are the toy of the week around here. At first, I thought Julian was just playing around when I'd hear him say, "9 plus 5 is...14!" and then "8 plus 9 is....17!" and then "4 plus 8 is...12!" -- Hmm, he's getting all of these right, what gives? Seems Dave taught him how to add using his calculator yesterday, and he took right to it.

Someone overheard this at Gabriel's school today, and seemed impressed that a 3-year-old could operate a calculator, and I restrained myself from the temptation to say that his brother was reading analog clocks at this age. I must remember: for me it's just mom-chatter, but Julian needs his own moments and attention. Comparisons are inevitable, but don't do it in front of them, especially when there's a good chance Julian will live in his older brother's intense shadow as it is. Don't pigeonhole them, don't put their achievements into the context of the others. I read it in "Siblings Without Rivalry."

Anyway, Julian is having no end of fun with this new skill, and Gabriel of course has to jump into it too with his calculator. Katrina also likes playing with a calculator, though hers doesn't work.

I managed to get a lopsided photo of all three of them with their calculators while waiting for Katrina's blood draw. (Calculators have long been one of my favorite cheap portable toys, the $3 kind from Rite-Aid.)

Oh yes, the blood draw. Unfortunately, Katrina doesn't have Mom's ugly bulging veins, the kind that only, and every, phlebotomist would love. I had to pin down every little limb while they rooted with a needle looking for a tiny baby vein, until they finally hit paydirt. She screamed her feeble best, but didn't put up much of a fight. She's really not very strong, even for a 12-month-old.

I was actually more concerned about the boys, and I told them several times that Katrina would cry but it would be very short and that she would be fine. Another kid who was having some more involved procedure was REALLY screaming, so Katrina's wails were tiny and short-lived in comparison. Thanks kid, and sorry. So while the boys looked very concerned,they didn't get upset or anything. And Katrina forgot all about it by the time we got back into the waiting room.

I felt good about my kit'n'kaboodle driving home, as they happily chatted to each other and the boys made Katrina laugh. That good feeling swung wildly the other way when I had to face what has become a dreadful job: feeding Katrina. It used to fun and easy, but now? She immediately waves away anything I offer her, fusses, cries, and is completely impossible. But then, she won't play happily either and is fussy and miserable and, of course, hungry. This just drives me crazy, it is SUCH a pain!

Once again today, I tried everything, including putting her up to the table without the tray, and this was good for a few bites (I knew she was hungry). I tried giving her something to drink between each bite, and apparently, milk has some palate-cleansing properties, enough to prompt her into a few more bites. But then, just as I think we're getting somewhere, she starts to spit stuff out. Dinner, same thing; a few bites, then, "how DARE you present me with this swill!" All normal stuff of course, for toddlers. TODDLERS! ARGH!

I'm about ready to wean her, too. Nursing has become a miserable exercise in abuse and pain. She yanks her mouth off me, pinches me with her hard little gums, pounds me with her arms, grabs the skin on my neck, pulls my hair, tries to stick her fingers up my nose, then for all my trouble, cries when she's done. The occasional moment when she's calm and serene make up for it, but those are so occasional now that on balance, it's not fun.

Complain, complain, complain. Alas, but now she's in bed, and I can look at pictures of her and remember what a beautiful, spritely, funny baby she is and love her completely. Swing, swang, swung.

I'm trying something new with Gabriel tomorrow: I left him out a bowl and a glass, and told him to just get his own cereal in the morning. He's quite capable of pouring milk, and does so very, very carefully. So, why not serve himself his own breakfast? I should probably leave two bowls out, since the odds are good he'll do it for Julian too. Though Julian can pour his own milk quite competently as well. Uh-oh, I can already see myself sprinting down the stairs tomorrow at 6:30am to break up a milk fight.


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