Gabriel asked tonight, "When is the real Santa going to die?"
We'd talked about Santa after last weekend's holiday party, where there was a "Santa" there, delighting most children and scaring some. Gabriel didn't buy it: "No, that was someone dressed up as Santa, someone just like you and me!"
But he still holds out some doubt -- or is it hope? -- that there really is a Santa. I told him that Santa has lots of friends who help him out, and people he sees dressed up as Santa are exactly that, just people dressed up as Santa helping him out.
And as far as when the real Santa dies? I said, "That's a good question, Gabriel...no one really knows. Santa has been around for a long time, and some people say he lives on and on and on." This vague side-step was met with wide eyes as it churned through his literal, practical mind, grasping for reality.
Then: "I know where Santa lives -- Disneyland!"
Melissa told me today that Katrina was standing for minutes at a time now, bending down to pick something up again and again. She moves her feet to keep her balance, she looks down to do something, she stands up just to get to something. In other words, it's not just for fun anymore, it's become part of her repertoire. When she really wants to get from point A to point B, she puts her head down and kicks into crawl-gear, but still, the first steps could happen any minute now!
It's been hard to pinpoint exactly, but the first words are there too. I'm just not exactly sure what they are. I'll have to make up some legend, because every kid wants to know what their first word was. For Katrina, I'd say it's "bear," even though "bay-yah" means any animal, because she first applied it to bears. "Nuh!" blurted with a giggle and a pointed finger in your face means "nose!" Melissa told me today that they went through all the animal sounds, and I've heard her say "mmmUH!" for "moo" and "pffffffff" for "ruff" (dog). She also has this absolutely adorable expression of "Up-psssss!" which I think means "oops" but she says it to a lot of things. And then there's something akin to "uh-oh!" but not quite. Katrina's many sounds, pointing to things, sincere exclamations that she clearly thinks are words, get more varied and more adorable every day.
Basically, language-wise, she's right on track.
(Ironic that in a sentence referencing language, I'd use two things my high-school English teacher, Frank McCourt, absolutely hated: "-wise" and "basically." Basically, language-wise, Mr. McCourt, I'm a disaster.)
Just what I need: a cold. No really, I think I do need it! I had a hard time sleeping last night because of a stuffy nose, and got up absolutely exhausted. On the drive to work after dropping off Katrina, I dreaded the first hours there when it's such a struggle to wake up and concentrate. I decided I've leave work early.
Then, I changed my mind. If I'm going to miss some work today, I should do it now, not later. So I bailed on my route to work and went home, and straight to bed. Boy, did I need that. Thank you, cold! I was still not feeling well at work, but was able to be productive and not drag all day. The one thing I had to forfeit (sniff!) was my lunchtime run, only because I didn't have enough time to work. The cold itself definitely isn't bad enough not to go running.
Still, the odd morning gave me a little perspective. I can handle this brutal schedule some days -- just not all days. I need to find more small ways to get some breaks. Katrina walking, Gabriel being able to get himself out of his carseat himself -- and get Julian out of his carseat (!) -- go small ways toward relieving the load. Asking Melissa to bring Katrina home one day, maybe two, a week, will also help. Taking an hour or two some mornings after dropping off Katrina might help too. Work itself is going better, I'm more self-sufficient and starting to get a good fingerhold on things.
Yesterday I got the most exciting break -- a meeting with our kitchen designer for a first review of initial designs. YAYYY!! Better yet, not only was Dave able to make it, but our most awesome architect did too! It was, as always, very productive, we made tons of progress, and I'm really really excited about my new kitchen. The kitchen designer had some really good practical ideas, as well as some aesthetic ones I thought I didn't care about at all, but soon realized, "wow, she's right." I really will care that the island and the range hood are lined up so that when you stand back to see the kitchen, visually it's organized and pleasing. But she has practical knowledge too, like that convection microwaves are too deep to go into standard overhead cabinets (many such microwaves are in the same cabinet as a wall oven, which is deep enough, but I'm pretty set on a double oven, so that won't work).
Having the architect there was great because we talked a lot about furniture placement, how big a table we could fit comfortably, would the oven doors get in the way of chairs, where would a sofa go, what kind of chairs would we have....in the end, it looks like we'll have to kick the family room out another 3 feet so that we can fit the minimum of furniture we'd like in there.
The question came up about maybe not putting a dining table in the kitchen/family room area, instead only relying on the island for seating. I nixed that one fast. I really, really want everyone to be able to sit to dinner, homework, whatever, and be able to talk to them while I'm doing things in the kitchen, feeding Katrina, getting someone milk, whatever. If I had any doubts, I just think back to last night, when I had the boys sitting to dinner at 6pm, and I was still in the kitchen with Katrina, and Julian said, "Mommy, I can't see you when you're in there!" My little boy. You just added 3 feet to our new family room.
Julian comes home with a new song just about every day. He sure does love to sing, especially about Santa. Who's well and alive in his mind.