Saturday, March 03, 2007

3/3/07 Katrina's first swing

Today I actually made it to see Gabriel in gymnastics class. I got a report from Gavin's dad (thanks, Scott!) that Gabriel is indeed pretty good at it, and has a great time too.

Perhaps too good a time, as happened in his last class. Once he gets too familiar with it, he stops paying attention and starts becoming a problem. Gymnastics is just about over, and I'd like to keep up some activity for him on Saturday mornings. I'm not sure what though, and he's very unreliable when I ask, and the next level of Tiny Tots gymnastics is in the inconvenient afternoon. Hmm.

We had fun in the playgrounds outside afterward. Katrina tried out a swing for the first time (she was so-so on it), and practiced sitting up with Dad's help.

I had fun running and playing keep-away with the boys, which it turns out, I can do. Their reflexes are fast and they can turn on a dime, but it's still pretty easy to fake them out and outrun them at a trot. But I can see clearly to the day when Gabriel will be able to outrun me.

Julian doesn't like the game for long and starts to cry. I guess that can be expected of a 3-year-old when his mommy runs away from him!

He's a lot better at climbing than he used to be, though frankly he doesn't strike me as a natural athlete.

I finally completed a simple home-improvement task: putting up "pajama pegs" for the kids. Yay, finally, I'm decorating!

Katrina's is a green flower, and the boys' are blue and red stars ($10 each from Land of Nod, with a high cute-to-cost factor!). The idea is that they can hang their pajamas on the pegs for the next night, as PJs around here get worn a few nights in a row.

This afternoon, our plain stairwell got quite the colored light show from our stained-glass window. I'm wishing again we'd asked for more color in the window; I was definitely too conservative. Still, I love it, and it's so fun seeing something different every time I go up the stairs.

Today during Julian's nap and Katrina's non-nap (a far-too-awake baby today), Katrina hung out while Gabriel worked on a birthday card for Gavin's party tomorrow. At first, I was going to just have him sign it, but then thought I'd see how far he'd get writing the rest of it. I was really surprised, he tackled this project with enthusiasm, if slow meticulousness. Of course, his favorite part was coloring in the "5" that I freehanded. For Gabriel, the number is always the reward.

Meantime, Katrina hung out on the floor and took in the activity. She isn't scared of the scary-chicken toy, and actually really likes it. I notice that she really likes the crinkly parts of "multimedia" toys (like the wings on the scary chicken), which the boys never really noticed much.

Here's Katrina making cute sounds while almost cuddling with the chicken toy. (I wish I had a way to edit AVI files; only the first few seconds of this is worth much.)

An occasional party favor item is "Bloonies," a new name for a toy that I recall being a childhood staple. I opened one today for Gabriel, mostly to distract him from kissing Katrina to the point of suffocation (on the whole, a good sibling problem to have).

The Bloonie is a tube of gooey, smelly, toxic and flammable stuff that you squish onto the end of a straw in a ball shape, then blow up into a fragile, sticky balloon that you can't play with. And talk about a baby smothering hazard! I must be forgetting something; I remember this stuff being fun. Then again, as Dave pointed out, in the classic 1902 book Peter Rabbit, Peter's father is caught and ends up in a pie. That never bothered me as a kid, either.

Speaking of kid books, Dave just reported that Gabriel read the entire book Dr. Seuss' "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," with only a little bit of help from Dave. He's memorized much of it, but these days he points out so many words I know he's never seen in a book that I do believe he's actually reading. And he really, really wants to read, often sitting with a book and studying it with furrowed brows. It reminds me of the intense unrelenting struggles in his toddler times, and now I see him unleash that same remarkable determination and focus on more positive pursuits. It's fascinating seeing that power now put to good use in a five-year-old.


Friday, March 02, 2007

3/2/07 Katrina's first daycare morning

Katrina's first morning at Tonya's!

I had all sorts of grand ambitions to get things done in the office: concentrated, thinking sorts of things that are impossible with baby in tow (like starting on taxes, ick). Still, I fought my usual inclination to put my mind before my body, and went to the Y right after dropping Julian and Katrina off and had a nice little workout. I daresay I'm starting not to hate the treadmill.

At 11:00, I got the call: Katrina absolutely would not take a bottle, and was screaming her head off. Two kinds of formula, fresh and frozen breastmilk, not having it. I zoomed to Tonya's, nursed her, and went back home to make the most of my remaining 45 baby-free minutes.

This is a problem! It hasn't been an issue in the evening when we go skating, since I nurse her before we leave, then she sleeps the whole time we're gone. But during the day, if I'm to be away from her ever, at all, she needs to take a bottle. Preferably of formula, since I really hate pumping.

I tried baby-on-bottle again tonight, with a different bottle. Nothing doing.

I remember that Gabriel too stopped taking a bottle, though he was older and was eating solids by then. Fortunately, Katrina isn't all that far off from the 6 month mark. Ego compels me to keep her exclusively on breastmilk until then, just so I can say that all three kids lived on nothing but breastmilk for the first 6 months of their lives, fresh from the cow.

Katrina didn't nap well at Tonya's either, but she sure did this afternoon. I had to wake her up after 3 hours, so I could take the boys back to Tonya's for sleepover tonight, and drop a meal off at my friend Jodie's house. I keep thinking about Jodie and her preemie baby...and speaking of breastmilk, I remember that Jodie wasn't a fan of nursing, but I also remember Stacey telling me that pumping breastmilk wasn't considered optional if you had a preemie. I can't imagine having to pump if you didn't even want to breastfeed in the first place -- blah!

Inspired by Kristi, I attempted to get eye-color photos of the kids today. Kristi's three girls all have blue eyes, and Kristi does a nice analysis of the subtle differences (she's an optometrist, so has a professional perspective as well).

I failed utterly, but got a few funny face shots in the process. I don't know how to get natural-light photos of their eyes without reflections though.

Reflections weren't my biggest problem though. Julian absolutely refused to hold still, and only did after I got fed up and said, "OK, never mind, no pictures!" Then he cries and wails and says he'll hold still, not thinking that posing for pictures isn't that much fun anyway. That sort of bluffing never, ever worked on Gabriel.

A calm evening, with the boys away and baby going to bed reliably around 7pm. Lately she's been waking up once during the night, and then pretty early in the morning (6:30am) ? Not bad.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2/28/07An organizing day

Yay! I'm almost done re-organizing my craft area in the office. It feels great, and functional now, having set it up according to the way I really use it: projects on one side, materials on another. Now I just have to find the time to use those materials on those projects!

I had a nice quiet morning alone with Katrina, who napped from 9:30am to 11am. That pretty much shot going anywhere until it was time to pick up the boys, and then she was falling asleep in the car and acting tired, so straight home we went after getting her brothers.

Gabriel complained yesterday that we aways go somewhere after picking him up, and that's true. Once again, I'm ultra-protective of my time "off" from kids, even with -- perhaps especially with -- three. I'm not going to waste kid-free time grocery-shopping or errands-running at Target! I'll take them all with me for stuff like that!

I realized today that I no longer brace myself for the times that they're all three home. It used to be that I'd pick up Gabriel, or both boys, then steel myself for a difficult afternoon: the boys fighting while I'm nursing baby, two-handed carrying of a miserable newborn; baby crying while I'm trying to get Julian down for a nap. But the boys are a lot better together now; Gabriel in particular has been a joy lately. And Katrina is a lot more predictable and manageable -- and carryable. If she's awake when it's time to get Julian down, she sits in my lap as I read a story to him. I almost prefer that, because I'd much rather spend her sleep time doing things that absolutely can't be done when she's awake. (Well, except that Katrina often isn't much fun to have in your lap, wriggling like a fish out of water.)

Not that I want to rush her babyhood, but sitting up by herself would make both me and Katrina very happy.

No photos today. Not even any funny kid comments, not that were sufficiently coherent to warrant repeating.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

2/27/07 Tuesday Dinner

I went OUT tonight! Tuesday dinner with our longtime moto-friends. Without anyone else, just me! It felt so good to be a grownup again.

Went to the Y this morning. I needed a good, deep workout. Ahh.

Katrina in an odd confluence of very un-baby-like colors. I don't know how this happened. Despite rapidly increasing baldness, she's very cute.

Funny kid comment of the day: Gabriel, on our way grocery-shopping after picking him up from pre-K: "Why do we always have to go somewhere after pre-K?" Then, in the grocery store, after a lady smiled at my little mayhem and asked if I had all boys, Gabriel said, "I wish we were three boys!". Agh!


Monday, February 26, 2007

2/26/07 Gabriel face

Not much happened today. Gabriel posed for some face shots to update his login thumbnail photo on our Macintosh computers.

Funny kid comment of the day: I forget how this got started, but lying on the bed with Gabriel looking at Katrina blowing raspberries between us, we were talking about who loves who. I commented kiddingly that kids don't have to love Moms, since we're so often the meanies who don't let kids do what they want to do. Gabriel said lightly, "Well, I love you, Mom," then, "but I love Bear even better."

Katrina went to bed at 7pm. I almost don't know what to do with myself!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

2/25/07 Skating pre-run

No blog entry yesterday?! We were movin' on up -- upstairs that is. Finally, both Dave and I spent the whole night upstairs, and we had a big push of moving clothes, furniture, TV, etc upstairs.

I've been spending part of it up there anyway, after Katrina wakes me up, but this time, the night started there. I really like it up there, despite all the moving-in stuff still in the works, but to my surprise, the thing I liked best was a sense of closeness and safety having the boys closeby. Like we were all together again. That's nice.

Today we attempted to all ice-skate together. Yikes! This meant the whole family went to the ice rink in time for the public session to start at 1pm. We got there early to size rental skates for the boys and get all of us suited up.

Naturally the boys like the Zamboni best.

Well, it didn't go great actually. First I practiced for a few minutes, only to find that my bony and bruised anklebone (from Thursday's lesson) is still uselessly painful, making it very hard to really skate.

Then I brought Gabriel on the ice, and he had a hard time -- much worse than he did a year ago. But I know that improvements come about quickly, and at the end of the one lap he did, he was able to semi-skate on his own. The key was starting him off with his hands on his knees, in a secure position, then getting him to reach for my hands as I skated backward in front of him. Still, about ten minutes was all he could take.

Next, Julian. He was excited at first, and was very attentive to my instructions to put his hands on his knees. But even holding this position is pretty hard for a first time, so he quickly pooped out. Just as we were almost done, I tried the same thing I'd done with Gabriel: skate backward in front of him and hold my hands out for him, just out of reach, forcing him to reach for my hands. And then he did just fine, alternating feet and propelling himself forward.

Skating is a hard sport to start; it's not fun right away (like soccer) when you're falling all the time. And it was tough for me today: my bony anklebone was really really tender, and then I discovered that my fragile sacro-iliac joint paid a hefty price for all the bending down helping the boys.

Well, even if I never get any of my guys interested in skating, at least I have one last shot with Katrina! Speaking of who: another too-late, too-long afternoon nap for baby means she's back up, late. Guess she'll have her bath after the Oscars.

Please join me in sending positive thoughts to the Wisherd family, which in addition to Jodie, Chris and Aidan, as of today includes baby Reese, 14 weeks early. It'll be a long road for them all.