Saturday, April 14, 2007

4/14/07 Gabriel and Julian Pump it Up

A rainy day -- perfect for a fun birthday party at Pump It Up, a huge indoor place with inflatable play structures: jump houses, slides, obstacle courses.

Julian would have nothing to do with it at first, scared of the large inflatables and the noise.

He got over it though, especially when there was cake involved!

Gabriel disappeared quickly and mostly played hard the whole time.

And I got to be there baby-free! This gave me time to play with the boys, in theory, though as usual I spent most of the time yakking.

Katrina and Dave did great together. She'd napped until about 11am this morning, I nursed her, handed her off to Dad, and scooted the boys into the car for the party. Later, Dave reported that he fed her and put her down without a peep at 1pm, then she took a 2-1/2 hour nap. Yay baby! Now that's napping! (I know that introducing solids isn't supposed to affect sleep, but she has been napping a heck of a lot better lately.)

We all went to Midori for dinner, something we haven't tried since Katrina was a sleepy(ish) newborn. I brought a booster chair and food for her, and went between playing and feeding her, and scarfing sushi. Other than a little row with Gabriel, it all went swimmingly. Katrina is loving this new phase of life: sitting up well enough to sit in high chairs, and eating food. As usual, her brothers are constant source of entertainment, and they provided this nicely at the restaurant.

I've been struggling with this migraine again, and was very anxious to run and work out at the Y tonight. But they close much earlier on Saturdays, and I had to drive away from the empty, dark parking lot in deep disappointment. Don't they know?! I have children!! Can't they be open late for me?! Can't something in my life revolve around me?! The nerve!

OK, rant over.

I'm looking forward to a nice unscheduled Sunday, with lots of napping planned.


Friday, April 13, 2007

4/13/07 Friday the 13th

It's back. wah. ouch.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

4/12/07 New toys

Kristi dropped off some hand-me-down toys today (thanks!), in theory for Katrina. But the boys wasted no time in rummaging through the bag and claiming some as their own.

An adorable wooden train pull-toy was a special favorite of Gabriel's (of course).

They ran madly around the house, shouting and laughing, with "Katrina's" toys. Sigh. I managed to settle them down momentarily with a photo session.

(This photo's for you, Steph!)

While making dinner, I was able to set Katrina up on the floor, sitting, with plenty of cushioning around her for the inevitable tipovers.

But, as I feared, gravity was not her biggest hazard: Gabriel just couldn't resist her! He kept moving her protective barrier to sit next to her, or massaging her head with his filthy fingers, or stacking boxes in front of her and taking them away as she'd reach for them, and, as I found later looking at this picture, giving her the train pull-toy that really isn't appropriate for a 6-month-old baby (note said 6-month-old baby playing with the heavy string). I just can't keep Gabriel off her! I had to pick her up and carry her to keep her from being loved to death.

Another thing my mother told me recently is that she doesn't remember this overwhelming show of affection from my sister and myself toward our younger brother when he was a baby. She said we sisters were much more focused on each other, and my brother could play in relative peace and safety. Other moms I talk to have issues with jealousy, others worry that the older child shows no interest. As difficult as Gabriel's relentless attention to his sister makes my life sometimes, I'm equally as delighted that he is so taken with her. It more than makes up for how miserable Gabriel made Julian's babyhood.

Katrina showing off her skinny legs after a NICE LONG AFTERNOON NAP YAYYY!!

Tonight I decided not to take another skating class (snifff!). But probably because of the residual thunderbolts of migraine in my head, my urge to be underwater was strong today. So tonight, I went swimming. Swimming! Outdoors! I've long since gotten over the "it's cold" problem, since it's such a treat to be able to swim.

After setting up boys -- and girl -- with dinner, I left Dave with them and zoomed out to the Sports Center. To my amazement, though I haven't swum in months, my usual goal of 1000 yards was easy. I kept going and kept upping my goal, until I swam a full 2000 yards without stopping. That is more than I've done since I was in super-swimming-shape in 1989, and it's thanks to all the running. I'm reeling from the effort now, but boy, it felt good.

But an even greater accomplishment occurred at the same time: I got home at 8:15pm, and found Dave cleaning the kitchen, a joy to behold in and of itself, and ALL THREE KIDS WERE IN BED!!!!! Early!! And he did it single-handedly! Yayyy!

Jeez, I could have taken a skating class after all. But having such a fabulous swim more than made up for it.

Katrina's, Julian's and Gabriel's favorite animals.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

4/11/07 Mom rejoins the world

The clouds have parted! I'm human again!

The migraine is down to a dull roar. What a difference, moving through the day without a crushing headache. While this one was "only" four days, it was very intense. How does it know enough to last for days? Why can't whatever makes it finally go away kick in earlier? Someone could make a fortune finding the answer to that.

I was thinking last night, with my last few remaining brain cells, about a conversation with a friend in college about headaches. He trumpeted that he never took aspirin or Advil or anything on the occasions he got headaches. "No, I just stick it out," he said, with a hint of disdain. Uh-huh. Yeah. Sure. Men are just soooooo tough when it comes to not feeling well. Clearly he'd never had a severe headache. Migraines are nothing like "normal" headaches, like you get with a cold.

Gabriel missed school today, due to his eye. I took him to the pediatrician, and she really had little to say: keep treating it with the drops. It wasn't goopy today, but still very very swollen. I really hope it's better tomorrow; it's been a serious effort today keeping him off Katrina. I feel terrible yelling at him for kissing her!

I had a nice morning alone with Gabriel though. How different life would be with just one kid! I try not to think about how very, very much easier it would be.

Today I heard Gabriel say, "Hey, that box says jur-bear!" and after a little looking around, found that he was referring to "Gerber" on a box of baby cereal. A fine attempt at sounding out a word, especially considering we've really never sat down and showed him how to do it.

Gerber? Shame on me. I bought the box impulsively a few weeks ago. It's not whole grain, and instead is processed down to fragile transparent little flakes bearing no resemblance to hearty oatmeal. There's no reason for this. I need to get some whole-grain cereal, or better yet, grain that I make into cereal myself. Every bite should count. This is why I insist on high-quality cheesecake.

Katrina...amazing nap day! She napped for over 3 hours at Tonya's this morning! She didn't have time to eat before I picked her up, and she was fine. That does it -- I know she can nap, and I know she can go long periods without eating. I'm going to kick off a sleep-through-night campaign soon. Anyway, she also took a 2-hour afternoon nap. Whoopee! She was in a great mood all day.

(Don't look too closely at the photo, or you'll see that her bib says "Sweet baby boy." Most of her bibs were inherited from a boy!)

When we got home from Tonya's, she chowed down three bowls of food! A "bowl" for her is very small of course, but call it a quantity for which most mothers would be satisfied with a 6-month-old eating for a meal. She is eating like a champ. Poor thing...her system is facing a serious adjustment to the new food though. Please, let's hope she takes after Gabriel on this one, and not her chronically, miserably stopped-up younger big brother.

Sitting is going really well too! I still don't dare leave her, but as long as she has some back support to fall back on, she can sit up for minutes now.

Skating....I really want to do this again, but the logistics seem daunting. Maybe when Katrina is older? But why would that be easier? She's trivial to put to bed now, as she doesn't demand a book, or putz around putting pajamas on or refuse to brush teeth or run around naked shrieking "WEE-WEE! WEE-WEE!" or any countless number (is that an oxymoron?) of infractions some UN-NAMED perpetrators around here do.

Funny kid comment of the day: Julian, while struggling to pull his pants down for pre-dinner pee: "I'm having man problems."

How not to calm kids down at the end of the day: watch the famous song "Make 'em Laugh", sung and danced by Donald O'Connor in Singin' In The Rain. The boys were ALL OVER THE PLACE afterward, jumping up and down on the couch, shouting "Make 'em Laugh!" and being completely out of control. (But also, don't miss the dance cameo by Cyd Charisse in the weirdo fantasy sequence "Broadway Melody" toward the end of the movie, in the green flapper outfit. Oh my, it doesn't get any better than that, she is absolutely amazing.)

In a futile attempt to calm the boys down, I played a game in which I told them NO KISSES FOR MOM! Then I found myself smothered in kisses from giggling little boys, and I let them "attack" me as I lay on the ground like a cockroach on its back, crying helplessly, "No more kisses!!!" and they continued to pelt me with their little lips, laughing uncontrollably. Ah, the moments every Mom lives for. (Suckers!)

A little video of Katrina "relaxing" a bouncer. This is the way she was in-utero, folks! She has calm moments now, especially sitting up, but she still can be awfully wiggly.

I thought of something today, as I hastily cleaned up oatmeal splatters with my fingertips: Motherhood is a sure-fire cure for perfectionism.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

4/10/07 Pinkeye attack!

Yesterday afternoon, Julian's right eye developed signs of pinkeye, so I put drops in his eyes right away. This morning, they were a little red, but not goopy.

But, Gabriel's eye looked a little suspicious, so I proactively put drops in his eyes too. He objected, saying it was going to hurt, and I promised him it'd sting for only a moment. I encouraged him by saying, "I know you can do this, you're a brave boy," and he answered funny kid comment of the day: "I'm not brave enough!"

Gabriel looked OK enough to go to pre-K today, but this afternoon, his eye turned awful -- swollen, red, goopy, itchy. No school for him tomorrow. Julian's eyes haven't gooped since yesterday, but they're still a little bloodshot. Katrina...clear so far (her brothers got stern lectures not to touch her). I'm not sure what to do tomorrow....Julian has his last skating class. Can I count on Gabriel to behave himself for an hour at the ice rink while I skate with Julian?

Gabriel went to see the audiologist today. Diagnosis: fluid in his ears, causing hearing loss in his right ear, with the left ear at the low end of normal. Nerve function is normal. When the pediatricians get the report, we'll talk about treatment.

Another funny kid comment of the day: This morning, Dave made toast for himself and the boys out of leftover bread from last night, of which there were 3 pieces. He said, "3 people wanted toast and we had 3 pieces. I call that fortunate." To which Julian answered, "I call it bread!"

Katrina and Julian and I went to the park today and hung out with friends.

She's getting better at sitting up!

Later, she sat quite well on her own on the couch, as the back helped support her. Yay, I love the sitting-up phase!

And, she did great eating yams tonight, though it took the removal of distraction #1 and distraction #2 for it to happen. I swear, she likes making them laugh, and gets all excited and giggly -- if I didn't know better, I'd say she's putting on a little show! Finally, with brothers removed, then she opened her mouth, sucked the yams off the spoon, and pretty much finished the bowl. Good going baby!

The boys set up a perfect symmetric little picnic today on the rear deck, down to the footstools, to enjoy their afternoon snack of strawberries.

Today I caught a few minutes of A Baby Story on TLC. A pregnant mom with a 2-year-old girl said that with this second pregnancy, she didn't put on as much weight and the baby is kicking a whole lot she thinks it must be a boy. That's amusing, 'cause those two things were true of my pregnancy with Katrina.

Migraine still in full force today, though finally showing signs of waning tonight. It's really devastating -- not just the intense pain and pressure, but how long it lasts. The agony is bad for a few hours, but, typically of migraines, it goes on for days. It kept me from sleeping last night until 2:30am, at which point I got up for Katrina anyway, then I took 1/3 of an Ambien, this time without much angst. It allowed me 3-1/2 hours of sleep before Katrina woke up for the day. Meantime, I had nightmares about going to the park and having convulsions or some sort of freaking-out episode and humiliating myself and terrifying my kids. I seriously start to feel like I'm losing my mind. Certainly it makes me negative and bitter, if yesterday's writings are any indication. And my migraines aren't even that bad, compared to other sufferers who are bedridden for days! What possible evolutionary benefit could this miswiring have?!

Funny how you don't remember, or even know, basic things about your own childhood. Somehow in conversation today with my mother, I learned that I missed most of kindergarten! I'd always assumed I'd attended P.S. 29 for kindergarten, with a Montessori school in there for a few weeks during a teacher's strike. The truth is, I attended P.S. 29 for only a week or two, then there was a long strike, and my mother finally put me into a Montessori school for only 2 or 3 months, which is where I learned how to read. Yet somehow I made it through school (I was never a star student but I wouldn't attribute that to my kindergarten lapse). It certainly puts a new perspective on all the emphasis placed on early schooling: important, but only one of many, many elements that go into a lifetime of learning.

First things first though. Let's get the sitting up down pat!


p.s. heyyy, blogger forced me to upgrade to the new version. I wonder what new bugs will appear now? (Speaking of bugs, it absolutely appalls me that for the 3rd year in a row, TurboTax has the same old bug that when you save a tax return to a PDF file, it sometimes says "there are errors in the return, are you sure you want to continue printing?" -- even if TurboTax itself says there are no errors in the return at all. How do these bugs get past basic QA so many years in a row?! I shudder to imagine what other bugs there are.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

4/9/07 Look who's coming to dinner

For the first time, all five us us sat down to dinner as a family!

The Grand Plan was to introduce yams to Katrina.

Not a yam fan. It didn't go over well.

But then, neither did cereal at first, and look how great she's doing with it now.

Another dinner problem tonight, a great one to have: I didn't make enough spinach. Everyone finished theirs and wanted more. Wow.

Still staggering from a brutal headache today. I have a confession to make about that. Something I really, really don't like, but decided was necessary. Last night, I went to bed ultra-early, but I knew I wouldn't be able to go to sleep right away. My nocturnal nature and the intense pain would keep me awake. So I took an Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, one I resorted to in desperation during pregnancy (prescribed and OK'd by my OB) and used as little of as possible.

Yes folks, it's come to that. A friggin' sleeping pill. I absolutely hate that. I'm the world's best, easiest sleeper left to my own devices, yet here I am popping mother's little helper. But it was effective: I did fall asleep early (11pm is early), slept soundly between Katrina's two wakeups, and woke up still in pain but with new resources to battle the headache all day. I've really gotten slammed hard with this one.

Between a baby who doesn't nap enough and a severe headache, I had little left for nonsense from the boys. Unfortunately, Gabriel picked today to dish it out.

I had to order the boys into the living room so they'd leave her alone for the 5 minutes I needed to make her lunch. Despite my assurances that this wasn't a timeout and they could come back in as soon as I had Katrina set up, Gabriel was incensed. He was outraged that I took him away from Katrina, and wouldn't stay in the living room and hurled insults and threats to me. Finally I put him on timeout, and from there he screamed and demanded to be let out RIGHT NOW and said "Oh YEAH you think you can do THAT?!" and kicked the door. I went back and forth many times, increasing his timeout for each new offense. For a while it was quiet, then when I checked on him, he'd done the one destructive thing he could do there: dump all the sand out of his shoes onto the floor, and it was a substantial pile. He flat-out told me that he did that because I wasn't listening to him. So I told him to get out and go up to his room. Then, more insults: "FINE Mommy, you're a stinky poop! You have to say PLEASE!".

I had absolutely had it. His defiance had gone on too long. So I did something I've never done before. I pulled his pants down and smacked his bare bottom hard, several times. I admit it. I spanked him good. (I have spanked him before, but not bare.)

And for once, it worked. Even his alligator-hide bottom couldn't take it, and he finally, finally broke down and cried. That disrupted the impasse, and while he still had to go to his room, at least he was cooperative. I'm sorry to let you down, Supernanny, but this kid is extraordinarily difficult to derail, and frankly, I'm thrilled that I was able to. No parent wants to spank their kids, so you have to believe that we've been pushed to the limit to resort to it. It's actually pretty remarkable that it worked on him today.

And as long as I'm dishing out the confessionals...this morning, I had time off from all three, a good thing since I had such a bad headache and had to confront another headache: taxes. At least I got Dad's taxes done and filed. But I so enjoyed my few free hours that I felt guilty. I hate to admit it; no Mom feels good about feeling this, but...I don't like the baby life. I love my baby of course, she's funny and charming and full of energy, but the 24/7-ness of it, the constant carrying, the being interrupted at any moment...I was done with that. I had a taste of freedom about when Julian turned 2, and it was very sweet. It's hard to go back. I like life with little boys, not babies, and I'm even a little resentful that I can't enjoy that because I'm so baby-bound. I'm not even sure to whom to direct that resentment -- myself, really. And then I feel bad for not enjoying more the baby time, since I do know from experience how fleeting it is. I know, it's supposed to be the most precious time, an amazing thing, one to relish and enjoy, babies are the light of our lives. I feel an extra layer of guilt because I know so many women, especially those my age, would do anything to have this "problem" of a perfect, healthy, vital, beautiful baby. That's all true...but does anyone talk about the dark side? Is it just me?

Bad Mom Me today.

And the migraine rages on.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

4/8/07 Easter Day!

What started off as a very nice day with a yummy brunch and easter egg hunt with the White family was turned into a black, horrible afternoon of one of the worst migraines I've had in months. In retrospect it's been coming for a few days (excessive sleepiness, "normal" headaches at night), and was starting to bother me this morning, but slammed hard this afternoon and continues to pound me as I type. So I'll cut this short for once. Really!

Katrina, incredibly, woke up only once last night, and waited until a respectable 4am. Then good morning and afternoon naps, about 2 hours each. And then went to bed on the early side for her (7:30). Thank you Baby! (Being so cute today wearing a lovely outfit that was once Gina's probably wore her out.)

....oh but I have to add one more Katrina note: day 4 of "solid" food, and she totally gets it now! She opens her mouth for it, and is quickly learning to "chew" and swallow. In fact, the last 3 times (out of a total of 5), she's finished everything. I pump a little to mix with cereal, but she's already outpaced my ability (well, willingness) to pump for each of her meals. I cooked some yam for her tonight, tomorrow, it's veggies!

If there is a tomorrow....maybe the world will cave in around me and spare me this brutal, crushing headache.