Saturday, June 02, 2007

6/2/07 Gabriel's new bike

Gabriel got a new bicycle today!

I know, I know, what did he do to deserve this?

Well, actually, once he dropped the stubborn attitude and hence the training wheels, his old bike looked too small. And he's had it for two years now. If bike-riding is going to be a frequent activity, and I hope it is, then it seemed silly to wait for a special occasion for a new bike, especially since special occasions around here are grouped in the winter months.

This one has 16-inch wheels, and is a little big for him, but he'll use it for years. It corners and rolls over bumps much better than his smaller one -- which will become Julian's.

Here he is riding it around the backyard. He really needs a bigger place to ride.

I coupled baby entertainment with a long run at Rancho San Antonio today.

Well, long for me, anyway, about 5 miles all told. For "real" runners, that's barely a warm-up! It felt good though -- especially the downhills.

It's a route I'd done once before (Farm -> Rogue Valley -> Chamise -> Ravensbury -> Farm), and knew was suitable for a jogging stroller: wide relatively smooth trails, and not too hilly. Or so I thought until I had to push the stroller up hills while still maintaining a running gait, barely. Whew! That was tough! And that's on minor, short hills, with my eensy not-even-14-pound baby. I can't imagine if I'd brought 31-pound Julian. Sonia does it pushing her double jogger with both her boys (ages 3yo and 17mo) in it!!

Katrina had a grand time on this outing, not making so much as a "bah-bah" in the hour and a half she sat in the stroller (all told, including stretching and a self-time camera stop).

To me, she's unbelievably cute, but it can't be just my mom-glasses, because at least 4 people slowed down to peek in the stroller, and made "awww" faces.

But to me, the cute is in her manner, as she's been so full of joy lately. If not for the early wakeups, she'd be the perfect baby...if there is such a thing.

Still getting hives though! And, mysterious red patches that come and go all day. The hives are few and far between, but I'm still waiting for a hive-free day. They're certainly not bothering her though, as I have to say again, this baby brims with energy and happiness and delight these days. Which puts me in an awfully good mood. Until about 4am that is!


Friday, June 01, 2007


Something all mothers aspire to. The pinnacle of achievement. The epitome of challenge. Hurdling obstacles, scaling mountains, reaching for the impossible, putting in the ultimate supreme effort, and yet somehow managing, against all odds, to reach it. The satisfaction is unmatchable.

I cut two kids' fingernails AND toenails today!!!!

Dave and I went out tonight, for our usual favorite dinner-and-movie date. Dinner was at a fairly nice, but still casual, restaurant in Palo Alto, and it was late, past 9:30pm by the time we sat down. We were shocked -- horrified! -- to see a family with three small children there. It's a nice enough place that you don't expect to see little kids there at any hour, but let alone that late.

And we saw the quintessential bad behavior that gives all parents a bad name. Children chasing each other and laughing while running around the tables, bumping into the chairs of other diners. Lots of loud noises and screaming. And the ultimate: a mom following a toddler around the restaurant with a plate and a fork, slipping forkfuls of food into the toddler's mouth when she was distracted. Holy cow!

Well, for once, I end the day feeling like a good parent. Especially since the care my kids were under tonight was far superior -- since it wasn't my care they were under. Instead, they were tended to by the ultra-capable Peggy. They and their nice short neat fingernails.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

5/31/07 Mom's day "off"

Day off? Do moms ever have a day off? No, but at least I had a few continuous hours off from the younger two today. This still leaves me with a 1pm pickup and Gabriel all afternoon, but I'm rather enjoying that.

First, the day started with a miraculous event. I hadn't set clothes out for the boys, as I usually do. But when they got up this morning, the first thing they did was go to their dressers and pick clothes out for themselves and started getting dressed! Without prompting, cajoling, threatening, bugging, reminding or anything, they got dressed! Hmm, I'd better keep their dressers stocked with folded clothes. Half the time that I set their clothes out, I pluck them from a pile of clean, unfolded laundry.

Katrina has been nothing short of utterly delightful lately, even after a day away from home and shorter naps. Wakeups have been about half-and-half between waking up at 6am for good, or waking up at 5am, nursing, then going back to sleep until 7:30 or so. The latter is preferable!

Here she is practicing babbling and making goofy sounds and faces. Not her best, but the best I could capture.

Hive report: almost gone! A scratch or injury still raises up red, but the white raised marks are almost completely gone. She has a weight check next week; I'll ask then about if a 3-week-long hive episode could possibly be a food allergy.

One thing the hives inspired was trying out soy yogurt. She luuuuvs that! And I know why, too, having licked the spoon myself. It's very sweet, much sweeter than dairy yogurt. Full of "expressed cane juice," which is a nice way of saying "sugar." I hope we can get back to dairy yogurt before she gets too hooked. Then again, being a big fan of sugar myself, there could be worse things than soy yogurt.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

5/30/07 Swim class screwup

WAH! I'd been so looking forward to our perfectly-timed class with our longtime favorite swim teacher, Gina.

But, it turns out, we were on the schedule for an earlier time (and hence late today), and, Gina isn't teaching on Wednesdays! I was so bummed. Especially since having Julian and Katrina in the class means I need extra help from the teacher we do have. But our teacher also runs the swim school, quite often during the lessons. Today I spent a good 5 minutes (out of 20) holding Julian and Katrina while waiting for him to resolve something. This was especially hard since Julian was crying and really really needed my full attention. (He got over it in playtime.)

The good news, however, is that I signed Julian and Katrina up on Mondays also, with Teacher Gina. It's at noon, not necessarily the best time, but there's a good chance Katrina won't be napping then. 3 out of 7 Mondays, however, I'll have to bring Gabriel with us, and hope that he won't be too sad about not joining his sister and brother in the water.

It's worth it though; we've had Gina for years, and she was very supportive and sweet last summer when I was so miserably pregnant. She gave me specific orders to come back this summer with the baby, which she was completely convinced would be a girl. She wouldn't hear of the other possibility.

The other good news is that Katrina had a grand time in swim class today, not crying at all. Despite swimming only once a week, she now totally "gets" jumping into the water, scrunching up her little face in anticipation right before going under. She is almost able to jump off the side, impeded partly by the tiny lip at the edge of the pool, but she can jump in from a step in playtime. With all the wiggling and kicking she does on land, she should take quickly to swimming!

More comments today about how little Katrina is, and surprised reactions when I tell them she's almost 8 months old. When I look around at other babies in swim class, I can see why. She seems littler and littler as her behavior matures faster than her petite little body. We're developing a series of 'P' nicknames for her -- the boys love calling her Pixie Peanut, and now we've tacked on Pipsqueak (thank you Stacey for that one!).

I survived another afternoon today, partly because I got Julian in his room for a nap. He never took one, but at least he was out of the picture for an hour. That makes a huge difference in my ability to deal with the boys for many hours.

People often ask how it is with 3 kids, and my answer hasn't changed: it's not 3 kids, it's 2 boys that gets me. Young boys, close in age, the older one having the much stronger personality, and the younger one being 3. Not the ideal scenario. That said, whenever I see or read something about the deep bond that many grown men have with their brothers, I feel warm and happy that they have each other, and a tiny pang of regret that there isn't another brother in the mix. For a fleeting moment, that is, until the inevitable crash, cry and ensuing chaos shatters my fraternal reverie.

No photos today. Taking advantage of extended daylight, I made a hasty escape this evening, and tackled part of the PG&E trail at Rancho San Antonio. 4.5 miles, about half of that hills. I'm pooped.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

5/29/07 First full-time day

Today was the first day of a new schedule: Katrina and Julian at Tonya's all day, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for the summer.

I've been so looking forward to getting some continuous time and making momentum on some projects...but that anticipation was dampened by an unexpected, but really, expected emotion: I missed my baby!

Katrina gained a bad rep from her earlier months; right now she is the picture of a sweet, adorable, delightful, fun, outgoing, utterly joyful baby. And you know that takes a lot for me to say, as I'm not all that big on babies!

(Note that my oh-so-darling 3-year-old barely merited a whit of thought all day.)

She did great at Tonya's, playing happily all day despite marginal naps. When I picked her up, she beamed at me, made her happy crackly sounds, and reached for my face with both hands. Awww. Maybe I did this wrong -- I should put both boys at Tonya's all day! Well, that's coming soon enough, when Gabriel starts at Collins CDC in mid-June.

Before Gabriel starts his new schedule, I have a fun few weeks in which I get him to myself for two afternoons a week. This was timely today, since we had a kindergarten orientation to go to at his school. This was moderately useful, and would have been moreso if we weren't in such a big room with such poor acoustics. Most of what they talked about in terms of readiness for kindergarten didn't apply or isn't an issue (e.g. Gabriel being scared and crying the first day). We didn't get to tour the classrooms, but at least saw where they'd be, and Gabriel got to play in the playground right outside where his class will be.

Gabriel's real excitement this afternoon was discovering a clock-making kit he got for Christmas last year (or the year before, I think!). Mr. Numbers here no longer remembers how to read analog clocks, because digital clocks exist. He learned a long time ago that it's much easier to read a digital clock, so now has to think about it to read an analog one, if he will at all.

(From a cognition perspective, that's actually rather interesting. He was truly reading the analog clock, rather than recognizing a hand pattern and applying it to a developed concept of time, as an adult would. You and I don't really "read" analog clocks, we glance at them and identify the time. They're faster to tell time on them, much like analog speedometers are easier to use than digital ones. So no wonder it's harder for him to read an analog clock, because he's reading it and not really telling time on it. )

Nevertheless, making a clock was great fun for him. He loved the instructions to draw a circle on heavy paper around a dinner plate, then cut it out (he excitedly told Dave about this feat of engineering later). Then I went through with him how to find the center of the circle and make a hole, then he colored the clock, then meticulously glued the numbers on. Finally, I snapped the hands onto the little clock mechanism. He's very proud of it. Maybe now he'll remember how to tell time!


Monday, May 28, 2007

5/28/07 An unmemorable Memorial Day

Memorial Day. Commemorating veterans, old, and regrettably, the daily new. The long-lost 49er rally and the GS trials we used to do, sniff. War movies on TV. Department store sales. And, the unofficial start of summer.

In our case, the holiday meant another day struggling to survive the onslaught of children, and, in my case, a migraine. This time, I took the Imitrex exactly as prescribed: first one pill, then a second two hours later. Judging by this experience, it does seem to address the pain, but that's it. All the other weird and uncomfortable things from the misfirings in my head are still there. The lack of pain is an improvement, but what does it take the get rid of the vice grips, the strange visual perceptions, the sensitivity to light and sound?

My usual remedy to everything is exercise. Mercifully, the Y was not only open today, but Childwatch was on its regular schedule. So I brought all three of our mini-monsters to the Y and pushed my way through a half-hearted workout. When I picked them up, the miniest monster was asleep in the stroller. The Childwatch lady seemed quite pleased with herself. It's not their fault. If a baby is tired, baby shouldn't be there, and I guess lots of moms want them to go to sleep there. I'm not among those.

Indeed, Katrina's 10-minute snooze took the edge off, and she didn't take an afternoon nap until 5:00pm. Great! Fortunately, she was in a great mood when we woke her up, and she went to bed easily around 8:30pm.

After the Y, I took the boys to Supercuts, and was thrilled to find it almost empty. No wait! In under 20 minutes, the boys had gained a degree of respectability and we were on our way home. Meantime, Katrina had a blast at Supercuts, putting on her best adorable-baby show, beaming at everyone, and absolutely relishing the fawning and cooing over her from the underworked ladies. I don't know what got into her.

Maybe it was this hand-me-down denim skirt I put on her today, her first skirt. Skirts are silly on a baby, but this one has handy slits to make it fall right when she's sitting. Provided it's not on backward, as it is in this photo.

Of course, the real reason for the skirt is that I've fallen so behind in laundry and had to dig through more hand-me-down bags that I hadn't gotten to yet. But I like it.

(That reminds me, shopping at Target with Julian and Katrina the other day, Julian ran over to some skirts and wanted to get one -- for himself! No, sweetie, I told him, that's a skirt. "What's a skirt, Mommy?" he asked innocently. I started to answer him, then realized the gravity of the question. He has no idea what a skirt is: I've only ever worn one once around him, for a few hours on Mother's Day!)

I loved this primary-color star onesie on Katrina, from the same trip to Target ($3.99, score!). Later, I realized why I was attracted to it: it was in the infant boys' section! I'm the worst girl mom. Skirts on backward. Boy clothes. Sounds like the way I dress myself.

Oh, time to go...a new episode of SuperNanny is starting! I wonder what she'd say about Gabriel's new harmless attempt at making a point in timeout, which is to strip himself naked and throw his clothes across the room.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

5/27/07 Park BBQ

Today's only redeeming event was going to a park and barbeque. I got to chat with friends, Katrina got to smile at people and do cute-baby stuff, and the boys got to play with friends. There were lots of kids there, so there were various combinations of kids playing, but since the boys see so much of the White family, inevitably they gravitated toward their respective peers.

Julian and Andrew played together a lot today,

as did Gina and Gabriel, "racing."

Gabriel discovered a "forest" in a corner of the park, and was unusually excited, for him, about exploring it. I didn't see this myself, but he was coaxing Gina into places that she wisely thought better of going, though fortunately this particular place was safe. They were looking for dinosaurs, but were very excited to discover a cat too.

On the way home, Gabriel asked again and again about going to explore in a forest, can we go now Mom? This kid needs to go camping. Is this a new side of him, or one that's always been there that I haven't fostered somehow? (Isn't it amazing how modern moms can turn a positive thing into a guilt moment?)

Katrina's morning nap got all screwed up, so she was a ticking time bomb while we were at the park. Fortunately she stayed sunny and happy, but we were pushing it. I called it right and got everyone organized to leave early, and with Gabriel's help, managed to keep her awake in the car. The moment we got home, I nursed her and she went down happily for a 2.5-hour nap. And so did I, as I've been fending off a headache today.

I'd hoped to take Dave to an open house today, but alas, it's impossible to fit in multiple things with a nap-needing baby in tow. (Fortunately, or unfortunately at times, Katrina's inflexibility quells any temptation I might have about having her nap in the stroller or some non-crib location. Such as my shoulder, never an option for her.)

I don't want to lose momentum on this massive remodel project, I just want to get it done! Well, started. Sometimes the only way I can keep up with a project is to make sure I do at least one thing a day on it. If that's just sending an email message, so be it, at least it's something. I guess talking with Stacey and Betsy about the virtues and downfalls of interior windowless bathrooms will have to count for today.

I love living so close to Rancho San Antonio. I hate that millions of other people do too, and that tomorrow, especially being a holiday, going to Rancho would mean spending much of baby's happy window circling the parking lot. Maybe I should find a forest for Gabriel to explore tomorrow. It'd be fun to do that with him...except for that nap-needing-baby-in-tow thing again. Sigh. Caught between two lives. Well, three.