Saturday, June 16, 2007

6/16/07 Gabriel crashes

Ouch! Dave took the boys to Varian park today for bicycling. Dave didn't see it happen, but Gabriel crashed hard, scraping both elbows and one knee pretty well. He even cried.

But that wasn't the worst thing that happened. Apparently, there are some thorns on the ground there, off the pavement, where Gabriel went exploring at Dave's suggestion. Said thorns put multiple punctures in both of Gabriel's tires. Dave spent the rest of the day finding a bike shop that was open and had what he needed to replace the innertubes, plus add a protective layer in, then fixing the tires. What a dad.

Though I'm feeling serious time pressure to finish my "closet" project, I pretty much expected that filling my car's gas tank up would be my major accomplishment for the day. But, incredibly, I made serious headway on my project this afternoon.

This was largely because Julian was absolutely unbearable when Dave returned from the park with Gabriel's wounded bicycle, so as troublesome as he was, I insisted on getting him down for a nap. I'm sorry to say this required two smart smacks, at separate times, to get him to cooperate, as every step of the way, and I do mean EVERY step (all 13 of them leading to the upstairs) required a warning, repeat, countdown, etc. I'm sorry, Supernanny, but breaking him out of his obnoxious resistance is worth the psychological damage being smacked might do to him. Besides, what about my emotional health? It's far better for both of us to yank him out of brat mode, then get on with the much more pleasant business of reading a story! (And thank goodness he can be yanked out of it, as that was not the case with his stubborn brother.) We are going to seriously celebrate when Julian turns 4. Unfortunately, we have another six months of 3 to endure.

So, I got Julian down, and he slept soundly for 4 hours until Dave woke him up. Katrina then took a nap too, leaving me with this astounding time windfall to build Shelves and organize Stuff and throw away Junk.

Katrina continues to show the world just how wonderful babies can be. She eats well, naps well, goes down for naps and bedtime easy as pie, she's been sleeping through the night for a week now (WHEEE-HAWWWW!!), she makes the most adorable "ba-ba-ba ma-ma-ma" sounds, she sits and plays just wonderfully for a long time, she beams at people in stores, cocking her head in play, almost demanding that they join her little game. She's completely irresistable.

After a huge sushi dinner at Midori tonight, it was time to put kids to bed. Thanks to it being close to the longest daylight day of the year, I had enough time to go out and run. I really didn't want to, feeling tired and slow after a big dinner. Compulsively, I forced myself, fantasizing about oatmeal-raisin cookies on the way. After a slow, grumpy start, the endorphins kicked in, and I had a great run. I took a route that doesn't have a lot of steep uphills, and what a difference that makes! (Parking -> Farm -> Rogue Valley -> Ravensbury -> Chamise -> Rogue Valley -> Farm -> Coyote -> Parking). Mind clear, body strong -- what a nice change from my usual dragged-out-mom feeling. And back to that first thing tomorrow.


Friday, June 15, 2007

6/15/07 Gabriel's last day at Kids Inc.

Gabriel graduated from pre-K yesterday!

I was really impressed with the effort Mrs. Rosie put into the whole graduation cermony. The kids had been rehearsing for weeks.

First, the kids filed out in procession, wearing caps and gowns, to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, of course.

Then they sat in their chairs, and Mrs. Rosie spoke for a few minutes.

Just as Mrs. Rosie was about to start the music for a song, I was a little appalled to see one mom break ranks from the audience and cross the "stage" to straighten her daughter's cap, fussing to get her bangs under the cap. Incredibly, this rude interruption somehow invited other parents to do the same!! I mean, really! Finally Mrs. Rosie gently nudged them away with, "OK, we're going to start the song now..."

Then they all sang a song about the sun, waving a little sun they'd each made out of a paper plate.

Then each graduate came up and read a few lines from a nursery rhyme into the mike (a short clip of Gabriel reading is in yesterday's post).

Then they each got a balloon and they all let them go at one time, cheering, to say goodbye to preschool.

Then they each filed up, one by one, to collect their diplomas.

And then they all posed for photos before filing back inside to the classroom, where we collected a bound scrapbook with various artwork and photos collected across the whole year, a necklace they'd each made with their names, and a wrapped gift. Wow!

Somehow, the director of the school got caught with a dead car, and wasn't there -- she really was the one who should have caught the parents' attention to give a big public thank-you to the teacher. She really deserved it. (I made an attempt once we were all back in the classroom, but everyone was milling around, so it was hard.) I'm glad I got Gabriel to make a card for Mrs. Rosie though. Really, very nicely done. I have mixed feelings about Kids Inc; the facility/building is really poor, but the pre-K teacher is great. That makes up for a lot.

After the ceremony, Gabriel asked Pranav to sign his autograph book (part of the scrapbook), and Pranav's mother suggested they pose for a photo together. Apparently these two have become friends, though Gabriel rarely talks about other kids at school. Unfortunately, Pranav isn't going to Gabriel's same elementary school next year.

During the ceremony, I was a little concerned about how Katrina would be, as evenings are always iffy for babies. But, silly me, I underestimated her again. She had a grand time, absolutely beside herself at all this new activity and people to see. Quite the little social butterfly.

Julian, very typically, was entranced, watching quietly with wide eyes and open mouth, soaking it all in with his usual reserve. But I wouldn't be surprised if months from now, he related some incident or thing he observed during the ceremony. He surprises me more and more often with something I thought of as so small and insignificant, but he remembers. This is much much more like his cousin than his brother.

As for today...I had an OB appointment, so Julian and Katrina went to Tonya's this morning, as Gabriel had his last morning at Kids Inc. Whatever's bothering my tummy really is tummy -- good news, I guess, since I'm seeing a gastroenterologist next week.

I had the afternoon alone with all 3 kids, which in some ways is getting harder than it was, but in other ways it's easier too. It really all depends on what the boys are doing. If they get involved in something new, I'm in great shape. But if not, and Julian doesn't take a nap....ugh. Then it's nonstop ordering them to quit bothering Katrina, stop squeaking a toy in her ear, take your stinky foot out of her face, give her the toys back, no more patting her head, don't grab her hands, OK that's enough, go into the living room, go into the living room right now, go into the living room RIGHT NOW....~EXPLODE~ RIGHT NOW! NOW!! >> N O W !! << Then comes the name-calling, insult-hurling, threats, claims that they don't have to do what I say, punching chairs, throwing sandals...and it all goes downhill from there.

Motorcycles and neighbors' backyard pools have been described as "attractive nuisance" hazards to kids. Well, so is an adorable baby sister. Who completely undermines my efforts by beaming and laughing at her brothers.

I'm FINE with them playing with her, and I let a lot slip -- she leads a tough life, I know that, and I really don't think I'm high on the overprotective scale. But I'm never sure when they're going to go too far, like when I caught Julian bouncing her finger between his teeth yesterday, or when I see Gabriel's filthy fingers doing a spider walk over her eyes, or when Julian "pretends" to put Scotch tape on her face.

Today Gabriel asked Dave how many hours were in a year. Dave said he didn't know, we'd have to calculate it. So now, Gabriel is ALL into "calculating" : "let's calculate, Dad!" I don't really think he knows what it means exactly, but he thinks it's cool.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

6/14/07 Katrina's goofy giggle

Katrina has a silly new way of laughing, by panting air out of her nose with a scrunched-up face. It is so silly it's hard to tell it's a laugh! Not the best example here, but still gives you the idea:

Lots more to say about Gabriel's pre-K graduation tonight, but it's too late and I'm too tired and Katrina is coughing (! wah!) too much.

Whoops, my youtube upload finished. OK, here's Gabriel reading a nursery rhyme as part of the graduation ceremony. Each kid got up and read about 4 lines that they'd rehearsed. Mrs. Rosie (the teacher) said they all LOVED talking into the microphone!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

6/13/07 Katrina eats

After Katrina's pediatrician visit last week, I tried giving her yogurt again. No hives! Not for days! Not to mention, talking with the ped. made me realize we'd been giving her milk-based formula all along (when she goes to Tonya's). So I don't think she's dairy-allergic.

So, I'm opening the floodgates. Today, Katrina tried a whole bunch of new foods, mostly because I happened to have them leftover from other meals, and figured she should try them too.

One of the things I like about making baby food, rather than using jars, is just my own mindset. More and more, I can think of her as eating what we have, avoiding certain things of course, and putting it into a form she can eat. You'd think with the 3rd baby, I'd make less baby food, but it's proved to be exactly opposite. The one thing that's fallen by the wayside is the porridge from grain, but I guess that's because I know that's temporary anyway. All my food-making is geared toward her eating the same thing everyone else does.

Besides, she doesn't seem to like any of the jars I've tried for "emergencies." So when I'm in a time crunch and she doesn't like what I've made for her, I've had to dig deeper, because jars don't seem to be the answer. Even the one thing I thought jars do pretty well -- pears -- are watery and tasteless. The pear puree I make is SO GOOD I almost don't want to "waste" it on her!

So, today, she got some fork-mushed kiwi slices, and she LOVED them. Then I added some leftover quinoa and finely chopped broccoli to her lunch of pureed yams, as well as some turkey bits. She gobbled it all. For such a tiny little baby, she sure can pack it down.

There are downsides to making baby food, especially the purees. It's a LOT of extra cleanup and water usage. And, you might get a fast science lesson when you add a little cold water to a glass pan that's been roasting yams at 400 degrees (hint: POW!).

The other good news is that she slept all night again until 6:40am this morning!

Today Julian did great in swim class -- confident, cheerful, willing. It's so much like him, it takes about 4-5 times before he kicks into gear.

Katrina too had a great time, though as usual, she cried with teacher Joey. I tried high-diving her (holding her up over my head, then diving her head-first into the water), and she came up like nothing had happened.

Is it because she's a girl and dressed in girl-clothes? I get SO many comments about how cute she is -- more, I think, than I did for the boys. Yet I know baby boys, having had two of them, are just as cute as baby girls. Or is it because she is so petite? Or that she's not virtually bald like her brothers were at this age? Hard to say. She is very outgoing and smiley though, maybe that's why. Of course, what mom doesn't think her 8-month-old baby is the most beautiful sight there is?

Speaking of 8-month-old baby, two things there are no signs of at all: teeth, and crawling. But she's sleeping through the night half the time. I'll take it.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

6/12/07 Julian remembers

Driving back from picking up Katrina and Julian from Tonya's this afternoon, the boys and I were talking about "other Gabriels" and "other Katrinas."

Julian piped in, "There's another Julian!". "There is?" I asked absently. He said, "Yes, in Erin's backyard."

Indeed, thinking about it, at Erin's 4th birthday party, last October, before Katrina was even born, there was another Julian at the party. Apparently it made quite the impression on him. Maybe this sort of remembering is typical for 2-year-olds (he was still 2 then), certainly his cousin Aidan would remember things like that, but it's new to me. Amazing what sticks in their little minds!

Katrina woke up at 7am today, the second time in a few days. This is the beginning of "sleeping through the night" -- yay!

Productive meeting with an architect this afternoon. The verrry first baby step!


Monday, June 11, 2007

6/11/07 Gabriel's map

Gabriel drew a map today, starting it at school, then completing it at home.

It started with the points labeled "HS" (for "house") and "SR" (for store), then expanded to include China. He's been very interested in China lately, which is odd since none of his classmates are Chinese, which is even odder.

The yellow strip is hot lava, he says. Then, "you know what this little black thing is? That the hot lava is bending around?" No I don't, Gabriel, tell me. In his best WELL DUH voice, he enlightened me: "It's a hot-lava-bender, Mom!" Silly me.

I had a miraculous afternoon with the boys, considering how badly the day could have gone. I fought a headache all morning, and finally caged and took some Imitrex in the afternoon, resigned to knowing I'd feel worse for a few hours first. But it came through, and I was able to function the rest of the day.

Better yet, Katrina took a nice long afternoon nap, allowing me some nice time with the boys, who were strangely well-behaved despite Julian not taking a nap. But they insisted on being silly when I tried to take pictures.

We spent some time putting together the shelves I bought at IKEA ... how many weeks ago? I've gotten pretty good at finding "jobs" for them; they like "helping" me build stuff. Occasionally Gabriel really IS a help!

This is Julian after washing his face himself, having come inside looking like he was trying to camouflage himself with dirt.

Though the migraine drug helped, it's still not the same as not having a headache to begin with. So I forced myself to go to the Y tonight, and dragged myself through an unusually unsatisfying workout, especially given my persistent, and I think, growing, spare tire around the middle.

I'm actually starting to get worried about it. I've been pretty controlled about what I eat, exercise regularly, and on the occasions I dare to weigh myself, I'm at a decent weight. Yet this tummy-sticking-out thing just seems to get worse. I swear, I looked pregnant tonight, and what's more, when I sit down, it pushes against my lungs uncomfortably, like when I was pregnant. Sometimes, something feels like it's pulling on me inside, and at times, I can lie down and just watch things move around, tighten, and contract, like mini Braxton-Hicks contractions. This can't be right. I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist next week, I hope he can tell me something, though I might be seeing the wrong kind of doctor if this is related to the tubal ligation.

At least I forgot about the headache for a while tonight though. Mission accomplished.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

6/10/07 Riding at Creekside Park

This morning after our usual big breakfast to-do, we took the boys to Creekside Park in the hopes of finding more room for them to practice riding. There's a big soccer field with a paved sidewalk perimeter, perfect for Gabriel to ride, but also, the field would provide some runoff room for Julian.

A big challenge with this bicycling thing is that Gabriel isn't quite mature enough to be counted on not to run into things, on purpose or by accident. I know from other parks how annoying -- and unsafe -- it is to have kids riding bicycles around pathways where toddlers are liable to dart out at any moment, from the perspective of the toddler-mom, that is. So I need to find parks where we can see him, and that he can ride on paths not shared by playgrounds, little kids, and people who want to walk along calmly without being barreled over by a hells-on-wheels 5-year-old.

The theory basically worked at Creekside: Gabriel rode around in circles happily, though I can see that getting old for him after a while. But he got to ride farther and faster than he ever has.

You can't see it in that video, but he's getting fast. Taking him to someplace like Shoreline Park would require one of us to have a bicycle too.

Julian, meantime, is doing fine with the riding part, but stopping and starting, not so much. He can use his coaster brakes to stop, but not to slow down, so he starts to panic if he gets going too fast. And he always does get going too fast, because he doesn't know how to ride slowly yet.

Then there's the problem that he's just 3 years old. The most minor thing distracts him, such as when he's riding along fine, then screeches to an ungraceful stop and drops the bike, just to tell me that his fingernail is too long or that he has to scratch his nose.

So it's a lot of work helping him, but he does make it a decent distance (25 meters or so?) before he comes to a semi-crashing halt. Enough that I'm finding immediate benefits to the running habit I'm still clinging to (2x a week or so, just enough to stay in training zone and never really improve!). He still has a way to go before he's really riding on his own, but he's on his way!

Katrina played on the family room floor tonight for 40 minutes while Dave had the boys out to Safeway, and I was making dinner. I'd set her up with a basket of toys, figuring I had about 5 minutes, but she was still there when the boys got back. She took especial interest in a board book, carefully turning it over, opening it, playing with the pages. I frequently made eye contact and talked to her, but she was just fine for a time longer than many 5-year-olds would play on their own. I was amazed. Of course, that sort of concentrated play would have been out of the question with any brothers here.

Brutal headache today, getting ready to turn into a nasty migraine tomorrow, I'm sure. This will be the fourth Sunday in a row that I predict a Monday Migraine. What is that about?!