Saturday, June 30, 2007

6/30/07 Hail Hail The Gang's all here!

Cousins have arrived! So far no broken bones or hurt feelings, but there's plenty of time for that!

Gabriel and Aidan shake hands. I guess they're too old to be prodded into photo-op hugs anymore. Drat.

Katrina, as predicted, is absolutely loving all the activity, and putting on her best adorable-baby show. Her cousins are pretty interested in her too.

Julian and Remi disobey a DIRECT ORDER not to laugh!

Whew, my miserable dysfunctional utterly inadequate kitchen survived dinner for 10 tonight.

Mom and Steph and I made it to Rancho San Antonio tonight though; I for a run and they for a walk. What a great way to end the evening: stick the Dads with dinner cleanup and kid bedtime and go for a lovely walk/run outside!


Friday, June 29, 2007

6/29/07 Bonne Maman meets Katrina

How many moms do you know send their kids away when Grandma comes to visit?


Well, here's why. I had planned to put both boys at Tonya's this morning, so Mom and I could settle in and have some peaceful time together and with Katrina.

But today was Wheels Day at Collins CDC, and Gabriel talked about it for days. I just didn't have the heart to tell him he was going to spend the morning with a bunch of toddlers instead of riding his bike around a playground all day. So Gabriel went to Collins CDC.

Julian, meantime, went to Tonya's for the morning as planned, but at the last minute I decided to leave him there for the afternoon too.

I'm glad actually; Mom and I had a great relaxed time today, playing with Katrina and planning the big food challenge for the week. Katrina and Bonne Maman had lots of time to get to know each other, and even though Katrina was on the edgy side for her, she totally came through with lots of cute baby behaviors, smiling, clapping and just being adorable. We had plenty of time with the boys tonight, who were unusually well-behaved. Let's hear it for family visits!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

6/28/07 Bonne Maman arrives!

Spent all day running around frantically, shopping, cleaning up, preparing. This included some unexpected, but long, long overdue home improvement. Why I waited over 7 years before getting a paper towel holder that doesn't fall down all the time is beyond me.

Grrrh. Last week, our G.C.'s tile contractor and I haggled on the phone about when he'd come here to investigate the leak from our new bathroom, one that's resulted in a foot-square hole in the downstairs ceiling. Thursday, today, was the only day we could find a time that worked for both of us. Despite family arrivals today, I agreed only because he said "First thing -- 8am, OK?" First thing. His words. First thing, 8am. No mean feat with three young children, but we were ready at 8am. First thing.

So, at 8:45am, no tile contractor. That also meant, no nap, no making phone calls, no going out shopping, no getting involved in any uninterruptable task while waiting -- a lot to ask during child-free time.

I called him, containing my irritation.

"Where are you?"
"Umm, Marin County," he answered. (Marin freakin' County?!)
"You were supposed to be here at 8am!"
"I'm travelling down to the Peninsula now, I'll probably get around there around..."
"When did you expect to come here today?"
"I was going to call you today to see when you were free."

Oh yeah RIGHT!! Like I'd ever in a million years agree to that!

Translation: "You're a completely insignificant piece of sh*t who I want nothing to do with and who must lie in wait for me and be at the ready when I'm done picking my nose and scratching my ass." ARGH! That's it, from now on, any appointment I make with a contractor will be preceded with a verifying/reminding phone call the day before.

Miraculously, I got the sunroom/closet/guest room together for Mom's arrival tonight, instants before darting out to the airport. Cleaning, sorting, preparing linens, lights, getting shelves in place. I don't know what I'd have done if her flight hadn't been delayed. Well, yes I do. The piles wouldn't be as neat, but I'd still have been on time to pick her up, ready or not.

I'll bet contractors are never, ever asked to pick up people at airports.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

6/27/07 Katrina claps

Katrina has a new trick: clapping her hands together. And really clapping, like, applause!

Naturally, this feat delights her to no end. But no one moreso than her brothers, who are absolutely thrilled that she joins in a clapping game (a little too thrilled -- they can get very carried away and it quickly turns annoying).

She's also really, really working on crawling. Mostly, she slides backward on her rear end, but she's juuust starting to rock, just starting to look like she's working on getting to all fours, and is really reaching out to get things. This results in more than a few face-plants, but such is an occupational hazard of babyhood.

She had a grand time playing with this adorable smiley baby in the mirror today.

Watch out brothers -- you'd better listen to Mom and not leave stuff lying around, 'cause grabby-baby-paws are on their way! She's sneaking up!

More comments today at swim class about the red hair. When wet in the sunlight, it really does look reddish. Not so much indoors though.

Is it encoded in contractors' DNA not to inform people of upcoming plans until the last minute? About the last thing I need in life is a phone call "guess what! we're coming today!" at 8:15am, when Gabriel has to get to Collins CDC by 8:30am for a field trip and I'm packing his lunch, Katrina needs breakfast, and Julian is kicking his pee-soaked Pull-Up to the ceiling. And then have him arrive right as I need to pack everyone up to leave for swim class. It's not fair to our contractor's main #1 carpenter either, who is a really, really good guy and I want to make his job as easy as possible. But I need a little notice to make sure his path is free of pee-soaked Pull-Ups.

Tomorrow night, I pick up Bonne Maman from the airport! Wouldn't it be an astounding treat if she sees Katrina's first crawling steps!


Julian's stats

My miserable Monday was so consumed with minute-by-minute survival that I forgot to mention that Julian's 3-1/2 year old appointment was that day. Perhaps the fact that I had to bring Gabriel too, and it was smack dab at baby's naptime, added to the forgettableness of it all.

But then, there's Julian. Healthy as a little horse. Good eyesight, good motor skills, good cognitive/language/social skills, nothing obviously wrong.

His stats:

Height: 38" (40 %ile, though later amended to "between 25th and 40th")
Weight: 31-1/2 lbs (40 %ile)
BP: 96/54 (taken by the cutest little sleeve!)

I had a Good Mommy Moment when the doc asked about his eating, though really, I can't take too much credit since Julian has always been a very good eater. She asked what he likes for vegetables, and he said "green beans," and for fruit, he said "strawberries." She was very impressed to hear that both boys eat fish, and real fish, not just kid-fish-sticks fish (though they have that too sometimes).

I like boring medical records. Keep it up, Julian!

the reaction

A bad trend has emerged. The night after a day that I've kicked a headache, even if the headache is still lingering, I am filled with spinning mental energy. Too antsy to read or watch TV. So here I sit in the office, at 2am, doing chores that should be supreme sleep-inducers -- putting away tax information, preparing investment account changes, moving money around to cover our still-hefty remodeling bills. Worse than counting sheep. And I only started the office chores to help along the half-Ambien I took in the hopes of shutting my mind down. No good.

Well, I'll get something out of this, which is post about something much more interesting, as anything is more interesting than this, especially if it's kid-related.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

6/26/07 A clean-up day

Gabriel started a new swim class today! At a new swim school, DACA. Actually, it's not new; I took him there once, before they moved, when he was a baby, and hated it.

But now, it's great. It's closeby, the pools are well set up for teaching kids and letting parents watch, and the office seems to be pretty organized (even though I'm not crazy about the registration system, which involves leaving a voicemail and they call you back), they have a deck supervisor to answer questions, direct people to classes, get things, and keep things moving along. I guess some people must be pretty fond of cramming things in, because DACA starts swim lessons at, are you sitting down, 6:30 AM!! Though some might argue that Gabriel's 8:30am lesson is pushing it.

Gabriel liked his lesson, partly because the water was warm. He also really liked the basketball at the end, in which the teacher holds a hoop on a floating stand, and the kids throw a basket into it. I'm not sure what this has to do with swimming, but all the kids I saw in classes liked it.

I had the day "off" from kids today, other than Gabriel's swim lesson (and I really enjoy spending that time alone with him; he was so happy too). Good thing, because I was still rattled from a scary day yesterday. That's how bad I felt: it was downright frightening. I guess I've never had a migraine and a fever at the same time -- not a good combination.

But, going to bed at essentially 8pm, after resting from 2pm on except for only the most critical childcare tasks, and sleeping all night, seems to have taken care of it. I was still weak and tired this morning, so much so that I was planning to skip ballet class (a new Tuesday staple). But at the last minute I decided to go, mostly because the headache wasn't gone, and getting out and doing things can really help. (Serious migraine sufferers can't go out at all, so I'm grateful.) After pushing myself through class, a sound nap and something to eat (after not a bite yesterday), had me good to go. In fact, I got a fair amount done this afternoon. But at dinnertime, I could feel the headache creeping back, and it's barely holding at bay now. That actually scares me now, instead of making me mad.

One thing I did today was sort through my very oldest boxes of junk, the few that survived a flood in the basement of our house in Brooklyn. Most of it was "why on earth did I keep this?" stuff, but when I stored it, I hadn't led nearly as much of a life yet. Still, I came across a few priceless items. One was an autobiography, amusing for someone still in high school, but it must have been an assignment from my English teacher, Frank McCourt. I also found some written thoughts about my future as a writer, and mentioned again encouragement from Mr. McCourt.

(If the name sounds familiar, that's because Frank McCourt later wrote a memoir about his childhood in Ireland, called Angela's Ashes, which won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a poor movie. But I'll always remember him for asking the class, "So. What did you have for dinner last night?")

Another funny thing I found was a bunch of folded-up notes that I inexplicably kept, several of thousands I passed with my friends in high school, often during class, and most often with my friend Liza. Nowadays, kids text-message each other instead of passing notes, but oh, how much must be lost in the medium -- the goofy handwriting, the little doodles, drawings and symbols, the emphases, the playful formatting (like writing the whole note in a spiral), the color of the pens, or even the type of paper (Liza and I had a thing for writing each other notes on graph paper).

I threw away most everything, but kept a few of these notes, as a reminder to myself for when Katrina is in high school of what goes through a teenage girls' mind. Frankly, it's very, very little. I doubt that what goes through teenage boys' mind is sufficient to fill a 3x5 index card. In fact, it probably requires only 3 letters. And you all know which three.

And I sent an amusing sampling of these notes to Liza, who now lives in Minnesota, an environmental attorney whose own daughter who must be 10 or 11 by now. With a letter, hand-written on graph paper.

Fast-forward 25 years....Katrina has learned a few new tricks. She's starting to bang two objects together, taking great delight in the sounds she makes. She's figured out how to push herself backward when she's sitting, sliding on her skinny little rear end. And, I think, she's starting to imitate. She makes this sound and waves her hand, so she started it, but if Gabriel starts it, then she'll do it too.

I captured a bit of all three of them doing this (see Katrina in the mirror). The first of a chorus!

Katrina's in good hands at Tonya's, as Tonya's daughters like holding babies. When I arrived to pick them up today, Tonya's middle daughter was holding Katrina, and they were both having a grand time. Julian was playing out front with Tonya's younger daughter, showing off his artwork for the day.

Oh heaven help me, I can feel this headache coming back. When I die, I want my brain donated to migraine research. Let them pick through what's left of it after raising three children, and maybe find what is miswired to cause this cruelty. To think, mine are mild.


Monday, June 25, 2007

6/25/07 Monday Migraine, with a twist

Major migraine today, again. But this time, with so much stomach upset that I didn't want to take the full dosage of Imitrex. Add to that exhaustion, achiness and a 101 temp. I am seriously hating life right now. Lucky me, I get to spend a crucial child-free day tomorrow in bed.

Thank goodness everyone napped this afternoon at the same time, or I'd have been a goner. When Katrina woke up, I checked on Julian, only to find him sitting in his room, clutching Julius the monkey, coloring quietly in his new coloring book. Love floods for my sweet middleborn.

This message brought to you courtesy of a baby who's been sitting and playing with her brothers' gear toys for no less than 40 minutes. As soon as she goes to bed, so will I. Maybe then the sledgehammers crushing my skull will stop.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

6/24/07 Ortega Park

I'd seen enough photos and references on friends' blogs about Ortega Park in Sunnyvale that today that I figured it was as good a place as any to take my little bundles. Gabriel was being unbearably pesty at home, showing all the signs of a bored kid, and he needed to get out almost as much as we needed to get him out.

Ortega Park is the closest park to us, and we could in theory walk there, but it's not that nice a walk and would take for-ever with a putzy 3-year-old. However, it's undergone major renovations recently, and is actually a pretty interesting and nice park.

One of the new features is a funky water play area, centered around a giant yellow flower with a crooked stem. There are also poles that spritz water, and fountains that come out of the ground, all on a padded, comfortable surface. I never figured out how to activate the water poles though. I guess they're on a timer, but sometimes it took a really long time for the water to start, and I got squirted enough times that I suspect there's some sort of weight activation.

Anyway, the boys had a great time running around the water. It was a little windy there though, making it cold unless you're in full motion. Julian pooped out pretty quickly and huddled in a towel on the blanket with Katrina, while Gabriel did funny dances standing on a fountain waiting for it to start.

As much as I appreciate Katrina sleeping until 7:30am these days, I'm not liking how it shifts her naps until so late in the day that the afternoon nap ends up being far too short, or, like yesterday, not at all. ~shudder~ -- a baby that doesn't nap. I can't bear the idea. Then again, this baby is pretty much happy and cheerful all the time, nap or not, so it's not so bad.

Gabriel continued to be unbearable at home, and I finally gave him one last warning that one more throwing a track piece into its box, and he was going straight up to bed (which meant NO Thomas video this week, a huge loss). And predictably, he made me carry out that threat. Oh, the howling and screaming as I confiscated his tracks to the garage!! I'm sure our neighbors thought I was beating him to within an inch of his life. And he continued to carry on through the whole curtailed bed-bath process (which I did with his sister happily playing with books sitting on the floor nearby).

But it was crying, not confrontational insult-hurling. Though he cried and cried, he almost seemed relieved. He'd dropped the obnoxious attitude and was sad, instead of defiant. Contrition doesn't come easily in Gabriel-land. I think he was truly very, very tired, and in the end, went right to bed at 6:30pm.

All 3 all day tomorrow. Brace yourself.