Saturday, July 28, 2007

7/28/07 Katrina crawls for real

Finally! Katrina is actually taking real crawl steps now. Verrry slowly, but she's certainly mobile. Especially when her targets are brothers' toys. So much for that track!

She's still not very fast or efficient, but now it's become commonplace to turn my head and find her somewhere else.

I went running at Rancho San Antonio today, in the morning (gasp!) and with friends (Sonia and Lynne). That was great -- except for finding parking. At 7:45am, all parking lots were completely full. That place is popular! Still, there are so many trails that we hardly saw anyone once we were out on the trails. We did a 7.5 mile route and yakked the whole way. I sure hope my knees hold out, 'cause there is so much I like about this running thing.

Katrina's been sleeping late, and slept until 8am today. But, that sets her up for a later morning nap, and really messes up the afternoon nap, which she never took today. Argh!

And, she has a new skill: pushing up into a sit from her tummy. So, her afternoon nap was further foiled by her sitting up in the crub and crying her eyes out. Lying down, eventually she would calm down and fall asleep. But just like Gabriel when he was 7 months old, and got himself standing and wouldn't lie down, she's not going to fall asleep sitting up. Sigh, I do so love my baby, but I do so love my baby's afternoon nap too, so I'm not on full-on baby duty for 6 consecutive hours. It's really stressful after a while, especially as baby gets more and more tired and needy.

At least Dave had the boys occupied with yardwork, and Julian took a nap. It's intensely stressful when poor baby is being flocked by boisterous brothers.

Still, I caught Gabriel pretend-headbutting Katrina, by dropping his head toward her quickly and then pulling it away -- only he was wearing his bicycle helmet, which has a protruding visor with a sharp edge! That would have really hurt if it hit her in the face. The visor was millimeters away from hitting her face, as he can't judge how far it sticks out. Stupid kid -- even a seeing-eye dog knows enough not to walk its blind owner toward an overhang that the human's head would hit. And she was sitting in the high chair at the time, a sitting duck! He was sent to his room for a long time for that one.

I managed to indulge in some baking this afternoon anyway, despite baby interruption and little-boy menaces. Pastry therapy, I guess.


Friday, July 27, 2007

7/27/07 Closed street

Today the city closed our street to all traffic, to repave a street that I thought was just fine already. This morning, that meant walking all three kids to the car parked around the corner, to take Julian to his last day of day camp. Fortunately, I had some help from our next-door neighbor with ultra-putzy Julian. Mo Jing swept right in, took Julian's hand, and with his usual excellent cheer and constant laughter, brought him along. I always appreciate the help!

Once we were at the Y, I figured I might as well stay and get in a short stretch and workout, since Katrina wouldn't need a nap for over an hour. But then I realized, there was an aerobics class -- yes, an old-fashioned high-impact, no-equipment aerobics class -- starting. Cool, I haven't done one of those in ages! I figured it'd be easy, given all the running I've been doing, but I was in for a surprise. Aerobics and dance, I quickly remembered, are much burstier sorts of activities. I can jog to the Farm at Rancho San Antonio now without really getting out of breath, but that's a very even sort of exertion. Jumping, turning, kicking....I was surprised how out of condition I am for that sort of movement. Another reminder that no matter how deep I step into the world of athletics, in my heart, if not my body, I'm still a dancer-type.

Katrina had a fine time at the Y Childwatch. I snuck this photo in of her playing on a pillow before she saw me, at which point she started to cry immediately. I wasn't buying that though! The lady playing with Katrina paid her a now-common compliment on the beautiful reddish shade of her hair.

When we got back from the second trip to the Y to pick up Julian, the paving construction on our street was still in progress. A worker told us they were taking a break, then at 2:00, the roller would be out, then after that, the sander truck. Gabriel watched the clock carefully inside, and then was outside at 2:00 on the dot, and Julian joined him, to supervise from the porch.

Well, it turned out that the roller had started before 2:00, and the sander was now halfway done. When the sanding truck was finished, the workers started putting away the cones, and then the same worker we'd talked to was walking along the street, reviewing the results.

Gabriel went up to the worker and informed him that the roller was supposed to start at 2:00! Then Gabriel pointed out that the sand truck had missed a strip in front of our house: "There's still some black here." Incredibly, the worker said, "yeah, they didn't do that quite right," and a few minutes later, someone was there with a shovel, tossing sand onto the black strip. Gabriel appeared satisfied with this, and the worker seemed to accept with good cheer that he was being overseen by a 5-year-old.

I guess the City of Sunnyvale had better make sure they are ON TIME and do the job EXACTLY RIGHT, 'cause Gabriel's on the job!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

7/26/07 Julian and Katrina

As much as I adore my firstborn, I have to say, it sure it a lot easier when he's away all day. Not so much because of him, but the effect he has on Julian. Well, the effect they have on each other. Which is instant trouble.

I had the morning alone with Katrina, part of which was unfortunately wasted on another headache doctor appointment (I don't like them and I'm not going back). Then in the afternoon while Katrina was awake, Julian and Katrina played together. She's definitely mobile now, though I'm not quite sure I'd call what she does "crawling," and Julian gets a kick out of watching her and encouraging her.

At day camp, the counselors told me that Julian talks about Katrina all the time. But they were surprised to hear that he has an older brother, who is never mentioned!

I went for a long run at Rancho San Antonio tonight, then joined my Mom friends for 3 C's: Coffee, Cheesecake, and Chatting. Normalcy renewed.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

7/25/07 The Family Dinner gone awry

I don't get it. Who are these kids who are brought closer to their families, perform better in school, get into less trouble, succeed in life, because of family dinners together? More to the point, who are the parents who didn't run from the dining room screaming?

Not ours. And not us.

"What is it again they're supposed to get out of this?" Dave asked me dejectedly this evening, during a momentary break in the din of bathroom-talk chanting, banging silverware on glasses, showing of chewed food, bursts of shrieking laughter, hooting sounds. Dave and I exchanging more than a few hastily shouted words, let alone any meaningful information, is completely out of the question. Bonding, enjoying, sharing....? How? Where? Who?

And this is when the boys are being good! Where "good" is defined as "just barely within clear limits we've stated." After all, we're not telling them not to talk at all. Repeating themselves isn't against the rules. Laughing is OK, and handling utensils is fine. Saying "I'm pooped" or "peel the fruit" is OK. But any of those things taken to an extreme turns into obnoxious chanting, banging, shouting and bathroom talk. They constantly look for the zone in which it's just on the edge of being allowed.

It's sad that the supposed glue of family dinner together should unravel an otherwise very pleasant day today.

Julian once again had a fabulous time at daycamp. He gave all the counselors a hug goodbye, and cheerfully said hello or asked questions of anyone we passed. It's starting to make me feel guilty: he needs a larger social outlet than Tonya's.

Today at daycamp, Julian made smoothies, and he told me all about it on the drive home. So, having some bananas and strawberries that were a smidge too ripe for eating directly, we made some smoothies together at home.

I really like making things in the kitchen with the boys, though I haven't done it with Julian alone very much. Julian loved it, talking on and on about how much help he was being, that he was doing his job. Of course, he loved the smoothie he made!

This was made possible by Katrina's rapidly expanding finger-food repertoire. Today she ate the better part of her lunch herself: half a soynut-butter sandwich, bit by bit. She also loves pieces of bagel (with and without cream cheese) and corn cakes, and now, Puffins. She's also getting good at handling a sippy-cup and drinking water from it, which she LOVES.

Today we talked to Grandpa Jim on the phone, and when Katrina got grumpy, I put Grandpa Jim on speaker. He whistled her an Irish tune, and she perked up happily right away!

I'm glad I caught this special moment on crummy-camera video. Grandpa Jim has only met Katrina once, when she was 3 months old, but he fell instantly, and permanently, in love with her.

Ah, seeing that melts away the sting from dinner. It really was a nice day.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

7/24/07 The daycamper

I picked up Julian from daycamp at the very last minute today, and found him happily waiting with one counselor and two friends.

I forget, do people worry about 3-year-olds making friends? Gabriel never seemed to care, and Julian does it so easily.

He is absolutely loving this pee-wee daycamp thing. He's in a great mood when I get him, happily chats everyone up as he says goodbye ("My Thomas backpack has train tracks on it!"), talks about things he did, asks if he's going back tomorrow. I should have done more weeklong daycamps for him this summer!

Unfortunately for him, I really need my two full-free-days off from children (which I don't have this week since Tonya's on vacation, hence the half-day daycamp). As adorable was Katrina was today, she's still just a 9-month-old baby who needs a fair amount of attention. And more attention these days than before, as she's always getting herself stuck with her half-baked non-crawling.

I need that child-free time because I've made a huge decision, one that will kick off the most monstrous construction project of my life (let's hope). After meeting with another new architect today, and receiving a proposal from the fabulous architect I met with last week, it's a no-brainer. The fabulous one gets it. After Dave and I both actually read her proposal (no quick scanning!), I'll sign it and write the first of many, many checks for this project. EE-Yayyy!

And not a moment too soon. I'm getting very cranky about having to get on my hands and knees with a flashlight to pry out a muffin tin from the tiny little hole that serves as my baking pan storage.


Monday, July 23, 2007

7/23/07 Gabriel reads a book

Tonya is closed this week, so Julian is doing a half-day one-week day camp at the Y. He was looking forward to it, and was just fine when I dropped him off, and chatting happily with a new friend at lunch when I picked him up. He had a great time, and now Gabriel wants to go to day camp too!

What a relief to drop Julian off and get the boys separated.

Last weekend, Dave and I bought two kid-books with the intent of them being Gabriel-readable. After some debate, we got him two "Level 2" books, which are roughly guidelined to be "I can read with help." Within that, they vary widely; and the "Small Pig" story is far more substantial than the goofy Thomas-the-Tank-Engine stories (which I'm starting to get very tired of!).

This morning, Gabriel read both books without stopping, carefully studying each page, reading each word aloud slowly and clearly. Not only did he read almost all the words, but he understood the stories too. Best of all, he really liked sitting down and reading a new story himself. It's time to get this kid a library card!

Later in the day, after we picked up Julian, Gabriel read both books again to Julian. Julian really needed to finish his lunch before nap, but I didn't have the heart to insist when they were both so absorbed in the new stories.

Meantime, Katrina practiced her non-crawling mobility skills. Though she'll take one barely-credible crawl step, she hasn't really made all fours a way of getting from one place to another. She ends up sliding to her tummy and then rolling around on her back. What happened to infant girls hitting physical milestones sooner?!

Calm Mom took a brief hiatus today, as I lost my temper with the boys three times today. Now that I do that a lot less, the triggers are clearer. And almost all of the trouble centers around the boys' nonstop, if loving, harassment of their baby sister.

For every time I sit Katrina down in the family room, I have to tell the boys numerous times to stop: stop putting things in her face, stop taking toys away, stop giving her toys with tiny pieces, stop cupping their hands and shouting in her ear, stop grabbing her hands, stop stepping on her feet, stop running cars over her head, stop jumping over her, stop running in circles around her, stop pushing her, stop this, stop that, STOP EVERYTHING AND JUST LEAVE HER ALONE!!!!!!!

The "numerous times" part is a problem. Should I shorten the escalation cycle each time? It starts with warning, kick him (usually Julian) off the rug, then to the living room, then to his room; each time with a warning first and then the consequence. Again and again and again. I don't want to send him straight to his room for grabbing her feet, but by the 10th time in the day, I have no patience left for warning/consequence-1/warning/consequence-2/warning/consequence-3 etc.

Oh boy, will I be happy when Katrina can stick up for herself a little more. She'll never be a match for her rambunctious older brothers, but she won't always be quite as helpless as she is now.

Betsy says her kids mostly ignore their baby brother...break my heart! I can't imagine!! Protecting helpless baby from her overzealous brothers is a nonstop source of anxiety for me.

Yesterday (Sunday) morning, instead of sleeping late and then making a big bang-up breakfast for the family (which I love to do), I got up uber-early and ran in the Wharf-to-Wharf 10K instead. And today, no trace of a Monday Migraine. None!! Do you know how rare it is not to even feel a headache brewing?! That's huge! What the heck is going on Sunday mornings?!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

7/22/07 Wharf-to-Wharf

Today I ran in the HUGE Wharf-to-Wharf 10K race, from Santa Cruz to Capitola!

Well, sort of ran. It is a very popular race, and was very very crowded. I was there with Sonia, her husband Tom, her two boys in the jogging stroller, and another of Sonia's running pals, a statuesque Englishwoman named Lynne. We all stuck together for the first 2/3 of the race, but since it was SO crowded, it was impossible to get the jogging stroller through the throngs of walkers and trotters that made up most of the crowd around us. The runners were long gone. Usually it's courtesy for strollers to go last, but if you have actual runners pushing it, they're not going to do much running. Tom and Sonia traded off pushing the stroller, but anytime there was any sort of uphill, the whole crowd slowed and we'd have no way to get through and would be back to walking.

After a time, my hips started to ache from all the walking/trotting, so I told Sonia I was going to pick up the pace and meet them at the finish (we'd arranged a meeting place). Lynne did too, so we ran together.

Together?! I was in for the ride of my life!! Holy Cow!!

Lynne is a serious athlete, and her normal pace is very, very fast. I was at a sprinting pace right away trying to keep up with her, while she appeared to be relaxed and hardly out of breath.

We immediately started threading our way through the crowd, dodging walkers, scooting through gaps, weaving back and forth looking for ways through, passing tens of people with each few strides. Often, a window would close just after she made it through, so I'd have to put in an extra blast to catch her again. In the short unobstructed stretches, I was pumping hard just to stay with her.

By the last mile, I was about spent, but still determined to keep up her pace, despite her kind offers to slow down. But eventually it was too much, so I called to her and ask how much longer...just half a mile. I put my head down and coached myselt to stick it out. I've been through worse! Think sand traps. Think steep, dusty, rocky uphills on a heavy motorcycle. Panting hard, stitches up and down my entire body, completely wrung out, I flew (well, to me) across the finish line. Lynne was still barely trotting.

What a fun event! The cities close the streets, and onlookers line the course, spraying water on the runners, and many people set up bands or other entertainment along the course. I've never seen a bagpipe band before! The event ended in Capitola, a charming little town with a very nice beach. We also had fabulous weather, which in Santa Cruz in July means, it wasn't foggy or cold. And, of course, spending time with friends and making new ones. I like the running crowd.

My only complaint is that the actual running was hard because it was so crowded, and the fun venue attracts...well, non-runners. Which, I still insist I am, but I still like to actually run. Or gasp for breath behind real runners.

But I was a wonderful morning in a beautiful place with great people, and in the end, more running than I could have imagined.

Meantime, Dave did so well with all three kids alone this morning that he actually took them all to Bobbi's -- by himself!

Before you're too impressed with that, remember that for Dave, sitting down and being served food is much easier than making it at home. He got away with this partly because the boys were well-behaved, and also partly because Katrina is just full of joy, especially for any new situation that involves new people to beam at.

And, Katrina's food repertoire has expanded to the point that there are now only a few things I won't give her, rather than only a few things that I do. Breakfast food is especially easy: she had scrambled eggs, pancake and toast at Bobbi's.

(A note on the eggs: I know she's not supposed to have whites, or yolks, I always forget which, until 12 months old. But my nephew Aidan's experience with food allergies "enriches" my perspective. Case in point: eggs. Aidan was allergic to eggs. Avoiding the the white or the yolk wouldn't have made any difference. Meantime, pancakes and pasta are on the OK list, but Aidan reacted to them. So the advice to avoid part of an egg, when they're exposed to whole eggs in many other foods, seems silly to me. Perhaps it's a quantity thing. But if you're allergic to eggs, you're allergic to even a small amount; and if you're not, you're not. Katrina isn't. And she LOVES scrambled eggs.)

Oh yeah, one more thing about the 10K. They ran out of size Small T-shirts, so I got a Large, for Dave to wear. I wish they'd give out kids' sizes.

I'm going to sleep well tonight!