Saturday, February 02, 2008

2/2/08 The Photo Session

Ever really wanted to throw a child off a balcony? No, of course not, that's too extreme, right?

Reserve judgement: this morning, Katrina cried out at 6:20am. I got up to check her and found her door closed (we keep it open at night so her room doesn't get too cold). The boys' door was open (and it's closed at night). Gabriel was asleep, Julian...missing. Hmm. I quietly opened Katrina's door, and there was Julian, with his arm inside the crib, poking at Katrina. He'd gone into her room, closed her door, and now was trying to wake my sick baby. Where's that balcony?! I still want to strangle him when I think of that.

Perfect day for photos, overcast and rainy. Now if only the subjects would cooperate.

Mom and I took the boys to the Y this morning, where we attended a "sculpt" class. I'd never been to it and had no idea what to do. We asked a few clueless questions of the woman setting up next to us, who, as it turns out, didn't speak English well -- no surprise in Cupertino. But surprise -- she spoke French!

After the class and retrieving the boys, we collected acorns and then tried a photo session, but Julian wouldn't cooperate. And didn't fall for the usual "OK, no Julian in the picture" reverse psychology. And, he's been insisting on wearing his coat, hood and all, all day long, which makes for awful pictures.

But he was too interested in looking at Gabriel's Snap Circuits with Bonne Maman to object to this.

Bonne Maman had a fun project to do with the boys: she got us appliance-poor Doudnas a citrus juicer. To East Coasters, if you have an abundant orange tree in your front yard, it's criminal not to have a citrus juicer. The boys had a great time making OJ, though our oranges are not at their sweetest.

We never got to do a family birthday party for Gabriel on his birthday, as he and I went to the airport instead to pick up family. So, tonight we did a little cake and candle and opened birthday gifts.

Earlier in the day, I managed to find a moment in which all three kids were in decent shape and willing to take a photo. Not easy to pry Julian's hood off though! Katrina put up with this for only a few minutes, but it was just long enough to get something.

Katrina was still sick today, and not just sick, but really unhappy. Whatever's bothering her is in her lungs now, and she truly just can't scream at all. We've been giving her these breathing treatments, and they seem to help, but she still spends much of her time at home crying, and not eating. She did surprisingly well when Mom and I took her and the boys out to Diddam's and grocery shopping: her eyes cleared up, skin un-blotched, she smiled and made cute baby sounds and had a good time. Back indoors, right back to crying.

Poor thing, she's so uncomfortable. It's eerie, she's like a different person. I'm looking forward to my ornery, testy, demanding, screaming baby coming back!


Friday, February 01, 2008

2/1/08 The Lesson

Bonne Maman accompanied us to Katrina's 15-month appointment today, and helped me keep her entertained. This time, I asked the nurse if we could wait in the waiting room instead of in the exam room, which turned out to buy us about 10 minutes. It was still another 15-minute wait with a diapered baby in a room with nothing to do.

Well, except play with grandmother, that is. Katrina let Mom hold her and play with her, and was just as physical with her as she is with me.

And, Bonne Maman got treated to a rare cuddle.

She's still got a cold, and the doc thought she heard some wheezing inside her lungs, even though there's no sign of it from the outside. I realized today when a few times I'd have expected a scream from Katrina that she just can't.


Katrina @16 months: 21 lbs 1 oz (25%), 31" long (70%).

(For the sake of useless comparison:)

Gabriel @ 16 months: 18 lbs 10 oz (0%), 31-1/4" long (45%)
Julian @15 months: 22lbs 2 oz (20%), 31-3/4" long (75%).

(Hmm, all I get out of that is that Gabriel is pathetic! And that I couldn't get two out of three to the pediatrician in time for 15-month appointments - how's that for pathetic?)

The doc was floored by her weight gain, going from 5%ile to 25%ile, and that's even while being under the weather and not eating well the past few days. Even her chicken-ankles have filled out.

Mom and I dropped Katrina off at Melissa's afterward, and went on to have a nice grownup lunch, a little browsing, more shopping, tea and a snack (those mini-tartelettes at Whole Foods are killer), then the onslaught of children.

Gabriel finally got his first piano lesson, sort of. My mother, the accomplished pianist, who performs, does chamber music, takes classes, practices for hours every day, showed him scales and chords and arpeggios and proper fingering....and then taught him to play Chopsticks! I mean, really!

He loved it, and so did she. She spent a lot of time with Julian on the little piano too, which he did for most of the evening tonight. I wish Melissa & Doug would make another songbook, as Julian knows all of them by heart now and is ready for more. Being 4, he treats it more like a toy than Gabriel does, who Bonne Maman thinks is genuinely interested in learning to play.

I'm sure we're in for nonstop Chopsticks this weekend.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

1/31/08 First music class

It wasn't looking good. Katrina was grouchy and sniffly and miserable this morning, and barely ate any breakfast. I figured I'd at least make an appearance at music class, get the materials, and see if she'd last for a few minutes. And who knows, maybe she'd pull out a miracle and be fine in class.

Well, miracles do occur! She did great, and she loved it. As with most kids, as soon as the whole group starts doing the same thing together, especially with the teacher playing the flute, it caught her attention. She was interested, relaxed in short time, smiled, and even got up and wandered around. In fact, toward the end of the class, she just walked (and crawled, sigh) around the room and explored. She liked the instruments, she liked the group dynamic, and overall the whole thing was a smashing success. Not only was I immensely relieved, but it was a lot of fun! It was nice to be back in Music Together again.

Of course, any musical experience is greatly enhanced by having Bonne Maman there, as she likes anything music, and she participates and sings and dances along and acts goofy like everyone else.

Katrina looks a little different, huh? Maybe, like, a girl?

Well, that beautiful purple dress was a gift from Bonne Maman (from April Cornell), so Katrina had to model it. It isn't great for crawling, but at this point, anything that hinders crawling is fine with me. Also, her bangs are just too long, and I've been looking for things to keep them out of her eyes. It's hard to find simple baby barrettes that stay in, and I find these little pony-tail-holders to work OK, despite the fountain effect atop her head.

I can't believe it, but I think combing her hair and putting it back in the morning has become part of our daily routine. She's surprisingly cooperative about it. I never, ever comb the boys' hair in the morning, though they go to bed with it washed and combed, so it's not THAT bad. Gabriel and his lofty hair can get some pretty severe cases of pillow-head though -- severely funny, that is.

Mom and I (my mom that is!) then brought Katrina to Melissa's, and went to meet with my kitchen designer, to hammer down the final details. I completely caved on a few important things that I'd felt strongly about, and you know, I love the result. Everything fits so much better now -- and I may like having a microwave below the counter instead of 5" above my head! I'm thrilled. It was great and instructive to have my mother there for the kitchen details, pointing out things, giving me confidence about decisions, asking questions...44 years old and I still need my mommy!

And, we have an appointment with a promising contractor next week, and got a call back from another one. Boy, times must be tough if contractors call you back within a few hours.

Katrina still wasn't herself tonight, as she hardly ever screamed and was pretty mellow, but she was a lot better than yesterday. She didn't nap much today, and didn't eat very well, but she seems to be on the mend.

It sort of goes without saying that the boys are having a fabulous time with Bonne Maman, but it's nice to say anyway. Gabriel is happily showing off, and Julian is acting like a lovesick puppy (aww, such a sweetie pie).


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

1/30/08 Six Years Old!

Did a little party for Gabriel at recess at school today. I brought cupcakes for all 18 of the PMers in his class.

It was another boy's birthday too, so I brought two candles. Gabriel's teacher acknowledged it's hard to make cupcakes healthy, but she has to ask. So I made carrot cake, with half whole-wheat flour....well, sort of. Nothing healthy about the frosting though.

Gabriel came with me to pick up Bonne Maman at the airport. He'd made his own sign to find her, so he joined the other limo drivers for a photo-op. Passersby found this scene very amusing.

Katrina's sick! Wah! We'll poke our head into her first Music Together class tomorrow, and depending on how she's doing, maybe stay a little bit. I'm bummed, I was really curious to see how she'd like it.

I've been a Mom six years today! Yay!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

1/29/08 The Walk

I went for an exercise walk at lunch today, driving to the creek trail I'd normally run to, making for about a 2-1/2 mile loop. I managed to stick with a power-walk for a while, then let myself break into an easy trot, back down to walk, then more light jogging. At first it was hard to run, I was winded, but it wasn't long before I settled into a rhythm. It was SO fun to be moving again, feeling the wind on my face, looking at the sky, listening to my iPod, and being immersed in the stormy outdoors. I had to tell myself, "at that next signpost, back to a walk....ok, the next signpost....oh, ok, one more...." I probably ran about a mile all told. My ankles had been feeling better and I've been strengthen-exercising them, and I was using the insoles that the sports podiatrist had adjusted for me.

Hours later, both insides of my ankles started screaming at me, right under the inner anklebone. They didn't bother me during the run, which I guess is an improvement, but this is very discouraging! It took months and many miles for the first twinge to develop, and now, it takes barely a mile of gentle trotting for the pain to return full-on. I'm finding myself feeling jealous of people who have healthy tibialis tendons and don't make use of them running. Not fair, I'd use them! I'll trade you!

Well, I deliberately tested it today to see what little I could get away with, and I have my answer. Lots more time off. Walking doesn't seem to bother it, but walking just isn't the same. Fooey.

Testing limits is an ongoing theme around here. Katrina has to be on whatever floor she's not these days -- if she's downstairs, she makes her way upstairs, and if she's upstairs, she makes her way down. I guess I'm supposed to be more paranoid about her being on stairs unattended, but I've lost track of her so many times now, it's hard to get too worried. Besides, Gabriel went down stairs headfirst, sliding on his chest, laughing the whole way. Julian did tumble down once, and I could hear him: boom boom boom WAH boom boom WA- boom WAH-AH-AHH! I've been through it already. My paranoia is weary. Such is the plight of the third child.

She's more careful than Gabriel was, and more confident and coordinated than Julian (who was probably the least stair-safe). Her worst hazard so far is getting stuck from her sideways method of going down, which involves using her head for balance.

Actually, her worst hazard is being discovered and whisked away, because, as you can all easily predict now, her reaction is violent, vocal and VERY LOUD!

Still crawling though. I think it's safe to say that she's going to reach 16 months old without a crawl-free day. At least the walking is getting a little steadier, though she still treats it like an exciting excursion instead of something you just do.

I wish I could get that excited about walking.


Monday, January 28, 2008

1/28/08 The Driver

Gabriel's homework tonight included an "extra," which was to write down who is important to his family, and why. Gabriel took one look at this and said NO WAY. He relented a teeny bit when I said, "What about Katrina, isn't she important to you?" and he answered, "yeah, because she's cute....but NO WAY MOM I'M NOT DOING THAT." And that was that.

Julian, listening to this exchange, piped in, "I know who's important!" So I asked, "Who?" and he said, "Mom!" Awww. I gave him a kiss and then asked him why. "Because Mom's the driver," he answered.

Pretty profound for a kid, huh?

Actually, I think he literally meant that I'm the one who drives the car when I pick him up. But I'll savor the ambiguity for now.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

1/27/08 Forward-faced

Katrina opened a late and lost Christmas present today, these cute little squeaky eggs. She loved them! She laughed aloud at them and played with them for much of the morning and later in the afternoon. Then some or other brother put them away, and for the moment, they're lost. [ later note: found in an obscure drawer after brother #1 'fessed up! ]

After much wrangling, we managed to forward-face Katrina's seat and get two booster seats in the back of my car (minus one armrest, and by installing Katrina's seat with the seatbelt instead of LATCH). This was harder than it'd seem, since the boosters don't nest the way the old carseats do, and when the seatbelt is buckled, the buckle is held up in such a position that it's right between two hard parts of the booster seats. It's going to take some practice to learn how to get everyone in and out quickly.

Julian's only sitting in the middle because I enticed him to come to the Y by getting to choose which seat he sat in (Gabriel said he didn't want to go). Sitting next to Katrina is the carseat prize, which at the last minute, Gabriel wanted to reclaim. I kept my promise to Julian, but he's really not trustworthy enough yet. I caught him poking at her cheeks with his fingers, and he also provoked her into screaming (admittedly not hard to do) by making faces at her. Gabriel is more reliable for now.

Katrina loved facing forward, and I could see her gazing out with fascination at the scenery passing by in the right direction. I thought our Britax Marathon would dwarf her, but it fits her pretty well.

Another rainy day. When I lived in Rochester, NY, I grew to hate rainy days. Now, despite the many weeks in a row we've had, I still like them. I would probably feel a lot differently if I didn't have a reliable place to go on rainy weekend mornings, to get the kids out and to get in a workout myself. Thank goodness for the Y.