Saturday, April 05, 2008

4/5/08 Floor shopping

This morning, Dave and I dropped off all three at Melissa's....wait, on a Saturday?! We had some shopping to do that was best done childless, and Melissa kindly agreed to watch the bunch.

Dave and I went to breakfast, then floor-shopped and plumbing-shopped before picking up the bunch right after lunch. We came home with some flooring samples that Gabriel found quite fun to turn into a puzzle.

I put the samples on the stairwell landing to see how they'd look next to the oak flooring we have upstairs. This attracted yet more attention from the youngsters.

A trip to Target and Trader Joe's was long overdue. I was actually looking forward to these errands with Katrina, as I'm no good at just sitting and doing her thing for more than a few minutes, and at her age (18 months old today!!), these excursions are fun for both of us. Gabriel joined us, in quest of a jumprope, and I was glad he did, as he was able to amuse Katrina, pick up things she "dropped," and keep the shopping cart from rolling in the parking lot. He's my secret weapon to managing my future terrible twos. Hah, payback!

At Target, we scored two new big dumptrucks for the boys. I also got Katrina a little wagon with sand toys, but I seriously underestimated the value of the dump truck. She was screeching and pitching nearly a full-on fit at the Target checkout, in pursuit of the dump trucks. Onlookers and cashiers alike searched for the item that would satisfy her, thinking there was a crisis, but I knew what it was. I've gotten so used to her adamence that I forget how drastic it must appear to other people. No, really, this ruckus really is just about a dump truck that's much too big to hand to her.

Once home, I was able to sneak the trucks out back without her noticing. The boys were thrilled.

I'm not just saying this because I'm hoping not to deal with a girly-girl, but she really, truly is deeply attracted to wheeled things. Good thing, 'cause with that horrible haircut, she's set to be a truck driver!


Friday, April 04, 2008

4/4/08 The Haircut

This evening, I sent the boys to Outback to pick up dinner, while I fed Miss MopTop and then took her out for her first "real" hair trim. I wouldn't bother doing this, but her refusal to keep hairbands in is no longer a passing phase, and her hair is constantly in her eyes. And I know better than to attempt a trim myself.

She had a great time waiting, playing with the smattering of toys and books they had, not knowing what was in store.

But I knew. I was completely prepared for her to object (see previous note on sending the boys away). And oh boy did she.

Before. And after.

Fortunately she's not very strong and doesn't flail much, though she moved her head around so much that the lady who gave her a haircut had nicks all over her own hands afterward!

Still, though the lady gamely worked with this troublesome toddler, I wasn't happy with two things. One, the cut itself: it's sort of hacked-up in the front, as she took my asking for "wispy" bangs way too far, and I don't think she understood my request to make the bangs angle around Katrina's face, despite the technical challenges of trimming hair in motion. The bigger problem was that she didn't work very fast; a requirement!

Oh yeah, and when Katrina started to cry, the haircutter played her trump card immediately: "candy? candy?" and handed Katrina a lollipop! Little did she know that there was absolutely no way Mom was going to hand this child a sticky sharp weapon of Mom's destruction. Not to mention, Mom knew full well that no food was going to distract Katrina anyway.

I thought longingly to Julian's first haircut, when at 10 months old he sat in the haircut chair, by himself -- nervously, but quietly. He's never cried at a haircut. Gabriel...he cried so hard at his first haircut that it triggered my pregnant hormones to make me cry too!

Ah well, she got over it quickly, though I still don't like the cut much. Maybe I should have tried taking a little off the ends myself, though I don't have much experience with thin fine straight long(ish) hair, other than screwing it up royally twice.

Before we zoomed off this morning, Katrina "helped" Gabriel with his shoes. This delights him to no end.

(Look carefully on the left side of Gabriel's head and there's Julian, who got help from Katrina next with his clothes.)

Big progress! We got our construction drawings, our architect is submitting them to the city on Monday for permits, and I'm meeting with 3 contractors next week to start the bidding process. Yay!


Thursday, April 03, 2008

4/3/08 Bad, bad feet

Better today, but that's relative. Still lots of pins-and-needles all around my feet (heels at the moment) from sitting, plus a painful left arch that's different from the pins-and-needles. That took a lot of fun out of skating this afternoon, but at least the pins-and-needles didn't bother me skating. All this from an easy 2.5-mile run two days ago!

I slept horribly last night, awake frequently from needing to move to renew feeling in whatever region of my feet had gone numb. For the most part, depending on how I'm sitting, both feet experience the same numbness at the same time -- both heels, both 4th toes, both arches, etc; together, mostly. Sometimes even lying down I'll feel it, or not feel it, like last night.

Julian said again today he didn't want to skate, but I was able to persuade him more easily than last week, and he had a great time in his Snowball class. It really helped when he saw Gina and Andrew -- he ventured onto the ice by himself, a first, to follow Gina and play tag! He came back a few minutes later to find me because he wanted to skate with me. Best offer I had all day.

But not all night -- we 2002 moms were long overdue for overindulging in caffeine, sugar and conversation, and had a nice Coffee Night. Good, 'cause I'm tired, and will go to sleep satisfied by the day, despite the troubling foot mystery.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

4/2/08 The trouble with Katrina

I had all sorts of trouble with Katrina this afternoon.

First, she was having such a good time at Tonya's that it was hard to pull her away.

Then, she was having so much fun playing with Julian at home that it ran late for her dinner. Then I had trouble feeding her -- because she downed an entire bowl of broccoli and I didn't have more. Then after a big bowl of spaghetti, she asked for cookies, then more cookies, so sweetly and clearly that I couldn't resist and she got lots of cookies.

After dinner, she toddled around so happily, so sincerely giving her brothers things (shoes, boxes) that they had a hard time concentrating on finishing dinner.

I tried to read to her, but that didn't work -- she kept kissing the pictures in the book.

Then after her bath, she was so inquisitive and full of life and play that Dave didn't have the heart to put her to bed until almost 9:00. And now, she's chattering away in bed, making the most adorable sounds, pretending to sneeze, giggling.

But the worst thing she's doing is making wonder...what the heck am I doing working?

I took the day off today, primarily because Gabriel had a Spring Concert at school, and I couldn't miss that. The rest of the time, I would spend doing taxes and some remodeling shopping.

The concert was really cute, and pretty well-done. Organized, on time, brief, interesting. I dreaded sitting through the other classes' songs, but they were pretty cute! Some of the kids were tasked to play drums or bells too, which was a nice touch.

Fortunately for you, gentle reader, YouTube's video upload function is down right now, though actually, the clip of Gabriel's class singing Peas and Porridge is mercifully short. I hadn't noticed until watching the video that he's actually tapping his foot toward the end.

Add in Julian's usual cuteness and gluttony (a great thing in a 4-year-old), and my children were far and away the best part of my day.

Yesterday at work, my feet were getting pins-and-needles-y from sitting too long. Applying self-serving backwards reasoning, I figured, well, if sitting is causing this, then maybe I need to get off my butt! So I went for a "walk" at lunch -- in my running clothes. Which, of course, turned into a run. A short one, and not a relaxed one, because I was filled with concern about the ramifications.

And those ramifications hit hard later in the night, and all day today. Sitting for more than 15 minutes at a time today gets so uncomfortable that I have to get up. I drove to Belmont after Gabriel's concert, and that was uncomfortable. I only got through Gabriel's concert on a hard fold-out chair by changing position a lot. It's hard to explain; it feels like sitting on your feet for too long and they feel all tingly for a few minutes -- only they feel that way all the time, and the tingly feeling keeps moving around. For 5 minutes at a time, for instance, it'll almost attack my heels. Other times, it'll be the tops of my feet, or the arches.

This afternoon, it was so bad I had to lie down for a while. So much for getting taxes done. I'm only getting this written because I keep getting up, though it's finally slowing down now. (However, on the bright side, the terrible, terrible headache I had earlier this week did an unprecedented thing and went away after only a day.)

OK, yeah, so, running wasn't such a hot idea yesterday. But whatever's wrong that's manifesting itself in my feet has been gradually getting worse anyway. The run certainly spiked the problem, and I don't see how I can possibly even sneak in a run until this gets better, somehow. At least today, it's now really affecting my ability to function.

Ironically, one thing I can do just fine is being a Mom, because Moms don't sit very much! Maybe my feet are just being the mouthpiece for my heart.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

4/1/08 April Fool's Day

Need I say more?


Monday, March 31, 2008

3/31/08 Fate

I don't believe in fate. I don't believe that things happen for a reason. I'm not superstitious. I don't believe in astrology. I'm very literal and practical, and believe that incidents of apparent fate are just coincidence.

But last night, while looking for some sandals on that I'd seen in a print catalog, I came across a similar pair I liked better....on sale...and available only in my size. The antithesis to the World-Wide Conspiracy Against Size 6-1/2! Now if that's not a sign, I don't know what is!

Naturally, I bought them.

Last night, I was woken up by an intense sharp headache. After an hour of minute-by-minute suffering, I tried taking some tylenol with codeine, to no avail. Lying down was excruciating, so I got up and worked on our taxes until after 4am, went to bed, but still couldn't get to sleep. I gave up at 7:15am, got up, took Katrina to Melissa's and went to work, knowing I'd crash and burn, but the pain screaming in my head forbade sleep. I stuck it out at work until 12:30pm, feeling like my effort was nothing short of heroic.

This isn't typical of migraines, as it was only pain, without all the other weird symptoms at first, but now they've appeared. It's so weird to look at myself: I look so strung-out, exhausted, dragged through the mud, lethargic. Yet inside is a raging wildfire, sirens screaming, the air thick with panic. This is the sort of thing that sends people to emergency rooms. Turn up the dial, and I'll be there too. It's one of the worst I've ever had. I'm on my second dose of Prontalgine, the over-the-counter headache medicine from France, and it's helping a little, but I'm still a wired-tired disaster.

(At least last night I got a little done on our taxes, and more importantly, resolved a burning question. The movie "Ocean's Eleven" was on TV -- a regular hunkfest -- and I got to see George Clooney and Brad Pitt side-by-side. No doubt about it. Clooney takes it, easy.)

Then, while at work, running on overdrive, I did a little idle Googling about my ongoing ankle troubles. And I found it. I know what it is! It's the foot equivalent to carpal tunnel syndrome, called tarsal tunnel syndrome. Compression of the posterior tibialis nerve -- the same muscle that had the tendonitis. It's gotten to the point that if I sit for even an hour, the bottoms of my feet start to tingle. The bad news is, there's no easy fix, but since it keeps getting worse, there might actually be something compressing the nerve that can be solved. Or maybe I literally need to get off my butt more!

I hadn't filled the Topamax prescription because I'm really reluctant to take a drug on a regular basis when I can overall function in life -- both in terms of migraines and nerve trouble, both of which the Topamax would address. But in the same day, I'm slammed with one of the worst headaches I've had in months, and I uncover the ankle mystery.

It must be fate.

I filled the Topamax prescription.

When I'm reeling from a headache pain and blue about ankle troubles, I find my dear children to be a source of comfort. Maybe that's just because they've all been pretty good lately, but even when they act up, I can put it in perspective and see it as a sign of health and normal reaching out into the world. Katrina is the biggest wildcard, but she's been so funny and adorable and even sweet these past few days. She's still very insistent about things going her way, but is more tolerant of setbacks now. I love it when she sees me, and a huge smile breaks across her face, and she toddles over to me as fast as her clumsy feet can take her, arms widespread. Now if only she could learn to complete the motion and actually hug!

She loves to go outside, and asks by saying repeatedly, "sie? sie?" I hate saying no, but I have to make dinner and can't keep an eye on her out there! Our redesigned downstairs, and a little more maturity on her part, will solve that soon.

I find it intriguing that while her vocabulary isn't huge, she uses words in context, and as verbs or commands. Even Julian at this age I think mostly said only nouns. Katrina will say "sih?" to mean "put me here to sit," or "you sit," or "I'm going to sit." Then she'll bring Julian's shoes to him, saying "sue? sue?" then, "sie? sie?" I'm not sure if she's asking him if he wants to go outside, or suggesting to him he should go!

There could be potential in that situation for Julian to get possessive about his shoes, or get annoyed that she's shoving them in his face when he's trying to lie down, but there never is. Even when Katrina gets into Gabriel's carefully laid-out Lego project, he's very patient with her, and often just lets her play with him. The boys are so loving and nurturing to their little sister that it almost shoves out the feeling of doom from this terrible brutal headache. I'm exhausted from battling it all day, but I'll go to sleep (with help, I'm afraid) smiling about Julian making Katrina laugh, or Gabriel stopping to kiss her when she's in the high chair having dinner, and how they so good-naturedly accept her screeching and shoving them aside when she wants something.

Sibling harmony -- almost an oxymoron -- so rewarding! And to think, we weren't going to have a 3rd. It must be fa...nahhh.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

3/30/08 The Musician

We had a really special visit today, from my friend Anna (Papa Paul's daughter) and a young woman, Lauren, who's staying with her in her home in Minnesota. We see each other every few years, and it's always great fun. Anna and Lauren were visiting coastside for a workshop in Berkeley, and they took the time and trouble to rent a car and come visit us way down here. How lucky for us!

Anna is a professional cellist, so the boys were very excited about a real musician coming to visit. I told Gabriel that being a musician is very special, and that you have to work very hard and be the best, because there aren't a lot of jobs for musicians. It's easy to be an engineer like me or Dad, but you have to practice a lot to be a musician. The parent-brainwashing continues!

Anna is one of those people who's awash with talent: artistic as well as playing with kids. She's a complete natural, and can take the most mundane objects and turn them into a play paradise. It took no time for her to win over Katrina, who was in such a fabulous state today that my tales of her difficulties rang hollow.

Lucky me, I got to make a big breakfast with lots of fun choices (including my new discovery, Herb-Baked Eggs, which I love having an excuse to make, in individual ramekins this time). Anna and Lauren and I got to catch up alone at first, but then Julian joined us and charmed them completely with his adorable little-boy questions and comments. And, his polite (phew) asking for yet more yogurt. That kid can down an entire pint of Pavel's Russian Yogurt single-handedly. Katrina vyed for more attention too as she stuffed down three buttermilk pancakes and a wheatbran muffin.

Anna's friend Lauren brought her violin, and this was really fun. All 3 kids were fascinated at listening to it, and I found even just casual playing of a few classical bars downright moving, having it so close.

Gabriel was very anxious to "show off" his piano, the violin came out, and this turned into something between a jam session and a lesson. Lauren very generously showed the boys how to use the bow. I was more nervous than she was -- violins are delicate and expensive instruments!

Then Anna amused the boys by making some silly sounds and singing with the violin, playing it like it's a cello, though that particular part of the humor was lost on them. It's truly remarkable to see such talent in action, both in terms of ability to entertain, and musically.

Then they both got lessons how to finger and bow the violin, though in a cello fashion. Lauren helped the bower control the bow, and it turned into a 4-person effort to play "Hot Cross Buns" cello-style on a violin!

I never knew that fingers are counted differently between string instruments and pianos, and didn't know that the bow is held at a different angle for cellos and violins. (My mother, who's now learning the viola, would no doubt know this .... drat, I forgot to mention that to Anna, though she probably knows!)

Then Gabriel and Lauren played "Three Blind Mice" together, though you can't hear the piano, or Julian's shy singing, very well.

Lauren and Anna were both beside themselves over our orange tree, and took a big bag of freshly-picked oranges with them (thank goodness, we have plenty of oranges). I've been in California too long, because having an orange or lemon tree in your yard is completely common here -- but when you're coming from Minnesota, where it's snowed Halloween to Easter -- it's a treat! Lauren did express some disappointment about not being able to wear a sundress though. "It's kinda cold in Berkeley!" Yup! Sorry. I explained to them a bit about that little fog problem in the North Bay, a tightly held "state" secret.

We said a cheerful goodbye, with the boys completely riled up and pushing for even more attention, running like mad and showing off -- they were both in love.

After Anna and Lauren left with some new maps and a detour to the coast planned, Dave took the boys to the BMX park to un-rile them, and they haven't been there in a long time. They had a great time there, while I cursed my bad ankle fortune. I'd have loved to take Katrina on a short run after her nap, but yesterday's "sculpt" class at the Y has both ankles buzzing and tingling with pain. Grr.

The day was a lot for Julian. This was his contribution to pre-dinner cleanup.

Gabriel has "sharing" tomorrow, and this month's topic is "Jobs in the community." He has to talk about what he wants to be, what you do in that job, if you wear any special clothes or uniform, and draw a picture of himself doing the job. And what do you think he wants to be when he grows up? A musician., of course!