Saturday, May 17, 2008

5/17/08 Procrastination

SO much to do -- it is truly overwhelming. So much so that playing with the kids today seemed a fine way to procrastinate. They really needed some plain old hang-around-home downtime.

It was still hot enough today to warrant setting up our ball-suspending sprinkler. This was a first: Gabriel said he didn't want to go naked. Naturally, Julian followed suit (hah), though neither minded changing in front of me. Katrina of course didn't care.

Later, I took the boys with me to drop off a meal for a 2006 mom who just had a 2008 baby, then we stopped by the "new house."

We explored the backyard, complete with flowerbed and -- how handy -- a clothesline rack!

I'm pretty sure the low wall at the entry to the house didn't have those hands when we first checked it out.

I had to explain that we're just borrowing this house while the "carpenters" fix the house we have.

When we got back home, Gabriel asked me, "When are we finally going for a walk around the block?" as though it was something he'd been bugging me about for months. I was surprised, but I thought it was a great idea. A lot better than trying to pack! So we went for a walk -- well, really more of a run.

I mostly walked, but sprinted after them as needed, where "need" was to remind them of my current athletic superiority. I'm keenly aware how short-lived that is.

So aware that as soon as the kids had dinner in front of them, I went to my favorite county park and ran a route I haven't for some time. My left arch didn't like this, and I can feel some foot buzzing now, but overall it was totally worth it. Even being able to run a little is OK. I can cross-train; I'm fortunate that as a runner I like to swim (many runners don't and I totally understand why), though swimming isn't enough to stay in running shape. I'm hoping to add cycling into the mix.

Which reminds me: MRI results. Anticlimactic. Unfortunately, my doctor called right was I was serving the kids dinner, so I really couldn't concentrate or take notes, but the jist of it was that while there is some disk bulging, there's nothing bad enough to treat right now. But at least I know who to call if my back gives me trouble again.

While I was running tonight, I realized I really need some new music. Then on the drive home, I heard the song "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette, a song I know but have never really listened to. As is so often the case after running, my mind was open and focused and completely absorbed the song. And WOW -- was she ever pissed off when she wrote that one!! There are some nasty lyrics in there! It's bitter, surly, sarcastic -- the instant I got home, I went straight to iTunes, bought the song, and put it in the first position in my running playlist on my iPod. I can't wait to run to it.

I did pack up a lot of baby stuff today at least. Incredibly, we were accepted as tenants to another house today too.


Friday, May 16, 2008

5/15/08 The Fashion Don't

Flashy or Trashy?
Do or Don't?
Fabulous or Faux Pas?

Yeah, I don't think she'll be hitting the red carpet anytime soon. Even Angelina Jolie couldn't pull off the stinky sneakers.

Still ultra-hot here. Downright stifling inside. One of the few days in a year that we could actually use A/C downstairs.

I sat and talked to Julian tonight while he had dinner. He wanted to know how we knew the sun was a planet, then asked if people could carry the sun. When I said no, the sun is much too big for people, he asked, "What about 10,000 people?" and then, "What if the people were really big, so big they were bigger than this house?" It's so cute -- and quite fascinating -- watching him reach out to learn what's big and small.

What wasn't cute was hearing him and Gabriel shouting their favorite new phase (f---ing b-----) in our backyard together. As soon as I heard that, I yanked them inside very seriously and told them they couldn't play out back if they said things like that. I tried several times, but being together, they wouldn't take me seriously despite my genuinely grave manner. Unfortunately, it took a group spank to get their attention.

Then in the bath, I told them a story of a friend who got his mouth washed out with soap for saying a bad word, and that he never did it again. I had to explain that bad words means you have a dirty mouth, and that soap tastes terrible. Gabriel started to laugh, but Julian was intimidated. I kept going, and used people they know as an example. "Would you say those mean mean things to Bo Yuan?" (our next-door neighbor who they love). "What if someone said that to Katrina?"

Well, I think all I accomplished was further impressing upon them the power of the words. But the truth is, I really don't want our neighbors to hear that, and I really will forbid them from playing outside. And you know, I really will carry out the soap threat.

I MUST work on remodeling decisions and packing...but it's 10pm, finally everyone's in bed, everything's cleaned up -- I just wanna VEG! Oh good, there's Dave with some sushi.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

5/14/08 Hot Child in the City

...well, in the suburbs. It was over 100 degrees today. Katrina had a great time playing in a sprinkler in Melissa's backyard.

Hot, hot, HOT! I like it!

Well, except for having to bundle up in three layers, including two fleece jackets, at work, where it's about 60, and blowing on me all day. It is freakin' COLD in there. Cold, cold, COLD! I hate it!

We were accepted for a house rental today! Working on signing a lease and getting a cashier's check. A cashier's check! Who does these things anymore?!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

5/14/08 Mom's playdate

I told Gabriel tonight I was going out with my Mom friends, and he asked why. I told him that sometimes mommies like to get together without our children, even though we mommies all love you SOOO much. I added rhetorically, "Don't you like some time away from me too?" And Gabriel answered, very matter-of-factly and sincerely, "No."

Julian too had a hard time with my "Mom's playdate," whining that he wanted to go with me. I said "No, it's only for mommies!" and he still said he wanted to go. I explained further, "Not even Daddies are allowed!" He considered this for a few moments, then asked, "What happens if Daddies go, do they get all cut up?" Yup, pretty much.

Talking with three other toddler-moms (this was the 2006 group), I started to feel like my life is a breeze. All three were still dealing with being woken up at night and ongoing sleep deprivation, and two with going through rigamarole of getting them to sleep. Car behavior came up too, and again I felt like I have it super-easy -- times three: none of our trio have ever given us any consistent trouble in the car. When conversation turns to self-entertaining, I'm back in familiar territory, which is bragging shamelessly about how even my 19-month-old will sit and play with a book on her own for 20-30 minutes.

Who knew I had such an easy toddler?

(Of course, once Betsy arrives, the "easiest toddler" scepter is instantly passed!)

Katrina likes "mana-manas" (bananas), but if the banana falls out of the peel, forget it!

She did start in one one tantrum tonight, but only her heart and not her soul was in it. I was able to get her out by getting Gabriel to give her a sippy-cup of milk instead of me, testing a hypothesis that he didn't have sufficient antagonistic value. He also did something silly to entertain her too, which worked. She dropped the campaign long enough to taste dinner (mm! mashed potatoes with green stuff!), and the tantrum was derailed.

Imagine. Me with the "easy" toddler!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5/13/08 Who's that?

Katrina is having fun putting her hand on me and saying, "Dada!" She's making a joke of course. She's being very silly tonight.

A far cry from this morning, which was tantrumville again. This is tough -- how much time should I invest in the mornings in getting her over it, then for her to eat breakfast? Answer: less and less.

I had a fun moment at work today though: playing ping-pong! OK, I lost soundly in two games, but it was fun. And no shortage of young Asian men there to practice with and beat me.

I'm going to bed early tonight. My tummy isn't right, and juding my Katrina's diapers and her reticent eating, neither is hers. But the migraine finally, finally broke, after 15 days. I'll take tummy troubles for that.

Dave took the boys out to dinner, so I'm having a nice evening with Katrina bopping aorund and making the cutest sounds (nonstop). Even if she thinks it's funny to call me Dada.



Monday, May 12, 2008

5/12/08 The Shift

As I was driving away from picking up Julian, I thought my car had been suddenly sideswiped by a big blast of wind. The air pressure inside the car increased too, sort of like when the sunroof is open without any other windows. I was taken aback, but soon realized what this was. A migraine moment.

Later as I was making dinner, all of a sudden, the kitchen lights got slightly brighter. My kitchen is famously dingy, so this was a real surprise. Then they did again. An electrical surge? Yes, but not in the house wiring -- it was in my head wiring.

15 days and counting on this one. Today the actual headache pain is down to a 2 out of 10, but I sure could do without all the special effects.

That wasn't the biggest shock I'd get driving. Driving with the boys on our way to get Katrina, I saw what I thought was a funny color on a car (sort of a metallic lime green). We got talking about names of colors, like that my car is "wintergreen," but what is that funny light green called? So Julian offered, "f*ck*ng b*tch!"


Holy Sh*t!!

I mean, er, umm, excuse me, but what?!

Apparently he got this from a chum at school, one of the few who isn't from foreign-born parents. This is one very good thing about so many of our kids' classmates coming from families raised in other languages -- when they repeat bad language learned from home, we can't understand it! I wonder what Julian's passed on to his classmates that he's learned from me?

I debated for a moment ignoring it, having learned from Julian's "dammit" phase as a toddler that giving something too much attention only cements its power in their little minds. But the bad words quickly spread to Gabriel, and within seconds they were shouting it together at the top of their lungs. This had to be dealt with.

I explained to them that some words aren't "kid words," and that kids aren't allowed to say bad words. Saying bad words is like bad table manners, and no one wants to be around kids with bad manners. I introduced them to the word "offensive," and said that offensive words make people angry and that grownups might misunderstand if they say words like that. I have no idea if I deterred them from using these words, but I'm certain I permanently instilled their power. Great.

Gabriel didn't have school today, so I brought him to music class this morning with Katrina. He was really looking forward to it, and he had a great time in class playing with Katrina.

First she insisted on sitting in his lap. Hmmph!

Then he walked her around when we did a music train.

The kids gathered on a wall to be little mice, and he walked her through waiting on the wall, then scampering across the room at the right time.

We managed to avoid any major fits in class, thanks to him! To me, it doesn't get any sweeter than to see Katrina in the capable hands of her brother.

Sweetness can turn sour quickly though. When we got home, it was back to Tantrum Land. I think this one got started because I had to put my hand on her tummy as I carried her inside from the car. She tried very hard to push my hand away, which of course would have caused me to drop her. Oh, the offense!

It lasted a solid 20 minutes, during which time I prepared a highly desirable dinner and her milk, and then managed to casually persuade her to take a few bites. If she gets hooked on the food, the tantrum passes. Big if.

This afternoon, Gabriel and I played a game of computer chess. He's not so good -- I was able to win even though I barely remember how the pieces move, and didn't remember essential elements like pawns getting promoted to queens. Losing to me is pretty pathetic -- I'm so bad at chess that I almost lost to 6-year-old! It's fun, I like playing chess with him. He gets very excited when he takes one of my pieces and I wasn't expecting it, and I make a big deal out of losing my piece.

Believe it or not, in all this, I got a lot done today on preparing for remodeling. I'm taking Mondays off for a while, a good choice for a day "off" since I can only get in 4 hours of work anyway between music class and piano lessons. Dave looked at a rental house tonight that's a good prospect, except that there were 3 other families looking at it too. We're very unattractive tenants with our 8-month term.

In some ways, I'm looking forward to getting back to the relative calm of work tomorrow! And oh my, wouldn't it be nice to have a headache-free day again. I'm forgetting what they're like.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

5/11/08 Mother's Day

All I wanted for Mother's Day was a photo of me and all three. Naturally, Katrina had her own ideas.

The boys were cooperative and fun though.

Finally, I captured her and got one photo in before she flipped, and got my Mother's Day wish.

Without these three, today would just be May 11th.