Saturday, August 16, 2008

8/16/08 The Good Ticket

This morning I took Julian and Katrina to my old gym (it's closer to the rental house than the Y) to gingerly see how my damaged body would take some warming up and stretching. The childcare there isn't nearly as nice as the Y's, but Katrina didn't notice. She had a great time with this adorable pink VW, and put up a major fit about abandoning it.

Then I took the younger two to a pool birthday party. It was a lovely setting, with lots of good food, a jump house, and a very nice outdoor pool. Julian had a great time playing in the jump house and swimming. Katrina was a nightmare, fussing constantly, and I whisked them away before the party's grand finale, frustrated and embarrassed. But I knew it was really my fault. Don't I know better by now? There is no life with a toddler past noon! And definitely no going two places in one morning!

But Julian, so adaptable and also very emotionally low-maintenance, spared me a well-deserved fit about missing out on birthday cake. All he said was, "I had a great time swimming, Mom!" My sweet boy. I needed that positive perspective!

Dave took the boys to a minor league baseball game tonight. Before they left, I handed the boys each their own ticket with great ceremony: "Here's your ... ticket!" Julian looked stricken. Then I realized, I had to qualify it: "It's a good ticket!" He brightened immediately.

Gabriel wouldn't oblige me with a fraternal photo, but Julian (and his tongue) came through for the photo-op.

I was in no mood to attempt taking Katrina anywhere tonight, so we passed on the game and spent the evening alone together at home. We had a great time. She played and laughed and acted adorable, and even ate dinner without too much fuss. We chased and wrestled and tickled and peek-a-boo'd and said silly things together for hours.

I tried to take some video of a game in which Katrina demonstrates her clumsy Edith Bunker-like "run," but she got distracted by a paper falling off the fridge. She doesn't know how to use fridge magnets to put it back, something I'm sure Julian did by this age. But what I really notice is how she repeats back what I say -- there's a delay, and it's hard to understand, but she's been a real parrot lately. Finally, she finds her little mouse toy and gives a chair a kiss.

Maybe it's not toddlers so much that drive me nuts. It's straddling toddler life with preschooler life and schoolkid life. When it's just one or the other, I still come down on the side of the older kids, but either one is very rewarding in its own way.


Friday, August 15, 2008

8/15/08 The Farmer's Market

This so un-California, but I'm really not much for farmer's markets. So far I've mostly found stuff that's more expensive than in supermarkets, it goes bad faster, and of limited quality and variety. I know great farmer's markets exist, but the few times I've been to them, I just haven't found one.

Until today, thanks to my firstborn, indirectly. And it happens to be the closest farmer's market to our house (our real house, not the rental).

See, Gabriel had a pediatrician appointment today, for an ear check and hearing test.

Which he passed fine, and there's no fluid in his ears. He had been having trouble hearing a few weeks ago, but now he's fine. We waited too long between the "WHA-AT?" and the appointment, I'm afraid. This intermittent hearing problem is a tough one to pin down. But, I'm glad he's OK for school starting next week.

Anyway, after his appointment, I took him to join the CDC kids on their walking field trip to the farmer's market. It wasn't hard to find the large group of kids all wearing red T-shirts. They were lined up, just about to walk back to the CDC to make lunch with the spoils of their visit to the market. Gabriel joined his pal Parth in line.

(I sure hope Parth is in Gabriel's first-grade class this year.)

But what a treat for me! I loved this market. Lots of fruit, flowers, cheeses, and some baked goods too (it was tough to resist), all in abundance and looking glorious and inexpensive. I bought some golden raspberries that are out of this world, for an unprecedented $2 a basket.

I'm definitely going to be going back there, and before I unwittingly spend over $15 on cherries at Whole Foods. This morning I knew $5.99 a pound was a bit expensive for cherries, but it was just a little bag...except that that little bag weighed over 2.5 lbs -- I just about swallowed a pit when I read the total cost on the receipt!

I've always liked watching Olympic swimming. I can't explain why. Ostensibly, it's boring, but I find the shorter races thrilling (not so much the 800m and above though). And now with the Phelps phenomenon, I'm totally hooked. I never fail to choke up when they play the anthem for his nth gold medal.

But I really lose it when I see Phelps' mother. They show shots of her every time he swims, in all states: nervous before a race, cheering him on, shocked, thrilled. And when he points to her in the stands after winning...oh lordy. I watched an interview with her when she talked about her boy, and the social struggles he had as a gawky kid, but how much she loved him and supported him, and it was so touching.

I have a newfound inkling of what she's experiencing: bursting with pride and love at the accomplishment of your son. When people ask me how I feel about Gabriel starting first grade, that's my answer: overwhelming, consuming pride. I look at Gabriel, this burgeoning person, this amazing unique boy who I brought into this world, and marvel at the miracle. His own accomplishment is nothing short of Olympian: growing up. And as he does, his childhood becomes part of my past, just as he is my present now, and as he embodies my future. When he was first born, I thought the depth of my new love for this tiny squishy baby would never be matched. I had no idea.

...just watched Dara Torres finish first in the 50m freestyle semi-final...haul' ass!! It's such a cliche, but I just have to say it: You go girl!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8/15/08 Lame Mom

Lame, not because of my back, but because I just can't keep up with what everyone needs to bring to school. Thank goodness it's easy with Katrina, but I missed one of Julian's "water days" this week, and also missed "vehicle day" when he was supposed to bring in a toy vehicle. Last week his lunch got left behind one day, and I had to make a trip to get it to him, just in time. When school starts next week and i have to keep track of all of Gabriel's obligations, I'm in big trouble.

Gabriel wants an allowance. He's discovered the "products" area of the Lego Web site, and now he likes online shopping! The actual paying for it is beyond him now, but he's all over the shopping cart, and does understand that if he has his own money, he can buy things. I'm OK with that. We're going to start him on Sunday with $3 a week. If he wants extra money, we'll give him jobs. Also, we'll take away allowance if he doesn't do his chorse, but he always has to do his chores, even if he decides he can forfeit his allowance. Not fair? Tough. This is a family, not a democracy.

I'm a lot stronger today. It's still tricky standing up after having been sitting for a while, but the more I move around, the better. I wish I had time to swim tonight. No matter, I'll have to content myself with watching other people swim (yeah, I admit it, I have Phelps-fever too).


8/13/08 Recovering

I went to work today, gingerly stepping around with the cane for support, but basically standing straight. It's hard to believe I ever ran 12 miles. But there was only so long I could last, so I went home early and rested, after which I was in good enough shape to make dinner.

And bonus, I got to make dinner without rushing around trying to take care of kids at the same time, as Dave did dropoff/pickups again today. It was actually fun to make dinner, and didn't take long at all! Having use of both arms was a big help, rather than having to hold myself up with one elbow and prop my body against the counter. I'm still very shaky, but should be mostly back in action tomorrow.

After dinner, bath and PJs, Julian watched some Olympics with me as I rested my back. He liked the synchronized diving! I hate the commercials though.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8/12/08 Barely standing

Sometimes I wish I didn't blog, 'cause I have little good to say. Today was consumed with managing this debilitating and mysterious back injury. Physical therapy, physiatrist appointment, X-ray, getting an MRI report from last May. Rest, lying down, trying to get around. Tonight I can sort of stand straight, but I'm very very weak and shaky and more dependent than ever on the cane to get around. But then I sat for about 20 minutes, reading a book with the boys, and couldn't stand straight again.

While I know this episode will heal and go away, the frightening thing is: can I work? I'm completely convinced that what predicated this was being back at work. The fact that my return to work also coincided with the first migraine in weeks isn't lost on me either. Headaches and back injuries are things I had before, but it seems my work environment aggravates them.

I don't know how I'd get through this as a single parent. Dave's taken on the brunt of child-ferrying, child-to-bed-getting and all the heavy lifting with dinner and lunch preparations, not to mention lots of gophering for me. Being essentially disabled puts a lot of strain on the rest of the family, though the kids are mostly oblivious (Julian is curiously concerned about why I'm hobbling around, but I easily put him off with a few reassuring words).

Tomorrow I will go back to work and take careful stock of the ergonomic environment there. And of the cost to our lives for my being there at all.


Monday, August 11, 2008

8/11/08 The cane

It's bad. I'm so bent over that I actually went to Walgreen's this morning and bought a cane. Then went to work, feeling more embarrassed than anything. But sitting for a few hours at work, and moving around as much as I did, was a disaster. It's much worse now. Dave and I met at noon, at the door place (a minor disaster with our entry door, that's another story), and then I went home to lie down. I have to minimize sitting, but lying down really minimizes what I can do. I'm typing from Dave's laptop in bed, curled up on my knees. The other problem is that my feet are buzzing badly, and I'm getting sharp shooting pains down my right leg -- sciatica. What a mess!!

Physical therapy tomorrow morning. Physiatrist appt Thursday (earliest possible). I'm going to try to go to Urgent Care tonight to be seen while it's still bad. I HATE this.

It's weird. If I had a crutch, people would smile and ask "hey, what happened to you?" A cane is a lot different. People smile politely and don't dare ask. A cane is what I need physically, but emotionally, it's devastating.

Dave did pickups and dropoffs today. Tonya gave Katrina dinner, Dave's taking the boys out. I'll take care of Katrina while they're gone, and hope upon hope that she doesn't have a stinker to change. I won't mind at all lying on the floor reading to her and playing with her though. That'll be the best part of this lousy day.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

8/10/08 Bad, bad back

It's been building. All the sitting from work has been causing constant low-grade foot-buzzing, and sometimes, sharp shooting pains from my tricky right sacro-iliac joint. Today I went swimming, usually the safest exercise ever, but being so straight for a while in the water put a slight strain on my lower back. Usually not a big deal.

The "Zoom!" did it though -- picking up Katrina in a big sweeping motion and lifting her over my head exclaiming, "Zoom!" When she was silhouetted in the sky, I felt it -- ~zing~ -- in my lower back. I put Katrina in the car, drove home, and haven't stood up straight since.

This isn't as bad as the other times it's happened, but it still seriously hampers my life. I can't zip around the kitchen making dinner as usual, and instead have to sit and give detailed instructions to Dave. Not until we were well-committed to the usual Sunday mac'n'cheese, peas and meatballs did it occur to me: hello, pizza?

I did hobble out to snap Katrina having fun in the backyard though.

Am I healthy? I swam 1800 yards this morning without stopping, but now I can't stand up straight. The migraine persists too, lessened this evening because of lots of back-forced rest this afternoon. Well, if I have to lie down a lot because of a migraine, might as well couple it up with a back outage.