Saturday, March 28, 2009

3/28/09 Egg Hunt

I took all three kids to an Easter party thrown by the 2004 Las Madres group today. This is a marvelous event, at a perfect venue, a church that has indoor and outdoor play areas, a large room with a stage, and a beautiful courtyard inbetween, a perfect place for an egg hunt.

First, Katrina had a MASSIVE tantrum about putting on a pretty dress this morning, most of which occurred after I'd given up and taken the dress off her. So the day didn't start well. But it was a gorgeous, sunny day and she lightened up immediately when we arrived at the party.

After a storytime, the kids lined up for the Easter Egg Hunt, then were set loose. I wasn't paying attention and didn't realize the hunt was about to start, then saw kids sprinting into the courtyard, and then Gabriel walking in a hurry looking around for me. He didn't have a basket -- and meantime the craze was on! I felt awful, he was spinning around looking for a basket in the first few moments of the fun. These are the moments that break kids' (well, moms') hearts. But he was very relaxed about it, spotting me and calling, "Mom, where's my basket?" His resiliency never ceases to amaze me. Julian was busy working on a craft project and hadn't noticed. Fortunately several moms were judiciously setting out eggs as needed, looking out to make sure every kid got their dozen, so even though the boys were late to the game, they were happy.

Katrina got the hang of looking for eggs this time.

Katrina joined Julian for an egg-opening session, getting help from him as needed.

Gina and Gabriel compared notes too.

My friend Sonia helped me with a little photo session. The boys refused. They already had candy in their mouths, so my bribery option was gone. Katrina was cooperative as long as she was near her eggs.

Big brothers and little sister....a view I never tire of.

It looks so adorable, but I had a hard time getting all three in the car -- constant interruptions with dropped and rolling-away eggs -- and had to take them across the parking lot and into the car one at a time. What a pain!

Despite a sleepover last night, and a busy day today, Katrina had a hard time falling asleep tonight. I could hear her on the monitor rattling around in her room, rocking the rocking chair, turning on the few battery-powered toys that have made it past my anti-noisy-toy net. I was cleaning up in the kitchen and hoped she would just wind down on her own, but after about half an hour, denial was obviously not the way to go. I found that she'd stripped down to her diaper and had completely emptied three of her drawers of clothes onto the floor in one big pile, as well as a bag of clothes to give away. "I want THIS pajamas!" she said, handing me a lovely 12-month footie that hasn't fit her for a year. First the dress this morning, now this. Picky, picky!

Despite the mounds of work facing me at home today, it was really nice to take the kids out and be a mom for the morning.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

3/26/09 Lifesaving

There was a news story a few years back about an averted tragedy in San Francisco. A man saw his 2-year-old daughter fall through the rails at a pier, into the bay water. He stood shocked at first, then began calling for help. A nearby DHL deliveryman saw what was happening, and jumped into the chilly seawater to rescue the girl. Thanks to his heroism, she was fine.

I believe firmly in swim lessons from a young age as a matter of water safety. But not because I think the 2-year-old could have saved herself. Because the father, who never learned to swim, stood helplessly on the pier as he watched his daughter drown. Clearly his fear of water was powerful, as few parents can watch their children die without taking action. He knew he couldn't rescue her. That's the person I don't ever want my children to become.

Swim lessons were fun with the boys when they were babies (Katrina was never fun in swim lessons), but now the boys are old enough that knowing how to swim is a matter of safety and confidence and lifetime competence. Not to mention that I love water sports and water things, so I have future Hawaii trips in mind!

And thanks to our completed (where the term "complete" must be calibrated in the context of "remodel") house, I can now do this with them. So I signed the boys up for swim lessons today, starting in 2 weeks! The logistics will become a drag, I'm sure, but I'm happy to be doing something important and fun as a mom again, even though I'll sit on the sidelines and watch.

And finally being able to do some sort of regularly scheduled activity with my children again is downright uplifting. I think this is saving my life more than theirs!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3/25/09 Bossy baby!

Katrina gets so demanding about what other people do at dinner that she actually gets mad and starts to cry if they don't comply. If Dave pulls out his iPhone, she demands: "POCKET!" (put it back in your pocket). Tonight she insisted that Julian put his milk down -- he was just holding it while he swallowed, geez!

Yesterday I captured the tail end of a long fit in which she demanded that Gabriel eat his spinach. She was even pushing his head down into the food, commanding him, "Eat! EAT!" By the time I got the camera, she was mostly done with this campaign, and they quickly picked up their usual dinnertime antics.

Though the original "highlight" of this clip was her bossy behavior, actually the gentle way they interact together is the most captivating to me. Gabriel just calmly accepts her pushiness, runs with it and turns it into an affectionate game.

(Katrina doesn't know it, but she's getting her share of spinach too. "Near East" Parmesan-flavored couscous is a great vessel for bits of chopped spinach. She loves it and devoured over half of what I made from one box.)

Gabriel did ultimately eat his spinach though. There was another green item on the line: Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3/24/09 Upstairs, downstairs

As a kid, it used to drive me crazy when my parents sent me on errands up and down the 3 flights of stairs in our Brooklyn row house. For a while, I really thought they only had kids to go fetch things from the top story.

History repeats itself. I now make frequent use of all the ready child labor around here to bring things up and down the stairs. There are lots of things I swore I would never do as a parent. Thank goodness that isn't one of them. And bonus, there's three gofers! Well, there will be when one of them doesn't need both hands to get up and down the stairs that is.

I've finally liberated some photos and videos from my camera. I forgot I took these at the restaurant where we had dinner the day we moved. Katrina was unusually cooperative.

Tonight Dave had dinner at a conference he was at all day, so I did a quickie dinner for the kids. This is a view you will tire of soon, but I never will.

The novelty of the island is wearing off though; I keep having to move Julian to the end so he and Gabriel don't fight -- or play! Sometimes them playing together is more disruptive than fighting. Life is most peaceful around here when one of them is upstairs and one is downstairs.


Monday, March 23, 2009

3/23/09 Back to work

Today was the first day of "normal," sort of. Dave and I both went back to work today, and we didn't spend half the day emailing and calling to deal with the house. There are still some things that need to be dealt with soon, like the plumbing, but most of the pressure is self-imposed. That said, by the time I'm done making dinner, cleaning up and making lunches, overseeing homework and everything, I am in no mood to work on unpacking.

I did do a little "homework" tonight anyway -- I got my computer and peripherals all connected! From which I type now, though I don't have the energy to deal with photos.

Gabriel asked today, "When we don't have a house full of boxes, can we go to Legoland in San Diego?" That'd be great, kid.

Katrina has been a little ray of sunshine lately, with few tantrums and lots of playful laughter. If she gets hurt, she even wants a hug, though typical Katrina, she demands it: "HUG ME!" That's one time I don't insist on a "please."


Sunday, March 22, 2009

3/22/09 chit-chat

I still don't have my computer up, so, no photos or videos yet. Too bad, 'cause today Gabriel spent a good half-hour playing "cable car" with Katrina, pushing her around on a little wagon, with a stop and start to the track, and her going "ding ding!" as they circled the house. SO cute. It's unthinkable what her life would be like without him.

I think we're done with the high chair. She loves sitting on the barstools in the kitchen at the island, though as I expected, disagreements about who gets which fruit have arisen. "I want to sit on GRAPES!" she'll announce. She always gets her way first, and the boys are left to duke it out over Cherries.

This afternoon she sat and munched some apple for quite a while as I muddled through the daunting task of unpacking and arranging the kitchen. It was fun sitting and chatting with her, as much as a 2-year-old chats. She points out numbers and shapes and colors around her, she nibbles a piece of apple and tells me what shape she made it, and I make silly faces at her and tell her little things she probably doesn't understand but she seems to enjoy hearing.

It occurred to me that I have another person in my life now who I can always call or email with for no particular reason, and it starts now. It probably started some time ago, but the layout of our new kitchen opens up that world now. My favorite view is seeing all three of them sitting together at the island, looking at me while I work, and I can easily see and smile at them at the same time. I'm glad they'll remember my face instead of my back.