Saturday, July 25, 2009

7/25/09 Faceplant

Today we took the whole kit'n'kaboodle to the BMX park. We expected everyone would ride except the two moms, but the funky bicycle and the plethora of 10-year-old boys turned off our teenage representative, so she hung and watched while all the boys -- and one girl -- rode.

We brought wheels for the toddlers, though only one actually knows how to pedal. Katrina still insists on pushing with one foot.

We rode the toddlers to a playground where they then hung on bars and played. Aaron led the way and showed Katrina this was possible, and her gymnastics "training" made her willing to try.

I was happy to see the boys ride too. Gabriel leaped right back into it.

Julian took a little more coaxing, but he too was soon taking all the bumps.

Unfortunately, seconds after I took this last shot of Julian, I chased him on foot as I'd seen Dave do by bike, and Julian was laughing and giggling -- and looking back to see me. Then the plateau came up, another kid was nearby, Julian looked forward again and didn't react well....lost control of the bike and then he did a total faceplant in the dirt. His lip and inside his mouth was bleeding, and it took a lot of water to get all the dirt out of his teeth. He was a sad, sad mess, poor guy. I cleaned him up, went back to the playground to find Andrea with Aaron and Katrina (what would I have done without Andrea, as Dave was off riding somewhere with Gabriel), then took Katrina and Julian home.

In theory, one reason to go home was for Katrina's nap, but I'd overshot. I put her in her room, then spent a lot of concentrated time with Julian, but once he was settled, it was clear she wasn't going to take a nap. And we paid dearly for that, she had one tantrum after another, though a surprisingly good dinner.

Her latest thing is to take off all her clothes when she's mad. Then she throws them and then runs around naked throwing her fits. It took about an hour and two bananas to finally settle her down, at which point she insisted on getting dressed again.

Julian's recovered, though he has a fat lip and a really really bad attitude, lots of crying and screaming and complaining and being a major, major pain. He and Katrina should have gone to bed at 7.


Friday, July 24, 2009

7/24/09 Finally Friday

Andrea and her two went to San Francisco today while I went to work, then I came home early to nap off a headache. That put me behind for dinner, but still, I'm having grand fun cooking and making yummy things for our guests. It's actually a lot harder to cook/prepare/plan vegan (which Andrea's 16-year-old daughter is) than diabetic. Frankly, I'm starting to find veganism silly; there just doesn't seem to be any adaptive or biological basis for it in humans. It allows most junk food (potato chips) but rules out healthy staples (fish). And most baked goods contain at least some dairy (butter, eggs) -- why would anyone want to do that to themselves?

Andrea has always been something of a model mom to me, having done it long before I did, and also generally keeping her cool and making what looked to me to be good direction. Now that I'm a mom too, it's great consulting her on the many things that I have so much insecurity about -- and getting exactly the support and practical advice I need. She understands well that not every parenting technique works on every child, and that positive parenting is a great start and a basic way to conduct day-to-day business, but it's not the final answer for some kids. I'm sorry to say that the boys have been giving us lots of fresh fodder for discussion, with Gabriel being #1 offender today. But I have high hopes for tomorrow.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

7/23/09 Old and new friends

Yay! My friend Andrea is here visiting, through Monday. We got to be friends in high school, through the gymnastics team, then went to the same college. No accident, I pretty much followed her there (note to self: girls place a HUGE value on what their friends do!). We only overlapped a year at college, as she got married and moved to NYC. I was her maid of honor.

But we stayed friends and visited and wrote letters (on paper -- remember paper letters?!) as much as we could over the years, even though our lives were very different. She was married, then had two daughters. I was zooming around California on motorcycles. Then she divorced and started dating, but we never had happy relationships at the same time. If she was happy, I was getting over heartbreak. If I was in a good place with a guy, she was looking.

So it's nothing short of miraculous that somehow, our lives converged again. She remarried, and had a baby at age 43 (well, a few weeks shy). Andrea was the first person I called when I realized I too would have a baby at age 43. Our lives are still different in many ways, but we both live in the suburbs with husbands and toddlers, and both like to work out at the local Y!

She's here visiting after picking up her 16-year-old (younger) daughter from a summer program in San Francisco, and I'm thrilled that she and two of her three children can visit.

And here, in my own house, is one of my oldest and closest friends' son, Aaron (3-1/2), playing with my daughter this afternoon. It was unbelievably adorable, but even moreso, I absolutely marvelled that this could happen. We were giggly teenagers together, and here we are, 30 years later, watching our toddlers play.

Katrina and Aaron made fast friends, though when the boys arrived, Aaron jumped right into running around like mad with them.

It's been a long time since my old friend and I have had more than a few hours together, so this is such an opportunity. I've already laughed more tonight than I will for months!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

7/22/09 Dear Santa

(Mom taking dictation for Julian):

can you make a lego ship for me please?
can you come here please?
his [Gabriel's] is much more cooler and mine is just bad.
thank you

Gabriel built a very cool battleship, and Julian is feeling jealous and like he can't make anything as cool.
This is different from the usual fraternal fighting -- this is trying to live up to dominant older brother. It will affect him all his life -- starting with Lego creations.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

7/21/09 Wall zap

One thing I didn't anticipate about nice newly painted walls is that kids like to run their fingers over the walls at all times, every time they walk through a hall, and especially if their fingers are black with dirt. The fingerprints and smears on the walls make this house look like it hasn't been painted in 20 years.

Yesterday as I was insisting the boys clean the walls, I commented that maybe I should electrify them so that they get a shock if they touch the walls. Gabriel replied sincerely, "You can't do that, Mom." "Oh YEAH? Why not?" He looked at me with that completely sincere and directed look, secure in knowledge, and said, "The walls aren't made of a conductive material."

Oh. Is that why.

OK, so he called my bluff. Rats. Julian was totally falling for it.

IS there a way to keep kids' filthy fingers off the walls??! Obviously empty threats aren't the way.

Changes are afoot....I'm so excited about my future MWF schedule that I'm already gearing myself and family up for it, preparing Dave especially to start thinking of MWF as sacred. Moreso, bracing myself for the challenge of plopping my sorry rear end in my chair at work at 8am, but scaling back on Tuesdays and Thursdays and shifting my exercise days to then (sniff, I really really like the MW Power Weights class but that is a sacrifice I have to make). Of course, with my tenuous work situation, it could soon turn into no days of work at all, but as we all know ad nauseum, I wouldn't exactly be heartbroken.

I've just changed the boys' swim classes from Fridays at 3:30 to -- get this -- Saturdays at 8am. Sounds like a horrible time, but really, it's great -- it doesn't conflict with anything!


Monday, July 20, 2009

7/20/09 Reality strikes

Back to work, daycare/camp, commutes, dropoffs, makes my 2 weeks at home with children actually seem like a vacation! Is full-time momming seeming more attractive now? Of course, my "full-time mom" days are arguably over anyway, with two in school. There's no such thing as a part-time mom, but it's still a lot different from being ON with toddlers and babies 24/7.

We decided today to move Katrina to TLC starting August instead of September. I hate to split with Tonya a month early, but we have to shift our daily schedules earlier. Kids need to get home, fed, bathed earlier -- so they have some home downtime, and, unfortunately, in a month, homework. The only way to make that happen is if Dave and I can sit down at our workdesks at 8am, and that can't happen if we're dropping off at 8:15 earliest, half an hour away from work.

Then starting September, provided I still have a job, I'll work only MWF, with longer workdays starting at 8am (it pains me to even type that). But then Tuesdays and Thursdays I'd have at home with Katrina, and I can take her to playgroups, activities, workouts, then pick up the boys from school and do things with them too. Library visits won't have to wait until the weekend. I can do household chores during the week and take pressure off the weekend, and maybe pick up some home projects I haven't been able to touch: sewing projects, arranging closets, framing photos. And life's logistics as well, like financial arranging for my dad.

Hmm...seems I have high expectations for productivity for 6 hours twice a week with a toddler in tow! Not to mention such a super-plum situation with work can't last long...but if I can pull it off for even a few weeks, I think I'll love it.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

7/19/09 Happy Trip Cousins!

Our last day together for the cousin visit yesterday -- so we skipped the sunscreen and went ice skating!

Julian and Remi needed a little hand-holding at first, but after some time, I peeled his hand off and got him skating on his own. I was delighted -- he did great skating on his own, and stayed on the ice until it was time to go. No more pooping out after 10 minutes this time. He had a great time!

Aidan wall-hugged at first, and since Steph was occupied with the younger two, I had a chance to work with him a little. It took one time around the rink before he was skating completely on his own, zooming around comfortably, taking chances and experimenting, and having a great time. And recovering from falls without a whimper, getting right back up and going.

We had a nice visit with our new stepfamily, if you will -- our father's new girlfriend's daughter -- then it was time to pack up and say goodbye.

The cousins took a redeye, which I've always found to be the most successful way to fly with kids. But they were tired!

We West Coast cousins had a relaxed day today too, our only outing being to return the rented minivan. Other than that, today involved some half-hearted cleanup and some very reluctant preparation to go back to work tomorrow.