Saturday, August 08, 2009

8/8/09 Blue Ribbon Day

This morning at swim lessons at the "old" place, we discovered that last week the teacher really was testing Julian, and he's moved up a level!

He was SO proud of his blue ribbon, he carried it with him everywhere today.

I wish I could say I could tell that he was in a different class based on the actual instruction. I did notice that he had a different teacher and was by himself, but a different teacher doesn't mean much, and attrition on summer weekend mornings must be high anyway. And once again, he was being floated on his back and pulled around, and I didn't see any actual swimming. But, he was having a great time, he liked his new teacher. I'm almost feeling bad about having cancelled their lessons; Gabriel's doing pretty well and maybe now Julian will be more challenged (though not based on what I saw today). And Saturday mornings at 8am is a surprisingly good time.

I was toying with putting the boys in a 10-week session in another swim school, since we have a little momentum going, but I think I'll stick to hard-won wisdom from the past: don't pile on multiple schedule changes. My self-imposed MWF work schedule is tentative as it is, and it's not clear how my Tuesdays and Thursdays will go as a full-time mom who has to pick up schoolchildren smackdab in the middle of toddler-nap. I'm sort of looking forward to the problem, it's more challenging than anything I face at work.


Friday, August 07, 2009

8/7/09 The Meeting

Since I really have little good to say about the day, I'll grumble about the worst thing.

A 20-minute meeting was scheduled for me today with a new Director at work, someone I already don't like from things I've heard, but who holds my life in his hands (at work, anyway). Given my unusual/oddball/shaky status as a part-time contractor, it's wise to keep my visibility up if I want to maintain this super-flexible position. So of course I'll attend this one-on-one meeting with the new director, taking care not to extend my hand out of habitual greeting custom, as his faith does not permit him to shake hands with women.

But the meeting is on the first day of school. I'm almost bitter about it, though ironically, to keep the flexibility I so relish, I'd better not reschedule.

Actually, it could be worse. I want to be there to pick Julian up from his class at noon on the first day, and thanks to my flexible job, I can do that. But to keep that flexible job, I have to leave around 2pm and go to the meeting. At least I'll have met my goal of greeting my brand-new kindergartner outside his class on his first day. When I get a "real" job, which is inevitable, I won't even be able to do that.

But darnit, why did he have to pick Thursday the 20th?


Thursday, August 06, 2009

8/6/09 Pros and Cons

Pro: Katrina earned more chocolate raisins by going #2 in the toilet at preschool.

Con: Katrina pooped in her underpants seconds after putting them back on after going #1 at home.

Con: Katrina wouldn't eat any dinner because she got her raisins before dinner.

Con: Then she soiled her next pair of underpants, barely 15 minutes later. She thinks it's funny.

Pro: Boys had a great time at Roaring Camp railroad today.

Con: They're exhausted, and their usual obnoxiousness and rudeness has greatly intensified.

Pro: I'm already so mad at them that I'm putting them straight to bed after dinner.

Con: That's going to be a big fight.

Pro: I'm going out for three C's tonight: Coffee, Cheesecake, Chatter.

Con: I still have another hour of all three. Sometimes I just can't stand myself.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

8/5/09 Silly Girl

Katrina was in fine form these evening, playing and being very cute and silly during the boys' swim lesson.

And she should be happy -- she earned herself some chocolate raisins because she did her business in the toilet at TLC today! I was thrilled to hear that.

She was a nightmare at home though; starting a tantrum before she even got into the house. I forget what started it; something about not wanting to bring her lunch in. I watched the clock -- a top-of-the-lungs screaming tantrum lasted for 50 minutes. The last half of it was spent upstairs, demanding I help her get a glass of water (never mind that she'd rejected milk and water downstairs). When I finally finished setting up dinner and got the boys started, I went upstairs and found her lying on the bathroom floor, shaking and hyperventilating from the tantrum. But at least she was over it and would now permit me to offer her some dinner.

The boys are doing great in swim school, actually learning to swim. But it's not all work, they get to play too.

I'm ready to turn in early. The boys were fine (for them) tonight, but Katrina resumed her tantrum when it was time to get out of the bath. I am so ready to be done with the tantrum thing!


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

8/4/09 Chocolate Raisins

In desperation, I bought some chocolate-covered raisins as a reward/incentive for Katrina to use the toilet for #2. She's been in underpants for months now and still is nowhere with being completely potty-trained.

I'd planned to give her some of the treats and talk to her about going poop on the potty, but apparently my merely complaining aloud as I was buying them was enough for it to stick in her head. Dave caught her in the act once last weekend and got her to the toilet in time for the final fall to be in the water, so she asked for some chocolate raisins. Which had no effect on subsquent events.

Tonight, I caught her in the act, at the perfect time -- nanometers from clothing contact, but beyond the point of no return. I rushed her to the toilet, where she objected at first, but Mom Nature, and gravity, was on my side. Still, she had to work at it, which I've suspected all along has been the biggest barrier -- she just doesn't know how to go sitting down. In fact, I caught her because I noticed her on all fours, back slightly cat-curled, with a funny look on her face.

Naturally I made a huge deal of this accomplishment, thrilled that a BM didn't mean a change of clothes. My regret about using rewards was justified when pride in this accomplishment was overshadowed by the treat. But I'll take it this time.

Julian was unusually mellow after dinner, having found his Kung Fu Panda book. He looks like a 5-year-old old man, falling asleep on the couch like this!

Argh...I thought I might have pulled my back yesterday morning picking something up, then thought I got away with it. But all the sitting I've been doing means I'm wondering where my cane is. Great, because Dave is out of town until Thursday night.


Monday, August 03, 2009

8/3/09 The papa-school

Katrina is back at TLC today!

She couldn't stop talking about it, all excited, and was happy when we first went in. I put her things away and caught up with the teachers, briefing them on her semi-potty-trained state. I always get advice on the #2-training, until I explain to people that it's not a matter of lack of control or not getting it; it's that she actively avoids it. The story about Julian's underpants sinks it in, and is always good for laughs too. TLC charges more for not-potty-trained, so I wish she'd get with it already. (So far my attempt at offering a reward is a total failure.)

When it was time for me to go, she started to get teary. No clinging or wailing Mommy or anything, just a pouty face and moist eyes. I know what the teachers need when that starts: vamoose Mom. I made a quick skedaddle, and she had a great day.

On the way to the boys' swim lesson after school, she talked about a "papa-school." A what? "At Tonya's!" she explained. "A papa-school! I had purple, Julian red and Gabriel green." The boys burst out laughing. "We each had a popsicle at Tonya's!" they explained. I don't think we can ever say popsicle again!


Sunday, August 02, 2009

8/2/09 The Garage Sale

Gabriel has been saying for a few days now that he wants to hold a garage sale. He wants to sell some of his toys to raise money to buy new Lego kits. I put him off for a few days, asking him questions like what he was going to sell, how much he was going to charge, when he would set up this sale and who he'd sell to.

But today there was no more putting him off. He'd gathered his sale items, made price tags for everything, made a sign that said "Small Garage Sale Today," and then asked for help with a table. I told him to use our plastic kids' picnic table -- it's his garage sale, why should I do any heavy lifting?

And he did. He set up the whole thing single-handedly, then was open for business all afternoon in our front yard. He even had his wallet and a calculator to make change.

He was completely unswayed when I suggested that his items were a tad overpriced. $57.50 for a box of used Snap Circuits, with missing pieces and a tattered manual, was about $50 more than I'd ever pay for something that cost about $60 new. His Lego cars, obscured by the Snap Circuits, were all priced at over $7, more than the kit costs new. He absolutely would not drop his prices.

He did accept other advice of mine, however: he made his Small Garage Sale sign lettering more visible, and used tape to keep his prices from blowing away. I explained to him that at garage sales, people often negotiate, which he was shocked to hear. "At Toys-R-Us, the price is $5.99 no matter what!" As gently as I could, I warned him not to be disappointed if he didn't sell a lot today; our street doesn't have a lot of traffic and Sunday afternoon past prime garage-sale-shopping time.

He did attract one customer though. Julian bought 3 items that he could easily have found under the couch tomorrow anyway.

A neighbor took pity on the boys and "bought" two oranges off our orange tree for $1 though. I took tremendous amusement, and some pride, from all this, while relishing the value in the lesson. Still, I am his mother, and went out to put sunscreen on him and bring him some apple slices and ice water.

Gabriel said later, "I wish I were rich!" No doubt about it, we have a budding capitalist on our hands.