Friday, August 14, 2009

8/14/09 All day, and not even close

INTENSE work day at home -- far more than I ever do at work! I spent a ton of time shopping for things we need for camping, laundry, gathering miscellaneous things (first aid), and the whole afternoon preparing food. I'm quite certain I've gone overboard on the food, but on the plus side, I won't need to do a lot of prep at the campsite. However, I'm planning on doing a lot of grilling, but it'll be charcoal grilling on an open firepit (no wood fires allowed). Never done that before.

Our last/only camping trip, the boys thought it was all about junk food. There were commercial-sized boxes of bagged chips, and some of the other kids started their day with Doritos. There will be plenty of junk food on our trip too, but homemade junk food.

Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near ready to leave tomorrow. Clothes, camp items, kitchen items -- not even started packing. Even the food isn't completely done. I needed two full days to do this.

Well, after the boys' swim lesson tomorrow morning, I'll get right to work, and aim for a noon departure. We'd better get to the campsite in time to cook dinner, because I've planned a feast!

Today's errands included a visit to the library to get books for the trip, and for the campsite. Thanks to the very inappropriate movies I've let the boys watch with me (Midway, Saving Private Ryan), they have a lot of questions about bombs and tanks and guns. I scored in the kids' transportation section, and loaded up on books about fighter jets, aircraft carriers and submarines. And I got a few books for the boys too :-).

Despite the heaps of work remaining, I'm turning in (after I fold 3 loads of laundry that is). I can't wait for tomorrow. We're off the air until Tuesday!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

8/13/09 Skate day, or not

A day of ice skating...or rather, would-be ice-skating.

Gabriel went to ice-skating camp.
Julian went to the CDC, which had a fieldtrip to go ice-skating.
Gabriel's ice-skating camp had a fieldtrip to go swimming.
Gabriel wanted to skip ice-skating camp to go on the ice-skating fieldtrip.
I had a Mom's Night Out to go ice-skating tonight.

Confused yet? Just imagine me the night before, trying to get straight what everyone needs in their knapsacks for the next day!

But in the end, Julian didn't skate much. Gabriel skated a lot, he said, but not with the skating lesson; instead, he's learning hockey-skating from another kid. And I didn't skate at all. All but one mom had to bail tonight, so we'll reschedule. Bummer.

I was one of the bailers, as I spent the better part of the afternoon and evening shopping madly for our upcoming camping trip. The biggest hurdle is food, and now, in my paranoia that I not offer a bang-up menu, I'm completely confident I've gone way, way overboard. It's silly, because the kids would be perfectly living on peanut butter for the weekend.

Can I just say. Peanut butter. Here we are in Silicon Valley, dense with fabulous grocery stores, awash in a culture of fresh healthy eating, and highly aware and reactive to food allergies. Many daycares and schools around here are nut-free, or at least, peanut-free. Yet the only place I can buy soynut butter now, the most obvious alternative (and not obvious at all to kids with enough jelly), is freakin' SAFEWAY! Not Trader Joe's. Not Whole Foods. But lowly Safeway, and for over $6 a jar -- more than twice what I used to buy it for at TJ's before they discontinued it for lack of demand. What is that about? I'm going to need it for a while -- both Katrina's preschool and the boys' CDC daycare are peanut-free.

Katrina herself, however, is approaching 3, when we can finally test her with peanuts. I think the odds of her having a peanut allergy are very, very low; given my complete negligence in label-reading, letting her try things with little more than a passing glance for obvious offending ingredients (oh did that soup have shrimp in it?), and no signs ever of allergic reactions.

A packed day of packing and preparing ahead tomorrow!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8/12/09 Last swim class

Last Water Babies swim class tonight.

I'm happy with the progress they've made, so much so that I think it's jump-started them at the far more convenient but far less competent DACA. Since I don't dare make any other schedule changes the first month of school, I un-cancelled their Saturday 8am swim classes. Working-parent guilt can't allow me to drop everything. We'll stick it out a little longer, at least while it's still warm enough to wear shorts and sandals to the lessons, anyway.

Also, Gabriel has a goal of getting his next ribbon, and my observation that his teacher is good was reinforced today by the girls behind the desk. They might say this about all the teachers, but their praise of this particular one seemed genuine. As for Julian...well, hopefully if his new (private for now) teacher learns that Julian does know how to use his arms, maybe the teacher will fast-forward a bit.

Katrina -- swim teacher Katrina that is, not sister -- actually had the boys race today. That's the way to get them moving!

Except that poor Julian is constantly competing with his snotty older brother, who never fails to put him down. But he sure makes a try for it! Julian looks more like he's trying to throw a ball than swim.

And today, Gabriel put Julian down literally as well as verbally, in the water. I'd given him a strict instruction before we even got to the swim school not to touch Julian's head in the water at all, as he'd been pulling on Julian's swim goggles and hurting him. But that didn't stop him. In playtime before the lesson, he grabbed Julian's entire head, pulled it back, and held it underwater. Julian came up coughing and looking alarmed, and I was furious. Naturally, I kicked him out of the play area, which of course led to him calling me some foul names across the pool area. Nice. Then Gabriel held Julian's head underwater again during the lesson when teacher Katrina was fetching some dive rings. Then again in playtime after the lesson, I kicked him out of the play area for another painful offense against Julian's head. I didn't even wait to hear what it was, I just saw Julian crying and kicked Gabriel out.

Putting the boys together in the same class, and the same playtime before and after class, was a huge mistake. I'll never do that again. Even when they're not threatening each other's lives, they're very annoying and distract the teacher by messing around together.

I really liked teacher Katrina, she did a good job engaging both of them, putting up with their antics, and not putting up with obnoxiousness. Antics are fine. Obnoxiousness is not.

But, as long as I'm looking for swimming trouble, it occurs to me that with this Saturday 8am lesson thing already going, why not add one more to the mix? In October, Katrina will qualify for the "novice" lessons -- 3 years old is the minimum age for a lesson without a parent in the water. As much as I love parent-tot lessons, her feeling is not mutual, and she might do better in a class without me in it -- or even in sight. So when the swim school has a schedule for October, I might try to sign her up too.

I'd like her to have a little water familiarity -- she insists on standing right at the edge of the pool. Any child falling in a pool unexpectedly is an emergency, swim lessons or not, but having some clue how to get to the side of the pool and grab the edge affects the life-or-deathness of the emergency. In Katrina's case, it's acute.

I'm happy to say that stumbling into a pool unexpectedly probably wouldn't instantly drown the boys anymore; they'd have a shot at saving themselves if they got past surprise, shock and panic. Julian's biggest drowning risk seems to be Gabriel. (I'm still really pissed about that.)

But why stop there? I've been looking into "drop-in master's" classes for myself, which I've determined are coached swim workouts. I've always assumed they're too advanced for me, but a nearby swim club does masters at different levels, and their "Group 2" description seems to fit me fine. Hmm, maybe I should look into brushing Dave up in the water too!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8/11/09 The reset

Yay....we managed to go OUT to dinner tonight, all of us. Old friends in town was enough to get us all to our longtime moto-friends' Tuesday night dinner. I love that the boys are old enough now to feed there, no bringing things for them (which has been true for a while)...but Katrina still needs toddler-attention. High chairs, pacifying food, getting up a lot to deal with her whims.

Still, our plan worked: I managed to persuade Katrina to have some dinner at home first (though most of our pre-dinner time at home was spent in a full-blown tantrum), arrived at the restaurant early, ordered dinner for the boys, and got my waitressing started. Dave met us there and got his dinner started, and we were well under way by the time friends arrived. Then, by the time the kids were getting socially unacceptable, Dave was ready to whisk them away, and I got to stay and chat. And Katrina loved Louise! Louise cleverly mentioned something about a pony, and Katrina lit up.

Someday, going out to dinner won't be such the scramble...or will it? The boys weren't exactly on their best behavior, but Katrina is still the one who occupies most of my attention. These times remind me again how "done" I am with the tantrumy toddler thing. "Pick up me, Mommy! Pick UP me!"

But the real reset came at work today.

Our new director scheduled 20-minute meetings with all 10 worker-bees who work under him now, to meet each of us individually and review our areas of work. 20 minutes each, back-to-back meetings -- hardly warm'n'friendly. It's something I just shouldn't wiggle out of this time, but I have been seethingly resentful that it's on the first day of school. But the day he scheduled was inconvenient for him, so he (or someone for him) rescheduled 10 other people's a week after the first day of school. YOOPEEE! Now I'm taking that whole day OFF so I can be there to greet both my boys after their first day of school! On paper I can't explain why that would be so important...but it really is.


Monday, August 10, 2009

8/10/09 The pony

I was amused today when a teacher at TLC handed me a photo of Katrina on a pony, taken last Friday. Apparently they'd brought a pony in for rides. Or at least, pictures.

Seeing her petulant position in the photo, and knowing her usual resistance to new things, I laughed and asked how big a fit she threw about being put on the pony. "Oh no!" the teacher answered, "She LOVED it! She was so excited, and couldn't wait to sit on the pony!" I was floored. Really, Katrina? She emphasized again that Katrina loved the pony. When I asked her about it, Katrina made horse sounds and said a few unintelligible, but very excited, things about the pony.

Katrina showed Gabriel the picture, and he laughed. "Did she throw a huge snit about this?" Gabriel asked, probing for a good Katrina story. He's her biggest fan after all. He too, was shocked when I told him that apparently she took right to the animal.

Little girls and love of horses. It doesn't go away. I know it well!


Sunday, August 09, 2009

8/9/09 Fountains

Today, I had to get out. So I took the bunch to the Y. Just weights, no Zumba, as I've wrenched my back again. (Fortunately, sort of, this particular back-wrenching is exactly opposite to the usual: I can stand straight, but can't bend forward. Impact and sitting are still bad.) I took all three to watch Zumba for a few minutes after my workout, and was delighted that Katrina smiled and marvelled at it.

But also today, the kids had to get out. So I took the bunch to the fountains, which just became operational again after a hiatus last summer. I thought we might try to get books at the library too, but it got too late and they were too rowdy.

The boys had a great time.

Katrina mostly hung out watching, refusing to get near the fountains.

At one point she ventured out, but this is the closest she'd get -- with her suit on, that is. Then she insisted I put her regular clothes back on. Whatever.

It was getting to be time to go -- Gabriel pooped out long before Julian did, who pretty much didn't stop moving. I helped Gabriel dry off and dress (he can do it himself but he's slow), then started to work on Julian.

Then what do I see? Katrina suddenly found her courage. She got closer...

....and closer --

-- still closer --

-- and then right up close and personal.

Gabriel was beside himself with laughter. I let Katrina have a few more dunks, then scooted them home for some watermelon and in theory, a nap, but I'd overshot. Instead she spent the time in her room taking her clothes off and trying on pajamas.

I like nice, simple, nearby, spontaneous water fun on a hot day!