Friday, June 04, 2010

6/4/2010 In hot water

We've been having trouble with our boiler lately. Dave is pretty sure he knows what's wrong, and has ordered a new part, but until it arrives, we have to reset the boiler sometimes twice a day. This isn't hard, but it does entail going into the basement, not exactly a convenient operation. And, he's out of town this weekend.

Tonight I had a lot of trouble with the boys before dinner. Julian had most of his dinner alone in the dining room (bad manners gets him kicked out), and I had to take Gabriel's favorite ball away to get him to finally relent after a minor conflict escalated. A sound spanking for shockingly rude retorts to me had less effect than storming outside with his favorite ball to throw it into the garbage can, it turned out.

After dinner, they were peaches and cream, partly because they were fascinated talking about the horrible oil spill in the Gulf. We talked about what oil is used for, how it gets from the ocean into our cars, and what effect it has on all the fish and plants and animals. There was a photo of an oil-drenched bird on the front page of the newspaper, and they were both riveted.

I hated having to cut this conversation short, but Katrina was already upstairs ready for her bath. Julian had a little more to finish up, so, incredibly, Gabriel volunteered to give Katrina her bath. He even said, "I've done this before Mom!"

And so Gabriel went upstairs, persuaded Katrina to get undressed, took her ponytail out, got the bathwater started, and got her into the bath. That's when he discovered, as I had about 10 minutes earlier, that our boiler was off again. I wasn't worried that he'd put the water on too hot for her anyway though. He did come down to tell me the boiler needed to be reset, which I'd just done, then went back up to continue tending to her.

When I got upstairs, Gabriel had just finished washing her hair, and was combing it. "I just have to brush her teeth, then she's done Mom!" he exclaimed proudly.

By then our hot water was coming back, though it was pretty toasty outside tonight and the water being a little colder wasn't a problem. What a change from before dinner though. I love this nurturing side of him, he's so tender to his sister.

But I sure am looking forward to Dave and the boiler part arriving!


Thursday, June 03, 2010

6/3/2010 T-ball night

I have mixed feelings about T-ball almost being over. It makes for hectic evenings, but so fun!

Julian doesn't stand out on his team as being particularly good or bad, he's pretty average at everything. Well, except paying attention, he's on the low end of that. But, he did great batting today!

The first-baseman (basegirl) on the other team was one of the two best T-ball players we've seen yet, the other standout being the boy who caught two pop flies in one game. What makes both these excellent players excellent is not just their skill in all areas, but how they're so attentive. The coaches spend 2/3 of their effort getting kids to look and pay attention.

The video above wasn't a great example of a play she made (lousy throw to her), but you can see she's really on the ball (hah hah). Within a group of 6- and 7-year-olds, that's saying a lot!

Two more games, one party, one afternoon of closing ceremonies. Whew.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

6/2/2010 Counting the days

It seems sillier than ever now to insist Gabriel do his homework, but there is one last week of homework! Next week though, boy, he's in for a lot of fun. Monday, field day (P.E. activities). Tuesday, camp day -- s'mores, can you believe it? Wednesday, field trip to a park on Caltrain. Thursday, last day of school, water balloon activity -- bring balloons and a change of clothes. Whew! But I CAN'T WAIT!

Big meeting with the landscaper this morning. We're "down" to a punchlist, but it's a long, long punchlist. Half of it is things that were missed (a drip line here, a tree misplaced there, a wobbly arbor). Plants that were missed or missing or misplaced. Then additional items -- could your young strong guys move that huge pile of pavers we're keeping on the .00001% chance we might ever need one of them again. Still, I'm starting to feel like this property will be ours soon again! Just in time for summer!


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

6/1/2010 The Demand

One very very rude little boy had a toy confiscated until he complied with the most basic of rules: when we get home, put your lunch away, hang up your knapsack, and go wash the first layer of muck from your hands before smearing your fingers all over the walls.

That rude little boy knew Mom was getting very fed up with the ongoing nasty responses and defiant comments ("if you take something away from me then I can take away things from YOU!" "I don't WANT to!" "arrgggh, can't you see I'm PLAYING?!").

So I locked myself in my room. Meanwhile, he wrote this note:

Dear mommy,
Give back the toys by midnight!!
And I mean now!!!
Love, Julian

He apparently taped it to my door, then thought better of it when he heard me growling at the activity, and moved the tape to the walls. Tape and smudgy dirty fingerprints on my still freshly-painted walls.

I love how he embellished the note with "I love you" and stars and hearts, then crossed them all out. A retracted habit, or an attempt at an extra bite?

We got past it, but the toy is still locked in my room.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

5/30/2010 Swim time!

Summer suddenly appeared in Northern California!

And with it came a kind invitation from longtime friends to join them swimming at a pool club they belong to. This was a great way to shake out bathing suits, goggles, and swimming skill. Does anyone remember how to swim?

Also, last summer when the kids' cousins visited, Katrina refused to go in the water. What would a year bring?

For starters, they were all very very excited and happy about going -- especially Katrina. She even smiled for a group shot!

And, to my amazement, she got right into the water. No hesitation, no fear -- all smiles and happiness. I was so glad to see it, it was instant fun for her. This pool was better set up for her than any I've ever seen, with a large shallow area just 2 feet deep. She could easily walk around in chest-deep water. She didn't argue against goggles (I wouldn't have insisted), she jumped up and down, she splashed, played with toys, and had a great time.

The sobering moments came in the pool when for some reason, she tried to "swim," or somehow lifted her feet or got knocked off-balance. Even though she was in water that she could easily stand in, she didn't know enough to put her feet back down. I fished her out 3 times, from a horizontal position in which she was struggling and clearly unable to get back up. She was coughing and startled and gasping for breath each time.

I was right with her, but it was nerve-wracking at first knowing that if I turned my head for a moment to chat, I could turn back and find her half-drowning. This is where baby/toddler swim lessons made a huge difference -- the boys at her age were much safer splashing around in shallow water. They wouldn't drown from just picking their feet up. That said, I don't think it'll take more than a few lessons for her to get the basics of water mobility. But this is where her natural non-athleticism is an extra liability. At least now she has the enthusiasm!

My mother will get amusement from this: Katrina's lips were blue and she was shivering when I told her it was time to go home. "NO!" she retorted. She DID NOT want to get out, no matter how cold she was. She threw a tantrum that lasted 20 minutes past when we got home, in fact.

I didn't even bother trying to get pictures, as I needed to be right there with her at all times, and I was enjoying chatting with Betsy, and had to keep an eye on the boys too. Not so much for their safety, but for others' safety. Gabriel got several time-outs for pushing on Julian's head, something I'd warned him sternly about before he got in.

Still, I'm glad to be getting our swim bag at the ready again -- it's that time of year!