Saturday, June 19, 2010

6/19/2010 Beach Party

Today we headed for the coast!

We were invited to a beach birthday party by one of Julian's kindergarten-mates, in a different class (same teacher as Gabriel had had actually). Julian and Jake play together a lot at recess, and before I was working I'd chat with his very very nice mother before school started, so we know each other. Jake also attends CDC on some afternoons, so Gabriel knows him too. Jake's mother knew that a beach party would be tough for attendance, so she made sure we were available before scheduling it. So we weren't going to miss this one!

Dave stayed home to wait for an electrician, but I decided to bring Katrina anyway, knowing this was risky. Me and all three at the beach...the boys would be fine, but Katrina's a big wildcard. Still, I knew she'd love the beach, and I don't think she's been to one yet. I should know this, but I'm pretty sure this was her first significant time on a beach!

We were the first to arrive, and Jake and the boys wasted no time messing around in the water together.

Nyah to the weatherman, who was predicting overcast and chilly -- and in the Santa Cruz area (this was in Aptos, just south), they're not messing around. It can be cold and foggy and nasty. But not today!

Jake and Julian wait for the perfect wave to jump.

To my surprise, Katrina got in on the action too. I wasn't expecting her to want to go near the waves, but she tried it. She tripped once and fell to her hands and knees with the water around her, while I was about 10 meters away rescuing Julian's shirt from the surf, and that was it for her and the ocean.

But my experience on California beaches is that most of their time is spent digging in the sand anyway, and that played out today.

The birthday boy is a really nice -- and very cute -- little boy.

When one set of Jake's grandparents arrived, they saw Jake playing with three children (we were the first to arrive) and asked me which were mine. Umm...all of them!

I had a terrific time myself, mostly chatting and hanging out with other parents. Other than one of Jake's grandmothers, I was the only single parent there. And I was the only one who brought more than two children, and of those that brought two, the second were babies.

This ball is almost as big as Katrina, but it kept her happy for quite a while!

Katrina was the only girl until Jake's 4-year-old cousin arrived, but that was it for the girls. The other parents and Jake's grandparents got much amusement (as most grownups do) from how Katrina handles herself around all these boys. I don't think much of it since that's just our life, but indeed, she's quite at home surrounded by older boys, and doesn't hesitate to make her opinion known -- loudly -- about their taking things from her, or her need to have something done for her. She didn't interact with the other girl at all.

Long after the rest of the kids had gathered for lunch, Gabriel and Julian were still hard at work attempting to fill a sandhole with water. They hauled countless buckets of water back to the sand, only to see it be absorbed in seconds. "It just won't fill up!" Gabriel exclaimed.

Several other kindergartners from Julian's school were there, and I recognized some of the parents. When I chatted with them, I got a lot of, "Oh, JULIAN is your son?! My son talks about him all the time!" and then I'd hear stories about our boys playing together. Meantime, I'd have no idea who the other kid was. Julian is quite the social butterfly it seems!

After lunch, the kids were back at the digging. With all those kids around, including friends from school, on this enormous beach, these brothers who share a room and spend so much time together, have to be in the same hole.

OMG. How cute. Jake telling Katrina a secret.

As a younger girl, I wished for an older brother so that I'd have a steady stream of cute guys in my house from his friends. In practice, it never worked that way -- my girlfriends' older brothers usually wanted nothing whatsoever to do with we underdeveloped little pipsqueaks. But maybe there is something to meeting your brothers' friends, especially when they're such cuties like this one.

Katrina didn't even make it out of the parking lot before she zonked. Julian wasn't far behind. Gabriel insisted he didn't need to sleep, right up until the point he succumbed.

When we got home, Julian got out of the car very purposefully, and without saying a word, headed straight upstairs, crawled into bed, wrapped a blanket around himself and slept away the rest of the afternoon. I too remember always being really tired after a day on the beach as a kid -- unfortunately my kids don't have a lot of experience with that yet. I'm so grateful to Jake and his family for turning that around for us today!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

6/17/2010 The Timeout

Yesterday Katrina had a massive fit that earned her a massive (and rare) timeout. I asked Dave to put her in another room because she was screaming so loudly.

Then it was quiet. Dave checked on her and found she was gone. With the boys, usually this is an infuriating act of defiance, but Katrina has almost no timeout history. Most like whatever she was doing was probably pretty funny, hiding somewhere.

About 10 minutes later, Katrina appeared in the kitchen, wide-eyed and with a tear running down her face. In a tiny voice she said, "I was scared of the hummingbird!"

We quizzed her on where she'd been, and she said, "Outside on the bench." "What bench, the red bench on the porch?" (sometimes used for timeouts). "No," she said with some irritation, "the black bench with the diamonds!" Pause, slight sob, then, "The hummingbird scared me, Mommy!" I held her and comforted her.

This bench is a new one in our lovely new front yard. It's a nice spot with the stepping stones, shade, and a bubbler rock and blooming lily next to it. Unless there's a hummingbird scaring you away.

"I was outside on the bench with the diamonds and the hummingbird scared me!"

Hmm, I guess the lesson here is that if you're going to hide from a timeout, you'd better not be scared of hummingbirds!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

6/16/2010 The pout

Oh, Katrina. Huge fuss leaving school today (I dried her face with a paper towel that was not sufficiently dry), and the tantrum continued well past the time we were home. As usual, this amuses her brothers to no end.

Guess where I took this picture today. In our front yard! We have flowers!

Landscapers finished today yayyy! Photos later when I can get better ones.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6/15/2010 The Procedure

Dave and I took off work today so I could have an endoscopy -- basically, a camera to the stomach. I've had so much stomach pain and weirdnesses in the past few months that I went to a gastroenterologist who called for the test. It's pretty straightforward but does involve sedation and not driving. Initial results were, as almost all are with me, "normal."

However, I can't really complain about a medical excuse to sleep all day! But reality resumes tomorrow.


Monday, June 14, 2010

6/14/2010 Swim lessons times three

Despite extraordinary circumstances today, somehow, we managed to get all three kids to a 6:30pm swim lesson.

Even Gabriel, who insists he doesn't need them. He actually can swim a little, but this doesn't meet my standard for "can swim well enough not to need lessons."

Julian has a far better attitude than Gabriel, and was happy and enthusiastic. I wish they'd teach him to use his arms though. The boy is 6-1/2, he's ready!

Katrina really liked her lesson, until the end when she wanted a rainbow ribbon and was offered only a pink. Then she had a little tantrum, the ungrateful brat! Still, for her, every lesson is filled with new things, so this is really great for her. Even if she has no idea how to kick. Lah-de-dah...someone peel me a grape while I lounge around...

Maybe she'll even learn to jump in the water someday. For now, I'm happy to see this smile.

Extraordinary circumstances...this morning, Gabriel came to me and told me his head was itching, and that he'd pulled a bug out of his hair. I checked him immediately for lice, but didn't see anything. He had some bites on his back too, so figured it might be fleas or something, put anti-itch cream on his back, and that was it.

No it wasn't. Turns out, I didn't know what to look for -- but the trained daycare staff did. Lice. Just typing that makes my skin crawl.

I had a really important meeting at work today and had already arranged with Dave to do pickups in case it ran late. As it turns out, he had to leave work even earlier to pull Gabriel out of daycare and start dealing with the cleanup. That started with a $15 shaver, and giving Gabriel a buzz cut, then the lice treatment and nit combing, which was easy on his now-millimeters-long hair. Then he started on the rest of the bedding and stuffed animals.

Meantime, my meeting ran late, as I expected. And I expected rush-hour traffic, but I didn't expect a horrible accident that backed up traffic for miles. This set me very late to get home and zoom them all to swim lesson, first barking orders to Dave over the cellphone about where the swim stuff is, where their sandals are, whose goggles are whose. He had them mostly ready when I got home at 6:12, then we whisked them into the car, and got them to swim lesson just in time. Despite that stress, I'm glad we made it, I was happy to see them all swimming again. It's just too important.

As usual, the unpleasant part is the boys together; messing around in the locker room (Julian threw his trunks and I had to go into the men's room to fetch them from atop a shelf), or rough-housing on the pool deck (SO not allowed) while I'm in helping Katrina and everyone is glaring at them wondering where their delinquent mother is. They just can't be left alone together. I'm going to have to figure that out for next week.

Back at home, now we were looking at a late dinner and a much more complex bath process, because now Julian and Katrina needed to be treated too. We carefully inspected them both -- Dave now knew what to look for, as he'd seen it on Gabriel -- but saw nothing. Still, we did the treatment and combing, even Katrina, and didn't find anything.

How, where and when did he get lice?! And how awful that he told me about it this morning and that I didn't detect it! Eeps, the whole thing makes me skin crawl....or is that....uugggh, I'm outta here, I have to go wash my hair with a special "creme rinse!"


Sunday, June 13, 2010

6/13/2010 Workaday

I got one of the most odious tasks around here done today, or at least started. Some paint-touch up was needed, like where the house didn't get painted green where a gate used to be, and various other little things.

Unfortunately I didn't get started until after 3pm. I'm just so darned tired all the time during the week, that it's hard to get myself going on the weekends. This morning, thanks to the generosity and extraordinary donation of patience resources of my husband (dealing with kids and a very obstinate Gabriel), I was able to sleep late and then have a nice long swim. Then thought I was ready to deal with kids and housechores, but just couldn't get moving. I had to take a nap, during which I slept soundly and dreamt, and then I was ready to go. By then it was pretty late.

Since I've started working, I get to work gradually earlier and earlier, and leave a little later too. Despite countless bits of advice that I'll adjust, of course that's not true, and I haven't. Instead, I build a sleep deficit all week and then completely collapse on weekends. By Sunday night, I've recovered and am feeling normal again, just in time for the week to start all over and drag me down all over again. I just don't know how to be me when I'm not bursting with energy.

The obvious answer is advancing age, but that's by no means the whole picture. Even in college I took naps in the afternoon, and could sleep whenever I needed to. Now, I can't sleep when I need to at all, except on weekends, and if you accept the advancing age argument, then I need to more now than ever. Perhaps this is why people pushing the golden years shouldn't have toddlers, but it's the combination of work and child-raising that keeps me from my Z's. For some of us, timing is everything -- it's not how much sleep I get, it's when I get it. Quality over quantity.

At least I've learned the value of the bare minimum, and know how to set goals. I did get this painting done, and while there's more to do and while I did a pretty lousy job of what I did do, at least I met that minimal goal.

Now, next weekend, will I have the energy to finally put up some window film?

Three children was hardly rewarding for Dave today, but thanks to his efforts (did I mention Gabriel was obstinate -- remember that that combination of words does not indicate a simple affair) I did have some very nice moments with Julian helping me with the painting (fetching things, keeping me company, helping Katrina when she needed it). Though our yards are still not all our own yet, we're starting to take back over and actually enjoy being at home outside.