Saturday, August 14, 2010

8/13/2010 Paper blogging

Not blogging tonight -- I'm scrapbooking again! Whee!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

8/12/2010 Rare night

Two unusual events coincided tonight: I had to work late, and the boys had a playdate with Dave's friend's son Kirin. Kirin lives in Ohio but visits his dad Uday every summer, and Uday flies to Ohio every other weekend to see him, plus they talk on the phone several times a day. Now that's an exemplary long-distance relationship!

Uday offered to take our boys and Kirin to dinner and then to a remote-controlled race car place for a playdate. I had to call Dave at work and ask him to pick up kids and deal with dinner tonight, when he reminded me of this playdate. So he left work early, picked up the kids and joined the boys, with one very enthusiastic little girl tagging along too.

And so they played with remote-controlled race cars.

I got home late and buzzed and burnt from an intense day at work empty house! I almost didn't know what to do with myself. But I got over that quickly. This was an opportunity not to be missed.

My "new" job has been going on for 6 months. My jury's still out on the lifestyle, but I do like feeling like I can think again. I like collaborating, I like digging into problems, I like making things to work. Time alone at home is a big casualty of this lifestyle, but if I get it once in 6 months, that makes me happier.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

8/11/2010 Dress-up Day

Katrina's preschool had "dress-up day" today -- dress up in anything you want. I'm building quite the stash of old Halloween costumes, so resurrected this clown costume. (I love making costumes, but it's hard to beat this eBay find for $7!) Katrina was very excited about wearing it today, though not so excited about a photo. This was the best I could do.

A happy clown today! With any luck, she'll want to use this for Halloween too!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8/10/2010 Boys together

Arrrgh....I did think twice about putting the boys together in the same Y day camp.

But the dropoff and pickup for the Y camps is far enough away that it's really impractical to stagger the weeks that they go, and in any given week, there are only so many camps offered. They're getting a little older too, presumably more mature, maybe they won't be interested in messing around with each other.

This week is ice-skating week, and it's popular enough that I figured there'd be enough kids to buffer the brother effect. This camp is for kids entering 1st-3rd grades, so I also figured they'd end up dividing the group by age.

And all the things I expected turn out to be true about the camps. But none of it is enough to overcome the irresistible urge our boys have to constantly push, shove, kick, hit, roughhouse, tease, torment and pummel each other.

The ice-skating camp director found me at pickup today and told me that it started yesterday, but was really bad today, nonstop roughhousing and not listening to the teachers. They were warned, timed out, separated, had to sit out activities, but still wouldn't quit being disruptive. I asked if there were other brother pairs in the group, and he said yes, but none quite, physical.

I was mortified and furious with myself. What was I thinking putting them in the same camp?! This means they spend pretty much every waking moment together. And sleeping moments too -- the past two nights, I've found Julian in Gabriel's bunk, as though all this togetherness creates a twisted separation anxiety. But there's nothing they both need more than time apart. I see another residual effect of all this time together -- the second they're reunited with Katrina, they both heap her with often unwanted attention, as if they're starving for fresh sibling interaction.

School starts next week. I was dreading school starting, but the separation that comes with different classes can't come soon enough.


Monday, August 09, 2010

8/9/2010 Stitches out!

Julian got his stitches out this morning. The wound has healed well, though the doc warned it'd be sensitive for a few months.

Today was the first day he could go back into the water (immersed that is; baths have been OK) -- good timing, because today was a swim lesson.

Julian had a great time in his lesson, especially the 5-minute playtime at the end. Today's playtime activity was to jump into the water from the pool deck however they wanted. So what is the first thing he does? I could see him winding up for it -- Julian jumped off the edge and did a half-twist in the air, so that he was facing the pool deck when he entered the water. This is exactly how he injured his chin less than a week ago!!

Normally I don't interfere in lessons, and though he cleared the pool deck by a few feet, I did interfere to go remind him sternly that that's how he got hurt, don't do that.

He'll have a small scar, but it won't be visible. Not that he cares. Kids wear scars like badges of honor of course, he'd probably want it to be visible. It makes me want to scrapbook the event, so that the details of the incident are recorded in fact, instead of drifting into myth over time.

As I was trying to get a photo for the scrapbook, Katrina, unusually, wanted her picture taken. This one clearly is a tribute to her expert face-making cousin Remi.

Then Julian had to join in too.

Gabriel quit swim lessons at DACA, so he stayed at home.

I'm really really tired of the constant irritation I feel watching the lesson, and how the stupid levels hold the kids back. I saw Julian use his arms once or twice today as he was making his way back to the side after jumping in, and was startled at how effective he is with them -- swift, precise, strong. Or would be with them if only he were taught to use them. We're done with swim lessons after August. Next summer, I'm signing them up for backyard lessons in which they have a shot at actually learning to swim.

Learning to jump safely into a pool, on the other hand....


Sunday, August 08, 2010

8/8/2010 Kidplay

As we were doing our big landscaping project, I wanted to plan for a play structure swingset sort of thing. We even mapped out an area that would be prepared with a border and tanbark in the design, but it got at the end of the project. The landscapers put in lawn instead, and we were anxious enough to get done that we didn't object (though we did make sure the item "prep play area" was removed from the contract). This is one of many details that fall victim to project burnout.

Besides, I still wasn't sure what would fit there. And, feeling very very burnt out on spending, suddenly the $2000 or so for a structure was $1990 more than I felt like spending. So, wait and see.

Then friends bought a house with a swingset in their backyard. This childfree couple wants to do the yard all Japanese and Feng-shui, so they're anxious to remove this eyesore. We went to check it out Friday night.

In the end we decided this just wouldn't fit in our strange space, which is fine for grownups (and kids too), but no longer has singular wide-open spaces.

I did learn that a back-to-back glider swing is great fun, though it also has great potential for fighting since it only holds two. The only way such a swing could be used is with Katrina in one spot, who can't pump it herself and SCREAMS insistently for someone to help her; and then whichever brother won the fight over the remaining chauffeur spot. The boys will fight over who gets their spot, and if it's just the boys together, then Katrina will freak out.

Saturday morning, while I slept late, the kids found a roly-poly and followed the poor thing, put it in a bucket for its "house" and named it, then let it out to play and lost it. Dave says this kept all three busy for quite a while.

Sigh. They need a pet.

Saturday afternoon we went to another friend's house in the Santa Cruz mountains, for a barbecue we'd arranged months ahead of time -- that's how busy both families are. Dave and Ric worked together years ago and also know each other from motorcycling. Ric and Val attended our wedding with their darling 5-year-old carrot-top boy, who bowed to me again and again. I so wish someone had caught a photo of that! Anyway, that "little" boy is almost 17 now and just as delightful a young man as he was a little boy. He's very active in Boy Scouts and wants to be a screenwriter.

However, he's pretty much outgrown his childhood staple, a 14-foot diameter trampoline. Its attraction was immediately obvious -- all three kids were immediately overcome with giggles and laughter playing on it. It's better with a net around it, but our kids didn't jump very high yet and actually seemed a lot safer than I'd expected. They had a great time for a long time, while we grownups chatted above on the deck.

This item too has been offered to us, but again it's not clear where we'd fit it. It's incredible -- our lot is 11,600 sq.ft. -- large by Sunnyvale standards -- and yet we can't quite fit a swingset or trampoline?! Actually we can, it's just what else we'd give up in ability to move around, or curb appeal. For instance, the kids love riding bicycles around the backyard now -- a trampoline would interfere with that. And I can't bring myself to stick a trampoline out front, it'd just look awful.

Trampolines are a lot easier to put in and take out than swing sets, but swing sets are more versatile and we could get a more compact one to fit. Both keep kids happy for hours, but which one is the win for us? By the time we figure it out, they might be too old for either.

It's unusual for me not to blog for 2 nights in a row. The muscle cramps episode of Thursday night really threw me out of whack; I limped on and off all day Friday and felt many threatening pulls in the muscle, warning me of a recurrence. I took a muscle relaxant left over from my back episode, and it totally knocked me out all Friday. I truly had nothing to say to put in a blog, a rare event indeed. Saturday night we were all tired and content from our wonderful visit with our friends in the mountains, and I went straight to sleep when we got home. Morning sleep is a big casualty of our "new" lifestyle with me working full-time (6 months now), so I truly value the times I can sleep late on weekends.

Unfortunately, by the time my body's rested and back on its own natural rhythms, it's time for the rat race to start all over again. And there's no stopping this one -- Julian gets his stitches out tomorrow at 8am.