Saturday, July 23, 2011

7/23/11 Kitchen helper

I bake a lot. As such, there are a few tasks I've grown to dislike: #1 is measuring flour. #2 is cracking eggs. I'm fast so it's really not a problem, but I'd just as soon delegate. Most of the time, kids "helping" is more for fun and bonding, but isn't really help.

This morning I needed about 4 eggs cracked for scrambled eggs, and Katrina enthusiastically volunteered for the job. She'd done so well the last time she "helped" me that this time, I just set her up and let her go!

Then she added salt, pepper (milling it from the grinder), paprika and half-and-half; then she mixed it all up.

If she could reach things on her own, I could probably just ask her to prepare and cook the scrambled eggs herself! I also love her enthusiasm and just being with her in the kitchen.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

7/21/2011 Almost swimming

Last summer, I had to pluck Katrina out of the water when she went horizontal and didn't know enough to put her feet back down.

Last week, she was barely OK with putting her face in the water for a moment -- a decent first step thanks to months of the previous swim place, but a far cry from where her brothers were thanks to their Water Babies experience (one that she never took to).

At age 4-1/2, Katrina was starting at a huge deficit compared to her brothers, but at least had been in water before and was OK with getting her head wet. I described her swimming level as "drowning hazard," but at least she was past the crying and refusing stage of many 4-year-olds. Not much comfort to a mom who'd like their kids to actually swim.

Today, Katrina is almost -- not quite -- but almost -- there!

She loves it and is SO happy and proud of herself.

Unfortunately, only one more swim lesson tomorrow. Still, this "immersion" (no pun intended) plan has worked well -- a lesson 3 days last week and every day this week (instead of one lesson a week all summer) has been far, far more effective, despite the logistical challenge.

Plus the quality and method of these lessons is night and day. Part of that is because of our quasi-private lessons -- not because cheapie me paid for them, but because no one else signed up for this time slot.

And though this is a selfish aspect, I SO much prefer outdoor pools. I love to swim myself (and have only gone once this summer, wah), but I can't stand indoor swimming -- or watching swimming indoors, as it turns out. I really like hanging around the outdoor pools and watching everything. I'm not alone in this; an extremely athletic swimming/marathoner friend also won't go near indoor pools (Helen Barker for those of you know who her).

Katrina's teacher seems to really enjoy teaching her; she's so enthusiastic and happy about it. She isn't usually a gushy kind of person, but you can hear her giggling and shouting happily from all the way across the other pool during her lesson.

But aside from joy in the water, Katrina's turnaround is nothing short of amazing. She was by far the most reluctant baby-swimmer I had (and frankly has never shown much athletic talent), but now she is by far the most enthusiastic swimmer. Gabriel was by far the most capable baby swimmer I had (and he has some natural athletic ability), but is unfortunately by far the most reluctant swimmer now.

Katrina is still in "drowning hazard" territory, but she's come so, so far. I wish she had another week of lessons, I think she'd actually be swimming, but we just can't make it happen. Still, I think her teacher will enjoy her last lesson tomorrow just as much as she will -- but no one moreso than me!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7/20/2011 Swimming?

Drat, I didn't get video, but I saw Katrina do something that remotely resembles swimming today! It involved being underwater, horizontal, moving all limbs with just barely enough rhythm to pass for "swimming" for a second or so, then popping up and laughing, "SEE Mommy, I'm SWIMMING!!!" She's still a drowning hazard, but she's come SO SO far from being pulled around on a barbell and doing the hokey-pokey in a swim floatie under a tunnel.

Logistics of swim lessons have been tough, but I'm almost wishing I'd signed up for another week, if just for Katrina. She's close to a breakthrough. Yay!

The boys....ugh. Gabriel is famously exceptional at resisting instruction, and he mostly does. He's improved a little, but only against his will. If he'd apply his extraordinary attention span and determination to swimming instead of not swimming, he'd be doing laps and flip-turns now. Julian is much more willing to learn and has made a lot more improvement, I'm happy to say. He too could benefit from another week. Maybe I can fit it in somehow.

Next year I'm certainly going to call this same swim school (really a members-only country club that lets the rank-and-file scrabble in for swim lessons) earlier and find a way to get them all there for longer!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/19/2011 Attitude Improvement

Instead of working from 3:15-4pm before I had to leave early to get kids to swim lessons, I played ping-pong with a coworker. And I went running at lunch today, which takes 1-1/2 hours. And got to work late, partly because of horrendous traffic on a local street. AND, I didn't work tonight. Nyah.

Instead of working tonigh to make up for all my deliquencies, I watched the rest of T2 with my young impressionable children. Great parenting, huh!! It's R-rated and fraught with violence!

I was amused that Katrina had made a comment about Winnie-the-Pooh being scary, but nothing about Terminator 2. Well, at least it has some positive themes: giving up things you love for the right reasons, mother-son bonding, obedient capable kids. Not to mention the mind-bending theme of time-travel. Gabriel especially is moved when I say that I'd do anything to protect him, just as Sarah Conner would die to protect her son (though she was a little better-prepared than I am).

I could use some lessons from the Terminator myself. Hasta la vista, baby.


(p.s. welcome back from music camp in Vermont, Mom!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

7/18/11 Wrap-up

A black day for me. It's clear the work problem is here to stay, and I have just learn to live with it, or leave.

The bigger problem is within myself. Why do I care so much? How can I let this cancer eat away at me? Why can't I compartmentalize, put it in perspective, set it aside? Why can't I adapt as others have; accepting the futility of resistance and settling for "good enough" -- do just enough to make the proper appearances, and get real work done under the radar. Why does staying silent when I disagree or see something done wrong feel so wrong, why can't I learn to live with that? Why don't I "just leave" ?

Today at least, it feels like a lose-lose. Leaving is retreating from a situation I overall really like and am unlikely to duplicate elsewhere. Turning into a sheep burns at my very core; speaking up and pushing for what I think is right is one of my few assets.

I know the best approach is to take this as a learning experience and find a way to rise above: to work effectively, despite my Director's efforts against that; and to continue to build solid relationships with others. And try not to get frustrated and feel like a victim: I didn't start this. This man got away with unprecedented verbal abuse, yet I was the one who ended up under the microscope.

And most of all, have faith that the truth will come out. That faith has been seriously rattled -- nothing substantial has come from my efforts to escalate and publicize the problem, except directing much unwanted scrutiny at me. 10% of my angst tonight is about the loss of that faith; the other 90% is just that I can't turn this OFF like I know I should.

OK, one more day of futile fretting, then it's time to do some emotional damage control!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

7/17/2011 Movie Day

This is rare -- we all went to see a movie in a theatre today! Dave's idea actually: Winnie-the-Pooh. We met up with our friends Sara and Saul, who is 10 weeks older than Katrina. Saul laughed a lot through the movie; Gabriel chuckled a bunch of times (and enjoyed it; apparently he's not getting too old for animated movies), and Julian and Katrina were riveted.

I'd also rented some decidedly un-kid movies: Terminator and Terminator 2. Wellll....what can I say. I'd been telling Gabriel about some of the great scenes in the beginning of T2, which led to renting both. The boys and I watched the beginning of Terminator yesterday, then the beginning of T2 today, with Katrina.

I know, I know, really not kid-stuff. On the other hand, the motorcycle chase scenes in T2 with a 10-year-old boy are the sort of thing most 9-year-old boys live for -- lots of stuff blowing up, after all.

Otherwise mostly putzed around the house and tried not to think about work too much today.