March 9, 2014: The First Week

Well, we have done it—survived Sam’s first week of “school”! And I think overall it went well. The first day Sam was still rather worn out from his last round of illness, so he was kind of quiet and shell-shocked. The second day went pretty well—he was kind of standoffish with the other kids for the first hour or two, and then he warmed up and did well. And the third day, the little scam artist cried pitifully and signed “all done” when I dropped him off…and so of course I worried about him all morning. But when I went back to pick him up, they said he’d had an awesome day, and he was all smiles and flirting with the teachers when I arrived. They made some comment about him “working mom” by putting on the tears when I left, and he giggled and gave a big grin as he hugged me. Little stinker!

All three days, he has reportedly loved circle time and signed “more” when they’ve finished their songs. And eating is going okay. The first day, he tried to throw his lunch, and his teacher wouldn’t let him. She held his bowl on the table but didn’t make him eat it or even touch it—she just wanted him to look at it without throwing it, so she talked about the food in it. He wouldn’t touch the food, but at least it was a baby step toward not throwing it. 🙂

The second day, they used a suction bowl that sticks to the table so he couldn’t throw it, and he ate a couple of crackers from the bowl—despite the fact that there was also a garbanzo bean and a couple crumbles of cheese in the bowl. (Normally he flips if any unwanted food is anywhere near him.) He wouldn’t touch the bean or the cheese, but he did eat the crackers even though they were sharing the same bowl. Again, baby steps.

The third day, they were going to make English muffin pizzas with the kids, and Sam reportedly grabbed an English muffin half and ate it. He also spoon-fed himself yogurt! Big step! He’ll eat yogurt for us, but he doesn’t self-feed. That, however, may be mostly because we haven’t really encouraged it. It’s a total mess, and while I don’t generally mind some level of mess, I haven’t been inclined to let him bathe in yogurt, which is pretty much what happens. But I think I just need to start stripping him down and letting him go at it. I will have to convince Chris of this, as he is not a big fan of messy things. 😉

Alas, Sam made one week of school, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to attend tomorrow. I’m suspicious that he may be coming down with another cold. Time will tell, but he has the pale skin with flushed spots, and his eye is a little gooey again (despite just finishing antibiotic eye drops a few days ago!). I’m hoping it’s just allergies, but I’m suspicious. The kid has been sick enough times already this year that I tend to have a pretty good idea of when he’s coming down with something. I hope I’m wrong this time. He hasn’t even been well for 10 days at this point. Good grief. On the bright side, though, he has a lot of energy and is very cheery, so maybe it’s just allergies or something.

Speaking of ill, I finally went to the doctor…and found out absolutely nothing. She said I was right to suspect an abscessed tonsil, since the symptoms I was describing sounded like one, but she looked in my throat and didn’t see one. So either it’s hiding or it’s something else. Either way, I’m still not well. Some days I feel good except for throat/ear pain, and other days I feel run down and feverish too. It just depends on the day. But I’m never without the tonsil/ear pain. I’ve emailed the doctor again to see how long I should wait before following up. It’s been several weeks already. Actually, two months if you count back to the ear infection I had around my birthday. Sigh…

She actually did do a full bloodwork panel, just to see if anything showed up, and the only thing out of the norm is low iron. Not surprising—I’ve always been low on iron, and Sam is low on iron, which I suspected might be due to the fact that he’s nursing from me. Indeed, we actually have the exact same iron value: 16. (Normal is a giant range between 22 and 450 or something like that. So we’re not too far below the low end, but we’re below.) Anyway, Sam refuses to take iron supplements, but I’m now taking one, so hopefully that will transfer to him, given that he’s still nursing (and will be until we can get him drinking from something other than me!).

In other fun news about things getting well (not that I am, but Sam was…for a few days, at least), our washer is now healthy again! It was supposed to be fixed on Monday, but due to a company mixup, they cancelled our appointment. So they finally came out on Wednesday, when we had been without a washer for 10 days. If you knew how much laundry the men in my family generate (one man in particular who shall remain nameless but who isn’t a child!), you’d know how hard it was to go that long without a washer! We did a load of laundry at my mom’s house the previous week, and Chris did a load at his parents’ house over the weekend. But still, two loads is barely a drop in the bucket for ten days’ worth of clothing for us! I wore the same jeans for four days in a row and the same shirt for several days, but still…underwear, socks, school uniforms for Theo, clothes for Sam, clothes for Mr. I-Have-Several-Costume-Changes-a-Day…well, it really adds up. When the darn washer was finally fixed, I lost track of how many loads I did when I got to ten. 🙂

Wednesday was a big day for us, because not only did the washer get fixed (rejoice!!), but also Theo was in his first school production! The older students put on a short play called “Go Fish,” and Theo’s K/1 class sang the opening number: “Old McDonald.” It was really cute, and Theo was very excited about singing. However, he was bored watching the play, and it took a lot of effort to get him to sit through the half hour. He was glad he did in the end, though, because after the play the teachers handed out trophies to all of the kids, and Theo has very much been wanting a trophy! Better still, the trophy was filled with candy Skittles, which he devoured on the way home. Don’t ask me whose bright idea it was to give a bunch of five-year-olds Skittles at 8:00 on a school night, though. Yikes. 🙂

Even though Theo doesn’t appear to be a fan of musical theater, there’s one member of the family (other than me) who is: Sam! He was enthralled! He sat on our laps completely rapt during the musical numbers, waving his hands along in time to the music and then clapping wildly when they finished. It was so cute—the people behind us and next to us were utterly charmed, and another mother from Theo’s class came up to me the next day and said, “Oh my gosh, Sam was so cute during the play! He was so excited!” Indeed. 🙂 I think Sam is going to love the Signing Time concert in two weeks…and Theo will likely be bored to tears. He’ll survive, though. Chris isn’t a huge Signing Time fan (he doesn’t mind it, but he doesn’t live for it, like Sam does), so I suspect if Theo gets bored, Chris will take him outside to play or something. And Sam and I will have a grand old time!

In work news, I got to see the proofs for the Malala biography I wrote, and they look great! It was so cool to see my book in laid-out form. For those of you waiting for a hard copy, I found out it’s not slated to be on the shelves until early 2015, so alas, you’ll be waiting a bit. But I think it’s worth the wait. 😉 And the publisher approached me this week about another possible project: summaries of Shakespeare plays, more or less. He said he thought my writing was spot-on for a high-school audience, so he thought of me when the Shakespeare project came up. I’m excited! Although I’m not a huge Shakespeare fan, I do enjoy his comedies and even a few of his tragedies. And in fact, my best academic memory from college (not grad school—undergrad) is the adaptation of King Lear that my friend and I wrote for our Shakespeare class, where we turned it into a modern Mafia saga. So I think I could really have fun with this project!

And although you never hear from Chris on this blog, I’ll tell you that he had a big week, too. He had his annual review, and it was really positive. He got a nice raise and bonus, which we definitely appreciate in this still-struggling economy! Alas, it’ll all be going to my retirement account (to offset taxes) and some credit-card bills, so it’s not as if we’re doing anything fun with it. But still, it’s good to have, and we’re very grateful! Chris’s boss had great things to say about him, with only one bit of constructive criticism that will surprise no one who knows Chris: SPEAK UP!! He he he, Chris has a lot of good ideas but can be very reticent about sharing them, so that’s the constructive criticism he gets in every review. I was particularly proud, though, to hear that his boss told him they had never seen a major market application (what he works on) handled as efficiently by a relative newbie to the team as Chris’s was. Woohoo! That’s my husband right there…pretty darn proud of his hard work!

Anyway, back to kiddie news. This seems to be birthday party season! Two weeks ago, we went to Caleb’s birthday party. Then last weekend, Theo went to his cousin Nik’s birthday party. Then Saturday, we went to Ian’s birthday party. Next weekend, we’re invited to Liam’s party. And two weeks after that, it’s Theo’s birthday party! Good heavens, there must be something in the water around July-ish. 😉

Anyway, Ian’s birthday party was quite a success for us! Ian was turning seven and loves rock climbing, so they had it at a rock-climbing gym. There was a bouncy house there, too, which is where I figured Theo would spend most of his time, but I was wrong. He loved the rock climbing! A lot of our parks have small rock walls to climb, and Theo always likes the idea of them, but when it comes to actually climbing them, he gets easily frustrated because it requires motor planning, which isn’t one of his strong points. (You have to plan where to put your hands and feet and then make it happen. Although this sounds easy, for kids who struggle with motor planning, it’s not.) Anyway, Theo has clearly made some strides in motor planning, because he did really well and really enjoyed himself! He got a bit frustrated on his first try, but then he gained confidence and spent the next two hours going to different sections of the wall to try different areas. And so independent! He’d go get in line by himself, wait patiently, talk to the employee holding the rope, and climb on up. Chris and I just stood back, visited with our friend Roxann (whose son Tico, coincidentally, is friends with Ian—small world!), and kept an eye on Theo’s comings and goings. He had a blast, and it was very relaxing for us, too. (Sam deeply desired entry into the bouncy house, and I took him in briefly, but most of the time it was too full of much bigger kids.)

On Sunday, we headed to Scientopia in Napa. We stopped and had a tasty Peruvian food lunch, and then went to play. And it was there that I discovered Sam, like me and his brother, is a roller-coaster junkie! They had a baby roller coaster in the baby/toddler area, and I swear Sam went on it 30 times in a row! He kept signing “again!” And he would laugh and squeal going down the track. Here’s a cute little video clip of him riding it.

And while I’m at it, here’s a clip of him practicing walking. He’s so proud of himself! If only he’d try it without holding on. Ah well, he’ll do it when he feels motivated, I’m sure.

And last but not least, want to hear the most infectious giggle ever? Check it out! Ignore the very unflattering shots of my double chin, please. I was trying to hold the camera out to the side of us to capture his giggles, and it resulted in me holding my neck at a weird angle. Anyway, in Sam’s world, driving a car on mama is about the funniest thing ever.

By the way, before I close for the week…speaking of double chins…. I am still obsessed with my Fitbit! It’s fun to see how much sleep I got each night, but even better is tracking my steps and activity, as well as how much I’ve eaten. Chris is using his, too, and it’s keeping both of us honest. I lost a pound this week, and Chris lost one or two (hard to tell given weight fluctuations). It really does motivate us to get more exercise, because we both enjoy eating, and when we don’t exercise, we don’t get a big calorie allotment. So when we want to “earn” more calories for the day, we have to go out and do some exercise!

I also finished the first week of my Couch-to-5K, and I survived. Barely. 😉 I moved on to Week 2, even though I’m not entirely confident that I was ready to. I’ll give it a try and see how it goes. Today went okay, though I missed my running cue at one point. But basically, whereas Week 1 alternated 60 seconds each of running and walking, Week 2 alternates 60 seconds of walking and 90 seconds of running. Doesn’t sound like much, but for someone who isn’t a strong runner, it feels like an eternity! However, we did get some rain, so the jogging paths around here are beautifully green and lush right now, which makes it easier to get through it. And I’m thankful that we now live in a place where I can exercise in a lovely, tree-lined, creekside setting, rather than just running/walking along the sidewalk. I find jogging on a dirt path surrounded by trees, with birds chirping and wild turkeys strolling along the adjacent golf course, much more pleasant than jogging along a street. (And because my worrywart mom is worrying right now, let me assure you that the paths around here are well traveled with retirees out walking their dogs and stay-at-home moms out for some exercise with their babies. And yes, I am careful when I go out!)

Anyway, that wraps up the week. I’m insanely busy with work right now (probably through May), so wish me luck making it through that with some level of sanity intact!

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