Oh hello again! I’ll just dispense with the usual apologies about how darn long its been. So, how are things with you?
Lots of changes here. We moved in early April to a really lovely house that’s just slightly too far away. But then again the distance is what enabled us to afford such a lovely house. We’ve been commuting Gatito down to school and then camp ever since then– really only a few minutes out of the way on our way to work–, meeting our nanny to pass off Ella in the school parking lot. In a way it’s been nice, though, that one of us brings him to school every morning, but it’s also been somewhat trying, and A and I will certainly be glad when that phase is over after next week.
Ella is 23 months old and very sharp. She’s extremely verbal– has been talking in full sentences for months. I was away for a couple of days last week and she and I had lengthy phone conversations. In fact, I am pretty sure we would still be on the phone right now if I hadn’t hung up. She climbed out of her crib a few weeks ago, so we removed a side and declared it a toddler bed. She is incredibly willful. She needs to do everything herself, from getting dressed (something her brother didn’t do to til he was, like, five) to climbing into the car seat and snapping the top part of the harness. She gets so frustrated when she can’t do stuff, and she wants whatever anyone else has. My cousin asked, “Isn’t it great when they start to talk and you get to know what’s going on in their minds?” I considered and said, “Mostly what seems to be going on in Ella’s mind is that she neeeeeeeeds stuff.” She’s damn cute, though, if exhausting.
Gatito is getting so grown up. He’ll start first grade at the end of August. He’s still long and lean and incredibly fit. Last week, A read him a chapter of Dr. Dolittle. His interest captured, Gatito continued to read on his own– the first time he’s engaged on his own with a book without pictures. His nose is constantly in a book– serious, pictureless chapter books as well as a lot of Asterix and picture books like Olivia– and it’s impossible to get his attention because he’s always reading in the car, on the toilet, or walking down the street. Which leads us, in some of our finer parenting moments, to threaten to throw his books in the trash. (I know, I know, but it turns out to be equally annoying when a child is ignoring you for books as for video games.) He is now in the intermediate class in karate, with a purple stripe belt. Viola advancement is slow going– it is really hard finding time to practice. And we’re forcing him to do one season of soccer this fall before choosing never to play again. He says he hates that you have to run all the time in soccer (despite spending his days running in circles around the damn house) but we’ll see how it goes.
He learned to doggy paddle this summer, in the usual fanfare-less Gatito way. In April he was clinging to me like a tiny baby, arms and legs wrapped around me in the pool. I put a life jacket on him and, with difficulty, convinced him to release the death grip so he could float on his own. Then I sent him to 3 private lessons in the week between school and camp and, a couple of weeks after camp started, he got into my parents’ pool one weekend and just swam. Well, doggy paddled, but it was still miraculous to me. Apparently he did not think it worthy of mention that he’d cracked the code the previous week.
The cat, meanwhile, declared and end to his indoors-ness the moment we moved. Every time the door opened he zipped right out, so we didn’t fight it and now he spends all day outside, mostly coming in only at night. The local chipmunk and mouse population (both indoor and outdoor, unfortunately) has suffered, but the cat is pleased as punch and so are we– no more peeing on our beds and generally a lot less irritating behavior, since he’s not in the house to jump on the dinner table, for instance. He’s off the Prozac since he started hiding it under his tongue and spitting it out when A walked away. I swear it’s like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest around here some days. I don’t know how he’ll feel come winter but I’m not throwing that bottle away. We have many predators around here, including coyotes and foxes, and I do worry about him, but I couldn’t physically keep him inside if I tried and given his improved mood, I wouldn’t try. At least if he goes, he will go happy.
We live on a busy residential road, the kind where it’s not really safe to walk down the street. I never expected to meet anyone here, but we have. Our next door neighbors keep chickens and the one they say is the dumb one is often to be found hanging out in our yard. Sometimes we get eggs with gorgeous orange yolks. Their oldest daughter has babysat for us a couple of times while their youngest took care of the cat while we went away earlier in the summer. Our neighbors across the street came by with wine a couple of months ago and we have since shared several barbecues and met another family across the street, who have a son starting Kindergarten. And their neighbors have a son going into 1st grade to whom I am hoping to introduce Gatito before school starts. I even went out to dinner and a movie with the two women last Friday night. So my low expectations have paid off and it’s nice.
The extra commute time has been hard. Where we used to get home around 5:30, it is now 6:00 or 6:15, particularly when we have to pick the kids up along the way, which we often do, for a variety of reasons. And somehow that has translated into much later bed times for both kids. They really need more sleep than they are getting, but it’s such a mad dash to get dinner made and eaten, homework done (during the school year) and viola practiced (rarely happens) and to accommodate Gatito’s very real and valid need to play before bath, reading, and bed. It’s exhausting and there isn’t a minute of peace. It’s worse when the drive home has been filled with demands for snacks, to listen to different music, or to endlessly pick up what’s been dropped– most of those from Ella. So we kind of plod along and pray to make it to the weekend, where I battle and calculate to avoid spending too much time in the car.
But it’s a happy life, and we’re doing well, if a little frantic, and I miss this space and what blogging use to be. I almost never use my computer at all anymore– just my iPhone and my new iPad for personal, so I’m wary of making declarations that I’ll be back soon, but I’m thinking about it, and I might be. There’s stuff I’d like to talk about, now that I’ve gotten the basics out of the way. If there’s anyone still out there reading, or maybe even if they’re not. I’ll see you around?