Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kate and Crew 17: Boston and Easter

17. Boston and Easter (April, 2014) 

eggs dyed from foods! (cabbage, coffee, onion, etc)
          Teddy loved being in Boston with his cousins. Of course, with suddenly having three older siblings, he found all the noise and activity a little overwhelming at times. But when he got flustered and fussy, Kate simply took him back to the back room and put him in his pack-n-play with a few toys; and there he would happily play for an hour on his own. 
          Sometimes Kate would take that opportunity to lie down as well, but more often, she enjoyed the ability to better concentrate on conversation with Kelsey or playing with her nieces and nephew. The oldest, Kate, was now 6, Rose was 4, and James Jr. very nearly 2; and all three seemed so much older than last year when they took a group trip to "Pin Severed Island to see Anne" (of Green Gables.) James Jr. had a special fondness for Teddy, and would often hover by the back bedroom door during his naps. If Kate walked by, he would ask her hopefully, "Baby?" (wishing to be let in for a visit.) The two girls loved bringing Teddy toys, crawling with him around the floor, and shoving things in his face in a way that Kate found annoying, but Teddy seemed to love. Goodness! Kate exclaimed to herself, as she watched this process over and over again and found herself growing irked. I'll need to be very careful to not be annoyed on his behalf...just because it's something I wouldn't like doesn't mean that he wouldn't! 
Easter morning before Mister left for the airport
          In general, Teddy quickly learned to maneuver on the wood tile. It was tricky--very slippery, especially in a sleeper--but Teddy showed a good ability to adapt. Even though he only started sitting up reliably about week before, after only a couple innocuous head bumps on the floor, he quickly learned how to catch himself and roll to the side if he lost his balance and fell backward, showing some impressive abs for a 7-month old. Kate watched in envy. I'm not sure I could do that...or at least make it look so easy...if I lost my balance and fell over! (Which she felt, given her shifting center of gravity, could happen at any moment.)
          Being with family for Easter was an especially good time. The days leading up to (and the following ones as well!) were full of festivities: hunting for Resurrection eggs (which tell the story of Jesus rising from the dead on the first Easter morning), making special pies and prepping for the big Easter meal, subsequently eating said pies, hiding (and watching the children find) little chocolate eggs, and a group painting project picturing the empty tomb on Easter morning. So many fun things! Kelsey and the girls had made an extra set of Resurrection eggs for Kate, and she was excited to use them with Teddy and his sister when they got a little older. Even now, when her oldest was barely over 1/2 a year old, she was keeping an eye out for fun, engaging and memorable teaching tools!
Teddy pulling up on his own! 
          Among teaching tools were some clever toys--Kate particularly enjoyed a heavy box-like structure with a windy wire maze on top, flip tiles on one side, wheels and gears on another, letter/picture blocks on another; and on another, doors, cars, and pets on moving tracks. Teddy loved to sit and play with it, moving things around, trying to bite them, and towards the end of their stay, pulling up on the box. (Kate was particularly grateful for its heaviness!) Teddy was thrilled with himself, he was one step closer to the current goal of his life: walking! 
          After the festivities of Easter, Kate and Kelsey easily filled their days with the kids. Often they would just go out for a little walk around the neighborhood or to the favorite meadow not far away, or stay home and play games and do school time with the girls. Kate laughed and laughed when she saw a drawing that young Kate had made for her. It featured three figures, two large elongated people--one clearly in a dress--and the third looked like a little two-circle snowman. Because it wasn't clear, Kate had drawn speech bubbles above each character, and used her own creative spelling. The long figure in a dress said, "I'm pregnate." The (obviously male) figure next to her said, "I'm her huszbande." And what really kept Kate laughing even later in the day as she thought about it, was the little figure with the bubble that read, "Goo."
at the meadow one evening
            One day they took an outing to Harvard Square to go to the famed (and impressive) Curious George Store. It was around lunchtime, but Kate was feeling only slightly hungry. They would walk to a couple different shops to run some of Kelsey's errands and then stop in a coffee shop for a special refreshment. But as Kate buckled Teddy into his stroller and followed Kelsey and the kids out the door, for a second, it was as if she couldn't see a thing. And then all was normal again. She walked to the curb and while she was waiting for the signal, her vision flashed again. What is going ON?! she wondered. Her face felt hot and pinched--the sort of feeling you get when either a very hot or very cold wind is blowing directly toward you. She used the stroller to support herself and focused on the kids' feet to guide her across the street. In the store, she parked Teddy behind some racks and immediately sat down. Kelsey came back to her and worry creased her forehead. 
          "Are you feeling okay?" she asked.
          "Not great," Kate admitted. "My vision keeps going out--like, it just blanks out for a moment and then comes back. I think I might need to eat something."
          Fortunately the car was just across the street and had Kate's sandwich and some granola bars. Even though she hadn't been feeling very hungry, food was exactly what Kate needed. And though nothing actually went wrong, the brief ordeal scared her enough for Kate to start packing snacks for herself wherever she matter how short the trip. 
          Of all the amazing food that Kate ate while staying with the Wills, none surpassed the impressive and amazing Easter pies--two apple pies and two strawberry/balsamic pies. In fact, in following weeks and months, as she had deep cravings for dense and richly sweet desserts, Kate would get lost in a trance, remembering those pies. What she didn't realize was that while her sister-in-law was busy raising three children, moving her household back and forth across the country twice a year, giving and preparing lectures, and working on various household projects, she was also becoming a pie expert, learning about different crusts, the merits of pre-baking, and pie-weights. 
         In watching and helping with the pies, Kate saw a whole new world of delicious baking. While she herself was more adept at the fluid and spontaneous art of cooking (dinners and such), Kate began to appreciate the importance of precision in baking...and the amazing results it could produce! Inspired, she thought I could get into this...learning about pies and pie crusts and finding the ones that are really good. Maybe another project for my list... But then she thought about her growing belly, waste line, and pant sizes and her own immoderate pleasure in desserts. Good pie is terrible for losing weight, she reflected, and I've got double baby-weight now! Perhaps I should put off that project for another year. Maybe next year? she speculated tentatively. ...As long as we don't have another baby!
Teddy and his adoring aunt and cousins

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