Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cutest. Boys. Ever.

Seriously, can you get much cuter than these three?
Matthew is growing so quickly -- his most recent accomplishment is smiling which thrills us all to no end. Capturing his gummy grin on camera has been challenging, but here is the start of a smile. Check out his chubby little cheeks and adorable curls!Oh, and GREAT news. Cameron reports that he painted a picture on the evil today. He gave a detailed description of the evil and it sounds remarkably like an easel. Phew! I guess I can scrap that irate letter to the principal . . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Evil Work

At Montessori, activities are all called "work." So, upon picking Cameron up, I always ask him what kind of work he did that day. Often, he will have done pouring work, counting work, matching work and so on. Sometimes the teacher demonstrates how to do certain work. Today, Cameron enthusiastically informed me that tomorrow his teacher will show them all how to do evil work. Evil work? I thought? "Oh, EASEL work? Like painting on an easel?" "NO, Mommy. EVIL work!" Now what will these crazy teachers think of next? Swearing work? Inappropriate Gestures Work? I will DEFINITELY be bringing this up at the curriculum meeting!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Party People in the House!

On Friday night, we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two of our dearest friends, Jess and Pat. We had a phenomenal time -- it was definitely a celebration! Here, David dances with the beautiful bride to "Pennsylvania Polka." A big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa T, who watched the boys while we were out having fun! And a shout out to Jess' mom, Ellie, who is a loyal reader of my blog -- she makes me feel famous!
The festivities continued today, and we joined the newlyweds and many of their friends and family at a German bier hall. Matthew made me question his normal hearing screen by sleeping soundly throughout two hours of loud singing and two rounds of the Chicken Dance. Cameron started the night out slow but his spirits were revived by a plate of giant pretzels.Before long, Cameron was hamming it up with his buddy Pat. By the way, Pat is always like this -- it wasn't just the German beer!
Cameron also participated enthusiastically in the chicken dance, as did David.
And when it was time to make some noise? Well, Cameron knows ALL about making noise!
On the drive home, we enjoyed some Harry Potter on CD. I read all the books as they were released and thought it would be fun to listen to them on CD while I'm driving to and from Cameron's school. I hadn't thought that Cameron would be interested, but he loves it and he now requests Harry every time we're in the car. His comprehension isn't quite up to par though. He trusts no one but Harry. Listening with him in the car sounds something like this: "Oooh, Harry's talking to Dumbledore? He's a bad guy, right Mommy? Uh oh, Hogwarts! Hogwarts is a bad guy I think. Oh noooooo, not Hermione, he's a bad guy!" It doesn't matter that I explain that Dumbledore is a good guy, Hogwarts is not a guy at all but a school and Hermione is good and a girl. So, any parts I listen to with Cameron I end up listening to again on my own!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Tonight was Cameron's school picnic. He could hardly wait to get there because he has a new "best friend." Cameron talk about this friend non-stop and asked me to come into his class the other day so he could "introduce you to my best friend."

So, we arrive at the picnic and off Cameron runs, returning a short time later holding hands with a little boy, huge smiles on both their faces.

Cameron's friend looks at Matthew in my mei tai carrier. He looks carefully at Matthew, then at me, then Matthew. Then he says . . . "How come God wouldn't give you a baby?" Ouch. So, I reply, "God did give me a baby! He gave me Matthew AND Cameron!" The boy replies, "Who named him?" "I did," I say. "Why? Why didn't CAMERON name him?" But seriously, he did seem like a nice kid and Cameron had a great time with him. I guess they just haven't covered positive adoption language in preschool yet!

I didn't know how much Cameron had paid attention to this conversation, but at bedtime Cameron said this prayer, "Thank you God for giving us my baby brother, because we like him alot and we like his name that we gave him, too!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Joy of Junk Mail

Cameron loves getting mail -- what kid doesn't? Frequently, his mail happens to be what many might call junk mail. The other day, we received a catalogue from a kid's store featuring their wide selection of Halloween costumes. As Cameron had long ago decided to be Buzz Lightyear for Halloween this year, he is left to peruse the pages and plot out his costumes for the next decade or so. Mark your calendars, everyone: Cameron will be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Halloween when he is eleven.

Cameron is enthralled with the catalogue and picked it for one of his bedtime stories last night. He would point out the costume of interest and I would read the description. So, bedtime sounded something like this: "Once upon a time, there was a little boy who dressed up as Spiderman for Halloween. Made of a comfortable cotton/lycra blend, his costume featured a one-piece, tie-back suit with realistic muscles and of course a Spidey face mask. Spiderman Deluxe gloves available separately." They should really create an anthology . . . "A Children's Collection of Catalogues."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oh happy day!

Today, something happened that every mama dreams of . . . a momentous event, of which non-mamas could never appreciate the significance. Until you have pushed a preschooler on a swing for hour upon hour, how could you know how much you would yearn for this. . .

CAMERON HAS LEARNED TO PUMP! Yes, that's right folks. He can now entertain himself on the swing UNAIDED!
Ahhh, it doesn't get much better than this! And, in proof that those expensive tumbling classes are worth it, here is Cameron's other swingset skill!In other news, David cleaned the whole house today. And I mean, he even loaded the dishwasher!!! (Reference my post "Raising a Boy" if you don't recognize this as the feat it is!) I was astounded. Now, I know that both the house and my personal appearance have sunk to new lows since Matthew's arrival. I mean, I'm exhausted and so busy changing diapers, there isn't time for such trivial matters as retrieving petrified veggies from under the dining room table. I guess I just didn't realize that the house could ever get dirty enough that David would NOTICE it, much less CLEAN it! David says that the large coffee I brought him this morning was the motivator of this historic event. Note to self: Serve David large coffee every Sunday morning.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Busy Buddies

Here are Matthew and his daddy this evening.

As you may gather, we had an exhausting day! It started out with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati's Buddy Walk. I've worked with many families who have or are expecting a child with Down syndrome and the DSAGC is an amazing resource for both families and professionals. It is a pleasure to support them and we are proud to walk as part of Bobby's Buddies. Bobby is the son of our friends, Sue and Ken. He is a real cutie, as you can see in this photo -- Bobby is in the orange shirt, held by his dad.And here I am with Cameron and Matthew after the walk. Matthew happily rode in my awesome (and super cute!) mei tai carrier!
After the walk, we grabbed a quick bite to eat, made a brief stop at home, then headed to Chloe's 4th birthday party. Chloe, Cameron, Jack (Bobby's older brother) and Andrew have been friends since before they were born. I was in a prenatal water aerobics class with their mommies -- all our kids were born within a few weeks of each other and we've remained good friends. Here is a photo of Chloe, the birthday girl. Now, maybe it is just that I've been reading too much Harry Potter, but this photo made me laugh. There is a small white ball laying on the grass behind Chloe. But if you look at the photo a little differently, I think it looks like that white ball is levitating above the orange paper in Chloe's hand. And she looks like she is staring right at the levitating ball -- levitating objects takes quite a bit of concentration from what I hear! It's as if Chloe is little Tabitha from Bewitched!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who's the fairest?

Sorry, Snow White, but Cameron thinks Little Mermaid has you beat. Today he told me, "Why do girls like Little Mermaid so much? Probably because she is SOOOOO pretty. I like her face. It's SOOOO pretty." So, before the age of 4 years, Disney has managed to give my son unreasonable expectations of beauty.
Cameron is also fascinated by another cartoon character who earns my glowing praise -- Word Girl. Word Girl is new to PBS. She's a superhero whose super powers include not only flying but also a stellar vocabulary! Suddenly Cameron is saying things like, "Mommy, please cease pushing me on the swing!" and "That tree is humongous and gigantic!" Watch out, SATs!

Cameron and Matthew are fast becoming good buddies. Cameron woke the other day, came into the living room, and joined Matthew on his play mat. "Matthew, it's me! Your big brother!" he crooned. Very cute.
Matthew is getting bigger every day and spending more time awake. Sadly, much of his awake time seems to be after Cameron's bed time -- which I would like to be MY bed time. Matthew likes to be held upright and is giving his Mommy and Daddy major backaches. Here is David with a wide-eyed Matthew last night!

Friday, September 7, 2007

A confession and an idea

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours observing Cameron at school through the top secret one-way mirror. There were several other parents doing the same and I began to think, "How strange! I can see EVERYTHING Cameron is doing and he doesn't even know it!"

So, here is where I must make an embarassing confession. I watch Big Brother. Loyally. I know, I know, it is a mind-numbing reality TV show and there are better things to do with my time. But honestly, I look forward to it each summer! Sad, I know.

So, for those who don't share my penchant for voyeurism, a brief summary of Big Brother: Each summer, a group of strangers live in a house (aka a set on the CBS lot). They do not leave the house or have any contact with the outside. Their every move is recorded. Each week, they participate in a variety of competitions including Head of Household ("HOH"). The HOH nominates two "houseguests" for eviction, and the house votes on who will leave the house. The last houseguest remaining wins big money. Of course, the highlight of the show is watching the conflicts, the alliances, the betrayals, the show-mances.

So, back to watching Cameron. I thought, "This is almost like Big Brother." And that's when it hit me. Each summer, Big Brother warns us to "Expect the Unexpected." This has including such plot twists as 1) Several houseguests arrive only to learn that they are in the house with their ex, 2) Two houseguests don't know it, but they are siblings (really) and 3) Several houseguests find that their "worst enemy" is also in the house. So, CBS, listen up. How about next season you have the plot twist be "Big Brother 9: Preschool Edition!" Think of all the things you could do with this! Instead of the food competition, the kids could have a "Snack Competition." Winners get ice cream, losers get brussel sprouts. Maybe a few kids could arrive to find they are in the house with their playgroup rival. The Head of Household competition could be renamed, "I Can Do It All By Myself." The Power of Veto competition? How about, "You're Not the Boss of Me" competition? Now, of course, we can't leave 3- and 4-year-olds unsupervised each summer, so parents could be onsite, watching through a one-way mirror! The idea still needs some tweaking, of course, but I'm sure CBS can get a real crackerjack team on this and have it in working order by next summer!

How do I have the time for such musings, you ask? Well, David is off work today and is out with Cameron at the moment. So, it's just me and Matthew (recently nicknamed "Sir Toots Alot"). And I'm finding, "Wow. Just one kid? This is SO easy!"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My boys are growing up!

Cameron's first day at Montessori was a rousing success! I spent the morning feverishly preparing, while Cameron calmly repeated, "Is it time to go to Montessori now? How about now? Now?" His one concern was the bag of extra clothes I sent with his name on it.

Cameron: What are you doing?
Mommy: Putting extra clothes in this bag with your name on it.
Cameron: Why?
Mommy: So you have extra clothes at school in case . . . hhmmm, don't want to mention accidents . . . might cause anxiety . . . you get dirty.
Cameron: But what if someone takes them?
Mommy: No one would take them.
Cameron: But what if they do! What if they think they belong to them!
Mommy: I put your name on them so no one will think they belong to them.
Cameron: But what if someone takes them and I say they are mine and they say, "No, MY name is Cameron!"

And later, on the way to school,

Cameron: Well, when we get there, I'll have to put my extra shirt on.
Mommy: No, no, you can keep on the shirt you are wearing.
Cameron: But I don't want to get it dirty! Great. I avoid "accident" anxiety only to produce a neurotic fear of dirtiness in my 3-year-old!

And when I picked him up from school,

Mommy: How was your first day?
Cameron: They TOOK my extra clothes!
Mommy: Oh, the teacher took them out of your bag to keep them at school.
Cameron: But I was keeping them in my bag, and they TOOK them and I don't know WHERE!

Despite his obsession with the extra clothes, Cameron did awesome! He posed for the obligatory photos, although he did insist on livening up the boring poses I had in mind.

There were no tears at drop-off. I watched him for a while through the super cool and top secret one way mirror. It brought back memories of my own Montessori days to see Cameron watch intently as his teacher demonstrated proper nose-blowing and subsequent hand washing techniques. Cameron was ecstatic to find that the bathroom is equipped with a hand dryer that turns on automatically! When I picked him up, he told me about some of the kids in his class, about the boy who brought in a tooth he lost ("It was a teeny tiny tooth!"), about playing a matching game with airplanes and about the great sandbox. He also asked, "Why is Montessori so quick?" Guess the three hour day seems short to him, too!

In addition to Cameron going off to big boy school, Matthew turned three weeks old! Where does the time go? Oh, that's right . . . the time goes to changing diapers, feeding, supervising big brother, changing diapers again, feeding again, disciplining big brother, changing . . . I loved this photo of Cameron and Matthew -- look at Cameron's little hand on his chest. He is still bursting with pride at being a big brother! Although he did tell me that he planned to share big news at circle time -- not his new brother, but his new Batman toy. Well, a boy has to have priorities, right?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I have two kids

Several times today, I had the realization, "Wait. I have TWO kids." And, more importantly, "I am home, unaided, attempting to care for TWO kids." Despite my anxiety, today is going well! Not only did I feed aforementioned kids, I also bathed and dressed them AND took them to the library. *patting self on back* I actually feel cautiously optimistic about my ability to parent more than one child! (Wait until bedtime, though. That's when the going gets tough!)
Cameron entertained us this morning with a new version of make-believe in which he was a Little Boy Pig, I was a Mommy Pig and Matthew was a Baby Pig. Here is Cameron in his "pig pen."

And, just 'cause it's cute, here is a photo of Matthew, post-bath. When his hair is damp, he has the sweetest little curls!

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Cameron pronounces Matthew's name as Maffew. This has brought back a memory from a few months ago. I was driving 3-year-old Cameron and his friend, 3-year-old Lindsey, to their tumbling class. From the backseat, I heard this conversation take place.

Cameron: How old are you?
Lindsey: I'm tree.
Cameron: Oh. Tree? I'm free.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Fun with Grandpa and Grandma

Grandma and Grandpa (the other set!) visited this week. It was fantastic to have extra hands around for entertaining Cameron and holding Matthew!

Cameron was very excited for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive on Wednesday. For unknown reasons, he decided that he would hide under the dining room table and surprise Grandpa and Grandma when they arrived. He was quite persistent and would not come out from under the table, lest the grandparents choose that very moment to pull into the driveway. Alas, Cameron's grand plan was foiled when he fell asleep under the table! I couldn't even wake him when Grandma and Grandpa did arrive -- he was out cold!Matthew seems very alert and aware -- when he is awake, that is! We got out Cameron's old Take-Along Swing and Matthew finds the plastic doggie and cat quite fascinating. Cameron is also of the belief that there are two things that will quiet a crying baby: a binky and tinny lullabies played by the swing.

Cameron was very lucky to get a new scooter from his grandparents. With a little practice, I'm sure he'll be zipping around in no time! And check out the color coordination here -- yellow helmet, shirt and scooter with accents of red, green and blue. Wow . . . I can already see the scrapbook page! Hmmm. Wonder how long it will be before I have time to scrapbook again?