Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baby Love

Matthew loves his new baby doll. When asked if the doll was a boy or a girl, he replied without hesitation, "Guull." I then asked him the baby's name. "Mommy," he said decisively.

"Hmmm. That's a tad confusing," I noted, "since I am also known as 'Mommy.' How about Mimi?"

"Mimi!" he agreed. So Mimi she is.
Matthew loves to give Mimi her binky.

Even better is sharing her binky.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tool Time

A fond memory from my childhood is spending time with my dad in his basement workshop, learning how to use all his tools. So when Cameron asked for a tool box and tools this Christmas, all I could think about was how great it would be for him to have Grandpa Frank teach him as he did me.
Cameron and Grandpa decided to put the tools to good use fixing a broken baby gate. They hammered and drilled and sanded and soon the baby gate was as good as new. Cameron was brimming with pride at his accomplishment. "Can you believe I fixed that gate?" he said. "It's just like Extreme Makeover Home Edition."

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Case for Assigned Seating

Each year, we enjoy Christmas dinner with a large group of family and friends. Among this group is a little girl who is a year older than Cameron. They have always enjoyed playing together and did again this year. Cameron is pretty clear though: a girl friend is just fine; a girlfriend is not. Before dinner I heard this conversation:

Little girl (with a coy smile): Caaaam-eron. Wanna sit by meeee at dinner?
Cameron: Uhhh, I usually sit by my mom.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We are too busy playing with our remote control cars and new VSmile games to blog right now.

Winter Wonderland

There is something about a white Christmas, freezing windchill and hazardous road conditions aside. There's sledding and snow angels and ice skating with Santa and it is just plain FUN when you are under the age of twelve. As for me . . . I choose to stay inside with a cup of coffee and a good book, admiring the white stuff through the window.

Planning ahead

It's never too early to start planning for your retirement.

Monday, December 22, 2008

True Love

At home, Cameron doesn't play video games except "Sonic the Hedgehog" on David's old Sega Genesis on weekends only. So, when we visit Grandma Linda and Grandpa Frank, Cameron is enthralled with their Nintendo Wii. He spends every spare moment playing Mario Kart.

Last night, as I kissed Cameron goodnight, he held his hands apart about a foot and said, "Mommy, I love you this much!"

"Awww, thanks, Cameron! I love you, too. Hey, how much do you love Mario Kart?"

He held his hands apart about two feet and said, "Just a little more than you."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Love and Marriage

"I am NOT getting married," says Cameron. "I'm just going to stay with you. But what if some girl gets in love with me? That would be very bad for me."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reflections on Brotherhood

Reflection #1

Today, Cameron asked me to tell him a story about when I worked at the hospital. (For those who don't know, I worked for many years in a high-risk obstetrics unit at a hospital.) I began to tell him a story about a patient who was told during her ultrasound that she was having twins. The story was interrupted when Cameron asked, "I'm not a twin, right?"

"Right," I said. "Twins are when two babies grow in a mommy's belly at the same time. Some twins are identical -- they look just the same -- and some are fraternal and they do not look exactly the same." (I considered teaching him the terms monozygotic and dizygotic just 'cause it'd be a cool thing for a five-year-old to know, but decided to focus my energies elsewhere.)

Cameron thought about this and then said, "But me and Matthew are not twins, right?"

"No, you are not twins."

"Huh. Because we do kind of look alike."

Reflection #2

On our drive to school today, we were listening to the book "Clementine" by Sara Pennypacker. (It's delightful, by the way.) One of the characters noted that when there are two kids in a family, "one is always the easy one and one is always the hard one."

"Who do you think is the easy one in our family then?" I asked Cameron.

Without missing a beat he said, "Me, of course. Matthew's the hard one."

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's In a Name?

Today Cameron suggested that we should give Matthew a nickname. "Matthew calls me Didi, and sometimes you call me Cam or Cam Cam. But we don't have any nickname for Matthew!" he reflected.

I began suggesting options, some obvious (Matty) and some not (Cubby? Pumpkin?) Cameron began throwing out ideas as well and before we knew it Matthew joined in. "Monkey!" he shrieked. "Ball! Napkin! Rock!"

Cameron took it all in and then said thoughtfully, "I think I like 'napkin' the best."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa Trauma

Tonight was David's company Christmas party, complete with a very convincing Santa Claus. While waiting in line, Cameron said, "I bet he's going to say, 'Hi Cameron!' when I get up there!"

I replied, "Are you going to tell him what you want for Christmas?"

"Uh, Mommy, he already knows that. I wrote him a letter," Cameron replied in that voice of patient disgust that a five-year-old is so adept at using.

Although Santa, inexplicably, asked Cameron his name and what he wanted for Christmas, Cameron was pleased with the experience. Matthew, not so much.

When It Can't Get Any Worse . . .

Whenever David tells me he is going on a business trip, I dread the long days and nights on my own with two very, very active and demanding boys. Worse yet, this particular business trip would conflict with my writing group. My writing group that I love, that I look forward to every week. AND this was to be the last writing group meeting of 2008, complete with a potluck dinner and used book exchange. I tried my best to be understanding -- I mean, it is his job, after all -- but I was seriously disappointed. "Well, this is just about the worst business trip yet," I moped to myself.

Ahhhh, how wrong I was. The worst would be when Cameron came down with a very nasty stomach virus. So I was on my own, missing my writing group, trying to take care of one baby and one very, very sick little boy.

David returned home this morning. Cameron has recovered. I think it'll take me a few days to make a full recovery!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Energizer Bunny Is Lazy

Compared to Matthew, the Energizer Bunny is lazy. These days, he NEVER stops moving. Take, if you will, Thanksgiving as an example. Cameron was hanging out with his cousin in the basement, and Matthew seemed to want to join them. I soon realized, however, that it was not playing in the basement that Matthew was interested in. It was going down the stairs. And then up the stairs. Followed immediately by going down the stairs. And then (surprise!) up the stairs.This stair-climbing game, out of necessity, included me. And when I thought we were done? Noooooo, we were just moving on to a different set of stairs.

The Stairmaster is for wussies -- chasing a baby is where it's at.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Isn't All Bad

Sometimes, instead of complaining about the snow and the cold and the dark skies before dinner time, we go play. And it's fun.

How to Get Kids to Clean Up

I have figured out a foolproof way to get my kids to clean!
1) Dress up in costumes. Pictured here are the king (Cameron) and the prince (Sir Matthew, going for a pirate prince look I guess)
2) Talk with a fake accent. British preferred.
3) Address the children as "Sire" and "Sir Matthew."
4) Integrate cleaning directions into story line.
To illustrate:
"Sire! I have just learned that the fair princess of Agatibelle will be coming to our castle this very night! We must hide our jewels and swords, lest the Agatibellians plunder the castle! Quick, sire, pick up those Superstructs and place them in yonder basket! And Sir Matthew, I beg thee to pick up the toy cars!"
The castle was clean in record time, although the king followed the orders much better than Sir Matthew, who was repeatedly noted to create messes instead of clean them. We suspect he may be working for the Agatibellians.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chatting with Matthew

Matthew is constantly learning new words and amazing us with his witty reparte. Some of the latest:

-- If you sing, "Do do do do do, Inspector . . . " he will finish, "Gadget, do do do do do DO do."

-- He tells knock knock jokes. Seriously, he does! Problem is, they are ALL the same. They go like this. "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Knock knock."

-- I am pretty sure he is saying his name. Yesterday he was saying "Ma-kew, Ma-kew!" and today he signed bath and said hopefully, "Ma-dew bat?"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Glub glub

I just ordered Matthew's Christmas present -- a Corolle Tidoo Graceful bath doll. I'm always on the lookout for ways to diversify our toys and books (more challenging than you may think, if you haven't tried it yourself recently!) A bath doll is perfect as Matthew has not only become obsessed with taking baths, but with giving them as well. He's had to settle for Paul, Cameron's old potty-training doll. Cameron has been generous, but does remind Matthew from time to time that Paul is his doll, not Matthew's.
I'm hoping that, with his very own bath doll, Matthew's bathing techniques will improve. Just look at him, using a Tupperware lid to direct the cold water directly onto poor Paul's face.

And if you look closely in this photo, you'll see that Paul's face is covered with a wet washcloth while Matthew, oblivious, chatters away.It kind of reminds me of Cameron's diapering techniques.

And then I just had to include this photo of Matthew responding to the question, "Who loves Mommy?" Yes, I've taught him to raise his hand and shout "Me!" whenever he hears, "Who loves Mommy?" Can you fault me, given Cameron's recent response?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Matthew Loves

Matthew has developed a few passions. He loves:

- Premium Brand Saltine Crackers. The only kinds of cracker we've found that is dairy, egg and nut-free AND not processed on potentially contaminated equipment. After being denied crackers for his entire life, Matthew is making up for lost time by stuffing Saltines in his mouth whole as he frantically signs "cracker, cracker" in a bid to get more.

- Brushing his teeth. We keep the bathroom door closed now. If we forgot, you can guarantee that Matthew will be in their within minutes, signing "brush teeth" and saying "deeth, deeth, deeth!" He'll brush his teeth over and over and over if we let him.

- Baths. Another reason for keeping the bathroom door shut.

- Dancing. Matthew has created his own sign for dancing which involves clasping his hands in fists and raising them alternately above his head while bouncing up and down. Yesterday he was signing "dance" when he woke up.

- Daddy. This one should actually be at the top of the list. He will cry for Daddy during the day and stare moonily at David's photo. When he hears the front door open, he drops everything to run screaming "DADDY!!!"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grandma's Little Helper

How come kids will always behave better for someone other than their mom? I mean, how many times have I said, "Matthew, clean up that mess?" with ZERO response? Grandma Linda merely mentions that the floor could use a cleaning and Matthew is all, "Oh, I'll get in Grandma. No, really, sit down! Relax! I've got it all under control."

Don't Trick a Tricker

David joined us in Michigan on Wednesday evening. Earlier in the day, Cameron and I bought some art supplies at the drug store. Cameron was insistent that he HAD to have modeling clay. As soon as we were back at the house, he got to work creating clay green peas. We carefully arranged the peas on a plate with some crackers and a selection of fresh veggies. Cameron was positively giddy waiting for Daddy to arrive so he could trick him. As soon as David walked in, Cameron called out, "Daddy! Come have a snack!" David thanked us for our thoughtfulness, sat down and, to my great surprise, took a really big bite of the peas. "BLECH!" he spit them out as Cameron laughed hysterically. "Fooled you AGAIN, Daddy!" he crowed.

Later, David told me that although he recognized immediately that the peas were a set up, he mistakenly believed that they were made from Starburst. He took a big bite expecting a sweet treat and instead got a mouthful of clay!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I brought the boys up to Michigan for a little pre-Thanksgiving visit with my parents. Not having lived in Michigan for quite a few years, there are some things I had kind of forgotten. Like, it's really, really cold. And there's often snow. Even in November. Cameron has also discovered that there are some things he loves about Michigan. Like, it's really, really cold. And there's often snow. Even in November.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grandpa's Little Protege

My grandpa is a world-class joker. When I was a child, he had me convinced that he invented M&Ms. And that he was the "Milton" in Milton & Bradley. And once, he told me that the water dispenser in his new fridge was actually a small camera and if I put my face up to it and pressed the lever, it would take my picture. And I did.

My grandpa has apparently decided to train Cameron to follow in his footsteps. He sent an e-mail marked "For Cameron only." Sadly, as Cameron is only a level 1 reader, I was needed to assist in the reading of the e-mail. In it, grandpa asked Cameron if he would like to scare his dad with a rubber snake. If you happen to know any five-year-old boys, you can probably guess that Cameron's answer was "YES!" A few days later, Cameron received a padded envelope containing the snake. We spent the next few hours plotting exactly where to put the snake to cause Daddy maximum terror. Finally, noting that Daddy always heads to the bathroom shortly after arriving at home, Cameron positioned the snake strategically on top of the toilet. When David walked in the front door, Cameron could hardly stand it. From behind David, Cameron was winking, giggling and giving me the "thumbs up" sign. When David said, "I'm going to go to the bathroom," Cameron nearly collapsed with excitement. David walked in the bathroom and shut the door. Cameron quickly ran to stand outside the door and when David yelled, "Aggghhhh! A snake!" Cameron shrieked, "Fooled you Daddy! Fooled you good!!!"

We've since had lots of fun posing for photos with the snake. While Cameron likes to feign that he is petrified of the serpent, Matthew doesn't hesitate to show off his fearlessness.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sweet Dreams

This afternoon, I heard Matthew talking in his crib. Thinking that he had woken up from his nap early, I went to get him. Imagine my surprise when I found him soundly asleep. "Good guys," he murmured. "Good guys, good guys." I can't even begin to envision what my 1 year old was dreaming about that led him to sleep talk about good guys.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cameron Learns the Art of the Back-handed Compliment

Cameron (smiling sweetly): Mommy, I love you sooooo much. Even if you are kinda mean.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Preschool Practical Jokes

Cameron has recently spent a great deal of time paging through the Target toy catalogue. In our house, Santa accepts requests for up to three gifts only, and Cameron torments himself over which three would be just the perfect selection. The Lego set, an art easel and a spy gadget? No, because Santa can't find out that we're spies! That's top secret after all. OK, OK, how about this? A robot, a Lego set and an art easel. No, no, not quite right . . .

About a week ago, Cameron came across the Play-Doh Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shoppe. To my surprise, he was fascinated. "OK, I am DEFINITELY asking Santa for this!" he crowed. Then, he revealed the source of his merriment. "Here's what I'm gonna do, Mommy," he confided. "I'm going to ask Santa for the Play-Doh ice cream maker. But I'm going to tell Daddy that I asked for a REAL ice cream maker. Then, on Christmas morning, I'll open up my gift and say, 'Oh, Daddy, do you want me to make you some ice cream?' And he'll say, 'Yes, that sounds good!' And then I'll make a Play-Doh ice cream cone and give it to Daddy and he'll lick it and he'll spit it out and he'll be like, 'Ewww! This is not ice cream! This is Play-Doh! You tricked me!'" Cameron collapsed into giggles at the thought of this ingenious plot. For days, he relished the image of Daddy spitting out the Play-Doh. It was so funny, he could hardly stand it. Finally, the pressure got to be too much and he confessed the plan to Daddy. The excitement now gone, he has decided that he will ask Santa for two spy tools and a Lego set, as I have reassured him that Santa is really good at keeping secrets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conversations with My Boys

Matthew is talking, talking, talking these days. He's constantly surprising me with new signs and words. He requests bananas and balls, he comments on the rainy weather and he mourns that Daddy is at work and he is stuck home with Mommy.

A few days ago, he ran to me yelling, "HOT! HOT!" He appeared uninjured and I was puzzled. He grabbed my hand, toddled me to the kitchen and pointed to the pot of water I had boiling on the stove. "HOT!" he commented with a satisfied grin.

While words and signs are lovely for making observations, they can also be downright useful. Over the weekend, Matthew managed to lift the lid of our wooden bench. This feat apparently took every muscle he had, and he was unable to keep the top open. As the lid closed (gently -- it is on a hinge for this very reason), his fingers were trapped underneath. "STUCK!" he called out. "STUCK, STUCK!"

I love this stage of verbal development, when it seems like a miracle that he knows what a bus is and his insistence to "WAAALLLKK" instead of be carried seems like a peek into his psyche. Cameron reminds me of how much more fun is ahead. I can hardly believe that someday Matthew and I will have the kinds of conversations that I now have with Cameron. Recently, Cameron found a feather at the park. "Look!" he exclaimed. "I wonder what this feather came from."

"I bet it is a duck feather," I replied.

"No," Cameron said thoughtfully. "I'm pretty sure it's from a panther."

"A panther!?! But panthers don't have feathers!"

"Well, of course I know that Mommy. But it still LOOKS like it could be from a panther."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Matthew has now broadened his literary interests from the omnipresent "Panda Bear" to "More, More, More Said the Baby," "Five Little Monkeys" and "No David!" It is so refreshing to read something other than, "I see a . . . " over and over all day. I think that Matthew has also found the addition of other reading material to be a welcome change and now he is really thinking outside the box. Apparently, the current economic crisis peaked his interest and yesterday he selected a book we had never read before.Cameron has never shown much of an interest in economics. He's always been a bit more introspective, with a bent towards the medical field.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When Faith Gets Furry

This morning, I volunteered as a helper at Cameron's Sunday School class. The teacher told the story of how heaven is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a huge tree. "The birds come and build nests in the tree. There is room in the tree for everyone! How do you think the birds feel in the tree? Safe? Happy?"

A little girl raised her hand and was called upon. "What if there was a cat?" she asked.

The teacher looked confused. Another child took up the question. "Yeah!" he said. "What if a cat got in the tree?"

"Cats don't get in the tree," the teacher said.

"Cats can so get in trees!" called out a girl. "My cat climbed a tree and got stuck in it!"

"And cats EAT birds," squealed another child. Pandemonium spread quickly. "Cats could climb the tree and eat the birds!"

"No, no," the teacher protested weakly. "The tree is like heaven for the birds. There are no cats in the tree."

"But I thought you said there was room for everyone in the tree," said one of the oldest girls. "If there's room for everyone, why wouldn't there be room for the cat?"

The teacher closed the Bible and announced it was time for cookies and juice. 'Cause you know the verse about, "If you have the faith of a vanilla wafer . . . "

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Foul Play

Matthew is smart. Deducing that his pleas for a "BAT, BAT, BABY BAT!" were ineffective, he apparently began to mull over new strategies to get himself in the bathtub as often as possible. When I forgot to put a bib on him, he knew the time to act was now. Grabbing the spoon, he scooped up as much Whole Soy Peach yogurt as he could and glopped it on his face. As I ran for the papertowels, he quickly abandoned the spoon and instead filled his hands. With a sadistic grin, he raised his hand above his head, hovering inches from his curls. He knows my weakness -- faces can be wiped clean, Matthew's curls can not. You could almost hear him thinking, "One step closer and I'll do it! I will! Don't mess with me, woman, I will smear this yogurt all over my head."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Clean Kid

Matthew has recently decided that there is nothing better than a bath. If it was up to him, he would be in the bathtub morning, noon and night. In reality, he gets a bath before bedtime, yet lately he starts each morning off by toddling to the bathroom and signing "bath" over and over while saying "BAT! BAT! BAT!" When he grows concerned that I do not understand, he clarifies by pointing to the bathtub and saying "BABY! BABY BAT!" -- I think he worries that if he does not specify that the bath is for him, the baby, that I might just hop in the Winnie the Pooh tub myself.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election 2008

Wow! A moment in history!

Cameron was really excited about this election, so we made popcorn and let him stay up late to watch the returns. As each state was announced, he carefully colored his map red or blue. When we told him it was time to go to bed, he made me promise to come in and tell him when Ohio was called! (I did.) This morning, he awoke asking who our new president is and has been enjoying watching the Schoolhouse Rock Election Collection DVD. Right now, he's walking around declaring, "Vote for me! I'm the strongest one!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Things to Teach Matthew

Scene: We are in the bathroom. Cameron is washing his hands. I am helping Matthew dry his hands when he spontaneously embraces the towel.

Cameron: Look! Matthew's hugging the towel! I think he wants to MARRY a towel!
Me: Oh, I hope he doesn't marry a towel! I don't want washcloths for grandchildren!
Cameron (gravely): Mommy? What if we forget to teach Matthew that towels are not people?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Swing State

As I've mentioned before, Cameron is a fan of Barack Obama. He "doesn't like how John McCain looks." Our town is plastered with campaign signs and Cameron is acutely aware of them. Driving through town this morning, Cameron gave a running commentary from the back seat. It went something like this:

"Uh oh. There are a lot of McCain signs in this neighborhood. *sigh* I think he's gonna win. Wait! An Obama sign! And another one! OK, I think Obama is going to win. But wait! There's a McCain-Palin sign! I don't know. Do you think McCain is going to be our president? 'Cause I like Obama. Oh! Look! There's an Obama sign! Yep, a lot of people are voting for Obama. Hey! A McCain sign!"

I can't wait until this election is over!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The search for a good doctor

You know, some physicians just inspire confidence. They walk in the room and you can just tell -- they know their stuff. Sadly, these doctors are rare. All too often, you find yourself questioning. Is my doctor really listening to me? Does this doctor know what he's doing? Is this doctor qualified? Sometimes, there's just something . . . you can't put your finger on it . . . just something that makes you uncomfortable. I mean, I don't know. Is it the short stature? His boyish face? Or perhaps the hook hand that makes me hesitant to put my faith in this doctor?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

When you are five years old, few things are as exciting as an holiday that involves both dressing up AND eating obscene amounts of candy. Cameron was thrilled with his store-bought Star Wars costume, while I was thrilled to get to make Matthew a cute R2D2 costume. Cameron somehow believes that his face mask is a "voice changer," and repeatedly asked me if he sounded scary with his mask on. Of course, we played along and he continues to be blissfully unaware that his voice merely sounds muffled behind his mask.

We were joined by our friends, Batman and the Incredible Hulk. Despite taking countless photos, this was the best group shot. Getting four kids to stand still and smile is, well, impossible.When I tried to get a photo of my two cuties, Matthew was too concerned about the muscular green fellow nearby to pay attention.
Finally, at 9pm, our sugar-crazed preschooler and our overstimulated toddler are asleep. Now to dig into Cameron's bag of candy . . .

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Three's a Crowd

Yesterday I commented to Cameron, "You know, having two little boys is the most fun I've ever had!"

"Yeah," said Cameron. "Two boys are a lot of fun. But having three little boys? Well, that would be no fun at all!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Write Poetry. Well, Kind Of . . .

I don't have much talent when it comes to poetry. I'm more of an essay girl. However, I was recently inspired to write this haiku.

Warm, soft . . . what is this?
Awful realization
Poopy diaper leak

Pleased with the results, I decided that haiku is my kind of poetry. Here's a few more from my collection.

Mulch, paper, lint, dirt
Withered grapes, forgotten crumbs
Not in your mouth, kid!

Matted in dark curls
Dried in ears and under chin
Spread on chubby thighs

Dotting eyelashes
Hidden in high chair cushions
Where I find your food

A glass of water
An urgent need to go pee
Avoiding bed time.

Please! Need it! Want it!
Won’t ask for anything else!
Plastic Batman toy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ego Boost

From time to time, I boost my ego by playing a little game in which I call out, "Who loves Mommy the most?" Cameron and David then compete by yelling, "Me, me!" Cameron often clinches the win by jumping up and down while waving his hand in the air. Yesterday, as Cameron and David shouted, I heard a tiny voice join in. "ME!" squealed Matthew as he ran around the corner with his hand raised high in the air!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here's to Hair

Every morning, I strap Matthew in a booster seat, turn on a Signing Time DVD and style his hair. At first, Matthew would wiggle and squirm while I squirted, slicked and finger twisted his curls. Eventually, he became accustomed to the practice and eventually he seemed to enjoy it. I knew we had reached an understanding when, a few days ago, Matthew dragged his booster to the center of the room, opened the TV cabinet, handed me the remote and then sat down in his booster seat!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Party People

On Friday evening, David and I enjoyed a rare night out. Grandma Linda and Grandpa Frank were visiting, so they watched the boys while we went to a company dinner. It apparently took Matthew about 45 minutes to realize that Mama and Dada weren't in the house and he was not pleased with the discovery. Fortunately, Grandma Linda is an excellent singer of lullabies and reader of "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" However, Matthew did not forget our betrayal. For the rest of the weekend, he was cordial to Grandma and Grandpa but prefered that they keep their distance while he hung on my leg. Grandma Linda and Grandpa Frank also helped out with Cameron's big soccer birthday party, which mainly consisted of a bunch of kids screaming, running wild and eating lots of sugar. Ahhhh, childhood birthday parties . . .

Which reminds me of a story. At the recent birthday party of a school friend, Cameron approached the mother, held up a puzzle and said, "Excuse me? Is this a one-person or a two-person work?" Gotta love Montessori.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is Matthew a Republican???

OK, I'm not trying to start talking politics on my blog, but . . . well, I'm getting a little concerned that Sarah Palin is influencing Matthew. You see, he can answer yes or no questions pretty accurately now. Only, he doesn't say "yes." Or even "yeah." He say "yah." At first I thought it was a Minnesota accent. Then I heard Sarah Palin say, "Yah, you betcha," and my heart sank. I knew I shouldn't have let him stay up late to watch the debates! If he starts winking when he says it, I'm really gonna lose it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Conversation at 3am

Exhausted parent (responding to cries from crib): Matthew, time to sleep.
Matthew (waving): HI! HI! HIIIIIIIIII!
EP: Shhhhhh.
EP: Shhhhh, shhhh, time to sleep.
EP: No, no, shhhhh.
EP: Oh, please, dear God, GO to SLEEP!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cleaning House

We are doing some heavy duty house cleaning this weekend. I think it's really important to teach the kids to pick up after themselves. You know, teach them about personal responsibility and stuff from the very start. For example, if at 14 months we teach Matthew that he needs to recycle the cardboard holder when he is done with his beer, we won't have to be bugging him to do it when he's 21 years old! Brilliant!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fame & Fortune, Here I Come!

Recently, Adoptive Families magazine let me know that my blog is listed as one of their "Adoption Blogs We Love!" So, thanks Adoptive Families and hello to the readers who found their way here through AF!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sammy the Seal, the Sequel

Yesterday, Cameron proposed that we write a book which would be a sequel to Sammy the Seal. In the original Sammy the Seal, a seal leaves the zoo and goes to the city and to school for the day. In Book Two, Cameron decided that Sammy should go to the park. Cameron dictated the story to me as I wrote it out. Then, Cameron drew the park scenes while I was responsible for adding Sammy's likeness to each page. The end result was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself! As you can see, the reviews have been mostly positive.
"This brings back childhood memories. What a treat to hear of Sammy's adventures again after all these years! The story is delightful, if a bit formulaic, and the illustrations have a beguiling, childlike quality to them. Buy this one today!"
"I'm always on the search for I Can Read Level One books and this one is my hands down favorite! Sammy is witty and clever and brave -- not many seals would try their flipper at monkey bars or the fireman's pole. An inspiring addition to any child's bookshelf!"
"Sammy the Seal was such a cliff hanger! I've spent decades wondering if Sammy could continue to be happy in the confines of the zoo. Was his wanderlust satisfied by just one afternoon in the city? Finally, an answer in Sammy the Seal, the Sequel! I sure hope Book Three doesn't take another 50 years!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Big Thoughts for a Little Boy

It's interesting to watch Cameron's awareness of our multiracial family evolve. Last year, when a classmate said, "That baby's adopted!" I asked Cameron how he thought his classmate had known that. "I have NO idea!" said Cameron. "Maybe I told her?"

This year, a little boy pointed out that Matthew must be adopted. Again, I asked Cameron how the boy knew that. Cameron looked at me as if I was hopelessly dim and responded, "Uh, Mommy? Because Matthew has brown skin and we have pink skin!"

Today, during lunch, Cameron put down his fork and looked thoughtful for a minute. Then he said, "Mommy? You know what? I think one day Matthew is probably going to notice that he has brown skin and we don't!" Our conversations just keep getting more and more interesting -- good practice for talking with Matthew someday!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Unbearably Great Birthday

Cameron had a fantastic birthday this week. The anticipation has been building for quite a while, so when the morning finally arrived he was out of bed bright and early. When he unwrapped the Star Wars Lego set he had asked for, he nearly hyperventilated with excitement. After establishing some Legos play/baby safety rules, he quickly set to work.
He was amazed at how really, really cool the finished product was. Mid-morning, Aunt Stephanie called to say happy birthday and Cameron opened his gift from her -- a Superstructs Flight Kit. He was absolutely beside himself with joy. Once again, he wasted no time in getting down to business and made an impressive helicopter.When I picked Cameron up at the end of the school day, I asked him what he wanted to do that afternoon. Go to the park? Watch Word Girl? Play in the backyard? No, no and no. "Actually, Mommy, I just want to play with my new toys," he said. Then, with a wistful look he said, "Oh, Mommy. I can hardly bear it. I can just hardly bear how awesome my new toys are." Don't you miss those kinds of birthdays?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Taste of Independence

Matthew has experienced his first taste of independence in the form of a famous circle of whole grain oats – the Cheerio. Over the weekend, instead of putting Matthew in the highchair for a snack, David poured a few Cheerios in a small plastic bowl and placed it on a low table. Matthew promptly upended the bowl and then scrambled madly to eat as many Cheerios off the floor as possible before David swept them up. David filled the bowl again, held it firmly on the table and guided Matthew’s chubby little hand into the bowl to select a crunchy O. For the next half hour, Matthew played, occasionally pausing for a visit to the bowl. Each time he found that the cereal was still there, just waiting for him, he smiled in mild surprise. When at last the bowl was empty, he squalled with disappointment. He followed David to the kitchen, whining, and watched as the bowl was again filled. Then, realization dawned.

This bowl – this portable receptacle of whole grained goodness – why, it was his ticket to freedom! No longer would he be forced to halt his play to be strapped down behind a tray. No longer would he have to choose between food and fun. No longer would he be confined and controlled – He. Had. A. Bowl. Now, now he could eat his beloved Cheerios at his leisure! He could munch on a handful between laps around the train table. He could take a few bites, break to play cars and return for more. It was revolutionary.

David placed the bowl on the table and Matthew’s bare feet pounded on the hardwood floors as he toddled madly to his bowl. He reached in, double fisted, and shoveled handfuls into his mouth with gusto. He clapped his hands joyously. Overcome with emotion, he spun crazily in a circle, chortling, then bent over to put his head on the floor in a kind of yoga baby downward-facing dog of celebration. His overwhelming exuberance at this simple step towards autonomy was adorable. It was heartwarming. And it was terrifying as I thought, “Boy, are we in trouble when this kid gets a hold of the car keys.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Review

Matthew has developed a sudden and intense interest in the book "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. He pads over to me, holding out "Panda Bear" and squealing with excitement. When I finish reading the book, he promptly reopens it and signs "more, more."

Today, I showed him the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by the same author and illustrator. "Panda Bear" and "Brown Bear" are essentially the same story, just with different animals, so I figured that "Brown Bear" would be a big hit. We read both and then Matthew signed "more." As I began to open "Brown Bear," Matthew smacked the book closed and said, "No, NOOOO!" He picked up "Panda Bear" and handed it to me. Again and again this scene repeated itself -- it seems that Matthew views "Brown Bear" as a poor substitute for his beloved "Panda Bear."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Brain Faces Beware

While perusing the Halloween advertisements, Cameron apparently came across a costume that he found positively terrifying. He describes is as a "brain face" costume and he is petrified that we may see someone with a brain face costume on Halloween. Finally, he came up with a plan. He painted his pumpkin with a representation of a brain face with a red circle and slash painted over it. In case this was not clear enough, he enlisted in my help to paint "NO BRAIN FACES ALLOWED" on the side of the pumpkin."There," he sighed with relief. "Now if someone with a brain face comes to our house, they'll see the pumpkin and they'll say, 'Oh. I can't go here.'"

I think he's saving face though -- I heard him telling his grandparents that he painted the pumpkin so that "no brain faces come and scare Mommy."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Can I Have a Hug?

Matthew gives out hugs upon request now. He's pretty generous with them, but sometimes I ask for too many. After the first hug, if I ask, "Can I have a hug?" Matthew shakes his head vigorously and says, "No. No."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Truth in Advertising

Matthew got this hilarious shirt from Uncle Bryan yesterday. He took it as a mandate and shortly after putting the shirt on he was getting a diaper change. Cameron thought the shirt was hysterical. "Oh man! I wish I had a shirt like that!" he chortled. It was only after I pointed out that the shirt would imply that he was wearing a diaper that he reconsidered. "Oh NO," he said. "I DON'T want a shirt like that! Everyone at school would be like, 'Ha ha, Cameron poo'd!'" Matthew feels no such shame.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Who needs MapQuest?

When I picked Cameron up from school yesterday, he had a huge smile on his face. "Guess WHAT, Mommy! Brandon wants me to come to his house for a playdate TODAY! And he gave us directions to his house!"
Actually, Brandon had drawn us a map. As Cameron explained, the circle is the school and you "just follow the line" to get to Brandon's house, symbolized by the circle with lines around it. Cameron was deeply disappointed that I am apparently unable to follow even the simplest of directions.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Parenting and Sarcasm Don't Mix

Last night, I was on my own with the boys and, once again, feeling under the weather with a bad cold. Things were not going well. It was past everyone's bedtime, Cameron still hadn't brushed his teeth and Matthew was screaming bloody murder in his crib. Frustrated, I plopped into a chair and said sarcastically, "That's it. I'm going to bed. Cameron, you're in charge." To my surprise, Cameron immediately began to sob and cling to me. "Cameron, what's wrong?" I asked over and over.

When he had finally calmed down he said, "Oh, mama, I was so scared! I thought you were going to make me take care of Matthew all by myself. And I don't know HOW!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who Loves You, Baby?

Matthew is his own biggest fan. He claps for himself, he calls himself "Good boy," he staunchly refuses to be cast as a bad guy in any of Cameron's superhero shows, insisting that he is a "Gooo Giiii." Despite this, I thought it would be so cute if I could teach him to say "Mama!" when I say, "Who loves you?" Instead, each time I say "Who loves you?" Matthew raises his hand in the air and smiles broadly. Yep, he loves himself. ALOT. But that's OK -- babies are supposed to be self-centered, right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Give Up

Apologies to my loyal fans for the lack of posts lately. We've all been sick and I just haven't been up to my usual witty banter. But, I'm back!

So, every year I have made Cameron a Halloween costume. It's not that I am particularly crafty but it just seems so maternal to make the costumes rather than buy some overpriced plastic robe and mask. Here I am, three weeks postpartum, with Cameron as a cow. Year two I made this really cute baby chick costume.
Year three, a monkey -- not my best work, many thought he was as teddy bear.
Year four, another let-down: Supposed to be a kitty, believed by most to be a bunny.
Last year, Buzz Lightyear and Matthew as a three-eyed alien.
So this year, Cameron requested a Jokey Smurf costume. I've spent hours searching the web, finally locating a medium blue, long-sleeved, turtleneck leotard with matching gloves, white sweatpants and a plan to make a Smurf hat from a pillowcase. Matthew would be Azrael, Gargamel's kitty. This morning, Cameron brought me an add from Halloween Express and showed me the "really cool Star Wars clone guy."

"But I was going to make you the Jokey Smurf costume, remember?"

"I know. But this is WAY cooler."

"But I bet tons of kids will have this costume. If I make you a Jokey Smurf costume, no one else will be Jokey Smurf!"

"Wellll, maybe next year, Mommy. Because this year? I reeeaallllyyy want you to buy me the Star Wars costume instead."

So, I'm wondering why I'm going to kill myself making a Jokey Smurf costume when Cameron wants a $20 costume I can buy. And I've decided . . . I give up. I'm buying the costume.