Friday, February 29, 2008

Safety first?

Forgive me, dear readers, for my extended absence from the blog. I feel so guilty picturing all of you glumly clicking "Refresh" over and over, hoping in vain for a new post . . .

I've been reaaalllllyyy sick. I guess 2008 didn't appreciate my "Self-Indulgent Whining" post and decided to show me that I hadn't seen anything yet! But, hooray for antibiotics once again, I am now feeling much better.

Having spent most of my time lately laying on the couch, there is very little new to report. However, Cameron and I have moved on to a new book on CD. Still on our Beverly Cleary kick, we have begun "Henry and the Clubhouse." Early in the story, Henry's neighbor is hauling an old bathtub out of his house. "Want to go to the dump?" he asks Henry, as he loads the bathtub on a trailer. "Sure!" responds Henry, "Can I ride in the bathtub?" Whoa. Hold the phone, says my internal monologue. The neighbor isn't actually going to let a kid ride around in a bathtub strapped to a trailer hooked up to a car, is he? Oh yes. He is. Is this actually the way it was in Henry Huggins day? I suspect that is was, as my dear Granpa has shared with me that he built a plywood playpen in the back of his car so that my mother, aunt and uncle could play, unrestrained, while he drove. That would never fly today -- the one time I forgot to buckle Cameron's five-point harness he screamed "WAIT!" in terror before I had even put the car in drive!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bean Bowl

This year, we've started a new Easter tradition that we have named "Bean Bowl." On our table we have a container of dried beans and, next to it, a large ceramic bowl. Good deeds or small kindnesses can earn you a bean and, come Easter, the Easter Bunny will be exchanging these dried bean for jelly beans! (Jelly Belly jelly beans, it has been specified) Cameron has found the bean bowl to be quite motivational and each time we find him doing something nice we shout "BEAN BOWL!" and he runs to the bowl with great gusto.

So, for the past few days I have been sick. A sick mother requires extraordinary patience from a 4-year-old and Cameron has been great. He has earned many a bean as a result of my illness. Today, he noted that Matthew needed a diaper change. Having seen his technique, I know that diaper changes are one task I will not hand over to Cameron, no matter how sick I am. But I thought I'd have a little fun with it.

"Would you change Matthew's diaper for a bean?" I said. "NOOOO!!!" he replied. "Five beans?" "NOOOO!!!" "Ten beans?" "Nooo!" "A hundred beans?" "No." "A thousand beans?" long pause "No." "A MILLION beans?" long pause, Cameron puts head in hands and sighs with despair "No," he says in a small voice. Some things aren't even worth a million Jelly Bellys.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Finally final

So, the blog is called "What else do we need?" Right now, the answer is: Nothing. Absolutely nothing -- we have everything we could possibly need or want! That's because Matthew is now officially our son! Yay!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Self-indulgent whining

So, today I was at the pediatrician's office with a sick kid. It was my FOURTH visit in the past two weeks. Today's visit was for Cameron who has a sore throat. So, I should probably be feeling bad for him (and I am!) but I'm really feeling bad for me! I am so, so sick of sickness. *sigh*

Cameron was first seen by a resident, who said it was very unlikely to be strep as Cameron just finished antibiotics for an ear infection. Then the MD came in and reiterated that it would be pretty unusual that a kid on antibiotics would pick up strep. At this point I was feeling a strange combination of relief that it probably wasn't strep and embarassment that I was being a paranoid mother who drags her kid into the doctor's office every time he sniffles. Cameron gagged through the throat swab and seven minutes later . . . yep, he has strep. Who's paranoid now???

Anyway, here is a photo of Cameron yesterday, presymptomatic. He is wearing his new space pajamas -- I believe this pose is supposed to represent his amazing astronaut strength.

And here is the ever-adorable Matthew, just drooling and looking cute.

So, signing off . . . and hoping that the antibiotics work their magic overnight!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smart vegetables

Cameron confided in me yesterday that he had learned a song at school and he didn't like it. From what I can gather, the song was first introduced for Martin Luther King Day and is sometimes sung at circle time. Cameron reported that the song is called "We Teach Peas." When I told him that my best guess is that the song is actually about teaching peace, not about teaching vegetables, he had a good laugh about this misunderstanding. We have since made several clever jokes about other songs he might learn, such as "We Teach Corn."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Baby gourmet

Having discovered that his own toes are delicious, Matthew decided to sample Daddy's toes. I love the look on his face in this first photo -- behind that innocent visage lurks a dastardly plot!He plans to stick to his own toes in the future -- he complained that Daddy's had a strange aftertaste.

Matthew is also on a Mexican kick. Rice was so delectable, he moved on to baby guacamole. I'm an excellent baby chef, if I do say so myself. Here is my top secret recipe for baby guacamole.


Mash avocado.

Matthew raved about it. We're just a tortilla and some beans away from a burrito, baby!

Gooder than riding a bike

Today, Cameron and David went snow tubing with some friends. Overprotective as usual, I distracted myself from visions of mid-slope collisions by going shopping. Cameron not only survived, but had a phenomenal time and proclaimed that snow tubing is "gooder than riding a bike!"

The day was nearly over before it started, though. As Cameron tells it, he and Daddy had just gotten off the "conveyor belt" at the top of the hill for the first time. Cameron had one foot in his tube and one foot out when "Daddy yanked me down on the ground." David takes over the story at this point, explaining that he did not realize that Cameron was trying to get out of his tube when he gave him a gentle tug. Dissolving in tears at the indignity of the situation, Cameron refused to go down the hill. He told David that perhaps they should try snow tubing another time, when he was older. David was a bit concerned at this point -- he had just shelled out quite a few bucks for a day of fun and now he was stranded on top of the hill with an unhappy preschooler. Fortunately, Cameron calmed down after a few minutes and was convinced to go down the hill just once. That was all it took to get Cameron hooked!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Instructions for care: Needs time alone on a regular basis

About a year ago, my mom's group had a guest speaker who talked about Myers-Briggs personality types and parenting style. We each completed a MBTI questionnaire prior to the presentation and were provided with our personality profile. My personality type is INFJ -- Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. Alternately described as a "protector" or a "counselor," for parenting this type is called the "Know Thyself" mother. I read over my INFJ parenting style description and was blown away by how accurate it was. "Probably no one takes life and child-raising more seriously than the INFJ," I read. "She approaches mothering as a profession requiring her best self." Well, geez. I reflected. Totally true. But, doesn't EVERYONE? In chatting with other moms in the group, though, I found no other INFJs. I have since learned that INFJ is the most rare of the 16 personality types, representing less than 1% of the population. That's right, loyal readers. I am practically an enigma.

My profile also described me as a listener. I did not, however, listen to the "Tips for INFJs." You see, the last part of the profile described INFJ weaknesses. Weaknesses, shneakmesses! Who wants to read about their weaknesses? Well, darn it if that Myers-Briggs didn't have me pegged. You see, today I was suddenly overwhelmed with being with others. Truly, I have no time to myself anymore. Well, except for that visit to the dentist in November . . . Ahh, memories. How lovely it was to lie on that reclining chair . . . but I digress. Back to today. I just could not take another moment of togetherness. "Although she is drawn to people," my profile reads, "the INFJ mother must remember that she needs time alone on a regular basis." Oops. Sensing calamity, David wisely suggested that I take a walk. I headed out into a cold, crisp afternoon, listening to a "This American Life" podcast, smiling like I had won the lottery. I splurged on a shot of vanilla in my latte and sat on a bench savoring this rare moment of peace. And I decided, I'm gonna do this more often. Thanks, Myers-Briggs.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kr8ive spelling

Confidence bolstered by his success in spelling DOG, CAT, ANT and FLY, Cameron decided to tackle some more challenging words. Say you arrive home to find your front door ajar. Oh no! Have you been burglarized? Who should you call? That's right, you'd call the POLES. I like to think of these as kielbasa-loving, heavily accented men in blue.

Now, what animal might you see at the zoo? I'll give you some clues. This animal is related to the horse and has black and white stripes. What is it?
Of course! A ZEBRO! I picture the zebro as a baggy pants wearing, rap music loving, four-footed fellow with an attitude. "Yo, yo, my ZE-BRO! How's it hangin'?"

Dam kids

There is no end to the wealth of knowledge one can glean from the educational DVD "Rescue Heroes: The Movie." During the most recent viewing of this ever-popular film, Cameron gathered that a dam is used to hold back the water in a river. Inspired, he used his blocks to build a dam. But what fun is a dam all by itself? Cameron rounded up his Little People to play on the dam, and christened them "The Dam Kids." Here is where David and I drop all pretentions and show our true colors. We could not seem to help ourselves.

Cameron: OK, so this is the dam. And these are the dam kids.
Immature parents (tittering): What mess have those dam kids gotten themselves in this time?
C: Well, the dam might break. And then there would be a flood.
IP (giggling wildly): Dam! It might break? That would be a dam shame!
C: Yes. And the dam kids are trying to stop it.
IP (guffawing): Wow, what will those dam kids think of next?
C (with broad smile, proud that his story has garnered such a reaction): Yep, the dam kids are really good at stopping floods!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

As with most holidays, I spent today at Cameron's school volunteering at the party. I love seeing Cameron interact with his friends -- it's amazing how much he has grown in the course of the past six months there! He a little social butterfly, fielding requests to play on the playground, sit together on the line or do two-person works. (And marriage proposals, of course!) Along with all those friends, there were special projects galore: cards, beaded hearts, decoupage boxes and best of all cookie decorating!
But every guy needs a little time to themselves to unwind, so Cameron took a mid-party break for a visit to the library corner.
I view reading as nearly as vital to my survival as, say, oxygen. No matter how busy I am, no matter how tired, I can't imagine a day without spending a little time with a book. I always hoped that I could instill that love of reading in my children and, so far, I'm feeling hopeful! Cameron adores a good book and his reading skills have really taken off recently. He can read lots of three letter words and is starting to sound out and spell words as well. He has been particularly inspired by the kid's show, Word World, in which "words come alive." This morning he got out his alphabet set and, to my amazement, began to create words that he wanted to come alive. Here's a sample.
His alphabet set is my ingenious but indefinitely postponed idea for a tactile alphabet. My goal was to decorate each letter with a type of material that started with that letter. So, you see here, C is covered with corduroy, A with argyle, T with terry cloth, D with denim and G with glitter. What's that? The letter O? Ummmm, O is Ooops, I haven't gotten around to decorating the O. This idea was born shortly before Matthew and, well, once Matthew got here a tactile alphabet fell far down the list of priorities. Maybe before Matthew is spelling I'll get it done!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snow day

Yesterday was a snow day which meant keeping two boys occupied for many hours! Fortunately, all were in good health and good spirits. Cameron had fun in his robot costume, which he and his daddy had made out of a box. This clever disguise also delighted Matthew. We also spent a good part of the day playing Star Wars -- odd, considering Cameron has never seen the trilogy. I don't know if he picked up the general plot at school, but suddenly I am spending a great deal of time as Princess Leia.

But by far the most popular entertainment was "Diner." After a long hiatus from his play kitchen, Cameron has reignited his passion for cooking. He is the chef, obviously. I am Lucy and I frequent the diner with my boss, Gerard (played by Matthew). Gerard is the strong silent type, while I talk in an annoyingly snobbish drawl. "Gerard," I simper. "Isn't the grilled cheese here simply divine?" The chef is appreciative of my flattery and has commented that his diner is "the goodest place that nobody never goes." It seems that Gerard and I are the only customers. (In all honesty, the location is off the beaten path and the advertising is abysmal.)

The snow day was also prime opportunity for some brotherly bonding. How sweet is this photo???
All in all, we had a great time just chillin' (quite literally -- it is COLD here!) in our PJs. Today was back to school, but here is one more photo from this morning, when Cameron generously shared his Spiderman slippers with his baby brother.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Robbing the cradle

Those who know me would likely describe me as a fairly petite girl. I think it is in part due to my small stature that I am frequently thought to be younger than I am. A few years ago, while I was working at the hospital, I was asked out by a high school volunteer. When I told him that I was married he responded, "Oh. Soooo, I guess that means you don't want to go out?" Uhhh, no.

More recently, I stopped at a grocery store on my way home from a mom's group meeting. In the cosmetics aisle, a hapless husband asked me if I knew where to find a lotion his wife had sent him to pick up. Then, spotting a store employee, he asked for his help in finding the lotion. Just then, I located it and began to walk toward the man. The store employee said to the man, "Oh, I think your little girl just found it for you!"

But yesterday, at Cameron's school, I had the most amusing encounter yet. Cameron had asked me to come see him on the playground, so I did. As play time ended, the teacher rang a bell and all the kids lined up to go inside. Cameron guided me to his line and, as I stood there, a little boy looked up at me in awe. "Whoa," he breathed. "Are you in kindergarten?"

Showing off

Is it fair for one family to have TWO gorgeous kids? Since there have been many posts and photos of Cameron lately, just thought I'd show off Matthew a little, too. Mmmm. Toes. It's what's for dinner.

Guide to Child Health

Call it maternal instinct, call it women's intuition . . . I definitely have a knack for identifying when my child is sick. I know some parents really struggle when trying to determine if their little one requires a trip to the doctor, so I thought perhaps I should share my wealth of insights. Sometimes examples are helpful, so I'll tell you about the past 24 hours and point out to you, simple reader, the oh-so-subtle clues that allowed me to determine that my child was in need of medical care.

It began around midnight, when I heard Cameron whimpering and moaning (subtle clue #1). I went to his room and he told me his throat hurt. I stayed with him while he fell back asleep but a mere hour later he crawled in my bed and sobbed, "Please, my ear hurts, take me to the hospital!" (subtle clue #2) He tossed and turned all night and awoke looking pale with fluid leaking out of his ear (subtle clue #3). Now, keep in mind that I do have a medical background -- I don't want you to feel completely overwhelmed and inadequate in the face of my mind-boggling knowledge -- but I deduced that the child had an ear infection which required prompt treatment. A few hours and $50 later, he was dosed up with antibiotics and pain meds and snoozing on the couch.

Now, here are some of the subtle clues that told me the antibiotics were working. After a long nap, Cameron awoke and proposed a new game which he called "Human Bowling." It is played by stacking rolls of paper towel in the hallway, sitting on a bouncy ball and bouncing your way through as many rolls as you can (subtle clue #1).
The game was followed by clever snack proposals, such as "When you are sick, you should eat lots of popsicles, right?" (subtle clue #2) And, of course, regaining pride in your personal appearance is always a sure sign of recovery (subtle clue #3).

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's a bag, it's a sack, it's . . . funny!

I'm a big fan of the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Somehow, it is a comfort to know that I'm not the only one rudely snickering at the bad grammar and poor punctuation that seems to be rampant in advertising, newspapers and menus. So, naturally, when I saw this "bag" I had to snap a photo and submit it.
And, LOOK! My submission made it! I'm FAMOUS! Okay, maybe not famous . . . but I got a kick out of it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What's cooking?

Ever the innovator, Cameron opened up a diner this morning which he creatively named "Diner." Diner boasts that its menu is unparalleled. As you can clearly read, pizza, soup and toast are among the daily offerings. Additionally, there are several daily chef's specials. See if you can guess what the chef whipped up today.

Ohhhh, you guessed it! Orange segments and pepperoni sauteed with ketchup. Cameron is clearly recovered from the stomach virus.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sick and tired

Being sick is no fun. Taking care of a sick kid is no fun. Taking care of a sick kid when you are sick is REALLY no fun.

It's been a tough couple of days here. After David and I spent a romantic evening out at the mall food court on Saturday night, I began to feel a bit under the weather. By Sunday morning, I was truly miserable. Or at least I thought I was truly miserable . . . turns out that Monday was to be the truly, truly miserable day when Cameron came down with a stomach bug and I was still achy and exhausted.

Today, we are both feeling better but Cameron is driving me crazy as he wasn't able to go to school. Four-year-olds can be impressively demanding and insistent. We have done origami, rubbed comics onto wax paper, cut out paper dolls representing each of our family members, done experiments with baking soda and vinegar, signed Valentines, painted, read books, played games on the computer and STILL he is calling, "Mommy? Mooommmmyyyy! Come here Mommy!" ARRRRGGGGHHHHH! A moment of peace, please?

I did observe one sweet moment. I heard Cameron talking but didn't catch what he was saying. "What?" I asked. With gritted teeth he said, "Mommy, I'm not talking to YOU!" When I left the room I heard him continue his conversation, "So, Matthew. Welllll, I'm really glad you are in our family now."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Watch out, Beckham!

Cameron started indoor soccer today! The excitement began to build yesterday and, in anticipation of the big day Cameron announced that he would need to "do some weight lifting." Very seriously, he retrieved one of my 5 lb hand weights and did a few bicep curls as well as several reps of an original move that involved bending at the waist and then lifting his hands over his head.

This morning, it seemed as if 9am would never come but finally the moment arrived. Just putting on his shin guards and soccer shoes was bliss and going on the field was sheer joy. He ran in circles at top speed for several minutes, pausing only occasionally to admire his shoes. He struggled a bit with the drills, but his smile never left his face! I found myself overcome with pride as I watched him. He definitely seems to have more talent than I did -- I spent my days on the soccer field sharing kindergarten gossip with my friend Becky!