Monday, June 30, 2008

Word to your mother

Today, as Matthew finished his meal he rotated his palms up and down, signing "all done." He's been signing "milk" for months now, and recently began to sign "more" and "all done." But today, as he signed "all done" he said "AHHHH DAAAA." Which I am pretty sure was baby talk for ALL DONE. He's TALKING! It reminds me of how much fun is ahead of us. Once he really gets signing, and talking, we'll get to know so much more of his personality! And I'm sure I'll have so many cute stories to blog about!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Feeling the IKEA love

We've been resisting a visit to the new IKEA store for months, as we knew it would be a madhouse. Today, a rainy, humid Saturday, seemed like the perfect time to brave the crowds, though. We also felt it was necessary to dispel a myth that Cameron somehow believed -- that IKEA had an indoor swimming pool. It took quite an effort to convince Cameron that he didn't need to wear his swim suit to IKEA.

We arrived only to have the realization that we were all hungry for lunch. Me + hungry = grumpy, so we headed to the restaurant. David ordered the Swedish meatballs, I picked out a plate of gravad lax, and Cameron went for the less exotic chicken fingers and fries. It was then I realized that I had made a grave error. (Cue dramatic music.) I had not brought any baby food. When what should I spot next on the cafeteria line but jars of baby food. Is that brilliant or what? Wouldn't it be awesome if every place were so baby-friendly? And it just got better -- as we looked for a table, Cameron spotted a kids' area with brightly colored chairs and wall-mounted activities. Nearby, a station was set up with bibs and bottle warmers. WOW!

Forget shopping, I may be heading to IKEA with the kids for lunch time!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So Awkward

It's always soooo awkward when somebody has something hanging off their nose. How to tell them without embarassing them? Or do you say nothing and just let them walk around like that?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Swim Lessons: Take Two

Having spent several years lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons, I always imagined that I'd be one of those moms who taught her kids how to swim like a fish by the time they were two years old. So, when Cameron was two, he took individual swim lessons. He did amazing and was swimming underwater in no time. Best of all, he loved the water and loved his lessons. Until the very end of the summer when suddenly he seemed to grasp that nothing was holding him up in that water. Suddenly, my little fish was clinging to me, crying, refusing to go in the pool. So traumatized was he that he, to this day, speaks of how much he did not like those swim lessons.

Finally, two summers later, he has risen to the challenge of swim lessons again, although this time in the less threatening environment of group lessons. He was enthusiastic and especially excited to be in level TWO! "Not level one, that's for little kids! I'm a big kid, right Mama? You have to be able to go underwater for level two, right? And I've been practicing!" Here's Cameron in his lessons. And here I am, relaxing with Matthew poolside.
Cameron emerged victorious but frozen. He enjoyed a post-swim banana, because everyone knows that swimmers need lots of potassium! Hopefully by the end of the session he'll be back to swimming like he could two years ago!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No baby bathtub for this big boy

Matthew has outgrown his baby bathtub. Actually, he probably outgrew it months ago but I procrastinated until he began sitting up in a tub that was clearly not meant for sitting. So today he had his first bath in his new toddler tub. He was quite intrigued by the other fellow in the tub. He appears so cheery, yet he's so stiff and unresponsive. Strong but silent type, I guess.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cicada Lifeguard

Cameron is a self-appointed Cicada Lifeguard at our swim club. Today, while on duty, he found a cicada, more dead than alive, floating in the shallow end. Springing into action, he scooped up the unfortunate fellow. "He's moving!" he shouted. "He's alive!" He stood by attentively as the cicada dried off on deck and, as he began to feebly stir, Cameron tenderly lifted him onto his beach towel. It was actually quite touching in a creepy crawly kind of way.

As Cameron sat in a beach chair ministering to his charge, he noticed another little boy about his age. He watched as the boy caught a cicada buzzing about and then, moments later, dropped him in the water. Cameron's mouth dropped open and he quickly went to the aid of the cicada. From my vantage point, I saw Cameron pick up the cicada and then say, "OUCH! That must have HURT!" He came hurrying back to me, cicada in hand and showed me that the cicada (brace yourself, faint of heart readers!) had, well, lost his head. *swoon* Cameron shot a disapproving look at the other boy and then turned to me and said in a low voice, "He looks like such a nice boy! I thought he'd like cicadas!" I think this is Cameron's first experience with the old adage, "Looks can be deceiving."

Separation Anxiety

Today, we went to the park with my friend, Dena, and her two girls, Chloe and Ally. Chloe and Cameron were even pals prenatally -- they go waaayyy back. We had a great time and everyone laughed when Cameron suggested that Matthew and Ally could get married someday. As we were leaving, Chloe improved upon this plan by proposing that she and Cameron could get married as well. In the car, I had this conversation with Cameron.

Cameron: If Matthew and Ally get married, I want Matthew to still live with us. Why does Chloe want to marry me?
Me: Well, maybe she wants to marry you because you are such a good friend.
Cameron: I don't want to marry Chloe!
Me: Really? Why not?
Cameron: I don't want to marry Chloe and anyone because I just want to live at home with you. Well, until you're dead.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

The boys and I have been busy, busy, busy the past few weeks mainly because the day passes by much more quickly (and harmoniously!) when we aren't just sitting around at home. So we've been hitting the library, the pool, the local playgrounds and, of course, the zoo! This morning when Cameron saw that Matthew was wearing a Buccaneers onesie, he HAD to wear his matching shirt so everyone at the zoo would know they were brothers. Aren't they CUTE?!?!
In the farm area of the zoo, a friendly goat poked his head out of the fence to get a look at Matthew. They stared at each other and I grabbed for my camera, thinking it was adorable, when Matthew suddenly gave a shrill scream and began to sob piteously. Apparently he did not find the goat to be friendly or adorable.

On our drive home, Cameron said, "We should stop at Michelle's."

"Who?" I asked in confusion.

"Michelle's! Let's go to Michelle's and get the car washed!"

Who the heck is Michelle? I wonder. And why would she wash our car?

"MI-CHELLE'S," he repeated. "You know? With the yellow seashell sign? Where you can get gas in your car and go through the car wash?"

"Ohhhhh!" It seems that Cameron thought the Shell gas station was called "Michelle's!"

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ancient History

Cameron loves to talk about the good ol' days. Now at the ripe old age of 4 1/2 (and don't you dare forget that 1/2!), it's quite nostalgic, not to mention amusing, to recall what is was like when he was only three. "Remember, Mommy?" he'll say. "When I was three years old I liked THOMAS?!?! Can you believe it? I don't like Thomas the Train now 'cause I'm FOUR AND A HALF!" He'll also reminisce about his previous inability to read, brush his own teeth, pump on the swing and any number of things. Because when you are three? Yeah, you are still LITTLE. But when you are four and a HALF? Well, now you are BIG.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All Are Welcome (except kids)

For day two of our Indy adventure, we headed to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. This place was much more to Cameron's liking, aside from the super boring photography (Ansel Adams -- *yawn*). To Cameron's irritation, we kept dawdling over the black and white photos when there were TOTEM POLES to see!!!
There was also a family activity area where we all had a great time. Ride 'em cowboys!
And, what visit to the Eiteljorg is complete without dressing up as a Bible thumper and posing in front of the stagecoach?
Our only disappointment was the Community Drum Circle. It sounded right up our alley, so we planned our day around it. The sign clearly said "All are welcome," yet every time Cameron wiggled or Matthew squeaked, the leader scowled in our direction or heaved a mighty sigh and loudly reminded the circle that this was "a sacred and solemn ritual, and I'd like to treat it as such." After a few minutes of discomfort, we cut our losses and instead spent some time at the rock climbing wall where wiggling is very much allowed!

Jazz Fest: A Study in Contrasts

This weekend we drove to Indianapolis to see Medeski, Martin and Wood at the Indy Jazz Fest. The car trip was marked by the traditional viewing of Rescue Heroes: The Movie (it never, EVER gets old!) and torrential downpours. As the Jazz Fest is an outdoor event, this did not bode well. Arriving in Indy, we hemmed and hawed before finally deciding to take our chances with the rain and head to the concert. Miraculously, the weather held and we remained dry but mud-splattered. I'd love to say a good time was had by all, but it turns out that Cameron is not a fan of sitting in a muddy field listening to weird music. He's so subtle, though, I'm sure the people around us had NO idea that he wasn't TOTALLY into MM&W.
Matthew, on the other hand, was unabashedly enthusiastic and hands down the best dancer there.

Is this what the future holds for us with two kids? If one is happy, the other must be seething in anger? If one is cooperative, the other must be completely noncompliant? Ahhh, the joys of parenting.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Was Wrong

I'm woman enough to admit when I am wrong. Remember Cameron's pets? Cameron was eventually convinced to release Joey and Twiggy, but promptly replaced them with a fresh catepillar named Leaf. Leaf seemed no more hearty than his predecessors, so I was impressed when he managed to make himself a little cocoon. Cameron was thrilled and for the past two weeks has been checking daily for Leaf to emerge, triumphant, as a butterfly. Leaf's cocoon looked a little, well, moldy to me and I was pondering how to dispose of the mess and break it to Cameron that Leaf had already earned his butterfly wings in the hereafter. Instead, when I returned home last night from a writing class (awesome, by the way), David informed me that when Cameron checked on Leaf he was flitting merrily about his small Tupperware container! Flabbergasted, I asked how Cameron had reacted, expecting that he would have been delirious with excitement. Instead, David tells me that Cameron seemed unimpressed. I mean, after all, he had never had any doubt that Leaf would make it!

Empathy is not his strong suit

Today, the boys and I had plans to go to the zoo with some new friends. Instead, I awoke with a splitting headache, nauseated and lightheaded. Okay, I thought to myself. This is a set-back. A few pain relievers and a cup of coffee and I'll be good to go. When just the smell of coffee set my stomach churning, though, I had to rethink things. The zoo requires walking and walking didn't appear to be a manageable task in my present condition. I called and cancelled with our friends and crawled to the couch. "It's okay, Mommy," said Cameron, patting my head. "I didn't really want to go to the zoo anyways."

Wow. What a sweet little boy I've got! I congratulated myself. Then Cameron continued. "So, Mommy. Today is the day I get to buy my light saber. How about we go now?"

So here's the background to this request. Last weekend, we made a quick stop at a drug store to pick up a few items. In the toy aisle, Cameron spotted a real Star Wars light saber (cue angels singing). He begged and pleaded, certain that this blue plastic was all that was standing between him and the Dark Side. Dashing his hopes, we left the store without the saber. Upon reaching our home, he emptied his piggy bank and entreatied us to return to the drug store. Finally, we struck a deal that if 1) he used his own money and 2) he had good behavior for the next few days we would return to the drug store on Wednesday and purchase it. Since that time, we've experience a pre-Christmas-like peace in our house, with Cameron not only behaving but offering to clean and help carry the diaper bag!

So, he was correct that today was the long-awaiting Trip to the Drug Store. However, I sorta thought that my hands-and-knees trip to the couch would signal, even to a four-year-old, that light sabers were not a top priority at the moment. I was wrong. While Cameron did appreciate that I was perhaps not in top form, to him a deal is a deal and I had made a deal that we would get the light saber on Wednesday. After several hours, when I at least felt able to drive, I gave in to his relentless pestering and he is now the proud owner of a light saber. It actually lifted my spirits a bit to see him run through the aisles of the store and reverently place the light saber on the check-out counter. And it did give me a chance to nap this afternoon, while he repeatedly "activated" his light saber and reenacted his vision of Star Wars.

And, for the many readers certain to be ready to spring into action and deliver me baked goods and flowers, I am feeling better!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Spoons are for sissies

As I fed Matthew his rice cereal this morning, he impatiently grabbed the spoon from my hand, scooped up some cereal and deposited in his mouth! After shoveling in a few more spoonfuls, he apparently decided that he was a fan of self-feeding but needed a more efficient method.
As you may have guessed, breakfast was promptly followed by bath time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Note to self: Locate and install baby gates

My parents visited us last weekend, and about three hours after they left Matthew decided to crawl. Four days later and this kid is a crawling machine! Add to that, he's pulling up and cruising on anything he can get his hands on and I can't take my eyes off him for a minute!

We're number one!

Matthew and Cameron are best friends these days. Matthew has become mobile enough to chase Cameron, grab him and haul himself to standing, often throwing his arms around him in a kind of hug. In return, Cameron is initiating Matthew into boyhood -- rolling and wrestling and tickling him as they both scream. They're the best brothers and they want everyone to know it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cicada City

We're in the midst of a cicada infestation. Even from inside the house you can hear them, and when you step outside you are surrounded by an eerie sound, reminiscent of a soundtrack to accompany the landing of an alien spaceship. The cicadas plod up the tree trunks, droop from the branches and drop to the ground or in our hair (ugh!).
Cameron loves it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Arrgghh, matey!

This weekend, Cameron had a rollicking good time at a pirate-themed birthday party. The festivities began with a treasure hunt, complete with maps. By the end, he and his friends were decked out in eye patches, hats and swords. The fearsome buccaneers ate hotdogs, ran wild, made ice cream sandwiches and survived the party without any mutiny. All that swashbuckling was a bit much for Cameron, though, and I snapped this photo of the weary captain when we arrived home.
Grandma Linda and Grandpa Frank were visiting, and Cameron roused himself so he might get in a little more pirate fun with Grandpa.Meanwhile, Matthew got reacquainted with his grandma. Matthew is reaching that age where separation anxiety rears its ugly head and was at first a bit tentative about this vaguely familiar stranger. It didn't take long for him to warm up, though. It's strange, Grandma Linda reminds him of someone . . . if only he could put his finger on it . . .

Grandpa Frank, with his deep voice and scratchy beard, was another story all together. Matthew was on high alert all weekend, on the lookout and ready to sound the alarm should he catch sight of scary Grandpa Frank. If Matthew is anything like Cameron, though, he'll be Grandpa Frank's best buddy in a few years. After all, as Cameron told Grandma Linda, "Grandpa Frank's a lot more fun than you."