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.