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?