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!!!"