Monday, March 30, 2009

Peace and Quiet

My kids never stop talking. All day long, they are chattering away. This morning, Matthew sat in his booster eating his cereal. "FEE-FI-FIDDLEY-I-O, FEE-FI-FIDDLEY-I-OO-OO-OO-O!" he crooned. I'm getting pretty sick of this particular soundtrack, so I started to teach him "Old McDonald Had a Farm." Within a few rounds, he had caught on and was joining in on the "E-I-E-I-O." Then when I got to "Old McDonald had a . . . " he shouted out, "COW!" Not too shabby for his first time! But the next time I said "Old McDonald had a . . . " he stumped me by yelling, "BUTTA-FWY!"





It's kind of hard to make a butterfly sound. Although I suppose there are butterflies on farms.

Just in time, Cameron woke up and joined us. "I'm hot," he greeted me. "I'm as hot as a sizzling pancake." This is a Cameron original. He loves idioms. He loves them like I love peace and quiet, and he creates them every chance he gets.

The morning passed in a blur of voices. "BIRD! I SEE IT! BACKYARD. MASS-EW GO BACKYARD."
"Okay, so this flashlight is our secret spy gear, and I'm getting a message from my master."


"So, today at school I am going to start a spy club. And I'm going to sit on top of the big rock on the playground. And all my members will sit on the ground around me."

Finally, we begin the drive to school. From the backseat, Cameron provides ongoing commentary on "Magic Tree House" #10, which we are listening to on CD. Meanwhile, Matthew sings, "THREE, FOUR, SHUT THE DOOR. THREE, FOUR, SHUT THE DOOR." Over. And over.

"Mwah," I hear from the back. "I KISS YOU MAN. MWAH." I glance in the rear view mirror and see that Matthew is kissing a Rescue Hero. Actually, he is taking turns giving Billy Blazes and Jake Justice some tender loving. Then, he pauses and shouts, as if he has just had a truly earthshaking idea, "I SING! THREE, FOUR, SHUT THE DOOR. HA HA! MAMA! I SINGA DA SONG!"

Now, Cameron is at school and Matthew is finally napping. And me? I'm just hanging with Jake Justice. He's hot. Hot like a sizzling pancake.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not for 3 and under

Today, as Matthew was eating his lunch in the dining room, I walked into the kitchen to grab the paper towels. Suddenly, I heard a gagging noise from the other room. "Matthew!" I shouted. "Are you OK?"

As I ran into the dining room, Matthew replied, "Yeah." Then he held up a piece of diced fruit and said very soberly, "Choking hazard."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grossest Telephone Game Ever

Remember the telephone game, where one person whispers a phrase to another and it goes around the circle until the last person announces what they heard and inevitably it is no where close to the original phrase? I think Matthew is playing the telephone game by himself. "Cookie Monster. Poopy Monster. Poopy Diaper. Mommy! Mass-ew poopy diaper!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Still My Baby

I often tell Cameron that no matter how big he gets, even when he is bigger than me, he will still be my baby. "And Matthew will always be my baby brother, right?" he asks.

"Yes. Matthew will always be your baby brother."

Just moments ago, I heard Cameron singing an original song to Matthew.

"You will sttiilll be my BA-BY. You will still be my BAAA-BY. When YOU are a BIG boy, you will still be my baby."


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's so hard about saying, "I love you?"

Matthew has proved himself to be a typical male. What is it about that Y chromosome that causes such difficulty in expressing emotions directly?

Yesterday, I said, "I love you Matthew!"

"I too," he replied. "High five!"

Can't you just see a 20 something man replying this way to his girlfriend? "I love you," she says.

"Yeah, totally," he answers. "High five!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Next Up, Jitterbug

When Cameron started preschool last year, any art work he brought home fell squarely into the abstract category. Slowly, over time, squiggles became circles which became faces. Eventually, if he explained what he had drawn, I could sorta kinda see it!

This year, Cameron's art work has skyrocketed to new heights. Most of the time he doesn't even have to tell me for me to be able to distinguish a volcano from a train from a robot. In retrospect, when Cameron brought home this drawing last week, I should have been able to tell what it was. Actually, I thought to myself, "Funny, that looks like three people wearing some type of exotic headdresses under a disco ball. Nahhh." So I said, "Cameron, I like this drawing! Can you explain it to me."

"Sure," he replied. "That's me in the green. The other two guys are my friends. The circle with all the colors is a disco ball and we're all dancing."
And now I am left with a more confounding question. Why?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Why I'm Blogging at 8:30pm

It's 8:30pm. Any other night, at this time, I'd be in the middle of putting one of the kids to bed. David and I alternate children each night, and tonight was my Cameron night. But I'm not putting Cameron to bed. Why? Because my best friend Debbie is visiting from NYC and SHE'S putting Cameron to bed! Is that the definition of a best friend or what?

Both Cameron and Matthew adore Debbie. She's one of those rare people that immediately puts everyone at ease. Within minutes, she had Matthew calling her by name and both boys clamoring for her attention. When bedtime came Cameron whispered to me, "Uh, Mommy? I think Debbie wants to read me stories tonight." And so I'm drinking a glass of wine and blogging!

And, as if a visit with Debbie was not wonderful enough, she brought FLAT STANLEY with her!!!Cameron can hardly believe his good fortune.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Midnight Confession

Late at night, I hear Matthew. Not crying, not yelling, simply saying in a monotone voice over and over and over, "Mama, mama, mama, mama."

"What Matthew?"


"Yes, Matthew?"

"I hit Didi." (Didi is Cameron's nickname.)

"Oh, you hit Didi?"

"Yah. I hit Didi."

"What happened."

"Didi hurt."

"Did you get a time out?"

"Yah. I hit Didi."

"Did you say sorry?"

"Sorry Didi."

"Okay, good night Matthew."

"Mama, mama, mama."

"What Matthew?"

"It hit Daddy."

"You hit Daddy?"


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Best Quarter You'll Ever Spend

This morning, Cameron donned his St. Patrick's day hat and necklace. He made a sign, advertising a show for a mere 25 cents. He proposed we play outside. Then, he stood on the empty sidewalk shouting, "Show! Only 25 cents!" over and over. When no one came, we decided to take a walk. Only a few houses down the street, Cameron was overcome with anxiety. "What if while we're gone," he asked, "a crowd of people come. And they are all holding out 25 cents for the show. And there is NO ONE there to do a SHOW! We need to go back." He walked back home and began shouting again, despite the deserted street. Finally, I proposed that he rehearse for the show. He did, with great enthusiasm.
At first, Matthew sat in the audience clapping.

Then, he felt inspired to join in the show.

Finally, we decided to postpone the show until the afternoon. From inside the house, Cameron shouted out the window, "Show this afternoon! Only 25 cents! Free lemonade and stickers!" Then he turned to me. "We have a lot to do," he said. "You're going to need to go to the store and buy LOTS of lemons." We're expecting a sell-out crowd, so get here early.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do Not Underestimate the Leprechauns

Those leprechauns turned out to be pretty crafty. Last night, we carefully set up our traps. The hat trap was placed next to the fridge -- the scene of last year's green milk escapade. Since Cameron was desperately hoping to spot a leprechaun, he chose to put the rock climbing wall trap in his room. Unbeknownst to him, this posed a unique challenge for the leprechauns, who had to stay up late, waiting for him to fall into a deep sleep, before sneaking in his room. Cameron, always inventive, also decided at the last minute to place out a bowl full of water with some strips of paper over it. He concluded that the leprechauns would innocently walk out onto the paper and then -- SPLASH! -- into the water they'd go. We all went to bed, confident that in the morning we would have our very own leprechauns. Cameron even planned to bring them to school to share for news. Alas, it was not to be.

Early this morning, Cameron came running into my room breathlessly. "I think I caught a leprechaun!" he panted. "The trap door is down!" We hurried to his room where we found this.
The leprechauns had left a note explaining that they had fallen into the trap but had blasted their way out! As a reward, they had left us some necklaces and a challenge to try to catch them next year.

We headed out to the kitchen and were certain of our success when we saw that the false top of the hat had fallen in. But, again, the leprechauns outsmarted us. "Very tricky, human!" their note read. "We were fooled by your trap -- we thought the gold was real. But, we are tricky too! We used our leprechaun socks to make a rope and climb out of your trap! Since you did fool us, we left you a surprise. See you next St. Patrick's Day -- The Leprechauns." Inside the trap was a chain of little green tights and a small replica of a leprechaun that grows when you put it in water.
And Cameron's simple water trap? The water had turned GREEN and there was a little note letting us know how much the leprechauns had enjoyed the swimming!
Finally, having inspected all our traps, we settled down for breakfast. Cereal. With GREEN milk!

Monday, March 16, 2009

NOT in love. Okay?

This weekend, we all went to a really fun birthday party. Cameron really hit it off with a little girl about his age and they played for most of the party. As we left, he could hardly walk to the car because he kept turning around to wave to her again. "Wow, you really had fun with her, didn't you?" I observed.

"Yeah!" said Cameron. "I really liked her! She was so nice and we had so much fun! Maybe I can play with her again sometime. I really, really liked her." He paused briefly. "But I'm not in love with her. Okay? You can like somebody but not be in love with them, right? 'Cause I'm not. Okay?"

Friday, March 13, 2009

How to Freak Out a Leprechaun

Cameron is really excited for St. Patrick's Day this year. Last year, leprechauns turned our milk green and we've been plotting our revenge ever since. We've built two leprechaun traps and we are pretty sure that come next Tuesday, we'll have some little green men waiting in them for us! Here's Cameron with the in-progress hat trap. The leprechauns will no doubt be allured by the giant replica of their head gear. We will provide them with a tiny ladder, which they will find irresistable. The ladder will lead to a pile of gold. (The gold? Here's the good part. It's not really gold. It's sparkly yellow paper. Shhh!) When the leprechauns step on the top of the hat to steal the gold, they will fall through a trap door and find themselves helpless at the bottom of an oatmeal container!!! HA HA!
But, if that wasn't good enough, Cameron decided to write the leprechauns a note. It will be waiting for them inside the trap. It was actually pretty disturbing to see Cameron's precocious grasp of sarcasm.
"Hi Leprechauns!" it begins, innocently enough. "I hope you enjoy the gold," he mocks. "I hope you like gold." Leprechauns are no fools. They will be able to read between the lines. There was no gold, leprechauns! Hope you enjoy the TRAP! But then, Cameron crosses the line from kind of mean to downright creepy. "I hope you like me watching you while you sleep. Love, Cameron." *shiver* I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep tonight after reading that! Poor little leprechauns.

Matthew takes up hunting

Matthew gives a constant running commentary on his life. It starts in the morning. "AWAKE!" he calls. "UP. PICK UP. AWAKE." And it keeps going. All. Day. Long. Right now it is 8:30 am. I've already heard "I EAT IT. I DRINK IT. ALL DONE. GET DOWN. UH OH. I THROW IT. I THROW FOOD. FLOOR." I've heard, "OH, COFFEE! HOT. BURN. DADDY COFFEE." I've heard, "PICK UP," more times than I can count. I've heard, "BAS-KET-BALL. I WATCH IT. I THROW IT." I've heard, "HA HA. GOOD ONE MA-SSEW." But yesterday in the car, I heard I new one.

Matthew talks the entire time that we are driving to pick Cameron up. On good days, he sings. On bad days (for me), he tells knock knock jokes and shouts "KNOCK KNOCK" louder and louder until I say, "Who's there?" Yesterday was a good day. I was listening to the "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" podcast and Matthew was singing. "FEE FI FIDDLEY-I O, FEE FI FIDDLEY-I OOOO," he crooned. On the podcast, a wrestler was answering questions about figure skating. "Oooh, I'm sorry," said Peter, the host. "The answer was actually B, that ice skating move is called 'shoot the duck.'

From the backseat, I heard, "FEE FI FIDDLEY . . . HA. SHOOT THE DUCK. I SHOOT THE DUCK. FIDDLEY-I O!"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Big Day for Our Big Boy

Today, Cameron brought a book home from school. His teacher tapped on my window in car line to tell me. "Does Cameron read at home?" she asked.
"He reads a lot at home," I replied.
"I thought so!" she said. "He's just completed all the language works we do before sending a book home, but I got the feeling he could do more. I showed him a list of sight words like 'the, and, but' and said, 'Do you know any of these words?' And instead of reading those words, he said, 'Yes,' pointed at the directions and read, 'Can you read these words?'"
So, even though it isn't a surprise to me that he can read a book, he is bursting with pride that he got to bring one home from school. As soon as we got home, he pulled the book out of his bag, sat down and read it out loud to me. And talk about memories -- "Max" was the first book I brought home from Montessori when I was Cameron's age!

Mixed Messages

"We don't hit," I say to Matthew, over and over.

He's in a challenging phase right now. He wants something -- the coffee pot, for instance -- and I am foiling his plan. For NO reason, I will not let him play with the coffee pot! He's frustrated. "COFFEE!" he demands. "HOT COFFEE. I PLAY. BURN." When, despite his well-worded request, I still resist, he can not tolerate it. He hits me.

And, it's off to a time out for Matthew. "We don't hit!" I admonish him.

"Oh. Right," he responds.

So what better way to reinforce our no-hitting rule than to spend an evening pummeling our friends?

And then there's the play kitchen. "Hey Matthew," I say. "Get me a cup of nice hot coffee, would you?"

No wonder the poor kid is confused.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Space Science, Applied

Cameron is learning about space at school right now, and he's clearly been paying attention. As we were driving home one afternoon, we listened to the end of Peter Pan on CD. Wendy, now a grown-up, is watching her own daughter fly away with Peter. She gazes out the window at them until they are "as small as stars." From the back seat, Cameron pipes up, "That's ridiculous. Stars are actually even bigger than the sun, they're just farther away from us!"

He also related that he and some friends had tried to "dig down to the the center of the earth," but were foiled because of the ground cover under the sandbox. "We were ALMOST there!" he complained!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This place seems vaguely familiar . . .

The weather has been miserable since . . . well, I can't remember when the weather was nice. But this weekend? This weekend has been positively balmy! We walked to a nearby park to enjoy this unexpected good fortune. Once there, we marveled at how our kids have grown over the winter. Cameron whizzed down the fireman's pole like an old pro. Matthew appeared to be trying to recall what this place was. That bright yellow ball up above, the small people running about, the chirping creatures on those tall brown sticks . . . it's been a while since we got to play outside when it wasn't snowing. Setting aside his apprehension, he approached a play structure, quickly clambered up the stairs, sat down at the top of the slide and, natural that he is, yelled, "Ready, set, GO!" He launched himself down, promptly turned around and attempted to climb back up. I think it's going to be a fun spring with these two!

Let's Get Fizzical

I think we could spend each and every day doing experiments with baking soda and vinegar. I mean, watching stuff explode just never gets old.By the way, are you tired of your boring old white cement? Well, no more! You, too, can have the pink sidewalk of your dreams with this simple kit! Merely activate the volcano with a cup of vinegar, allow the lava to seep into the cement and -- voila! -- you'll be the envy of all your neighbors!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Explanation Needed

Do I even need to write anything for a photo this cute? Cherrybrook Kitchens makes an allergy-friendly brownie mix. Matthew likes it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Everybody Has a Price

As Easter approaches, we have once again given Cameron a bean bowl. When he does something good, he is rewarded with a bean -- this year we went with navy beans. On Easter, the Easter Bunny exchanges all the navy beans for jelly beans. We had found the bean bowl to be extremely motivational for a preschooler.

For the past several days, Cameron has made his bed without prompting, put his clothes in the laundry basket and generally been quite helpful. He even told me his favorite part of the day was "cleaning my room so I get more beans." So, yesterday afternoon, I was changing Matthew's diaper. It happened to be a dirty diaper and it also happened to be a disposable diaper as all the cloth dipes were in the washer. Cameron walked in mid-change and commented "Ewwww!"

"Hey Cameron," I teased, "throw this dirty diaper in the trash for me, OK?"

"No WAY!" he answered.

"You'll get a bean," I said.

"I wouldn't touch a dirty diaper for A MILLION beans!"

"Ohhh, too bad," I replied. "Throwing away a dirty diaper is worth 47 beans."

Now, I just threw this number out randomly, without really thinking. I honestly didn't think that Cameron would touch that diaper for any number of beans.

"Disgusting," Cameron commented and left the room. A few minutes later, as I was finished up, Cameron walked back in the room. He had a look of resignation on his face and he was holding a piece of paper. He walked swiftly to the dirty diaper, used the paper to pick it up, and held it out far from his body. "Ugh!" he cried, as he ran to the garage to put the diaper in the trash. "Oh, I am NEVER doing that again!" He washed his hands vigorously. "It felt all SQUISHY! I need my 47 beans. Right? I get 47 beans, right Mommy? I am not EVER touching a diaper again until I am a GROWN-UP!"

He's excited by the rapid growth of his bean fund, but I think he is still questioning if it was worth it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Camel exhibit

This afternoon, as we pulled up to the museum, Matthew spotted the huge dinosaur in front, announcing the new dinosaur exhibit. "Oh! I see!" he squealed. "Camel!"

Once inside, I put Matthew on my back in the mei tai, and felt silently superior to all the hapless mothers pushing strollers awkwardly through the crowd. Matthew, however, has apparently decided that at 18 months old he is not going to be seen being carried on my back. I mean, he's a TODDLER now! And toddlers are good at two things: 1) walking and 2) throwing tantrums. He screamed and cried, "Daddy! Down!" until Cameron started to cry because he thought Matthew was scared of the dinosaurs. Once Matthew was released from the mei tai, he promptly ran to daddy and began to ooh and ahh over the camels once more. The dinosaur bones were cool, but the real show stopper was the automated dinos. They were terrifyingly life-like.But my kids weren't scared. We laugh in the face of danger! Pfftt! Take that T-rex!