Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the Importance of Being a Role Model

I try to be a role model for my kids. I really do. I teach by example, people.

So when Cameron told me he wants to be a scientist when he grows up, I must admit I felt faintly victorious. I guess he paid more attention to those stories of the good ol' days in the neuroscience lab more than I thought! Or those visits to my office in the Perinatal Center really made an impression on him! Whatever it was, he clearly thinks that dear ol' mom's profession is pretty cool!

But I played it off all innocent-like. "Really? A scientist? What kind?" I asked.

"I think chemistry. You know, with all those tubes and stuff?" he expounded.

I deflated slightly. Because, you know, I don't have a degree in chemistry. Hated every minute of Orgo, to be honest. But still . . . science is science, and I can get on board with a calling to chemistry. Plus, I can always hope he ends up in biochem.

"Yep," he continued, "I think I want to mix up chemicals in a lab. Just like Papa Smurf."


"Do scientists get to wear any equipment?" Cameron asked.

Gathering my wits, I answered. "Yes, chemists wear safety goggles . . . "

"I know that!" Cameron chirped. "Papa Smurf always wears safety goggles when he's mixing chemicals in his lab. And did you know that his lab is in his HOUSE!?!? He sleeps in his lab! What else do chemists wear?"

"Ummm, well, they usually wear a lab coat."

"Papa Smurf doesn't wear a lab coat! He just wears his pants. A lab coat would be ridiculous! Because smurfs are so small! The lab coat would be WAY too big. It would fill up his whole house!"

I swear, I'm going to stop trying so hard and just order The Smurfs: Season Two on DVD.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Da Doctor

Today, the boys had check-ups with their pediatrician. While not a fan of laying on the table, being measured, having his ears checked or getting shots, Matthew loves nothing more than a good chat. So the following conversation ensued during Cameron's check-up.

Doctor: Cameron, where do you sit in the car?
Cameron: In a car seat.
Matthew: Me too! I sit in da car seat!

Doctor: Cameron, what do you like to play with?
Cameron: I love to play with my Legos!
Matthew: I have da Legos! I play da Legos with Didi!

Doctor: Do you like to play other things, too, Cameron? Do you like to ride your bike or swim?
Cameron: Yes.
Matthew: Daddy ride da bike. I like da soccer. I kick da soccer ball. I kick it -- POW! -- I pop it high!

Doctor: Well, I can see that Matthew's quite a talker! Picks up Matthew's chart and jots something in it. Cameron, can you hop on one foot? Can you show me that?
Cameron: OK. Hops on one foot.
Matthew: Look at me! Look at me! Hops on one foot, then the other.

Doctor: Uh, wow. That's, uh, pretty impressive for a 2-year-old. Huh. Picks up Matthew's chart again and makes a note. OK, Cameron, now I'm going to tap your knees with this little hammer. Tap.
Matthew: I try dat! I do dat too!
Doctor: You want me to tap your knee Matthew?
Matthew: Yay!
Doctor: Tap.
Matthew: Ow! You hurt me!
Doctor: I just tapped your knee.
Matthew: No, you popped me. Dat ouchy!
Doctor: Sorry!

In the end, both children were declared healthy and developing normally. "And Matthew's gross motor skills," said the doctor, "are, well, there's no concern there. And his verbal skills are . . . well, he's certainly putting words together into phrases."

"Okay," said Matthew. "Sticker? I go now."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back from West Virginia

One week of biking, hiking, throwing rocks in the river and generally having fun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

I took the boys to a hula hooping demonstration at the park today. They were both fascinated by the hooper who finished off her act by spraying herself down with water and performing with a flaming hula hoop. (Seriously. A hula hoop. On fire. All I could think was, "If my kids see a woman set herself on fire with a hula hoop, the Parks and Rec Department will be hearing from ME!)I thought Cameron would be excited to try out hula hooping (minus flames) himself, but he preferred to catch frogs and fish.

Matthew, however, couldn't wait to get in on the action. First he struggled with a large, heavy hoop.

Awww, isn't he sweet, I thought.

Then he spotted a child-sized hoop and . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You do NOT talk to your mother that way, young man!

Every day, Cameron and Matthew each get to choose one, half-hour PBS show to watch. Matthew usually selects "Super Why!" and Cameron always chooses "Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman." "Fetch!" is like a game show for kids, hosted by a cartoon dog named Ruff Ruffman. When Ruff tells the contestant their challenge, he often ends by saying "Go fetch!" Matthew doesn't sit and watch the show with Cameron, but he is often in and out of this room.

Today, Matthew asked me to get him some juice. "Just a minute Matthew, I'm making dinner," I answered.

"Juice please, Mama," he said.

"I'll get you some juice soon," I replied.

"No, Mama," said Matthew. "Want the juice." With this he pointed at the fridge and said, "Go fetch!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's All in the Timing

Matthew has developed a sudden interest in the potty, so I got out the training potty. A few days ago, he wanted to sit on it. He sat. And sat. And sat. After about ten minutes of sitting but nothing else, we decided to try again some other time. "Stay right here," I said to Matthew and I ran to his room to get a clean diaper. Clearly, I was delusional, as any parent knows that saying something like "Stay right here" or "Don't touch that" is interpreted by a toddler as a mandate to do the exact opposite. You would think I would know this by toddler #2, but what can I say? We all have our moments.

I was gone, oh, about thirty seconds. I dashed back into the bathroom to find it empty. (If you are reaaallllyyy good at picking up on foreshadowing, you may have been able to predict this.) "Matthew!" I called, with no response. Then I walked into the living room.

This would be a great point in the post to add the photos I took, but I don't think Matthew would forgive me when he's a teenager.

Matthew was sitting in his Elmo chair, wearing nothing but my enormous sun hat, casually peeing on the floor. He looked up and gave me a big grin. "Hi Mama! I go pee-pee in da Elmo chair!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Because who knows, it might be really good!

Cameron was telling me about two boys who were apparently misbehaving at day camp. "They lost 5 minutes of dramatic play!" he told me. "I am really not going to do anything wrong, because I do NOT want to lose dramatic play!"

"You must really like dramatic play, huh?" I said.

"No," he answered. "It's just that I have NO idea what dramatic play IS!"

Cash Only

Today, I took Matthew to the park. He ran to stand behind a little window with a ledge that the kids often pretend is a store. I knelt down outside the window. "Is this your store?" I asked.

"Yes," answered Matthew.

"Can I have some coffee?" I asked.

"You got da money?" he questioned sternly.

Luckily, he did provide free refills.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just Practicing

Cameron, with the approach of kindergarten in the fall, is evidently feeling the pressure to grow up. This weekend he said to me, "Hey Mom?"

"Yes?" I replied.

"Ummm, did you notice that I called you 'Mom?'"

"Oh! Well, yes, I guess you did call me 'Mom.'"

"I know I usually call you Mommy or Mama, but I figured I should start practicing 'Mom' so I can get used to it."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A New Smile

Last night, as I was reading Cameron a book in bed, he was wiggling his tooth. Suddenly, he cried out, "I broke my tooth!" Then he began to laugh uncontrollably, jumping with excitement and shouting, "Yes! I can't believe it!"

I, meanwhile, was fighting back a wave of nausea at the sight of the small tooth that had landed on the bedspread and Cameron's bloody, toothless grin. I *totally* forgot how gross losing a tooth can be. Or maybe I never knew how gross it was because I was busy celebrating the impending visit of the Tooth Fairy. Still a bit green, I collected the tooth and congratulated Cameron. David and Matthew came running to see what all the fuss was about and Cameron showed off his new smile. Matthew, impressed, decided he needed to get in on the action. He opened his mouth, pointed at his own teeth and then commanded, "Take it out, Daddy!" (Daddy declined, much to Matthew's disappointment.)

Cameron and I carefully put the tooth in a small box and Cameron proceeded to worry about Tooth Fairy technicalities. "Should I put the box next to my pillow, so it's easier for her to get? No, she always looks under the pillow, I better put it there. But I'll put it on this edge of the pillow and I'll put my head on the other edge of the pillow so I don't block her way. Oh no! How is she going to get the box open! I better put the tooth in a bag instead. A bag with a hole in it."

At this point, I reassured Cameron that the Tooth Fairy's diminutive size is no reflection of her strength. I mean, the woman flies around with teeth and quarters and toys -- she's got some muscles. "Ohhhh, riiiiggghhhttt! Of course she can open the box!" Cameron agreed.
Now, fortunately, Cameron's expectation of the Tooth Fairy were fairly reasonable. I had begun to grow concerned when, a few weeks ago, I witnessed a conversation on Facebook about Tooth Fairy payments in which several people reported that their Tooth Fairy left twenties under pillows at their houses. "TWENTIES!" I thought. "My Tooth Fairy used to give me a quarter!!!" So I asked Cameron what he had heard about the Tooth Fairy.
"Well, when you lose your FIRST tooth," he explained, "she brings a toy. And after that, you just get money."

"Money!" I said. "How much money?"
"Well," Cameron confided, "I heard that sometimes you even get a DOLLAR!"

That's my kind of Tooth Fairy.

Cameron was thrilled this morning when he discovered that the Tooth Fairy had replaced his tooth with four quarters. Additionally, she had given him a space sticker set and a note detailing how she had nearly been hit by a firecracker as she braved the Fourth of July madness to make her way to his tooth.
And now, Cameron is enjoying exploring his new smile. "Look! I can drink through a straw right through this hole!"

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mocking 101

Cameron (laying on couch): Ohhhhh, my tummy hurts!!!

Matthew: What wrong, Didi? You needa go pooooop?

Cameron: No!

Matthew: I change-a you diaper! HA! You havea da unda-wear!!!

Matthew is not even two years old. If he can mock like this now, I shudder to think what he will be capable of as a teen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Am Not Your Broom

Tonight, I made a dinner that Cameron loves -- scallops sauteed in olive oil with zucchini and onion, served over rice. Cameron then explained that he would not be eating any of it because, although he has loved the dish in the past, tonight it was "too gooey." When told that he would be sitting at the table until the rest of us were done, he threw a handful of rice on the floor.

He has spent the last half hour under the table with a Dustbuster. "But Mooommmmyyyy, I didn't even make this whole mess!"

"I know, isn't it sooooo frustrating to clean up other people's messes?"

"But Mooommmmyyy, I keep vacuuming and vacuuming and there's still more rice!"

"Rice is the worst," I groan. "So sticky, and a million little grains! Keep vacuuming!"

"Argh, mommy, I just bumped my head under the table! All because you are making me vacuum!"

"No, all because you threw your food."

"Okay, fine."

I remember being a kid and my parents sometimes seeming kind of gleeful as they executed a punishment. I never really got it until now. "You missed a grain here!"