Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Muffins for Matthew

Matthew has multiple food allergies and to say that this has been life-changing is an understatement.  Food is unavoidable and when something unavoidable is also life-threatening for your child, it's tough.  Sometimes I feel like an allergen-detecting robot -- I enter a room and immediately I begin to scan for threats.  Beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeep!  Peanut butter sandwich! 
It's scary and exhausting and on top of that it's frustrating because so many people don't understand food allergies. I can't tell you how many times I've had a conversation that goes like this:

"No, he can't have ice cream.  He's allergic to milk."

"Oh, really?  You mean he can't have ice cream just because he's allergic to milk?  Huh!"

"Well, ice cream is made from milk, so, no he can't have it."

"What about cheese?"

"Ummm, cheese is made from milk.  So he can't have cheese."

"Wow!  But what about butter?  He must be able to have butter, right?"

"No.  Butter is made from milk.  He's allergic to milk.  So he can't eat or drink anything that is made from or contains milk!" 

Substitute any other allergen and repeat conversation.

I read labels obsessively now, and I throw myself bodily between Matthew and any outstretched hand offering food and I cook and bake A LOT.  And today, I was absolutely giddy when the UPS delivery man knocked on my door, bearing my copy of The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book by Kelly Rudnicki.  Kelly blogs at Food Allergy Mama and I can hardly wait to make Matthew some French Puff Muffins from her new book!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Play Time

The other morning, as the boys were eating breakfast, Matthew called to me.  "Mama!  I made a tuuu-tle!"

"What?" I answered, walking into the dining room. 

There was Matthew, grinning and pointing to his overturned bowl  and spoon.  "Turtle!  I made a tuuuu-tle!"

When Cameron was 2 years old, he was obsessed -- and I do mean OBSESSED -- with Thomas the train.  He'd play for hours and hours with his trains.  Matthew, on the other hand, will play with the trains for a few minutes and then he's on to something new.  I've been trying to capture his attention and recently reorganized our toy area to include more Montessori-style works.  So far, Matthew's favorite is a matching game.  I bought two sets of animals from the $1 bin at Target and -- ta daaaa! -- Matthew will sit and match up the animals over and over!

I theorize that Matthew's interests are different than Cameron's were at this age in part BECAUSE of Cameron.  Matthew sees Cameron playing with his Legos and building with his Superstructs and playing soccer and, somehow, Thomas the train doesn't quite compare.  Sadly, most of the time the boys are playing together goes something like this:

Matthew:  MINE!
Cameron:  NOOOOOO!  Mommy!  Matthew's breaking my Lego Anakin Skyship Galaxy Raider that I invented!  Matthew!  NO!
Matthew:  NOOOOOO!  Didi!  Give dat to me!
Together:  NOOOOOOOO!!!!  MOMMY!!!!!

It's a challenge to find activities that hold both of their interest without dissovling into wrestling over the Lego Squidman pieces.

So I was thrilled the other day when Cameron built a Superstruct space vehicle and Matthew used the overturned Bilibos and his astronaut set to create a space scene.  By the way, check out the astronaut set.  As soon as I saw it, I had to have it -- there is one white astronaut and one black astronaut!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Publicly Private

Matthew rattles the doorknob, trying to get into the bathroom. "Matthew, Cameron's in there," says David.

"I know," replies Matthew. "I just gonna go in there to give him his privacy."

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Few Minutes Ago

"Matthew, please. Please, please, just go to sleep!"

"I can't, Mama."

"Why not?"

"Because. I'm too busy right now."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Matthew Sings the Holiday Hits

Matthew singing to himself:

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle alllll the waayyyy! Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I maaade it out of claaayyy!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


"Mommy, I'm trying to think of what I should be when I grow up. I think maybe a space guy."

"You mean an astronaut?"

"Yeah. But you know the bad thing about that job?"


"You have to wear a DIAPER when you're in space!"

"Ewww! You know what would be the bad part for me?"


"I would miss you when you were in space!"

"I would miss you, too. And I would miss my wife. My wife Paige. If I married her. HEY! I know! Maybe I could say, 'I'm going to be a space guy. So, if you marry me, could you come to outer space with me?' Because there are space girls, too, right?"


"Okay, good. That's what I'll do then."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Long and Short of It

Matthew loves his new, short hair. I miss his curls, but he does look adorable even without them! I think what Matthew enjoys the most is that his short hair is so easy to care for -- a little coconut oil, a boar bristle brush and we're done! No more tangles, no more finger twists. Matthew reflected on this the other day while reading another one of his favorite books, Shades of Black. He pointed to a photo of a boy with very short hair using a boar bristle brush. "Dat's Matthew!" he said. Then he pointed to a photo of a girl brushing her very long hair. "Oh, too bad," he commented. "Dat's so ouchy!"

Stopping Traffic

We just don't know when to quit. David and the boys have had so much fun with their bicycle built for three that when Grandpa Frank visited, they HAD to use the tandem to make a bicycle built for four!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And a Pony While You're at It

Matthew loves all of Mo Willems' books, but Knuffle Bunny is his hands down favorite. Recently, whenever we have read Knuffle Bunny, Matthew has looked around his room then turned to me accusingly and said, "Where's my Knuffle Bunny?" I've attempted to placate him with his teddy bears and baby dolls, but he's no fool. "NO! Where's my KNUFFLE BUNNY?"

Finally, after being asked for the bajillion time where his Knuffle Bunny was, I answered, "You don't have a Knuffle Bunny. Maybe you should ask Santa to bring you a Knuffle Bunny for Christmas."

Now, Matthew wasn't too clear on the concept of Santa and being able to actually request specific gifts in past years, but apparently he's caught on. He ran out to Cameron and reported, "Santa gonna make me a Knuffle Bunny!"

When David got home, Matthew lost no time in telling him, "I get MY Knuffle Bunny. Santa bring me MY Knuffle Bunny!"

Luckily, I've checked with Santa and it appears that he will be able to comply with this request. Now if Matthew can just wait until December . . .

Monday, September 14, 2009

Practically Family

Matthew has a great memory for names. When we pick Cameron up from school, he'll wave to the other kids and call them by name. "Hiya Brendan! Look! Dat's Samir! See ya Toshi!" But apparently he's paying attention to more than Cameron's classmates. Today, as I turned on the car, NPR was playing Obama's speech on healthcare. When Matthew heard the voice, he gave an excited cry. "Oh! Dat's Uncle Bama!"

Hold the Lettuce

When Matthew gets up in the morning, he usual gives me a pretty specific breakfast request. "Eat da Rice Krispies, mama. In a bowl. Wit soy milk. And cuppa juice." This morning, his request was a bit more eclectic. "Wanta san-wich, mama. Put a cookie on it. And salt."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disaster Preparedness

Cameron has a new fascination with tornadoes. Every time it rains he says, "Hope there's not going to be a twister!" This morning, he told me that he had created his own kit "to take downstairs in case there is a tornado."

I was fairly impressed, imagining a tote bag with some snacks, perhaps a bottle of water, a few Band-aids. "So, what's in it?" I asked.

"Two Lego magazines and two sets of Legos," answered Cameron proudly. He's got priorities.


"One, two, three, four, five," counts Matthew. He can count all the way into his 30's with few mistakes. "Six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!"

I am listening, but only absentmindedly, cleaning up dishes and pouring bowls of cereal.

"Eleven, twelve, thirteen,"

He's pretty good, but this is where the going gets rough. "Foouuurrrteen," he says cautiously. "Fiiiiifteen . . . siiiixteen . . . baseball team . . . eightttteen. . ."

Wait. Baseball team?

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Might Love It Too

At dinner tonight I said to Cameron, "Guess what? President Obama is going to give a speech tomorrow. And guess who he's giving the speech to?"

"Who?" said Cameron.

"Kids who go to school. Like you!"

Cameron's face lit up. "Will I get to see it?"

"Yes! We'll watch it on TV," I said. (I didn't say, "At home. Because they aren't showing it at school. Huge uproar, long story.")

"I bet I know what he's going to talk about!" said Cameron with excitement.

"What?" I replied. (I didn't say, "Health care reform? The auto industry? Converting little school children into an army of socialists?")

"A longer school day!" said Cameron. "I think he's going to tell us that the school day will be longer now!"

David chimed in. "Oooh, that would be bad!"

"WHAT!?!?" said Cameron. "That would be AWESOME! I would love to be at school more!"

A bicycle built for . . . three?

So, the man that I live with? That one that helps me take care of my kids sometimes? Let's just call him "David" for short. He and my kids have been attracting a lot of attention on their bike rides lately.
They are loving the new trailer bike and Cameron is loving the stares and finger pointing their bike-trailer bike-bike trailer attracts!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Before and After

Matthew went to an African American barber shop this morning. He was actually pretty excited about it. "Mr. Charlie gonna cut my hair," he kept saying. I was nervous. The first hair cut did not go well, despite the Bob the Builder DVD and race car chair. How would he do at a real barber shop? Great, it turns out. No tears and the results are super cute!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Our family confuses people. I am well aware of this. Sometimes it leads people to ask prying questions, sometimes it leads to awkward verbage. But the other day, it led to one of the funniest conversations I've ever had. I was walking with my two boys when a woman stopped me. "I haven't met you before," she said with a smile. "But I've met your kids." This was a good start -- she realized that they both were my kids. But then it got weird. "And I've met your . . . um . . . uh . . . I've met your . . . ahhhh . . . the man that you live with . . . who helps you take care of your kids sometimes?"

"Um, you mean, my husband?"

I have assured David that from now on I will be referring to him as "the man that I live with who helps me take care of my kids sometimes."

Warning: My Two-Year Will Talk About Anything

Matthew is really verbal. Reeaaalllyyy verbal. Most of the time it is really fun, like when he dressed up in a Bob the Builder helmet and a Batman belt and announced, "LOOK MAMA. I DA PO-LICE MAN." And plenty of times, I find his verbal skills quite useful -- like in the morning, when he says, "DAT CEE-RE-ULLL, MAMA. WIT SOY MILK." Once in a while, it's embarassing, such as at church when he loudly asked, "WHAT DAT SOUND? SOMEBODY TOOOOT?" But yesterday, it was just gross. I was cooking dinner when, from the toy room, Matthew shouted, "MAMA! I JUST POOOOOOP!" Which is, actually, pretty useful. Until he added, "IT A GIII-GANTIC ONE!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Be Specific

A few weeks ago, the boys were waiting for some friends to arrive for a playdate. They sat near the window, watching, and then Cameron said, "Hey, let's chant, 'We want our friends.'" So they said, "WE WANT OUR FRIENDS! WE WANT OUR FRIENDS!" and, lo and behold, the friends arrived!

Bolstered by their success, they decided to try the same technique that evening, while waiting for Daddy to get home. "WE WANT DADDY! WE WANT DADDY! WE WANT DADDY! WE WANT DADDDY!" they shouted. And out the window, we watched as the neighbor across the street pulled into his driveway. There was a short pause, and then Cameron chanted, "We want OUR Daddy! We want OUR Daddy!"