Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's complicated.

Today, I was driving with Cameron, Matthew and one of Cameron's friends in the car.  Matthew said what sounded like, "Frogs are made from gravity." 

"What?  Did you say FROGS are made from GRAVITY?" I said.

"Nooooo," replied Matthew.  "CLOUDS are made from GRAVITY."

This lead to an unexpected conversation about what frogs ARE made from, if not gravity.

"Frogs are made from wood," said Matthew authoritatively.

"No," countered the friend, "frogs are made from skin.  Or are they?  What ARE frogs made from?"
Cameron gave a heavy sigh.  "Oh, Mommy.  I think you'll have to explain it to them.  Because, guys, to explain what frogs are made of, I'd really have to start by explaining Phylum Chordata.  And that could take a while."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rootsman Drag?

Matthew loves to listen to the same CD over and over and over.  For the past month, minimum, it has been Putamayo Kids Reggae Playground.  We've recently progressed to listening to the whole CD, but the first song is his favorite and for several weeks we listened to it exclusively.  It's called "Rootsman Dread" and starts out, "Daddy, Daddy!  It's Rootsman Dread!"  Rootsman Dread is described as "a colorful character beloved by children."  Matthew agrees with the both the "beloved" and the "colorful" part.  Each morning he pleads, "Mommy, I want to listen to 'My Dress.'"  Then he sings his little heart out.  "Daddy, Daddy!  It's just my dress!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Give it to me straight.

I made this farm set using colored pencils and cardstock.  Matthew loved playing with it and added a few dinosaurs just to liven things up.  The ducks promptly fled the pond.

Then I decided to use the farm in a Montessori language assignment.  Cameron is my ever-ready volunteer.  He's super helpful, pointing out where I've made mistakes and saying things during my practice presentation like, "Um, Mommy?  My teachers always sat on THIS side of me when they showed me a work."  He also loves to review which of his old preprimary classmates would have loved or hated my idea.  "Andrew would choose this work all the time."  His favorite part is faking a mistake to see how I handle it.  "I really knew that was called a silo, but I don't know if every preprimary kid would, so I figured I'd pretend I didn't."

When he reviewed my farm lesson, he had this to say.  "You have to draw the chicken again.  Your chicken?  Well, it looks like a duck wearing underwear."

What can I say?  I'm training to be a Montessori teacher, not an artist.  It appears, however, that the two sometimes overlap.  Or should.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Best Friends

I overheard Matthew talking to Cameron this morning.  "Cameron, I am going to be your best friend, okay?  And I will not even kick you."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday Night

As our lives get busier and busier, we are finding it necessary to make a very conscious effort to find family time.  A couple of weeks ago, we decided to start a Friday night tradition of homemade pizza and a movie.  The boys LOVED it.  They were so thrilled with every moment, from making the dough to watching the pizza bake to eating it to watching a movie, ALL FOUR OF US!

This past week, Cameron and I started the pizza preparations on Thursday.  We roasted tomatoes, onions and peppers and then, we made fresh mozzarella cheese.  Seriously.  We did.  I can hardly believe it myself, but it was fun and it was easy and Cameron was soooooo excited about it.  The only not-so-fun part was keeping my milk-allergic preschooler away from the whole mess and very thoroughly cleaning up afterward.  But, the end result was totally worth it.

Here's Cameron, just a tiny bit excited about cheesemaking.

 The next night, Matthew got his turn.  He loves to help make the dough, especially using the rolling pin.  Then, we all got to top our pizzas -- cheese was left off  until the pizza was done, Matthew's portion removed, and the remaining pizza returned to the oven to melt the cheese.

 The end result was so delicious that I was left thinking it isn't much of a sacrifice to live without Domino's or Papa John's.

We are all anxiously awaiting next Friday and loving our new family tradition!

Friday, November 12, 2010

When Santa Says No

As mentioned previously, I cook and bake.  A lot.  Matthew loves to help me and I think that this is a vital skill for him to learn.  With his food allergies, there's a reasonable likelihood that he'll be doing a lot of cooking and baking in his adult life.  That, or eating a pretty boring diet.

Currently, Matthew's specialty is licking spoons and bowls.  Stirring comes in a close second, probably followed by pouring which is, to be honest, sort of touch and go.  For a while, though, he's expressed an interest in having his own kitchen tools.  In particular, he is desparate for his own vegetable peeler.  "No problem," I told him.  "I bet that Santa could bring you a vegetable peeler and, if you're reaaalllyyy good, maybe a few measuring spoons and a bowl."

"Yes!" said Matthew.  "And, one of these."  And he held one hand flat, made the other hand into a fist and rubbed it over the flat hand.  ????

"A vegetable peeler?" I repeated.

"Nooooo!  One of those things."  He repeated the motion impatiently.  "Those things!  For . . . for . . . making little slicing?"

My 3-year-old wants Santa to bring him his very own mandoline slicer. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Uh, no.

Matthew's food allergies have spurred me to become a much better and much more creative cook and baker.  And lately, Matthew has presented me with many more challenges as his awareness of what other people get to eat grows. 

"Mommy?  Can you make me a safe brownie?"  No problem. 

"Mommy?  Can you make me a safe rootbeer float?"  Homemade vanilla bean sorbet saves the day, although it fails to produce that lovely rootbeer/ice cream foam. 

"Mommy?  Can I have a safe pizza?"  Homemade dough, no cheese, safe sauce and local veggies -- a huge success! 

But he got me the other day.  "Mommy?  Can you make me a safe egg?" 

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The other day, I picked Matthew up from his Montessori preschool and asked him about his day as we drove home.  "Did you work with your teacher?" I asked.

"Yes!" he replied.  "We did I Spy!" 

I felt a thrill of excitement.  In my Montessori training class we are focusing on the Language area right now and we just did I Spy!!!  "Oh!" said.  "You did I Spy!  Did the teacher ask you to find something that began with mmmmm?"

"Not like THAT Mommy!"  Matthew protested.

"Sorry.  Did your teacher say, 'I spy, with my little eye, something that begins with mmmmm?'"

"Yes, like that!  And gueesssss what?  I TRICKED HER!" Matthew cackled with glee.

"You . . . tricked her?  How?"

"I was supposed to give her the mop, but I gave her the elephant!" he said.

"Ohhhhh," said I.  "And then . . . did you tell her it was a trick?"

"Nope!" said Matthew proudly.  "I reeeaaallllyyyy tricked her!  She thought elephant started with mmmm!"

Friday, November 5, 2010


Remember, faithful readers, when I used to post every day?  Or every other day if I was busy?  These days, juggling my own school work with my daily parenting duties is leaving me with exactly . . . no time for blogging.  Plus, we've been perpetually sick for the last month.  Here's hoping for a healthy November.

So, briefly.  Halloween.

Matthew was thrilled to bring homemade (allergen-free) sugar cookies to school for his Halloween party.  He's still talking about it.  "Cameron?  Remember when I took cookies to school?  Remember?  Remember that?  Mommy?  Do you remember that?  How I took those cookies to school?"

The highlight of Cameron's Halloween was his school dance.  The kids learned everything from the Hokey Pokey to the Macarena in gym class, then showed up in costume to get their groove on with a REAL DJ!  It was an incredible event.  Here's Cameron (aka Dumbledore) doing the Chicken Dance with Darth Vader.  Betcha didn't know Vader danced, huh?  He's actually surprisingly nimble on his feet.

 For trick or treating, we headed out with some good friends.  Cameron found himself perpetually misidentified as Merlin, and once as a professor.  "A professor?" he said indignantly to me (after politely saying thank you to the candy-giver.)  "Does a PROFESSOR have a WAND!  Well, I guess he was kind of right.  Because Dumbledore WAS a professor at Hogwarts. But I don't think that guy even knew that!"

Matthew refused to keep his hood on, which left him pretty much wearing a feather-trimmed white sweater with wings.  And thus, Harry Potter and Tonks were left trick or treating with a professor and an angel.  At one house, a woman cooed, "Well aren't you just the sweetest angel?" to which Matthew replied, "Except I'm not." 

Despite the costume confusion, the boys had a great time running house to house with their friends and grumbled surprisingly little when I confiscated most of their loot -- the majority of Halloween candy is a food allergy nightmare.  A few homemade sugar cookies makes up for the lost Snickers any day though!