Monday, January 31, 2011

All You Can Eat

My kids aren't always the most adventurous eaters.  We definitely have our share of "I can't eat that because it was touching that," or "It smells funny," or "I liked it last time but this time I don't want to taste it because it looks weird."  But, overall they eat good food. They don't ask for chicken nuggets or mac & cheese, in part because Matthew's allergies mean we just don't have that kind of stuff.  Instead, they'll polish off a plate of roasted broccoli and ask for more.  They beg for homemade bread.  They love scallops and shrimp, but Cameron will only eat the shrimp and Matthew will only eat the scallops.  It works!

Sushi is Cameron's favorite treat . . . probably because it's also David's favorite treat . . . and mine.  But Matthew has never been able to participate since his food allergies make it impossible to safely eat out. When Cameron asked for a sushi set for Christmas, I don't think he realized what a great gift he was getting for Matthew!  We just had our third all-family sushi fest and we can finally ALL say sushi is our favorite treat!  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keeping my mouth shut

Today, I spent the morning with Cameron at his school.  He has been talking about his art class all year long, so I was excited to see it.  The class was discussing artist Gustav Klimt, which floored me from the start.  My recollection of first grade art class definitely did not include raising your hand and answering questions with "He's an Austrian symbolist painter."  Cameron even raised his hand to volunteer that the bodies in Klimt's work were "mosaic."  He leaned over to me and whispered, "I was straining to remember the word at first, but then I remembered, 'Mosaic!  Like a Lego mosaic!'" 

I found the discussion of how to draw a realistic face fascinating, as I am unable to think about faces without thinking about my Dysmorphology course in grad school.  "What's the rule of the third eye?" asked the teacher.

"Ooooh!  The distance between your eyes is the same as the length of an eye!  So if you draw three eyes in a row and erase the middle one, that's the right distance between the eyes!" volunteered a student.

Silently I thought, "Well, unless you're hyperteloric . . ." and scanned the class, noting who might have made a more realistic self-portrait had they only been schooled in dysmorphology.

"And where do we draw the ears?"

"Imagine a straight line from the eye!"  came the answer.

Again, I reflected, "Yes, typically.  But of course the ears could be low-set.  Or posteriorly rotated."

It's a good thing I know how to keep my mouth shut.

Cameron's Klimt-inspired self-portrait was amazing and awaits only the "mosaic" body to be complete. 
In the classroom, Cameron showed me how he manages his own time, choosing the order in which he does his work.  I repeatedly had to remind myself that he gets his work done without his teachers nagging him, so I too should keep my mouth shut even though I wanted to tap his paper from time to time and say, "Cameron!  Pay attention!  Next problem!"  When I left at lunch time, he had completed his grammar work, his math work, his language work and his daily assignment.  His organizer still had a long list of work in it, though, and I feared that he'd never get it all done.  But, once again, the Montessori method works -- a few hours later, he hopped in the car and announced, "I got all of my daily work done and even finished all my weekly assignments ahead of time!"
So I'll just keep on keeping my mouth shut, and be happy that it works!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mistakes Happen

Over the holidays, David introduced Cameron to chess.  Actually, he introduced me as well, but Cameron grasped the finer points of the game a bit more quickly -- I kept saying things like, "What's this horse called again?  Wait, do I move forward or sideways or diagonal?  Hey!  How'd you take that guy?"

The fates smiled upon Cameron, because the day after he said, "I wish I could learn more about chess," his school announced a new chess club! 

The other day, Cameron and Matthew decided to play against each other on the computer.  Cameron quickly grew frustrated with Matthew and tried to direct him.  "If you move there you'll be in check!  Matthew!  No!  You don't want to move there!"

"Cameron," I said, "you need to let Matthew make his own mistakes."

"Yeah," retorted Matthew, "that's HOW I LEARN!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Playground chit chat

Wow.  Been a while since I've posted, huh?  Kinda crazy around here lately.

Anyhoo.  The weather has been, to use a meteorological term, icky lately.  Matthew is a kid who NEEDS activity, so we've been hitting the indoor playgrounds big time.  Matthew is always quick to make new friends, typically with older children.  The other day he paired up with a 5-year-old girl who I'll call Ada.  The place was fairly empty, so even when Matthew and Ada were playing on the floor above me, I could hear their conversations.  Includindg the following exchanges:

Ada:  I'm taller than you.
Matthew:  No, I just grew an inch and I'm big enough for Cameron's kind of car seat.
Ada:  No, you aren't taller than me.  I'm tall enough for a booster seat.  Without a back.
Matthew (impressed, naturally):  Oh!  How did you grow?  How did you grow up to there?
Ada:  Uhhh, I didn't.  I just am this tall.
Matthew:  Oh.

Later, Ada came down a slide and addressed her mom.

Ada:  Mom, is this the slide Annie said was fast?
Matthew:  Yes, it is.
Ada: You don't even know Annie!
Matthew:  Yes, I do.
Ada:  Is she three?
Matthew:  No.
Ada:  Then you don't know Annie!  She IS three. She's my cousin.
Matthew:  Oh, wait.  I do know Annie.  She is three.  And also?  I just bumped my head on the slide.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Do Not Open Until Cameron is 16

Today, Cameron and I went on a wintery walk.  We chatted about school, about Legos, about Christmas and about what it would be like when we go on a walk together when he's a teenager.  "I wish I could prevent myself from being weird when I'm a teenager," said Cameron.  "Like, I feel like I should write myself a letter?  And put it in a waterproof bag that says 'Open when you are 16,' and put it in a hollow tree." 

"What would you write to yourself?" I asked.

"I would write something like, 'Cameron, don't be weird!  Be more serious.  Be like you were when you were seven.  Stop laughing so much!' No, cross that out.  'Be silly and laugh.'  No, wait.  OK. 'Laugh when it's funny and don't laugh if it's not.'"

This may not be a hollow tree, but I plan to pull this letter out when Cameron is 16 years old.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet dreams

For the past two nights, I've been awoken by Matthew talking in his sleep.  The first night, I said, "Matthew?" and he sat up, grabbed me by the ears, mumbled, "Where's the straw?" and then sucked my nose. 


"That's not a straw, Matthew, that's my nose.  Are you dreaming?" I said.

"Yes," he answered.  Then he put his head down on the pillow and went back to sleep.

Last night, I heard him again.  "Matthew?"

He sat up, eyes open, and said, "I'll teach you how, Mommy.  I'll teach you.  Because, well . . . you aren't very good at it."

"Good at what Matthew?"

And again, he was asleep.  Leaving me to wonder what I'm not so good at, aside from acting as a straw.

Or, you could use more Legos.

Today, Matthew built what appeared to me to be a tower of Legos.  "It's a trophy," he explained.

"Neat! Let's build some more trophies!" I said.

"Ummmm, we would have to have 'sssss,'" he said.


"'Sssss.'  You have to add an 's' to the end if you want 'trophies.'"

Rice Pudding

Matthew loves to stretch his little arms across a doorway, blocking your path and demanding a password.  For ages, I stood there saying, "Is it 'baseball?' Is it 'Knuffle Bunny?' Is it 'sushi?'" 

Then, one day, Matthew blocked Cameron's path. "Can't get through!  You need the password!" he announced.

"OK," said Cameron.  "What's the password?"

"Rice pudding," responded Matthew.

"Rice pudding," repeated Cameron, and Matthew obligingly stepped aside.