Sunday, February 27, 2011

Grace and Courtesy

After weeks of illness, we were finally healthy!  I took Matthew to meet some friends at an indoor playground earlier this week.  As I watched from outside them play structure, I saw Matthew playing with a little girl about his age.  She gave a great, hacking cough and I cringed.  Please, please, no more sickness! A moment later, it happened again and I said quietly to my friend, "Oh, I wish she would cover her mouth!"

One more cough and I heard Matthew.  "You know," he said conversationally, "when you cough, you should cover your mouth."  Then he lifted his elbow to his mouth and gave a dramatic little cough.  "Like this."

"Okay!" the girl replied happily.  And they continued playing.  (And then I vigorously washed Matthew's hands.)


This week was full of connections for me. At the beginning of the week, David and I went to hear a transracial adult adoptee speak about his experience growing up in a white family in Detroit in the 60s and 70s.  It left me full of gratitude for adoptees who are willing to share their perspective and for the many friends we have who are also transracial adoptive families-- I think Matthew has more friends who are transracial adoptees than not.  It also made me think about the ways we need to continue to try to do more and that's a wonderful thing.  Every parent should be challenged to always do more to be the best parent possible for their kids.

Later in the week, I e-mailed with a woman I've never met but who is surviving a pregnancy with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy.  I had ICP when I was pregnant with Cameron.  It's a rare pregnancy complication that causes extreme itching, especially of the hands and feet, as well as a terrifyingly high risk of fetal death.  Reading the e-mail from this woman took me right back to that time and how scary and exceedingly uncomfortable it was.  I wish I could help this poor woman feel better but I was so glad that I could just be there to say, "I know."  Sometimes, you just need an "I know."

Then today.  Today was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day and I spent most of it inside.  And it was AWESOME.  Cameron and I volunteered packing meals to be sent to children in Haiti.  Not only did it feel incredible to spend the day doing something so worthwhile, but to watch my kid doing it joyfully?  Really incredible.  Cameron rotated jobs with three other kids, scooping dried vegetables and soy powder and filling bags.  The whole time, music played over the speakers.  I was the weigher, in charge of making sure the correct amount of food was in each package.  When Cameron was the bagger, he'd hand me the bag, do a quick dance step in time to the music and then grab another bag!  And every time I caught his eye, he'd smile and say, "This is GREAT, Mom!"

Somehow, all these events are linked together in my mind right now.  All these ways I've connected with people this past week and how important each connection was to me.  Hoping to make the coming week full of connections, too!

With a side of rhino

A few days ago, Matthew was emphatically requesting hippopotamus for lunch.

"What?  Hippopotamus?"

"Yes, hippopotamus.  I want hippopotamus for lunch."

"I don't know what you mean, Matthew!"

"There! There!" he squealed.  "No, not that," as I held up the soy milk.  "No, no!  The hippopotamus!" as I held up some jam.  "Hippopotamus!"

Finally, I picked up the hummus.  "YES!  THAT'S IT!  I want hippopotamus!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breakfast on the Death Star

Cameron awaits the delivery of the mail with great anticipation every day.  He rarely receives anything, but the mere possibility . . . it's intoxicating.  So when the doorbell rang last week and we opened the door to find a big box addressed to Cameron and Matthew, you can imagine the dramatic clutching of chests, the frantic pulling of tape, the desperate pawing through packing materials.

Surprise packages are awesome.

Surprise packages are even more awesome when they are sent by someone who really, really understands you.

Inside the box we found a Star Wars apron, a Darth Vader AND a clone tropper spatula and some Lego minifigure magnets.  Great jubilation and mass consumption of Yoda shaped pancakes followed.

And now Cameron's mailbox hopes are even higher.  It's gonna be tough to top this one.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Cameron:  Mom!  Dad!  Me and Matthew made up a jumping show.  It's in the living room and it's only 10 cents a person!
Me:  Oh, Cameron, I'm sorry.  I'm right on my way out the door.  But I saw you rehearsing for the show and it was great.
Cameron:  Oh.  OK.  So, ummm, Daddy, the show is 20 cents a person now.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why I Haven't Posted in Two Weeks

We've been sick for two weeks.  TWO weeks.  First Cameron got sick and had a fever of 102 for a full five days.

He recovered. 

I rejoiced. 

And the next day Matthew had a fever of 102.  For five days. 

And in the middle of that, David and I caught it, although thankfully minus the high fever.  So for two weeks I have been stuck at home, feeling not-so-great myself and always, always with at least one kid home sick. 

Which is . . . wearing. 

I've also lost my voice and am left with two options.  I can whisper.  "Matthew!  Stop hitting your brother!"    Or I can speak at normal volume but in deep and raspy man voice. Which totally cracks the boys up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Matthew's School Day

After visiting Cameron's classroom a few weeks ago, it was off to Matthew's for the day.  He was sooooo excited to have me visit.  As it turns out, his best friend (I'll call her Renae here) was also very excited to have me visit.  Although Renae is 5 and Matthew is 3, they have been largely inseparable this year.  Renae is a sweet, smart, friendly girl who has many times helped me out by taking a reluctant Matthew's hand in the morning and saying, "Come on!  We'll have fun!  And I would miss you if you weren't here!" 

Renae calls me "Matthew's mom," and during Parent's Visiting Day I think I heard, "Matthew's mom" about as much as I heard, "Mommy."  "

Matthew's mom, Matthew's mom!  Watch me do this skeleton puzzle!" 

"Matthew's mom, Matthew's mom!  Come sit near me, I'm having snack!"  So I watched Matthew and Renae do a loooootttt of two person works together!  Once in a while, Matthew would select a one person work, like the transferring work in the photo above.  Renae would quickly select a work and take her seat next to him!

The following day, David went to Parent's Visiting Day and was not nearly as popular with Renae!  He said Matthew chose lots of one person works without interruption. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night

Matthew is a big sports fan.  If I ever doubted that genetics plays a role in our interests and personality (which I didn't), I think Matthew is proof that it does.  He was a sports fan from the start.

Last year, we DVR'ed the Super Bowl and Matthew rewatched it every day for months.  "Do you want to watch Word World?" I 'd ask.  "Or Super Why?"

"NO!" he'd respond.  "Super BOWL."

So this year we threw another Super Bowl party for four.  The boys were excited all day long, Cameron enthusiastically assisting me with the menu (Cheesehead Chili, Fumble Foccacia, Green Bay Guacamole, Sideline Salsa) and Matthew repeatedly asking when we would start watching football.  Finally, the hour arrived.  When the Packers scored their first touchdown, Matthew screamed so loudly I am sure the neighbors heard him.  He jumped up and down on the couch, pumping his fist in the air and shrieking, "TOUCHDOWN!"  When they scored again, he collapsed into hysterical laughter.

Sadly, the Super Bowl is not made for preschoolers and bed time arrived before the half-time show began.  "But the Black-Eyed Peas, Mom!" protested Cameron.  We reassured the boys that the DVR would ensure that they saw the Black-Eyed Peas and the game.  (Sadly, the DVR cut off the end of the game, so when we watched it the next day it ends a couple of minutes too early.  "What happened?" asked Matthew in confusion.  "GREEN BAY WON!" I shouted and he cheered enthusiastically.)

Matthew has since rewatched the Super Bowl several times and the conversations around the viewing are pretty funny.  At one point I heard Cameron say, "Oh no, now Woodson's hurt!  THAT is why I like to WATCH football but I NEVER want to play football."

Also regarding injury, Matthew said, "Did Ben Roff-liss-burger get hurt?  Or is he dead?"

But my favorite was hearing Matthew cheering, "Go Green Bay!  Go Green Bay!  I sure hope Green Bay wins."  Then he whispered conspiratorially, "I know that they do."

Doesn't take the fun out of it.

And the half-time show also met the boys' expectations, with Matthew singing "Tonight's gonna be a gooood night, tonight's gonna be a good, good niiiight!" all day long.  Which, I must confess, is an improvement over, "Let me see your tootsie roll."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dysentery and Doorbells

Weather and viruses collided this week, leaving me with too many days stuck at home with two boys.  Fortunately, we're pretty good at coming up with ways to keep busy.  Over the weekend, David had figured out how to get the old Oregon Trail game set up on our computer.  The boys crowded around the screen, filled with curiosity to see this game that Mom and Dad used to play in computer class.  We decided to be bankers, and stocked up on supplies before setting off for the Wild West.  Several minutes into the game, as the tinny music played and we watched our wagon sink in the middle of the river (I KNEW we should have caulked it!), Matthew said, "When do we start playing the game?"

It grew on him, though, and the boys spent a fun morning announcing which of us had died of cholera, or broken an arm, or gotten lost.  At one point, they called to me, "Mom?  What does, 'Please flip the diskette to side 2' mean?"

 Ahhh, memories.

Cameron, with help from David, also built a light up doorbell for his Lego/study room.  It's pretty cool, but it's main use on the snow days seemed to be for Matthew to buzz insistently from the hallway while Cameron shouted from inside the room, "MATTHEW!  QUIT RINGING THE BELL!"
 Finally, I distracted Matthew with a haircut.  Matthew usually goes to a black barbershop, but he really needs his hair cut every 2-3 weeks and that gets pricey.  So, I picked up some clippers and I think I can manage to keep him looking presentable for a month or two.  I still want him to go to the barbershop -- I think it's important for him to feel comfortable there -- but if he went a little less often it'd be great!
And, of course, we spent time baking and cleaning which are the definition of snow days to me!

Thankfully, the weather and our health has improved and we've been doing more exciting things than haircuts and ancient computer games this weekend!