Camden Cruz is FOUR

This has taken me weeks to get around to because, you know, life. And, because I have about 912 pieces of media related to Cam turning 4. I have his birthday party photos, his actual birthday family-only celebration, his school celebration and all kinds of other stuff! Gosh it’s good to be a 4 year old with a birthday. Also, I’m exhausted.

So, first, we had his Dino Dig, a birthday party that almost didn’t happen. Friday, before his Sunday party, Cam got a fever right around lunchtime. At first it was mild, but then it spiked up to 104. He was a mess (party OFF!). The kid who rarely gets sick, of course, gets a fever 2 days before his party.

We finally got the right meds and he rested well through the night. Saturday morning, he was perky again (party ON!). I went shopping all around town, schlepping bags of rocks to my parents, stockpiling things in their fridge, making lists, etc. I got home around 6pm and he started telling us his throat hurt. And then it hurt a lot. And then he was really upset about it and couldn’t swallow (party OFF!). In the morning, he was still feeling fine physically, but had a slight sore throat. So, I texted every mom with kids on the invite list that he was feverless, perky, but had a sore throat, their choice if they wanted to come or stay away, and they ALL chose to come (party ON!).

Here are the photos of his Dino Dig!

Friends and family gathered at Poppy and Inny’s to dig around in the sand for dinosaur bones. We also had a “tricera-toss” game, amazing cookies and cakes by Aunt Emily, a gift unwrapping that lasted approx 9 seconds as Cam thrashed through the bags in a frenzy, and just one little meltdown before blowing out the candles (he needed to eat and poop and then he was good to go).

On September 11th, which I’ll admit I was feeling very sentimental about and could have cried if I didn’t have too much to do, we had family and the Stadlers over for pizza, wings, mini-cupcakes, more presents and mid-week shenanigans.

In addition to the presents Cam got to unwrap, he also received several cards in the mail from family with gift cards, college money and more.

At school, each birthday person gets to have their family visit for a special “ceremony”. Last year, I didn’t get to go (and my family made quite the impression), but this year I did! It is so fun to be inside the walls of his classroom.

Cam’s teacher Mrs. Karla gathers the kids in a circle, talks about the birthday person, has them circle the sun once for every year of their life, then talk through photos/memories of each year. Cam was shy to answer her questions, but accurate, smiling and checking in with us the whole time. For example, when Mrs. Karla asked “what is your mom’s name?” he said “Kelsey.” Then looked at me and said “right mom?” I could have just squeezed him every time he looked over at us.

After the ceremony, Cam was asked to choose a friend to show the photos to and he chose Julian, a very outspoken, sweet young gentleman. I later asked Cam if Julian was his friend and he said “sort of”.

When the ceremony was complete, the kids all received our special snack, a butterfly snack bag with goldfish and grapes (that I most certainly did not spend all night putting together). And then they lined up to go to the playground. Cam turned around in line and waved “bye” to us.

SO STINKIN’ SWEET!

Just like last year when I said that if the point of a birthday is to make a kid feel special, I think we crushed it! He is a happy and very lucky kid with so many loving, caring, generous people in his life.

Imagination

I posted a photo of Cam a little over a year ago where he’s running around in jammies, no pants and wielding a broom. It still makes me smile.

Here’s the 4 year old edition of that photo… Cam rigging up a vehicle out of a laundry basket, twine and found objects, and sitting next to his new favorite doll ‘Shine’. And of course (safety first!), he has a good strong helmet on.

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Who knows what this vehicle will do, but it is evidence of his growing imagination and his natural interest in tinkering. He gets an idea and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop him from doing it.

Demi Grey at 1.5

A couple Several days ago (started this a couple weeks ago and didn’t finish… *sigh), Demi Grey hit the year and a half mark! The development that happens between 1 and 2 years is just a joy to witness. She does new things everyday, she mimics her brother and all the adults around her, she makes us laugh with her expressions, she’s just hilarious and sassy and smart and so much fun!

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Here’s a snapshot of this funny monkey at a year and a half:

Communicating:

  • She says “up” when she wants to go up or down, so up means up and up means down
  • When she wants you to open something (anything) she says, “pop?” even if it doesn’t actually pop, like a ziplock bag or a jar of pickles
  • When something is gross or dirty, she scrunches up her face and says “cucky”, but then if you repeat that back to her, she thinks you said cracker or cookie
  • She’s been asking (yelling) for milk for a while, saying “milll” and just a few days ago she tacked on a ‘k’ but it took an effort. It sounded like “milll….K”.
  • Birds are “tweet tweets”
  • Dogs are “woof woofs” or puppies
  • All bugs including flies, lady bugs and ants are “bees”
  • If you say “did you go to Inny’s house today?” she says “Inny!” “Poppy!”
  • She has almost comedic timing on saying “bye!” because she picks up on the cues in a conversation that we’re about to say goodbye and she shouts “BYE!”
  • When she is really excited, she yells, claps and says “yay! yay! yay!” and it is maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I need to get it on camera.
  • When she wants a dabble of something like ketchup or toothpaste, she asks by saying “boop?”
  • When I was growing up, we called farts “fluffs” (this is making me laugh), but we call them toot toots. When anyone toots including herself, she makes a scrunch face and says ‘toot toot’.
  • She knows everything that is hot including the stove, the coffee maker, steaming food, the toaster, the decking outside my office, etc. and whenever she says “hot”, she whispers it softly, “hot”.
  • For cold things, she says “brrrr…”
  • It took her a bit to figure out the word “ice” but now she very loudly and articulately asks for “IIIISSSSSSSSS”
  • “Brother” and “water” sound a lot alike, so it might be only Joe and I that can hear the subtle differences
  • Other words she’s mastered recently: brush, tissue, yummy, yucky, bike, all done

Favorites:

  • Brother! My goodness she loves brother. She says “brother” about 217 times a day. She points to brother’s belongings and says “brother”, she hears him in the other room and says “brother”, he does something funny and she laughs and says “brother”.
  • Walking Mila. She calls her Mimi and she pulls out the leash and makes the kiss sound to make Mila come to her.
  • She loves her babies. We have almost no baby accessories, so I feel inclined to give her a few. For now, she likes holding them, kissing them and making a funny lovey face when she holds them.

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  • Shoes. She puts on ev-er-y-ones shoes, no matter the size and tries clomping around in them. Her favorite shoes to put on are Cam’s gray natives. She’s often walking around the house in just one of them. Some days she insists on wearing particular shoes even if I want her to wear different ones.
  • Being chased.
  • Brushing her teeth (with other peoples’ toothbrushes). She points to the medicine cabinet and yells “teeth!”
  • The happy birthday song, but she only knows, “happy, happy, happppppyyyy…”
  • Water! Includes the beach, pools, the hose, the bath, a cup she can make a mess with, all of it.

Dislikes:

  • Mushrooms. This is the only thing I’ve seen her pull out of her mouth because she didn’t like it.
  • When we stop her from doing something dangerous (climbing ladders, etc.), she gets angry, “no! no! no!”
  • Being inside when anyone is outside.

Comparing her to Cam:

  • She is strong willed, for certain, but she cooperates more than Cam. Example: half the time we change her diaper, we ask her if she wants a new diaper and she lays down on her back and waits. Cam didn’t do this, not even once, in his entire diaper-wearing days.
  • She is just a verbal as Cam was at this age so far as I can remember. I’ve been told that when you have a talker as a first child, the second child talks less, but I don’t think that’s the case with Cam and Demi.
  • Size-wise, they’re both on the same track… high percentiles all-around. Big heads,tallish and meaty, just like I like them!
  • Both kids are shy in new situations with new people, but Demi warms up quickly and then acts like herself. Cam would always take longer to warm up and sometimes wouldn’t at all depending on his mood.
  • They both love all food for the most part. Thank goodness they’re good eaters.
  • Their favorite number at this age is 9. I remember that was Cam’s first number and it’s Demi’s too. If she hears you counting, she’ll always say ‘nine’.

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Worst moments:

  • She has streaks of several nights in a row where she wakes up angry and doesn’t want anyone to touch her and we can’t figure out if it’s a night terror or growing pains or what, but this goes on for a while, sometimes a few minutes and on the worst nights a couple hours.
  • We’re battling an epic rash around her mouth, which we believe started with teething. She had 6 total teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom, then plateaued for over 4 months. All of a sudden, she busted 4 sets of teeth, so 8 total teeth and a bunch of molars. This caused drooling and falling asleep on the bottle for comfort and now we just can’t get rid of it.
  • Croup! Just last night, she went to bed happy and woke up a half hour later barking like a seal. It was significantly less scary than when Cam got croup the first time. We thought he was going to die because he couldn’t even get a solid breath, whereas her breathing was just labored. After a couple hours, her breathing evened out and we all sort of slept.

Best moments:

  • Her brother’s birthday. She snagged a cookie and ran like a bandit before I could take a group photo and generally just acted like she owned the place.
  • Summer beach and pool days.

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  • Boating on San Diego Bay

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Demi Grey is picking up new skills and words daily. She is just like the Sour Patch commercials… first they’re sour and then they’re sweet. And her sweetness overpowers her sassy/sour side by a landslide. She is beautiful, hilarious, and full of personality. We love this munchkin so dearly, there aren’t enough moments in the day to smooch her squishy cheeks.

Cam Says, 4-Year Old Edition

I haven’t been diligent about collecting ‘Cam Says’ moments, but the last 3 days have presented some doozies.

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Here they are:

Cam has told me his favorite books are the Dr. Seuss books. While starting our reading tonight, he asked me, “Who writed the most books for kids?” So his grammar wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was a smart question… that I didn’t know the answer to.

A couple nights ago, we were texting Joe before going to sleep and Cam asked, “how do messages go through the air?” Again, I had no answer for him other than saying smart people figured it out and then I muttered something about satellites.

Cam: I want to make a chart with times and days on it.
Me: So, you want to make a calendar?
Cam: More or less.
WHAT!? The kid knows the expression “More or less”???

Tonight while going to bed, Cam asked, “who controls everything on earth? Like, is there a king or something?”

Oh man… I am NOT ready for 4 years old!!!!

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I Call this Series: Babes Doing My Job

Cam, who was obviously tired from the moment he woke up all the way until he finally stopped kicking his little feet at 9:00pm tonight, ate dinner on the couch and made an obscene mess. There were smears of sauce, a chunk of avocado and quinoa sprinkled everywhere. I told him it looked like a dog had eaten there and so he volunteered to vacuum.

Oh yeah!? Sure buddy, eat your heart out!

He went to town and wanted to vacuum the whole house.

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He even asked me to move the table so he could get underneath the dining bench area where he found tennis balls, Demi’s pacifier and other lovely treats.

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Then, Demi and I showered and I asked if she was done. She said “no” in her typical sassy pants way, then picked up the squeegee and started cleaning off the glass.

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It’s about time these rascals started pulling their weight!

No More Baba

We’ve been trying to eliminate Cam’s pacifier (his “baba”) for quite some time. Maybe a year and a half? My excuse for not making it happen sooner is because we didn’t want the battle, especially at night, when we already have so many sleeping issues. We had eliminated the baba for all things except napping and nighttime.

But Cam is almost 4 years old and we have had visions of him going to college with his special suitcase dedicated to his babas and so we told him that 4-year-olds don’t use babas.

Well this set-up (pairing his birthday with losing his baba) was giving him angst about his birthday, which should be a happy day. So I tried to unpair the two events and I proposed the following to him:

  • If you go 1 night without your baba (just as practice) you can spend 3 dollars on whatever you want at the dollar store… OR…
  • If you go 3 nights without your baba, you can get a giant rainbow lollipop

He said “okay” to the deal, handed me his baba and went to sleep on night 1 with no problems at all.

Then, when I asked him if he’s going to keep going, he said yes. He wanted the lollipop.

Each day he confirmed how many more days until he could get a lollipop and today… TODAY is the day. He earned his lollipop.

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And it was soooooo easy too. He just made the decision and stuck to it. Good job Cam-bone!

This is one milestone I will NOT be getting teary over.