Memorial Day was the very last day of my 12 weeks of maternity leave. So bittersweet. I have loved almost every minute of maternity leave bonding with my new little love while also growing closer to my Cambone and learning to be parents of two kids alongside Joe. But at the same time, I also want the balance of work + life again. Challenging myself in the workplace is definitely a part of my balance.
Memorial Day was also a day to BBQ with the fam and celebrate Poppy and Inny’s birthdays a day early. Demi brought the patriotic cheer while Cam thinks we forgot the party hats (he mentioned that to me yesterday and again tonight, so apparently he’s very serious about party hats–noted!).
Today, I returned to work on my 1 year work anniversary–so fitting! I remembered to bring in a photo of Cam and Demi to cheer up my space.
The day was long and the night routine even longer. But while I sat in Cam’s room under the stars, Demi falling asleep in my arms, and Cam telling me about the “4 presents with bows” that he would like for his birthday, I remembered not to treat a gift like a burden. It was at least an hour past Cam’s bedtime, and I was beyond pooped, but I know how lucky I am to have these sweet little beings in my world.
Cam and I went to the Santee YMCA this morning to get some sunshine and to get our wiggles out in their super kid-friendly pool. We spent about an hour splashing around. Ever since Palm Desert (where Cam went down their huge slide and got water up his nose), Cam hasn’t wanted to go on slides, so instead, we just bobbed around the shallow pools. His favorite parts of the kid structure are the valves he can open and close to spray people. Of course 🙂
This afternoon we’re going to pick up the backyard so we can have dinner al fresco. But we got distracted by our overflowing tomato plants and picked a bucket’s worth. Cam, as always, is quality control.
There aren’t many things in this world that are cuter than a clean babe. Fresh from the bath, presenting Ms. Grey…
And here she is showing off her newly acquired babbling abilities.
Once upon a time in a faraway land called BeforeKidsLand, going for a walk meant putting on shoes and exiting the house. A walk was a good time to clear your head, increase your heart rate, get your muscles warmed up and take a breath. Ahhhhh…. doesn’t that sound idyllic?
Now, going for a walk means a minimum of 10 minutes of prep wherein we load Cam into the stroller, assemble the snack tray, get a warm blanket and a flashlight just in case, strap Demi to my chest with a pacifier, leash up Mila and… on the nights when Joe isn’t working… crack open 2 cold ones. Don’t judge, I’m pretty sure there are 2 cup holders on the stroller for a reason.
Luckily, this is when Cam is at his chattiest. He keeps us entertained. Right now, his favorite things to do on walks include: chasing monsters (the monsters who stole whatever is missing from our house like the soap or our ball pumps), zapping down walls/fences/bricks/trees or whatever is rolling down the sidewalk at us (“Wait a second! Here comes some boulders!”), talking about the sun and moon, and checking the ripeness of the fruit on our neighbors’ trees, which often becomes eating fruit from the neighbors’ trees.
Now that San Diego is heating up, I am going to see Joe less and less in the evenings during our usual walk time. That’s the way it works in Sno Business. So, I’m trying to get used to doing this alone.
I’ve been hustling to find a preschool for Cam and after a lot of research and just a couple tours, I’m pretty set on sending him to Taproot La Mesa. When I visited them, I just had a good feeling about it.
The Director is so warm and sweet and I can see how even the shyest of kids would open up to her. Beyond that, I think it’s the right size to help him socialize, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. I like that there was obvious order to the facility and the daily schedule. I like that it smelled of cleaning products. And lastly, it’s super convenient.
Today was Cam’s “tryout”. He spent one hour of free time where he was paired with one of the teachers and could play with whatever he wanted.
Upon arrival, he was very apprehensive and even teary. But then he saw the playground and got distracted. I told him we would go inside and meet the teachers together and that seemed to quell his anxieties. Once we got inside, I started filling out a form and before I knew it, he was creeping around the corner to see what toys they had. He started playing with his assigned teacher and I quickly said goodbye and that I’d be back very soon. He said “okay!” without looking up.
My mommy heart was pitter pattering, so proud of him for being brave and trusting me.
When I picked him up, the director told me he did great. At one point he asked for me and she said she could call me if he needed her to. But he just asked for a hug and was okay after that. She said she was surprised at how much of their conversations he understood. Smart boy!
We came home and he immediately fell asleep (with his carrot)… and I hung his first preschool painting on the fridge.
Today was a good day!
Normally when Cam wakes up from a nap he is either grumpy or crying or at best just kind of quiet for a bit. A couple days ago I was in the living room waiting for Cam to wake up from his nap when I heard him through the closed door excitedly talking about something. This wasn’t normal and I was curious to figure out what was going on.
He then opened his door and marched down the hallway, very animated, talking and waving his arms. I asked him if he was okay and if he could tell me what was going on.
He proceeded to tell me about his flying dream:
He told me once, then twice, then three and four times. He was so excited about it he wanted to “show dad at the park” (which prompted a discussion about dreams not being real and that he couldn’t and shouldn’t try doing that at the park… ever!).
Even still, I was delighted at his delight. I have always been a vivid dreamer and I can remember many flying dreams over the years. They certainly are thrilling and I can see why he was so excited about it.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the amazing things I’d love to be able to do with Cam and Demi, all the trips and adventures and sites to see. But I’ve also been thinking a lot about the age-appropriateness of anything we do outside our house. If it’s age appropriate for a toddler and an infant, then Joe and I are going to have a lot more fun.
That’s why I booked this little end-of-maternity-leave/last-hurrah/Joe-birthday/belated-Mother’s-Day trip to Palm Desert. I used my Mom’s network to get a referral to somewhere in Palm Springs or Palm Desert that would be fun for the whole family and this place really fit the bill.
It was such a bonus that Regina and MoRo decided to come and Ralle and Bernice decided to come as well. Everyone had fun… from the 2.5 month old to the 90 year old. Seriously.
Cam even said the last day of the trip “this vacation is awesome!” That was a reward in and of itself–validation from my own CamO.
This Mother’s Day certainly was doubly sweet with my TWO babies. And of course getting to spend time with my mom is the cherry on top.
We started the day with a round of soccer golf, which was great for everyone. The adults enjoyed some friendly competition, Demi slept in the stroller, and Cam ran around collecting flags until he was totally pooped.
After naps we collected at UnCoco’s house for beer, bonfire and BBQ followed by s’mores.
Every day Cam says a few things that surprise or impress me because they show his thoughtfulness, his memory, his cleverness, his creativity, his honesty or his humor. Here are today’s highlights.
We’ll start with HONESTY:
Daddy: What did you paint today?
Me: Cam, don’t tell him, it’s a secret.
Cam: We painted you a sign! For your birthday!
While Cam was in the bath, we started talking about all his nicknames. I said I like calling him Cam, CamO, Camden Cruz, CamBone, Bone, Boney, Boney Baloney, Boney Maloney… and then I asked if there were any others he could think of. He said “Olanoff” in a very shy voice, I think because he has never said it before and he wasn’t confident saying it yet. I was so impressed I embarrassed him a little with my squealing and then he said “that’s your name too!”
I love when he demonstrates something we didn’t realize he’d picked up on. I’m proud of him for remembering not only what his last name is, but also that we share a last name.
I didn’t just survive, I had a lovely time at the park today with both kiddos. When daddy isn’t around Cam seems to be more cooperative with me, like he knows I can’t keep up with him when I’m by myself.
With Demi in my carrier, I followed Cam around San Carlos Park while he pretended he was pushing red buttons and breaking all of the equipment so nobody could play on it. He also used his magic wand to send boulders rolling through the park, “abra-ca-dabra!” (Maybe we’re watching too much Blaze?)
After getting the wiggles out, we sat under a big shady tree and had a snack while watching the older kids play baseball down below. While I look forward to watching Cam play sports, I know there are many years of that ahead, so for now, I’m content with my first successful solo park date.
I also have to mention our conversation on the drive home. There was a truck in front of us with a bunch of household items in the bed and its tailgate down. Cam said “Oh no! His trunk is open and something’s going to fall out!”
This prompted me to tell him the famous childhood story about my bike in the back of the truck. I told my dad (Poppy) that he should close the tailgate, but he said we didn’t need to, that the bike would be fine. Lo and behold, it wasn’t. My bike fell out and got run over.
When I finished the story, Cam said “Oh boy! We need to get Poppy a new trailer!”