I work in the nutrition world, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when my kids incorporate concepts into regular old conversations. But it still is.
For example, when Cam was only two, Inny put him in the high chair and turned on a show so she could make him lunch. She asked what he wanted on his bagel and he said “protein.” Back then I was always worried about him feeling/staying full because he has always been an aggressive eater. Even still… so laugh out loud funny.
Well this time, Joe was rounding up all our sunblock bottles because the season is upon us and he asked me if two of them were okay to use. I said no. He asked why and I told him they have some of the harmful ingredients. He offered to only use them on himself and I proceeded my nagfest–loving, yes, but you know, one of those conversations you don’t let go of. Eventually we moved on.
Then, Demi asked me why we couldn’t use that sunscreen, so I explained the ingredients aren’t good for you, at which point she asked me, “Why mama, do they have probiotics?”
In what world does a 5-year old remember the word probiotics?
It is one of a million daily reminders they are always listening and watching, for better or worse.
I’ve been a mom for 7.3 years, but just recently I earned my mom badge, which is the badge you receive after surviving a truly awful parenting moment.
Let me lay the scene…
It was 6:30pm on a Monday, we were 10 days out from Christmas and 1 day out from a road trip to see great grandma. Joe volunteered to help set up a holiday activity at Cam’s school and so I was alone with the kids and my worries about being ready for Christmas–gifts for the kids, cards and gifts for my colleagues and bosses, teacher appreciation, etc. etc.! I was almost out of time.
That’s when I decided to beg the kids to be good and patient through a short trip to Target. I promised the better they behaved the quicker it would be. And mayyyybe they would get a small treat at the end.
They agreed begrudgingly and not 3 steps in the Target doors did they begin arguing, complaining and touching things.
I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. I’m tired. I’m bored. I want to ride in the cart. I want to get out of the cart. Can I have one of these? *tosses something we aren’t buying into the cart. And on and on and on.
About 40 minutes later we were rounding the last turn. I genuinely had one last “frill” to purchase for the 3 people on my team at work. I was sniffing candles, Cam was in the cart acting like it was the worst day of his life. Then it began…
Demi was touching and pushing on a tall fuzzy rug on the opposite side of the aisle, it fell over, across the aisle and hit a shelf full of candles. I was SO lucky they only clinked and shifted. But that set Demi off crying and apologizing and hugging my leg while I was trying to finish the shopping trip from hell.
Then Cam said “I don’t feel good.” And I rolled my eyes, not believing anything was truly wrong, and told him we were a couple minutes away from being out of there.
I turned away from him to continue picking candles and Cam said, “Mama, I really don’t feel good.”
His cheeks were red and got up on his knees and said “I think I’m going to throw up.”
And the poor, sweet, sick kid just exploded with vomit. Mind you, we’re in Covid times, so Cam had a mask on and he also wears glasses. So the explosion went up and out the mask and glasses. He threw both down into the cart and proceeded to heave 3 or 4 more times through the bottom of the cart.
It was so sad, but I also didn’t know how to fix the situation. I looked in all directions for an employee in yelling distance. I totally would have yelled. But there weren’t any. And fellow shoppers were pretending they couldn’t see us (that’s the holiday spirit!). I then called the Target twice following the phone tree to customer service where it dropped my call. Eventually a woman with a cart swung by to tell me they let the cashier know to send help.
A young cashier arrived to this horrifying scene, at which point he was probably questioning his life choices. But he still helped… brought paper towels and a hand basket so I could transfer the items I STILL needed to purchase even under the circumstances. We took off Cam’s sweatshirt and mopped up his face and glasses. Then the clean-up guy came with his mop and supplies.
I apologized upside down and backward that he had to deal with the mess. I then told Cam not to get near anyone or touch anything as I held the soiled stuff in my left hand and shopping basket in the right. We awkwardly checked out and Cam said, “At least I feel better.”
Yeah, buddy. At least that!
That was when I earned my mom badge.
From there, the stomach bug swept through our whole house. That’s the first time since having kids that we have had a full family sickness. Everyone threw up for 5-6 hours and then we each spent a day achey with low energy. And it took a couple days for our appetites to come back. And, ultimately, we lived to tell the tale.
***Written weeks ago and now I’m pining over this little moment outside the Covid bubble. Basically, I’m extra grateful we did it and didn’t postpone. Life lesson? Maybe.***
We planned a camping trip for Grandma Monkey’s birthday (mid March). As the weeks whittled down, we watched the weather and it became apparent it wouldn’t be ideal. But, with all the energy spent preparing and hopefulness about the weather, we chose to forge ahead!
From the parents’ review, the trip was mostly successful with very bright spots, but holy smokes, it was a ton of work with a bit of struggle and cold fingers sprinkled in.
As for the many bright spots… we loved the togetherness of 4 families camping and spending time together. We loved letting the kids run free, pedal free, scoot free. We loved figuring out tasty meals made on the open flame, sharing stories and drinks, sitting around the campfire, chatting with neighbors, and leaving the digital world behind (ZERO cell service as Covid news was rapidly unfolding) in favor of idle time among the trees and other super chill campers.
As for the struggle, we packed a lot of clothing, used almost all of it, and we packed a lot of food, used almost all of it. The kids, of course, enjoyed the rain while they were running around wild, but then were suddenly cold, wet and muddy and in need of immediate warm and clean clothing, snacks or meals.
And sleep was brutal, no matter where we were situated. It was very cold outside, but sweltering inside the cabin. The brand new air mattresses were squeaky as they rubbed against the wood bed frames, and the confusion of soothing half-awake children numerous times throughout the restless night meant that both Regina and I were basically on-alert all night long. Night two was slightly better with an additional cabin and fatigue (and cocktails) knocking us out, but when people say they come home from camping feeling rejuvenated, I have no clue what they’re talking about. Perhaps just their spirit?
From the kids’ point of view, I’ve gotten mixed reviews (haha!). Cam saw the minimalist cabin when we arrived and said, “this isn’t what I was thinking. This isn’t as fun.” He heard ‘cabin’ and envisioned the full houses we’d rented before in Big Bear. But then, as we were leaving, both kids were very upset. Cam asked if we could do it again “in two weeks.” And Demi, who has become very close with Morgan, was sad the time with her was over. When we left the campground, Demi was in tears.
Both kids can agree, however, that riding in the cars from cabin to campsite without seat belts was a total thrill. Other things they enjoyed:
playing frisbee with neighboring dogs Romeo and Butón (French for button)
our Mila dog being able to run free and adventure with us; she was attached to Joe’s side
staying up late and having a big old slumber party with friends and family
jumping and running around the campsites, logs, rocks and roads
biking and scootering around the campground with little worry of traffic… Cam finally got the bug to start working on his bicycling skills, which he has carried home (yay!)
our Saturday night meal… Cam had three servings of steak and exclaimed that the sweet potatoes made him feel funny inside
collecting treasures like leaves, flowers, rocks, bones (lots of fish bones at the lake), seeds and other found objects
having way more sweets than usual including delicious s’mores
Monkey’s birthday breakfast in Aunt Emily and Gabriel’s trailer
petting a snake at the ranger station–her name was Lucy
One of my favorite moments was on Saturday after our big, delicious meal and s’mores when the fire was blazing and everyone on the trip was sitting around laughing, chatting, enjoying, and Demi fell hard asleep in my arms. She is starting to get past the days of sleeping in my arms and it was glorious. I sat with her warm and snuggly asleep in a blanket with noise and music in the background. Even when we drove back to the cabin and I situated her in bed, she didn’t flinch. She was worn out from the adventure of camping.
I learned SO MUCH from this trip and I feel far more equipped to tackle another adventure in the wilderness. I hope we can get a couple more together this summer (when it isn’t in the 40s/50s!!) and start to get our prep and planning simplified so it’s less labor-intensive and more quality-time intensive.
Here’s another Cam Says / Demi Says, but holy smokes, this one was a doozy. Let’s start with that one…
Me to both Cam and Demi: do you know how much I love you both?
D: I o’ know (how she says I don’t know)
Me: A lot.
Me: Way more.
Me: Way more.
C: Like a million hundred, ninety eight hundred, ninety eight?
Me: Yeah, more like that.
C: But you wouldn’t want to count to that many. It would take a long time.
Me: I agree, that wouldn’t be fun.
C: Yeah, by the time you get to that number, you’d be gone.
C: Yeah, you’d be up there. [Gestures to the sky]
Me: Oh. Hmm. Probably….
Demi was sitting on the counter while I made her breakfast. When I opened the fridge to get out the peanut butter and jelly, I said, “Woah, the fridge is stinky!”
Demi said, “brother poop in it?”
One day later Demi and I were leaving the house for errands and when I opened the car door I realized the night before leftovers were inside. I said, “Woah, what’s that smell?”
Demi then said, “brother toot?”
A few days ago I handed Demi a wipe and asked her if she would wipe off her mouth and hand.
She responded sternly with a slight smile, “No mommy, me no wipe my mouth and hands!”
Surprised, I said, “Excuse me, where did this attitude come from?”
She replied, “My mouth!”
Last thoughts from Cam before falling asleep at bedtime:
Do rainbows only happen when there’s rain and sunshine at the same time?
Does this… [uses his finger to draw a question mark in the air]… mean a mystery?
A while back I started the series “Cam Says” because so many things out of his mouth inspired laughter or surprise or even amazement.
Demi is now a hilarious little chatterbox herself with her own clever ways of communicating. I feel like she’s picked up language and communication so quickly that I’ve already missed recapping stages of her language development including the cute way words come out before they start sounding like the real word.
So, to pause time right now at 22 months, these are some of her words, phrases, sounds, etc.
Santa Claus gave her a new baby doll for Christmas. We asked her what her baby’s name was and without hesitation she said, “Coco.” And since Christmas, most days she recaps to us: “Baby Coco, Santa Claus, sweet boy.” If it isn’t obvious, that means she got her baby Coco from Santa and he is a sweet boy for giving it to her.
Also during the holidays, we had a blowup helicopter on the roof with Santa waving out the front window, frosty waving out the back and a spinning propeller. Every day at least twice she asked to go outside and see the “calculare”. That was helicopter. Sounded more like calculator. But we knew what she meant.
Other holiday related conversations: “Elfie gone,” “Santa, roof,” “Dee-ah (deer), Bumble?” “Broken, batteries.” “Mickey Mouse!” (neighbors had a 8′ tall blow-up Mickey), “tree sad” (ours got extra crispy).
Lollipops = Popalops … OMG this is a cute one to hear.
She has many different books featuring animals, one of which has a donkey that says “Hee-haw” and she “hee-haws” with the best of ’em.
It is no secret our children like milk. A lot. And because they ask for it so much, sometimes we water it down. Demi now thinks milk always gets water. So as you’re prepping her milk, she coaches you through the process: “Bottle. Milk. Water in it.”
A month or two ago, she said I love you for the first time. It sounded like, “Allo you” and now, after a little practice, she says it clearly and frequently, “I love you.” It is often proceeded by “Hi mama.” And she’ll repeat the two phrases a few times just melting me right into a puddle.
Typical phone conversation when I’m leaving work to drive for an hour and want to check in on the family: Demi: “Hi mama! I love you!” Me: “Hi baby, how are you?” Demi: “Almost home?”
When Joe had a pretty bad cold a couple weeks ago, Demi asked if she could check on him. She’d say “check daddy” and then she’d go to the doorway and holler for him, “daddy okay!?” quite loudly. She now does that regularly, checking in on brother or daddy and yelling into a room “brother okay?” or “daddy okay?”
When you tell her something is broken or sick or not feeling well, she’ll give a sad face and say “huggie?” How can you resist a huggie request? You can’t.
On work days when I come into the house from my office she asks “work done?”
She knows when I want “more coffee”.
She sits on the counter in the morning while I make breakfast and reaches over and opens the blinds and asks, “betta’ mommy?” Yes Demi, betta. For Joe, she likes retrieving hats for him and demanding he put them on and then she asks in a sugary sweet voice, “betta daddy? Cozy?”
Same for when she’s seated next to our water dispenser. She first asks “water, mommy?” And I’ll say “okay”. And then she prompts me to say please by saying “please?” So I say please. Then she fills up a cup and hands it over. When I finish she asks, “more water?” And repeat until I’m overly hydrated.
She says “bless you” when people sneeze.
She says “thank you” when you do her a favor.
She says “excuse me” when she needs you to move.
She says “sorry” even when it’s Cam’s turn to say sorry. “Sawee brudder.”
If anyone is climbing on anything, most particularly an adult on a ladder she demands they be careful, “careful daddy!”
When we play our kid-friendly regular music, she requests the “meow meow” song and then shortly after she requests Cam’s favorite song, which he’s always referred to as the “Beat Boys” so she asks for “Bee Boys mommy?” It’s actually Drift Away by Uncle Cracker and I’ve heard it no fewer than 200 times in the last 5 months.
As of the last several days she has gone into “myself” and “own” mode much more aggressively than Cam ever did, so far as I can remember. She wants to get her “own diapa” and do things “Demi self” and if you get too close to what she’s doing she gets mad quickly.
Most frequent phrases include:
“See mommy?” or “see daddy?” or “see brudder?”
“Hungy” which already is turning into “Hungry”
She talks about going to “Monkey house” and “Gina house” frequently.
When I ask what she did today, she says “Inny house. Poppy. Lawson.”
When she talks on her phone she says “Hi Poppy!” then pauses and says “no” and then says “bye Poppy.”
During Halloween, most everything was “‘pooky!” said in a low voice with a serious face.
All food is described as “picy” (spicy) or “hot”. Oddly enough she likes spicy and can tolerate hot pretty well too. Cam can’t handle either.
She started sort of counting, “two! three! two! three!” for a few weeks and just the other day she said “one! two! three!” as well as “three! two! one!” Every time she asks for something and you say “just one, okay?” she negotiates with “two?” again in a sugary sweet voice and both hands in front of her face indicating two, followed by a “please?” More often than not, she gets two.
This month I left town twice for work, the first time for 2 days and the second time for 4 days. The first trip was okay, but the second made me miss my kids so much! Even when I thought I would have time to facetime and catch up, I couldn’t because there were too many activities crammed together. So, while I missed out on some things this month, I’m glad I didn’t miss any major milestones.
She sprouted her 2 bottom teeth a couple weeks ago and she’s had a bit of a time with it–low fever, runny nose and fussy. (This is one of those milestones that hits me hard–no more gummy babies, ever 😦
She still has an iron grip and often pulls out strands of my hair, but she has started playing with our hair sometimes too, twisting her fingers around the backs of our heads when we’re holding her.
She took her first big girl bath with her brother. Both of them were amused.
Her favorite part of any toy is the tag
Dad and brother make her smile and laugh and kick her feet around, but generally speaking she is still generous with her smiles
A few months ago she would let anyone hold her and while she may not smile, she also didn’t fuss. This past month she developed some sense of stranger danger, which mostly applies to bearded men, but if she’s tired may apply to anyone that she doesn’t see regularly.
She’s eating more solids and getting the hang of opening her mouth for a spoon. Sometimes she tries to show us she knows how to chew, but sadly, we’re still on foods that don’t require such skills.
I realized somewhat recently she no longer gasps for air at night. Thank goodness she grew out of that!
She is very interested in crawling and has started lunging for objects, going split-legged and falling forward. Alas, she is a big girl and I think it’s going to take some more practice and muscle before it actually happens. This photo shows both her split-legged stance as well as her poop face. Ha!
And here’s a random assortment of Demi cuteness over the last month (and no, she is not pulling herself up to stand. I totally cheated and propped her up against the couch)…
Cam’s preschool does a celebration for each kid’s birthday. I was out of town with work, but Joe, Demi and the grandmas attended. They reviewed photos of significant events in Cam’s life and had him walk around the sun, one time for each year. Then the kids got to enjoy a special treat. Ralle, Cam and Joe made fruit snakes on silly straws and the kids gobbled them up!
But you know the saying…. every party has a pooper. Yes, this really happened. The Olanoffs really know how to make an impression.
Then, on Friday, his preschool hosted an Open House. Since I don’t get to drop off or pick up, I was a little too excited to have him show me everything. We followed clues around the school to visit all the major areas and he showed me his favorite things. I was impressed by the organized way they play with everything. He’d take an activity tray from the shelf, find a desk, play with the activity start to finish, clean it up, push his chair in and return the tray to the shelf.
I was also impressed by his motor skills. The activities required concentration and coordination and he was really good at doing each activity like pouring sand from one small container into another small container.
Last, but not least, I almost fell over dead of excitement when he DREW 2 LETTERS! Cam hasn’t been very engaged by pens, crayons, pencils in the past. He’ll scribble for about 15 seconds and then move on to the next activity. So I assumed writing the alphabet was many months away. But he was playing with a letter bubble where you push it and the dice pops around. It landed on a lowercase j. Cam said, “Look! J for Joe!” and proceeded to go to his tray, draw a dot (while narrating “first draw a dot”) and then a curved hook underneath it. Then he pushed the bubble again and a lowercase l popped up. A lowercase l isn’t quite as impressive of course, but he drew a straight-ish line in proportion with the j. *Proud mama moment*
I also loved how I told him I was excited for him to show me things and he took my hand and led me around telling me all about it. Listening to a 3-year-old explain what’s going on is one of my very favorite things.
Neighbor Kaya was also at Open House so we got a cutie little photo of them together. One funny thing is that during Cam’s birthday celebration he got to pick a person to come up and look at the photos with him. He chose Kaya and Joe said that 2 girls started crying. Then, at Open House, a little nugget named Elizabeth (who informed me she is also 3 years old) exclaimed “Camman” when we arrived. She ran over to hug Cam and he ran from her. Again on the way out Elizabeth came to say goodbye. Turns out Cam isn’t ready to hug Elizabeth. As best we could get him to explain, he just doesn’t know her very well.
My sweet little poonum pie is 6 months old! She is just a delightful little lady showing off her chubby smile any chance she gets. In fact, she’s so charming I almost lost her to a Home Depot employee who wanted to babysit her “forever.”
She had her 6-month check-up scheduled for this afternoon and so, when I finished up with work, I grabbed a couple diapers and wipes and ran out the door with her. Well, shame on me for thinking that’s all I’d need. When I got there, I took her out of her car seat and discovered a slimy trail going up her back. She blew out her diaper and had poop all over her back and onesie. What’s a mom to do?
I changed her diaper, bagged the onesie and wiped her down. Then I put her shorts back on because they were in good shape and then I made a baby blanket halter shirt for her so she didn’t have to show up naked. Très chic! You can get your own soon when I open my Etsy store.
As for the check-up itself, she got 4 shots and 1 oral vaccination. She cried for about a minute and then was back to her happy self. She also got weighed and measured and, let’s just say if it were a competition (which it isn’t, I know), she’d be winning.