Real Stat: 50% of Life with Cam is Spent Talking Like a Character

For at least the last year, Cam has wanted us to be the voice of his stuffed animals, bath toys, action figures, and really anything with a face and a mouth. I still remember how he used to tell us to use a voice: “he talk.”

It used to be mostly in the bathtub where we would create stories with his magnetic fishes or the Dory figurines. We’d play hide-and-seek with the otter saying “hello!” when Cam found him under the bubbles.

More recently, this has picked up steam and I estimate that approximately 50% of our communications with Cam go through his toys. Sometimes when he is being difficult or defiant, we can get him over the hump by talking like a toy. Seriously.

Just this evening when Cam said “I’m still hungry” after he’d already eaten a few different post-dinner snacks, we told him to have some of my lemon chicken. He said he didn’t like lemon chicken. And so I told him that Iron Man loves it and said like Iron Man “I love lemon chicken, yum yum yum.” Cam immediately popped up and shoved a big piece of lemon chicken in his mouth.

I especially love when Cam gets used to Joe doing a particular voice and then he asks me to make Spiderman talk, but when I do he says (totally straight faced, totally serious), “that’s not his voice.”

While it’s ridiculous sometimes, most often he is expressing such rich imagination that it is so fun to listen to. It makes me smile. I love hearing him teach his animals how to brush their teeth and why it’s important. I love listening to him talk about his plan to build a cannon to launch the cannon ball into the alien guns. I love hearing him consult monkey on whether or not we picked the right bedtime books.

Side bar: he is obsessed with Joe’s childhood action heroes. Cam doesn’t even know where they come from and has never seen a movie or even a YouTube clip of them. He calls them “the superheroes” and takes them on our walks, takes them into the bathtub, props them up in a circle and gives them game pieces for a round of “Candy World” (Candy Land). It has been a few weeks now and the novelty hasn’t worn off. I think these guys are here to stay.

“See superheroes, this is how you brush your teeth.”


I think I’ll be asking Cam to finish his dinner with Captain America’s voice for the foreseeable future. And that’s okay with me.



The Wild World of a 3.3 Year Old

CamO is such a complicated guy. But, I think it’s a three-year-old thing and totally natural. Talk about highs and lows and more highs and lows all in the same day. In addition to that, he’s exhibiting definite signs of being a “three-nager”… he’s got sass! I even had to talk to him about sass because he left me wide-eyed with his comments.

Highs: Cam is so smart and creative and entertaining. I love watching him think and draw and create and talk and ask questions. He came home from school and told me all about Mercury and narwhals. Evidently, Mercury is a rocky planet with lots of volcanoes and narwhals sometimes get their horns frozen in the ice. Here he is just talking and talking and talking in his imaginary world where he enjoys tea time with superheroes and bandits steal cake from his bedroom:

He can also be so sugary sweet. Just melt your heart sweet. Look at this little angel face!


Lows: He gets so into whatever he’s doing that he has a tough time transitioning. If he’s coloring, he doesn’t want to stop coloring. If he’s playing in the yard, he doesn’t want to stop playing in the yard. If he’s bathing, he doesn’t want to stop bathing. Etc. And this can turn into a tantrum, like today when Joe and Cam were leaving the Stadlers’ house. He had so much fun playing with Morgan that when it was time to go, it was a 5-alarm meltdown.

He also seems to have a few good weeks with no real moments and then a tough week filled with defiance and tears and tantrums. It’s so hard to figure out how to handle an upset, irrational kid who is normally able to tell you exactly what he wants or needs.

And then there’s the sass. Here are a couple gems from the last week:

Me: If you can’t be nice to your sister, especially in her own room, you need to take a moment to yourself and leave the room.
Cam: Fine! “B” is for BYE!
*Slams the door*

Me: Please stop throwing things, you could hurt someone.
Cam throws something else across the room as he looks at me.
Me: Since you’re not listening to me, I’m going to have to put away one of your toys.
Cam: We’ll see about that.

Joe and I left for the weekend and came back on Sunday, so I barely got any time with him before it was already Monday and time for work. I missed his sweet face so much I think I kissed it 150 times by the time he got into bed tonight. He might be complicated but he’s the best little bug.

Cam Says, Part 4

Me: Cam, your pants are on inside-out and backwards.
Cam: Oh. [Considers it] No biggie!

“You can sit here mom. Theres a lot of room for your big caboose!”

Cam: My school is awesomer than Morgan’s.
Me: Why do you say that?
Cam: Because mine is a tree school (his is called Taproot and their logo is a big tree) and hers is a preschool.
Cam: But they are both preschools.

A bunch of kids were watching the koi in a pond at a restaurant. The fish were coming up to the wall and putting their mouths against it. One boy was laughing and said: “They’re eating the wall!” And Cam said very seriously, “No, they’re eating algae.”

Me: Wait please.
Camden: I can’t wait anymore mom because I’m all out of time.

And finally, here is Cam telling me all about angles (and tongs):

Anatomy of a Boy

No no no no, not like that. I think everyone knows the true anatomy of a boy. What I mean is… there are some moments in Cam’s life where I can’t help but think he is such a classic boy.

This photo captures one of those moments.

Such a Boy

Here’s the anatomy of my little boy:

  • pajama top
  • no pants
  • rain boots on an unseasonably warm day
  • filthy nose
  • pizza sauce around the mouth
  • bed head
  • brandishing a stick-like object, in this case his beloved broom
  • acting out some imaginary situation
  • not a care in the world!

I cherish these moments and hope he will always be a silly and free little boy.

Cam’s Birthday & Open House at Preschool

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!

Making Silly Fruit SnakesIMG_7372.JPG



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.


Cam Says, Part III

Here we go again…

Joe put some rubber/spongy tiles in the garage, the kind that go together like a puzzle, and the edges are kind of useless in my opinion. We don’t need the edges to be flush and they are skinny and flimsy and always coming apart. They’re basically a tripping hazard. So, I placed a few of the loose ones in the small trashcan by the side door.

Well, a couple days later we were in the house making dinner and Cam turns to me and says, “You know, mom, it’s not nice to throw things away that other people are still using.”

Mini Joe.

We’ve gone through the Starbucks drive-through enough times that Cam gets the concept of saying your order through the window of the car and then pulling forward to pick up the order.

Some days I order him ice water, some days we splurge on lemonade. He enjoys asking for his drink through the window and getting it from the cashier.

Today after I picked him up I decided to go to the Mexican food drive through for lunch. He asked me for lemonade, but they don’t have any. So I told him I would get a horchata to share. But then, as I was trying to tell the woman my order over a very crackly speaker, he spotted a picture of flan on the menu, which looked just like an unfrosted cupcake.

He started shouting “..A CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE!”


I laughed and tried to repeat the end of my order because she couldn’t hear me. And he yelled again “A CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE!”

I gave up and pulled ahead to the window to place my order because he kept shouting, not wanting to give up on that dream.

Luckily, she found it funny and Cam loved the horchata. But my goodness, this kid loves cupcakes.

Aaaaaand a totally unrelated video of Cam enjoying a mid-summer squall.