Moments Like These

I’ve heard other parents who have boys and girls talk about their children being best friends. This is a fairly foreign concept for me because my brother and I were friends…. only when nobody else was around for us to play with. And only when I followed my brother’s rules for all the games. And only when we were between the ages of 5 and 11. After that, no promises.

Well, I don’t know if it’s that 2.5 year age difference (both my brother and I, and Cam and Demi) that inspires competition, or if it’s just something in the differences (or similarities) in their personalities, but I don’t get the feeling Cam and Demi will be “best friends.”

That is okay. I acknowledge that they can have a good relationship regardless–that they’ll have a shared experience in life, and will hopefully respect and support each other.

But, now, at 2.5 and 5 years old, we’re seeing small moments where they cooperate and it’s so lovely that it almost cancels out all the conflict and crying. I think Cam will enjoy showing his sister how to do things over the years, but I can tell that Demi only wants a certain level of help because she is so proud of her ability to do things by herself.

As an aside, Cam asked me if I wanted to practice math with him. So, he wrote out a couple equations on paper (addition only for now). He got both of them correct, even with his cute backwards 4. Then he demonstrated the equation in objects. I love watching his brain develop now that he’s in school. His advancement seems faster than I was expecting. Here’s 3 (acorns), plus (indicated by a magnet) 4 acorns , equals (another magnet) 7 (acorns).

Cam Equations

When I asked him how many letters in the alphabet, he cheated by counting the alphabet puzzle spaces, but he nailed “26”. I haven’t really seen him count objects accurately when the numbers get that high. So, another success!

Be In Spider!

When I’ve giggled at and re-watched a kid video 3 or 4 times, that’s a sure sign I should put it on the blog.

Demi has a Michelle Obama board book with phrases like “Be Inspired” and Demi likes having us read the words and she repeats them. I can’t stop laughing at her attempts to say the long words. She’s an articulate girl for her age, but she still hangs onto some mispronunciations with common words (we forever call them pinotails, not ponytails, and things like “strillo” for stroller) and she gets tangled in the long words too. I love it.

Here’s the cutie patootie.

Holy TK!

The last couple weeks have been intense. Good, bad, highs, lows, happy tears, sad tears, stressed tears, all the tears.

Transitions are so tough.

First, Cam said goodbye to Taproot where he’s been learning and growing for 2+ years with Mrs. Karla and her crew.

Who cried the most? Me. Followed by Mrs. Karla who wished Cam well in English and in Spanish. “Mi Amor! I will miss you. You’re going to do so good and make lots of friends….”

And Cam? So nonchalant. He mostly had a little grin and maybe disregard? I’m not even sure. The best I can really translate, he was ready for change as much as a Cam can be ready. On the way home from his last day of school we discussed how he might be ready for more challenges, new people, new learning, new toys and he firmly said that he was ready. That gave me more hope than I’ve ever had in a Cam transition.

From Thursday at Taproot to Monday at Northmont Elementary, Cam didn’t really have time to think about and process all the change. He said he was excited, but we weren’t holding our breath.

Then, Monday.

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Cam was so excited in the morning that when I asked if he was ready he said “let’s go right now!” So we went outside where neighbor Kaya was also leaving for her first day of school (different school, 1 grade ahead of Cam) so we snagged a pic before going separate ways.

At Northmont, we also snapped a pic with Morgan, the only person Cam knows in his new school and new class… thank goodness for that.

They hung up their backpacks and headed inside the Ms. Labshere’s classroom and assumed their seats at different tables.

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He showed a little trepidation and as I tried to leave, I saw him put the legos he was working with back into his tables’ box and put his head down on his table. At that point, I made things worse because I’d forgotten to hand him his glasses and re-approached him. His wet eyelashes and nervous stare just wrecked me.

I tried to give him a pep-talk and not cry myself. I handed him his glasses, kissed him and left. As soon as I was out the door, I was crying and his head was back on his desk.

Luckily, he had a great day. Ms. Labshere said he was a happy camper the rest of the day. She attached this photo to an email update to Joe and I:

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The next days are a blur… for Cam probably and me too. Tuesday – Thursday were smooth and then Joe encouraged me to drop him off on Friday in part so I could see his progress and excitement to go to school.

Well, Friday was pretty tough. He cried a lot and clung to me. At some point, Ms Labshere pried his little lizard body off of me and I had to leave quickly.

This week (week 2) was about the same level of smooth and rocky. We had a couple good days, then on Wednesday when he wanted to take his “me bag” to school, but it wasn’t ready yet, he lost his mind. He wouldn’t leave for school and was screaming over the me bag, no matter what Joe and I could think of to say. We tried gentle, loving, encouraging, stern, casual, … and then we gave up. We had to force him into the car kicking and screaming. It was awful.

Thursday, we had his “me bag” ready, darn tootin’. Heaven forbid we lag another day and face the angry and sad snot monster that was provoked the day before. And he could NOT wait to go to school. Go figure.

So, here is a pic of him and a few of his classmates presenting their me bags.

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Inside Cam’s bag:

  • A ziploc full of jewels and rocks, of course! This was for his favorite possession.
  • A drawing of a BBQ chicken pizza representing his favorite food.
  • Photos of his family and his Mila dog.
  • His favorite toy, which was his Ironman… I can’t say I really think this is his favorite toy, so I think there was some 5 year old psychology going on when he picked it, like perhaps he thought it would be cool? His real favorite toys are his Angry Birds game, games in general, string/tape/scissors. Here are the pics of his family and Mila that were in the me bag:

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Overall, I thiiiiiink we’re going to survive this transition. But it certainly isn’t easy, even in the moments when I think things are happy I can’t help but worry about my little guy and wonder what he’s thinking, how he’s doing and if he’s making friends.

I am extremely proud of him. He’s being brave and trying hard and bringing home little tokens of success. Gosh I love him.

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Do You Know How Much I Love You?

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.
D: Seven?
Me: Way more.
D: Hundred?
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.
Me: oh?
C: Yeah, you’d be up there. [Gestures to the sky]
Me: Oh. Hmm. Probably….

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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?”

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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?”

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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!”

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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?

It’s All in the Numbers

Let’s start off by saying I’m glad Cam can’t tell time yet. He also doesn’t seem to have an opinion on what is “a lot” or “little” so I still for now have the freedom of saying we had a lot of sweets when we had the right amount, or that we only have a little time before bed and I can pick whatever amount of time I want.

But, he is getting better at it. He’s better at counting, can recognize most numbers, write some of them, and has heard certain recurring times enough that he knows 8:00ish is time to get ready for bed and 9:00ish is too late.

One thing I really love is when he tries to say the biggest number he knows. It makes no sense and it’s great.

Here we are discussing how long Bugs Bunny takes to eat a carrot (an astute observation that he never finishes the carrot, if I might add):

If you look close enough you’ll see he’s struggling to focus on me at this close distance–which is what we’re trying to correct with his glasses.

Anyway, the conversation was cute and he cracks me up… and that’s all folks!

Popalops and Pinotails

I’m already rolling into Demi Says, Part 2! Why? Because Daddy-O and I each independently observed her language explosion over the last couple weeks and were discussing how surprised we were that she was communicating so well, and with improving sentence structure and vocabulary in general.

Now I know I already noted that she calls lollipops “popalops” but I hadn’t already noted that she calls ponytails “pinotails” (pronounced pee-no-tails). I decided if she ever has her own blog it should be called Popalops and Pinotails and she’d at least have one devoted reader. I wish she would call them popalops and pinotails forever.

Here’s a photo of Daddy-O’s best pinotails to date:

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Some others:

Yesterday, Demi had a fever the whole day. It rose and then we gave her medicine (“meh-sin”) and it came down again, all day and all night long. This morning as I was tip-toeing around the house getting ready for work and trying not to wake the recovering patient, she quietly walked into the kitchen and startled me with “Hi Mama!” to which I accidentally slipped out, “Sh*t!”

After I gained my composure and gave her a hug. I asked her how she was doing. She said “me all betta, no more feeber.” She definitely wasn’t 100%, but she was right that the fever broke and she must have felt better.

It made my mommy heart happy that she at least sort of understood the situation and her condition. I think it bodes well for minimizing the tantrum phase if she can process these kinds of concepts and give feedback that we understand and can respond to.

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Tonight, when I got on the road after work, I called the fam to check in. I can surprisingly have a back and forth with Demi which goes something like this:

D: Mama almost home?
Me: Almost, I’ll be home soon.
D: Where are you?
Me: On the freeway, I’ll be home in just a little bit.
D: All done working?
Me: Yes, all done working.
D: I love you.
Me: melty and swooning as much over her conversation as over her itty bitty little phone voice.

At that point, it was a little after 6 and Demi told Joe she was tired. I was bummed to hear this because that meant if she actually fell asleep that early, I wouldn’t get to see her.

When I got home at about 7, I tried to make a quiet entrance and she came running around the corner. I greeted her and said, “I thought you were going to bed, what happened?” She responded with, “I climb out of bed mama.”

Oh how I love how simple and matter of fact kids can be.

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Other words/phrases/sentences/commands she has tackled pretty successfully:

  • Garage door open mama
  • Me hungry now mama, breakfast
  • Like it! or Mila like it! or Me like it! or Mama like it!?
  • Careful mama
  • Demi self, Demi do it, Demi turn
  • Great Grandma Bernice gave her a Goldilocks and the 3 Bears book that had a little stuffed Goldilocks with it. The other day she pulled the book out and asked “Me Goldilocks?” to ask where her doll was. Seriously she said Goldilocks.
  • Daddy do brother laundry. All dirty. Jacket dirty.
  • Monkey gave it to me
  • Santa gave it to me
  • Raaaaaaining! Poooooouring!

I absolutely love listening to her talk, free-form, after we read books and turn off the lights. She often rambles about her day and says really cute sweet things that I just respond with “oh yeah?” and “very good” and “thank you for telling me” because they really are stream-of-consciousness with a bunch of nouns in a row like “Inny, Poppy, Larson, Baby Steely, brother funny,” and then she usually caps it off with a “me happy” or “I love you mama.”

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.