Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You can always go home

It's funny that I still think of my parents' house, as home, isn't it? I haven't lived there since 2000 but I still think of it as home. It's been a year and a half since I spent any time there so I was very excited to bring Cameron home with me. And plus Cameron was able to spend lots of quality time with Bumpa, Grammy, and her cousins, Ned and Penny.

The flights weren't a total disaster but the flight home was smack in the middle of Cameron's normal nap time. So there were a few melt downs and she absolutely refused to lie down on her seat and my lap to try and nap. And despite an almost 2 hour nap when she got home, Cameron was an absolute terror until bedtime last night. But that's all behind us with a good night's sleep and lots of fun memories from our trip.

Mommy, Esq. and I planned a lot of outings for the weekend. This picture was taken at a very cool indoor play arena, IMAJINE that. There was a pirates ship, grocery store, bouncy house and lots, lots more. Cameron climbed up to the top of a big slide and this older girl was kind enough to help her down the slide. As you can see from Cameron's expression she loved the big slide! And I got a lot of exercise going up and coming down too! Mommy and Cameron take a hayride at Drumlin Farms.
Here the 3 cousins check out the bird portion of Drumlin farms.
This picture is from Stone Zoo. The black bears were very active and kept walking back and forth in front of the kids. They loved it as you can see from Cameron's expression here.
I got mostly back of the head photos from our excursions but we actually managed to get Penny, Ned and Cameron to turn around for a few shots.
Here is a funny anecdote from our trip. My mom mentioned that Ned and Penny can't say the word, "Grammy" yet so they have fallen back on calling her Mimi. Which wouldn't be a problem except my mom's mom's grandmother name is Mimi. So it would be weird for her. Immediately after I said to Cameron, "We're going to go see Bumpa." And Cameron piped up from the back seat with "Bumpa." My mom rolled her eyes and complained that my father seemed to have picked out the perfect grandfather name. Every toddler can see it with minimal prompting. So keep that in mind when you are picking your own grandparent names down the road!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going to Massachusetts

Tomorrow morning Cameron and I fly to Boston to have some quality family time. DH is going to his cousin's wedding so we both get family time, which is nice. It will be Cameron's third time flying but her first as a more aware toddler. I think she was 9 months old for her last flight. 9 months old, not really crawling = easy traveling experience. 17 month old, walking = probably will be a disaster!

I got Cameron her own seat, mostly because the tickets were super cheap (I guess flying the weekend before Labor Day is the way to go). Not wanting to lug around a car seat I ended up purchasing the CARES restraint system. It was a little pricey but we have also decided to fly up to Massachusetts for Christmas and Cameron can use it until she is at least 3. Let me just say that I'm already looking forward to having TWO parents instead of one flying with Cameron for Christmas. Every time we've flown together I've been a solo parent.

I'm bringing books and food for Cameron but I can't decided on toys. I obviously don't want anything loud but I also don't want to deal with Crayons. Cameron likes to eat them and draw on non-paper surfaces. Any suggestions for good toys to bring with us?

I'll be spending a lot of time with my sister, Kristin, and her kids. We are planning a trip to the zoo and IMAJINE that (thanks for the suggestion, Drew!). My goal is to try and go with the flow (normally I'm hyper-vigilant about nap time) and hope that everyone, including me, has a good time.

Wish us luck with our travels and please send along airplane friendly toy suggestions!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who knew I could love her even more?

I’ve mentioned to my sisters before that Cameron isn’t a particularly affectionate child. What I mean is that when DH or I would shower her with kisses or hugs she would passively take it but not return the affection. At least she didn’t squirm away! That would have been tough. But in the course of her development Cameron has started to realize how to demonstrate affection.

First it was to her blankie and lovie. Cameron would pick them up after her nap and cuddle with them. Then she began offering them to me or DH to cuddle as well. She quickly moved on to stuffed animals and started to incorporate “kisses” into her actions. I put quotes around the kisses because like most toddlers Cameron can’t really give kisses. They are more like open mouthed face plants with some accompanying “mah” noises.

This past week Cameron has put two and two together and now reciprocates or even initiates kisses and hugs with me and DH. I didn’t realize how much I needed her to do that until she started. I had no idea that my love could grow even more for her but seeing and feeling Cameron reciprocate our love took my love to a whole other level. Now I ask her for kisses all the time and still get a thrill when Cameron leans over and plants a big wet one on my cheek. Or my leg. Or arm. And she is already turning into a champion hugger. Has anyone else experienced this surge in love when your kid(s) started showing affection? I’m assuming it is human nature to want our feelings reciprocated and I am so happy that Cameron has started to do so.

One other cute story from this week. Yesterday I was running late from work so I called home. Cameron answered the phone (with DH’s help, of course) and we proceed to have our first real phone conversation.

Me: Hi, Cameron. Hi! It’s Mama.
Cameron: Hi. Hi. Hi. Mama. Mama.
Me: How was school today? Did you have fun with Miss Melba?
Cameron: Melba. Melba!
Me: And are you home now with Charlie? How is Charlie?
Cameron: Woof. Woof.
[Lots of noise from buttons being pushed]
DH: OK, we’re hanging up now. See you soon.

I think it was a successful first phone conversation, don’t you?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Language explosion

My sister, Mommy, Esq., predicted that Cameron would go through a language explosion soon when we saw her on our family vacation. Well, she was right! Cameron rarely says words spontaneously but she can parrot, very clearly, a ton of new words. These include*:

Melba (her teacher)
That's Izzy (which is what we say when we see the neighbors' dog so Cameron thinks it's his full name, freaking adorable)

Some of these words I just shake my head over. Did DH really have to teach her picture and mirror? How about some useful words instead? I'm working on teaching Cameron to say "up" but it's not going to well. She prefers throwing herself at me and whining instead of saying "up". Good times.

Cameron will be 17 months next week (sniff, she's growing up far too fast!) so I'm glad her language is on track. I'm sure the doctor will ask us about it during her 18 month appointment. Good thing I write this stuff in my blog or I'd never remember on the spot! So, now when can I expect her to start saying things without prompting regularly? And is there another common age for another language or perhaps grammar (sentences) explosion to be on the lookout for?

*I'm probably forgetting a few others but you get the idea.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Two things have been nagging at my mind that bring up the oh-so-relevant song from Miss “Crazy Hat” Aretha Franklin. Over the past two days Cameron has been spending a lot of time in the Toddler room. I’m actually kind of happy about that, despite a complete meltdown on Monday night due to tiredness, because Cameron thrives when she is with older kids. As I mentioned previously she is the oldest by a few months in the Waddler room which I think lead to some of the pushing and biting incidences. And not to curse it but those behaviors haven’t reared their ugly heads in about two weeks. I guess it was just a phase! I’m sure it will come back around again but for now I will revel in it.

When I dropped Cameron off this morning, she was happily saying “ma-ba” (aka her teacher Miss Melba) when I ran into the Assistant Director. Apparently a new Director has been hired but I haven’t met her yet. I stopped the AD as she was heading into the office. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Me: Cameron has been spending some time in the Toddler room. That’s great because I think she really likes it but does that mean you are starting to transition her into that room? (Note: most kids don’t start there until they are at least 18 months, Cameron will be 17 months next week)
AD: We have visits of a few hours before we start the full Transition process.
Me: Well, I think it’s great that you are planning to move her over because she loves being there (Note: although I’m not sure that two days is a solid indicator) but is there some reason you didn’t talk about it with me and my husband before you started the visits?
AD: [silence]
Me: In the future I really need to understand when you are planning to make changes to Cameron’s daycare situation.
AD: [silence, coupled with a look that indicates I killed her cat]
Me: OK, well thanks for your time.

Really? Is my request so unreasonable? I think not. I confirmed with Miss Melba that a notice is SUPPOSED to go out when the transition process begins. I appreciate that the AD thought Cameron was just “visiting” but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? DH and I should have been asked to come in, sit down and talk about the transition plan. Instead, there was silence. I was perfectly polite (IMO) in my interactions with the AD but I can’t excuse her for not following the process. She is the AD and although she’s been there less than 2 months she should know the process. Plus, the ratio goes up in the Toddler room and we’re supposed to get a reduction in tuition. Perhaps that’s why it’s been radio silence?

The other situation that I’m dealing with at work is my interactions with an administrative assistant who sits RIGHT NEXT to me. She doesn’t support my particular group but she does support a peer group. When I first arrive in my new space I tried to chit chat with her. No response aside from grunts. I assumed that was the way she was but then I hear her laughing and talking and being very friendly with lots of other people on the floor. I don’t talk too loudly on the phone, I don’t bring weird smelling food to work and I keep to myself. Is there some reason that this woman appears to dislike me from the very beginning? It’s a bit insulting to my ego because I’ve always prided myself on being very friendly and supportive of all layers of the organization, especially administrative assistants.

As anyone who works in a large (or even small) company can tell you, administrative assistants are the secret weapons. BigFinance is very complex and sometimes it’s hard to know where to go to get things done (ordering business cards, reserving conference rooms, etc.). That’s why I absolutely need this woman to like me. She is the only person who can book conference rooms on my floor. The rest of my team sits 14 floors below (including the admin) so if I need a conference room on my floor, she is it (a whole other rant on why we can’t book our own conference rooms…stupid bureaucracy). I hold the door for this woman, no response, not even a thank you. If I’m going to the kitchen or out to lunch I ask if she needs anything. A grunt in response.

Normally I would just let it go (although it does prick the ego as I mentioned before) but I need to get this woman on my side. So, dear readers, any suggestions on this situation or the daycare one? For daycare I was thinking about setting up time with the new Director but she started this week, so is that too early?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just like mommy

DH picked up Cameron the other day and he told me that when he entered the room he couldn't see her right away. He said hello to the teacher who was in the middle of a diaper change. Looking around the room DH spotted Cameron sitting up on a pile of mats. She was sitting quietly "reading" a book while the other kids played with toys. Ah, that's mommy's little bibliophile!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned before that I am a voracious reader. I can knock out a book in a few hours. Well, mysteries and trashy romance novels at least. My fantasy books tend to be 600+ pages so that takes a little longer. DH likes to tell the story about when the last Harry Potter arrived in our mailbox one afternoon. I grabbed the book and immediately started reading. I finished the book before bed...it probably took about 5-6 hours to read. What I like the most about reading is that I am a bit of a skimmer so when I go back and re-read a book I can always find new things in it. At least that is my excuse for re-reading books up to dozens of times. How about the rest of you? Do you re-read books? Do you hoard books like me, only purging them for Goodwill every several years?

Cameron has only let me put her in pigtails once but doesn't she look so freaking cute?

DH calls this Cameron's members only jacket. Lately she has been requesting (by pointing, not verbally) to wear a jacket as soon as she comes home from school. Yes, Cameron will hate me for this picture when she gets older but how funny is this shot?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The many faces of Cameron: photos by Natalie

Natalie came to visit this weekend and besides bringing her fabulous self she also brought her kick ass camera. Of course it is really the subject and the photographer that make the photos so great, not just the camera. Or so Natalie would like me to tell you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bright spots

I realize it's been a while since I updated you on my weight loss progress. Last night I achieved a milestone. I have now lost more than 25 pounds. It took a lot longer to lose the latest 10 pounds but I blame vacation for part of that.

While I'm proud of the progress so far I also know that I still have more to go. And I know that I have to be better about exercising. I've let that slip by the wayside for the past few weeks, mostly because I'm lazy and also because there always seems to be something that needs to get done.

My friend Natalie arrives in Charlotte today. The last time she came to visit we ended up buying our Honda Pilot. I'm hoping this visit is a little less expensive! We're going to grill out tonight and then we actually got a babysitter to go out for dinner tomorrow. I think that's a grand total of 3 times we've had a babysitter for Cameron. And I'm even having her come at 6 PM so she can do bedtime. Yes, I'm trying to let go of my need to control! Natalie has promised to take lots of pictures so expect to see a photo post sometime this weekend.

DH got a phone call yesterday from daycare. Cameron was bitten by her "friend" but she was fine. Is it wrong that I was relieved Cameron was the bitee rather than the biter?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Starting up toddler discipline

It’s time for DH and me to bite the bullet and start disciplining Cameron. I would have preferred to wait until she was a little older and just use the tried and true method of redirection until then but then this week happened.

On Sunday I had a lovely play date with my friend Amanda and her son Holden. It was so cute to see how excited Holden was by Charlie and he was constantly petting the dog. So that part went well. What didn’t go well was when Cameron decided anything Holden had she needed RIGHT THEN and WITH FORCE. There was toy grabbing, pushing and a couple of close calls with biting. I don’t mind if Cameron stands up for herself but being a bully is not something I want to encourage and I don’t think that redirection and/or ignoring her is cutting it.

Monday we got a sad face on Cameron’s daily daycare report and a note telling us that she was very aggressive with her friends, pushing and grabbing toys. Tuesday was a repeat. I spoke with her main teacher who told me that occasionally she will put Cameron in a crib if she is being too aggressive but only if she (the teacher) was changing diapers and couldn’t intervene directly. Her teacher assured me that it is a phase and she sees it all the time, especially with bright children. While appreciate the stroke to my parenting ego I can’t just let this go. Cameron was also pushy with her cousins on vacation so this has been a phase for more than a few weeks and I worry about it morphing into habitual behavior.

There are a few things running through my mind:
  • Is this because Cameron is an only child and doesn’t have to share her toys at home? Well, she has to share at school and we have fairly regular play dates and outings to the splash park so I don’t think that is really the right question. Although perhaps I could use it as an argument to convince DH to have another?
  • Is this because Cameron is the oldest child in her room (by a few months)? This one carries a little more weight with me. Cameron needs to learn her limits from other kids, not just adults. But as the oldest by a few months she is a lot bigger, faster and naturally more aggressive. The challenge is that she won’t move up to the next room until 18 months so we have at least another 2 months of this to manage/correct until then. And of course once she starts to Transition you KNOW that I will have other issues…ah, the joys of parenting!
  • Do we really need to start formal disciplining with a toddler? I’m not opposed to this but I’m looking for experiences from my readers about time outs, good discipline/parenting books about toddlers and even general empathy. Please reassure me that my child is not going to turn out to be a sociopath!!