Monday, December 12, 2011

Cameron's first visit to Santa

We may be going a little overboard for Cameron's first real Christmas. At 2.5 she "gets" it and we have been shamelessly using Santa's impending arrival as both a threat and a bribe. Both DH and I have been buying her presents so we've ended up with a pile that is far too big. I ended up setting aside two presents already for her birthday and we haven't even received any grandparent gifts yet. Next on my list is to clean out all the current toy locations to make room for new toys.

We were supposed to go to Florida this weekend but due to a series of mishaps involving ceiling tiles our flight was cancelled. We couldn't rebook until the late evening and at that point our 2.5 day trip was down to 1.5 days. So we decided to bag it and reschedule for January. Sorry, Mimi & Papa!

That gave us a "found" weekend to get some Christmas related activities completed. Tree up? Check. Tree decorated? Check. Gingerbread house assembled and decorated? Check. Santa visit? Check! And as you can see from the pictures below, Cameron wasn't at all shy around Santa. Think she likes him?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cameron quirks

Cameron has been doing a few things lately that are alternately cute and annoying. Let me share....

Cameron is using her potty training as a weapon. Every time we put her into time out she pees herself. It's totally deliberate and has left a faint smell of urine in her time out spot despite multiple scrubbings.

Aside from a few accidents (or not so accidents per above) here and there, Cameron is officially potty trained. True she isn't consistently going #2 as regularly as pre-potty training and she needs constant reminders and forceful trips to the bathroom but she stays dry all day. Of course I did not anticipate the pooping in her pull up at nap time. More importantly I did not anticipate that she wanted to "help" and decided to change herself while in bed. I was greeted to a nice smell of poop and lots of clean up activities when I went to check on why she was being so noisy, mid nap. Lovely.

Cameron wants to make sure that Santa brings presents for me and DH too. How freaking cute is that? She has a Santa list made out and it includes things like: paint my toes pink & green, new underwear, an Oso toy and a Backyardigans toy. I think Santa (or family) will be coming through on that.

A friend graciously burned several of the classic Disney movies like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, etc. Damn Disney for their stupid "vault"! I would pay for the DVDs if they just offered them retail like a normal company. But I digress. Last night Cameron was watching Sleeping Beauty and was very upset at the scene where the prince was attempting to rescue Aurora. She demanded that I turn off the movie and put on a Winnie the Pooh instead. I had forgotten how scary some of those older Disney movies are!

Cameron is really starting to rub along with Charlie. It's taken longer than I thought but now she regularly gives him kisses and pats and tells him that she loves him. She also imitates us and tells him "You are such a good boy." If we can get Charlie and Cameron to cooperate one of these days I'd like to get a great photo of the two of them.

What cute or annoying things has your kid(s) done lately?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Keeping my head above water

BigFinance had layoffs this week. Again. They layoffs were primarily in my division and I personally know several good associates who were let go. This is a particularly hard time of year given the holidays.

While I am thankful to be still gainfully employed the reduction in resources has required me to take on additional tasks on top of what I picked up back in September which is also on top of my regular responsibilities. Needless to say, it's been stressful. I worked until 9 or 10 each night this week and should be working now.

I deliberately pursued BigFinance while I was in grad school because I wanted a good work/life balance. I can only hope that this situation is temporary and once my two big deadlines pass (12/6 and 1/13) my work/life balance can return to normal. In the meantime I am attempting to keep a few things top of mind and find a more zen-like state.

  • Finding time for me. I got a run in yesterday and it was the first time in over a week. Considering I should be training for my 8K on Thursday (eek!! Thursday!!) that's not good. So I'm committing to myself that the computer can be shut down for an hour or two every couple of days so I can get a run in. And I refuse to feel guilty if it cuts into time with Cameron. Well, not too guilty anyway.

  • Keeping the evening hours with Cameron sacred. Aside from when a run interferes I also plan on being present with the family in the evenings. Cameron goes to bed around 7:30 so there is plenty of time to get back to work after she goes down.

  • Eating decently. It can be hard to keep to healthy eating habits when work becomes consuming. I plan to continue bringing a healthy breakfast and lunch to work each day with an occasional indulgence of eating out. I have, however, given myself permission to increase wine consumption.

  • Embracing the holidays. Sure, I don't really have time to get any holiday shopping done but dammit, I love Christmas! So I will find time to put up the decorations, bake the cookies and wrap the presents. And also introduce Cameron to Santa and all the awesome family traditions.

  • Finding the bright spots. Cameron has been so great with potty training. It's hard to believe it was just a week ago we started our quasi "boot camp" with her. She's been in underwear all week at school with only one accident there and two at home. Sure, she hasn't pooped in three days but I'm going to pass that off as a normal part of the learning process. She'll have to go at some point, right?

So that's my plan. I'll check back in and let you know if I'm succeeding. I'll also warn you that my blogging (which has already been irregular) will be even more intermittent.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Potty training bootcamp

Edited to say: Cameron stayed dry all day and came home in her original clothes. Go, Cameron!!

It is fitting that we put Cameron through a potty training boot camp during Veteran's Day weekend, don't you think?

DH and I met with Cameron's teacher on Thursday for a parent/teacher conference. So cute! We learned, not to our surprise, that Cameron can be a little aggressive with other kids. She is certainly bossy with me and DH and that has resulted in some time outs at home. Her teacher is also using time outs (not that they are allowed to call them that) so we will just continue to reinforce that Cameron needs to be nice to her friends and that they don't have to play with her if they don't want to. Considering that Cameron comes through her bossiness naturally (I'm referring to Grammy, of course) we'll just have to keep an eye on it.

During the discussion we broached potty training. For the past few weeks Cameron has consistently been using the potty at school and at home. However, she has this habit of only going a little bit so she either needs to pee again in 15 minutes or she has an accident. But trying to explain to a 2.5 year old how to fully empty her bladder is an exercise in frustration. Plus Cameron wouldn't poop in the potty. She's gotten to the point when she's wearing underwear of asking me to put her in a diaper so she can poop in it. If she's asking that then clearly she is ready to use the potty instead.

DH and I concurred in the car on the drive home that the order of the weekend is underwear and nothing but underwear. For 3 days (she didn't have school on Friday) we hung out at home and watched a lot of TV. We limited liquids and made sure she was on the potty every 45 minutes or so. And we had success! She even pooped on the potty a few times. We still kept her in diapers for nap and bedtime but that was it.

We ran a few minor errands (groceries, Target, library) and she did great. It helps that she likes to try out bathrooms in public places. There was one major accident last night right before bed but I blame myself for not being as insistent as I should that she at least TRY to use the potty. Lesson learned.

So for the first time ever, Cameron is in underwear at school. Along with 3 changes of clothes. DH bet me a million dollars that she would not come home in the same pants she left with. Needless to say, I am no fool and did not take the bet. But I'm still secretly hoping Cameron kicks ass. Wish her luck!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pacifier Plan

Over the past year plus we have made major modifications to when Cameron can have her pacifier. First it was not during the day except car rides or naps/bedtime. Then it was not in the car (except for long road trips that incorporated nap time). Then at age 2 she moved into the 2s room at school and she was not allowed to have her pacifier at school. But we did still let her have it for naps and bedtime at home.

Now that Cameron is over 2.5 years old it is time to start weaning her completely. If we let her keep having the pacifier then she is more apt to sooth herself back to sleep when she needs to get up and go to the bathroom, thus halting our potty training efforts (which are not going well, which is a whole other post). So the pacifier must go.

It's a rite of passage for many toddlers, I know, and it's something that has to happen sooner rather than later. But a part of me is sad. Not so much that it reflects on my baby becoming a big girl, but more about how we are removing a comfort from her and telling her that she can't have something precious to her because it's somehow "wrong." Intellectually I know as she gets older it is bad for her teeth (although given our family histories Cameron will not be able to avoid braces), and I'm sure there are other psychological impacts that I'm not willing to troll the Internet to look up and depress myself with.

So here's our game plan. For the next 6 weeks we will be prepping Cameron for the final removal of pacifiers. Friends of our recently had a second baby and we are leveraging him like crazy to bring Cameron into compliance. We are doing this gradually with a lot of talking and prepping because that's how Cameron rolls. She is not a "rip the Band Aid" kind of kid. She needs to know exactly what is happening and why or she goes ballistic.

We are telling Cameron that she is a big girl now (she agrees) and that Gabe is a baby (she agrees). Only babies need pacifiers (no real agreement yet). And Cameron has to give her pacifiers to Gabe because he is a baby and needs them (sometimes agreement, sometimes wailing "NOOOOOO"). We have 6 weeks to prepare her and the pacifiers will be officially given to Gabe after our trip to Florida in early December.

So, what do you all think? Do we have a chance of success or is dragging it out that long too painful for all of us? What did you do to remove the pacifier from your kid(s)?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Give me candy"

This year was Cameron's first to go trick or treating. So we did what any other neurotic, Type A parents do: we attempted to prepare her for the experience. Up first was buying the costume. I trolled the seasonal aisles of Target about 6 weeks ago while they were fully stocked up to find the perfect costume. There was no way I was making a costume for her; my precious free time is saved for catching up on my rapidly filling DVR and shopping.

I was amazed at the number of gender specific costumes available. Most of the girls costumes, even the toddler ones involved far too little fabric in my opinion. They were also very princess oriented. Now, I am a proponent of princesses and have been known to buy a princess oriented item or two (or a dozen) for Cameron but considering it would be cold outside I immediately dismissed those. So we ended up with a very cute and very warm dog costume. Cameron approved and then it immediately went into the closet so she wouldn't bug me to wear it every day. Mommy is no dummy.

We attempted to put black grease paint on her nose and were going to draw whiskers but Cameron's constant rubbing of her nose put the kibosh on that.
For the past two weeks we have been coaching Cameron on what to say when in the process of trick o' treating.

DH or me: Cameron, after we ring the doorbell, what do you say?
Cameron: Trick or treat. Give me candy.
DH or me: The "give me candy" part is kind of implied. Why don't you say, "Happy Halloween" or "thank you" instead?

Cameron's vocabulary, despite being large, did not include the verb "imply," but we managed to keep her to the "trick or treat" during the actual door to door process.

DH also carved his first pumpkin with Cameron. Since it's been (in his words) 2 decades since he carved a pumpkin last, I think he did pretty well, don't you?

DH tried to get Cameron to use her hands to scoop out the seeds and pulp but she insisted on using her play kitchen spoon.

Happy Halloween! Cameron shows off her loot.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hilton Head Trip - Picture Post

This post is really for the family, especially Mimi who has been demanding more pictures. This past weekend was our annual visit to Hilton Head. 2010 recap can be found here.

Cameron did very well with only a few temper tantrums and time outs. I attribute it to her desire to be good for her Grammy and Bumpa. They commented that she has exactly two volumes: mute or very, very loud. We had to keep reminding her that we were in a hotel and there were people trying to sleep.

This picture was taken at a horse farm. We were trying to convince her it was time to go and as you can see she wasn't buying it.
We had apples (even though the signs said not to bring in outside food) so this deer kept following us around. Cameron is oblivious as she munches away on a slice of apple that the deer is just dying to get.

We continued our tradition of a family photo shoot while on the beach. The light wasn't great and I'm kicking myself because I knew if we waited 30 minutes longer the sun would have cleared the horizon but we had dinner reservations to make. Next year....
I have had DH recreate this photo each year we've gone to Hilton Head with Cameron. What a difference 2 years makes!

A little squinty but a nice family photo.

Cameron is in that stage of not really smiling for pictures unless you can get her to say "cheese". Nonetheless I'm fairly happy with this one and it may be a contender for a canvas picture I bought on Groupon.

Needless to say, relatives can be assured that Christmas presents will be coming out of this photo shoot and of course pictures throughout the year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recommitted to running

I've been a little lazy with my running routine post Warrior Dash. For basically the past two years I have been focused on losing weight, exercising and maintaining my weight loss. And it got a little old. So I was only running 1 day a week and taking a spinning class every Sunday. I did keep tracking my WW points (mostly) but the exercise really fell by the wayside. It was still way more than I used to do (which was nothing) but a few pounds have crept back on.

Enter the Race for the Cure last weekend. I actually trained for it; running every other day for over a week. And I posted my best time ever (38 minutes) for a 5K. The result is that it complete re-motivated me to get back in the groove with training.

So my big game plan? Run an 8K. I'm kind of nervous even typing that out. 5 whole freaking miles. The race day is Thanksgiving day and I've signed up for another 5K for the end of the month to keep me motivated. Having goals to work towards is definitely something I need or I slack off. I'm also planning to run a 10K in the Spring but know I need to be running 4+ miles consistently to get to that point.

If you told the "old" me I would want to be a runner I would have laughed in your face. Now I feel great after a run (tired, but great) and know I'm making myself healthy. And also banking those calories for wine :-)

If you are a runner do you need regular races to stay motivated? Do you listen to music or are you a NPR junkie like me? And what are your recommendations for cold weather gear? This is my first winter as a runner so I need advice.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2.5 is kicking my parenting ass

Warning: Brutally honest parenting post lies ahead.

I completely lost my shit this weekend several different times with Cameron. I am not alone because DH did as well (we seem to trade off being the "calm" one) but it is making me feel like a parenting failure.

Cameron just won't listen. She also displays Jekyll and Hyde tendencies which doesn't help things. Perhaps if she was being a little brat all the time I could handle it. But she swings widely from happy, helpful child to willful, screaming, crying beast.

We can't take Cameron out for more than 15-20 minutes or a tantrum will result. I feel like any of the progress we've made over the past year has disappeared. The thing that really drives me batty is that Cameron knows better. She is old enough, verbal enough and cognizant enough to understand that she is being bad.

I feel like I tell her to do things fifteen hundred times before she'll do it. She just doesn't freaking listen. And yes, I wanted to use the non-PC word in that previous sentence but I'm trying to increase my willpower. We were in Target yesterday and I told Cameron that I was sick of her shit. Yup, I swore at my child. I then bodily picked her up and carried her out of the store and threw her in her car seat. And of course, because I wouldn't let her buckle her own belt I had to hear Cameron piss and moan and cry all the way home. Which was an excruciating 15 minutes.

I'm kind of at my wits end because I feel like this behavior has just kind of sprung on us the past few weeks and I am not handling it well. None of my normal parenting tactics: reasoning, time outs, bribery seem to be working. So, any advice for me? Or commiseration? At least tell me this is just a phase!?!

Cameron being helpful in one of her increasingly rare "nice" period.
We see this expression a lot. Cameron saying "no", sneer of disdain on her face.
This might be the photo I use when put up a "For Sale" sign for her. Kidding. Kind of.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How did this happen?

How exactly did this baby

Turn into this little girl?
As of today, Cameron is 2.5 years old. And she is growing up far too fast for my taste!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The rules go out the window

This past weekend I was solo parenting while DH was in Connecticut for a college friend's wedding. I had 48 hours to fill with Cameron. Normally that's not a problem but we are between kid activities, I'm a bit depressed post BigFinance layoffs and all I wanted to do was veg out around the house. My solution? Throw out all rules and get through the weekend.

Here are some snippets from our time together:

  • Lots and lots of television. I think we watched Tangled about 8 times and I even let her pull out her travel DVD player so I could watch football and HGTV yesterday. OK, you got me, it was more like watching Millionaire Matchmaker and occasionally checking in on the score.

  • Let her eat crap. I dug into the "only once a month" type of snacks and drinks and let Cameron go wild. She even had two juice boxes yesterday (the horror!).

  • Convinced a friend (begged really) to come over for a many-hour play date on Saturday. It resulted in every single toy being pulled out, played with for 5 seconds and discarded but at least Amanda and I got to catch up.

  • Put a pillow over my head. Cameron decided on Saturday that 6 AM was a good wake up time. I managed to hold her off until 6:30. On Sunday it was 5 AM when she started calling for me. I closed my door and put my pillow over my head. We had breakfast at a much more respectable 7 AM.

  • Bribery. I had to do a Target run for essentials. So naturally I stooped by the One Spot and picked up a few things for Cameron to keep her entertained.

  • Forgo bath time. Typically we bath Cameron every other day but somehow I missed Saturday's bath. I took her to McDonald's (or as Cameron calls it, "Old McDonald's) and by the time we got home all I wanted was to put her to bed and pour a glass of wine.

  • Didn't push potty training. Ironically this stance kind of backfired on me because she ended up going like 10 times over the course of the weekend which was good because we've had a regression lately with the training efforts.

  • Let the house become messy. I did pick up post play date (only because otherwise I couldn't have walked through the house) but otherwise I did the minimal amount of housework I could get away with.

We survived and Cameron was very happy to see her daddy on Sunday evening. He even did bath time and bedtime for me so I could relax. And now we are back to our normal routine. So, what do you do to cope when your partner in crime is away?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Big trouble at BigFinance

Yesterday was a difficult day at BigFinance. Anyone who follows the news knows that my company (still attempting a little anonymity here) is attempting to right the ship with a combination of cost cutting and restructuring. I have been here for 4 years and in that time we've had "riffs" although they tended to impact contractors and not full time associates.

I am no stranger to layoffs. My first job out of school started in June 2000 at SmallResearch just before the Internet bubble burst. Needless to say it directly impact me given I worked for a company that covered Internet companies. I managed to survive 4 layoffs throughout 2000 and 2001. Probably because I was young and made little money. It's a good thing I did or I never would have met DH in 2002. Funny how things work out...but I digress.

So yesterday my team found out that there was an across-the-board reduction in workforce. The news was delivered well by my boss but there was a glaring absence in the audience receiving the message. One of my co-workers and key resource on my application had been let go. I feel very much for my co-worker. She is in her 50s and had just come back to BigFinance after a previous layoff. It's challenging enough to find a job in this economy but it's even harder for people who are later in life, despite a plethora of experience. It makes me think about where I will be in 20 years and if I will constantly have to worry about being on the chopping block.

For now I am safe. But that safety is a very transient feeling. I am of the opinion that you never really know you are going to get laid off until it happens. No good reviews or accolades from co-workers can save your position if money is on the line. So for now I extend my sympathies for co-workers who are no longer working with us. And I gear myself up for the next 4-5 months where I will be doing 3 people's jobs (did I mention that another resource found a new role and it was decided not to back fill? Good times.). Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nothing like a little love to make you feel better

I am working from home today recovering from a 24 hour bug that laid me low all day yesterday. This is the first time I've been sick since Cameron has become so aware and so verbal. I will detail a two of our exchanges below.

Me: Mommy's not feeling good so why don't we watch some TV? (Desperately keeping her occupied while DH took an evening work call.)
Cameron: Your tummy hurts?
Me: Yes, my tummy hurts.
Cameron: I give you hug!
She proceeds to give me a big hug and put her hand on my forehead to check and see if I have a fever (DH had done the same thing earlier).

This morning I had enough energy to drive her to school. As we were getting in the car:
Cameron: Your tummy hurts?
Me: Mommy is feeling much better and I will be going into work tomorrow.
Cameron: You wear make up and go to work?
Me: Yes, I will weak make up and go to work.
I just about lost it. Apparently sick, plain faced Mommy offends her aesthetic senses.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Karma or coincidence?

A few days ago I mentioned to my husband that I thought it was odd we had never been called for jury duty in the 4+ years we've lived in Charlotte. Particularly because we both regularly vote and I've heard that it is through voter registration that jury duty selection is made.

I got home from a run with my friend Amanda yesterday. As I sat down to chat with Cameron and DH he pointed to the kitchen counter.

"I blame you for this."

I got up to go and look. Yup, my husband has been summoned to jury duty on October 11th. Weird coincidence, right? Or is it?????

I've never served on a jury but my mom was on one years ago for a first degree murder trial. Most jury duty stuff tends to be boring but every once in a mom was even sequestered for a day or two! Have you ever been on jury duty? Was it boring or a good case? And what was the verdict?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011 - kicking ass and taking names

Approximately 6 months ago I was convinced to sign up for the Charlotte Warrior Dash by Laura Case. At the time it seemed like a good idea. I had almost reached my weight loss goal, I was running regularly and I was ready to take it to the next level. As the date approached I did as little as possible to educate myself about the race. Why? Mostly because I am a mind over matter kind of person but only if I don't know what that matter is until I approach it.

I sign up for the race with my friends, Amanda and Katie. As the race date approached we decided that we would stick together through the course to give each other encouragement. It wasn't about having a good time, it was about finishing the course and feeling good about ourselves. And it completely paid off! Well, except now I am sitting in a chair gingerly, attempting to not put weight on the massive number of bruises decorating my legs.

DH looked up a few details of the race earlier in the week including scrutinizing the course. He told me, "Stacey, this is totally not you." And I agree: it's not. But that was part of the whole challenge of it. It's no secret in my cadre of family and friends that I am about as far from an athletic person as you can get. The exercising I've done over the past two years is probably more than I've done in the rest of my life combined. I have practically no upper body strength and my flexibility is non-existent. But I was determined to do the Warrior Dash, completing every obstacle and finally putting to bed the fact that in elementary school I was in special gym for a few years. Hey, I was a premie born at 31 weeks, so hand eye coordination was something I developed later in life....not that I developed it that well as my ability to throw and catch can demonstrate.

We met up with Laura and some of her friends on race day. It was hot, humid and partly cloudy. No hurricane could save me from my commitment! And how was it? Completely and utterly awesome. We walked most of the course which was OK with me because I had to save massive amounts of energy for the obstacle portions of the race. That included:
  • Climbing 5 foot walls and ducking under 1 foot barriers (I'm sure there was a more graceful and less bruise inducing way of getting over walls but I threw my leg up and over which is why I have a line of bruises down the inside of each leg)
  • Running through tired and climbing in and out of dumpsters (yes they were empty)
  • Scaling a crazy balance beam contraption (a big thank you to Amanda for helping me across as I lack balancing skills)
  • Climbing a 11 foot wall with a rope and then scrambling down the back side. I will admit I'm particularly impressed with myself for doing this one with my lack of upper body strength and fear of heights. And I'm just as surprised as you at being able to complete it.
  • Scrambling in the dark on hands and knees about 100 yards.
  • Scaling and crossing a horizontal rope ladder. That one sucked the most I think.
  • Climbing scaffolding and sliding down a fireman's pole.
  • Walking through an algae infesting pond and over floating logs
  • Up another rope wall and down the other side
  • Jumping over fire
  • Crawling in a mud pit under barbed wire
  • Crossing the finish line
We finished at 1 hour 10 minutes and some seconds. And I don't think I've ever had such a feeling of accomplishment. I even include giving birth to Cameron in that list because I had a C section so I was kind of a passive participant in that event.

DH agreed that if I completed the race he would never mention special gym again in reference to my athletic abilities. And I think I have laid that ghost to rest, don't you?

Clean, pre-race
Meeting up with blog friend, Laura for the first time in real life.
Holding hands through the fire obstacle.Tired, dirty, sweaty and triumphant
So, what did you do this weekend?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is there a child in that bed?

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Cameron has been in a toddler bed since we returned from vacation. It was an easy transition for us since she got used to it at Grammy's house and she absolutely loves her "big girl" bed.

The only thing that has me scratching my head is how the removal of 1/3 of a rail has somehow resulted in the accumulation of objects in her bed that Nothing can be removed and every item must have it's special place before she is put into bed with a last kiss goodnight. I don't mind Cameron's OCD tendancies. Hell, I have a few myself! But I worry we are rapidly running out of room for her among all the stuff.

Here's what she is currently hoarding:

  • Two blankies (made curtesy of Mimi)
  • One lovie
  • 3 pacifiers (don't judge, she only gets them at home for sleeping)
  • 1 Raggedy Andy, 1 Raggedy Anne doll (handmade by a family friend)
  • Two stuff dogs (named Buddy and Doggie respectively)
  • A camo bracelet (one of those "Live Strong" type bracelets I got from work for a training bootcamp and I have no idea why she is obsessed with it)
  • A medal from her last day at Little Gym
  • One baby doll (named baby, natch)
  • A random McDonald's Happy Meal toy (BTW, what is up with paper bags instead of boxes for Happy Meals? Total rip off.)
  • Elmo doll
  • Elmo figure from her BFF Holden
  • Pillow
  • Big blanket

So far DH and I have just kind of rolled with it but I see that list in black and white and I kind of cringe a little. What things do your kids bring to bed? Are your lists as ridiculously long as ours? I will note that Cameron is content to stay in her bed playing until past 7 on weekends so perhaps there is a silver lining to this?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things I'm learning about my child

I don't regularly do updates on Cameron's development but a few things have surfaced over the past few weeks that I just had to share with my Internet friends.

Cameron likes to talk....a lot. My daughter has always been very verbal. But over the past month she has taken it to new heights. Every car ride is her chatting away with us. We are having real conversations with decent grammar and correct use of pronouns (mostly). It's no longer just DH and I repeating things back to her. Now we can ask Cameron about her day and be reasonably sure we understand (and believe) what she is telling us.

Cameron is bossy. Wonder where she gets that from? I think this is partially related to how verbal she is. When I picked her up from daycare last week I could hear her from down the hall (bossiness = loudness, I guess). She was in the bathroom sitting on the potty. There are two and Cameron was insisting that her friend go potty RIGHT NOW. It was very cute but has reinforced our perception of her demanding nature. We have had to do a lot of correcting (use the word please, don't talk to mommy/daddy that way, etc.) to try and nip the negative bossiness behaviors in the bud. Our success is mixed so any advice is welcome.

Cameron's favorite color is blue. I had hoped that she would follow in my childhood footsteps of loving purple (that is the primary color in her room) but she has shown no real interest in that color. At first it was pink she gravitated to, due in part to the over abundance of pink related toys she has acquired (damn that gender profiling!). But over the past two months she has been consistently asking for blue things. Go on potty successfully? She wants a blue M&M. Time for her vitamin? She wants a blue one. DH and I keep trying to explain to her that if she takes all the blue ones there won't be any left but apparently we have not done a good job of getting through to her.

Cameron has decided to be a big girl. Even last month when I would ask Cameron if she was my big girl she would shake her head and say, "Not big girl, mommy. Cameron is mommy's baby." Cute right? Although we need to work on the third party references. Cute but also a bit demoralizing because I couldn't manipulate her into doing things because she was a big girl. However, ever since we changed her crib into a toddler bed Cameron has been super excited about sleeping in her big girl bed and now wants to be a big girl. While I'm glad to have another weapon in my parenting arsenal I am also a little misty-eyed over losing my baby. Sniff. Sniff.

What new things have you discovered about your child(ren)?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vacation 2011: Part Two

I am back and work and woefully behind on my blogging. Mostly because I had a million emails to sort through and a child who has decided that every little thing must be a battle. I'm not sure if it's because of 2 weeks of family togetherness or that she is creeping up on the dreaded 2.5 age which I have heard is all about testing boundaries. But either way Cameron has realized that Mommy and Daddy are not omnipotent beings and she has free will to resist us.

Despite the constant "no, no, no" refrains during the second part of our vacation we had a wonderful time on Sebago Lake with my parents. Photo proof is below.

Cameron and I snuggle on the boat. Cameron liked the boat a lot but preferred it when Bumpa went slow. She also freaked out when we were going tubing off the back of the boat. When I got on she had a total meltdown.

Cameron gets to drive the boat with Bumpa.
Cameron models her bikini. Yes, I am that parent who put her in a bikini. In my defense they were the only swim suits available at Wal-Mart. What is our world turning into?
Cameron has a mid morning ice cream snack with her new friend Julia. Ice cream became it's own food group for her during vacation.
Julia, unlike Cameron, liked when the boat went fast. Cameron is easily influenced and agreed with Julia when she told my dad to go faster.
Cameron enjoys some homemade blueberry ice cream cake.
Why did we have ice cream cake? Because my darling husband turned 40 during our trip. Yes, I am officially married to a man in his middle age and I'm loving it. Happy birthday!
Cameron and I go swimming in the lake. It was about 80 degrees and wonderful.
If only Cameron would let me put her hair in a pony tail and keep her barrettes in...
There was a wild life part about 30 minutes from my parents that we went to twice. Cameron loved the bears but got a time out for throwing her barrette into their cage. Don't worry, it didn't actually make it into the cage but Mommy was not happy.
The Maine house doesn't have a tub so Cameron had all her baths in my parent's awesome sink. My mom designed it and it was perfect for giving baths.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Vacation 2011: Part One

I realize I have been MIA for the past two weeks but it has been for a very good reason. Vacation! First preparing for and then during it. In fact, vacation will continue for another week which is awesome. I have been having some internet challenges but my dad hooked me up. Every other year for the past 6 years or so DH and I have been taking 2 week vacations. Yes, it's a long time but it really gives us a chance to decompress. This time around we also had a chance to visit with family.

DH and Charlie drove from Charlotte to Springfield, MA last Friday. Being a smart mom, Cameron and I flew to Hartford to meet them. Could you imagine having a toddler on a 12 hour straight drive? No, me either which is why we flew.

Cameron has been having a great time and thankfully she has been napping and sleeping generally well. Eating? More like snacking but I am in vacation mode and am trying not to be too freaked out by the fact that the last time she ate a vegetable was a week ago.

I will write a more detailed synopsis of our vacation in later posts but for!

Here Cameron and her daddy try out her new scooter which was donated by her cousins. As you can see, it was a hit.
It was really hot for about two days while we were in Springfield. Like Charlotte hot. The only difference? No air conditioning. Hence Cameron's wardrobe below.
Cameron enjoys her first experience at Friendly's. Needless to say, the ice cream was a big hit.
Cameron with her two cousins. They loved hanging out with her and gave me some nice downtime to relax and spend time talking to adults.
Here are all the cousins enjoying ice cream on the porch. I think Cameron has had ice cream more often on this vacation than her entire life combined previously!
Cameron attempts to play croquette. Very unsuccessfully, I might add.
Cameron helps her cousin practice her reading.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

For the second time in less than 2 months I had to bring my 2002 VW Jetta to the dealership to get the A/C fixed. During the longest heat wave we've had all year, natch. Becoming a one car family for 5 days was both harder and easier than I thought it would be. Easier because DH works from home so we didn't have to deal with his commute. And he is usually puttering around the house on the weekends while I run errands with Cameron so there was a minimal amount of negotiating for car usage.

It was harder because it made my commute inflexible. I had to leave the office at a specific time so I could make it home in time for DH to leave at 5 to get Cameron from daycare. Normally that isn't a problem but I've been busting my butt on a really big project that the first major deliverable was due last week. It was also painful to go from my compact car to a SUV. First, we blew through gas like crazy. Secondly the garage by my office has a lot more parking for compact cars than SUVs. And unlike so many others I actually park in SUV designated parking. I hate it when a big SUV squeezes into a compact car space. Suck it up and find an open spot!

Cameron has been going through an "I can't do it" stage. DH is very troubled by this and has taken to refusing to let Cameron use the word "can't". He wants her to know she can do anything she puts her mind to. I'm less militant about the word "can't" and just tell her that she can do it and help her to complete whatever the task is. But I think it's cute that DH is all serious about building up Cameron's confidence levels.

In sports related news, Cameron has a pretty good throwing arm. She already throws better than me but that's because, as my husband puts it, I throw like a girl. Yes, I really do.

Is it normal that Cameron is already lying? Or is she really not lying she just doesn't understand? The other day I put witch hazel and a band aid on a big bug bite. When DH saw the band aid and asked her what happened (5 minutes after I treated her) she told him that she fell down. I reminder her of what really happened and she responded with "Oh, yeah." I'm mean, she's only 28 months so I can't imagine she is deliberately lying, right? At what age should I expect to encounter and manage lying?

And finally I am T minus 4 days from being on vacation. Two weeks of family, friends and summer fun. But can it truly be called a vacation when there isn't daycare too?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Food Battles: The Toddler Years

For months DH and I have been engaged in food battles with Cameron. It was been a soul sucking experience that has resulted in parental disagreements, tears (on Cameron's part) and zero desire to approach the dinner table (all of us).

Part of the fault rests with us, I know. We can't get our crap together and have regular family dinners. Cameron does better with eating when we eat together but we typically serve something we know she will eat (pasta) and we have only been able to manage it 1-2 times a week. Even when we don't eat with her we are in the kitchen and usually at the table with her interacting and talking about our days.

I get it, I really do. Cameron is a picky eater. And I've struggled with food issues all my life so I can appreciate rejecting food for texture or appearance issues. But I want her to at least try the food before declaring she won't eat it. The crazy thing is that she eats a much wider variety of food at daycare but even if we serve her the same exact thing at home she rejects it. There are maybe 7-8 foods she will eat for dinner (aside from fruit). The lack of variety is frustrating and makes me feel like a parenting failure.

DH and I have been struggling with the appropriate tact to take in dealing with this issue. And it is an issue because instinctively Cameron knows that food equals control. Her rejection of new foods keeps us essentially fawning over her trying to get her to eat it. So my mindset now is that we just prepare the food for her (with 1 or 2 new foods mixed in with the standbys) give it to her and then refuse to engage. She doesn't eat it? Then it stays on her plate and she doesn't get dessert (we don't do dessert every night but have been using it as bribe lately which has been wildly unsuccessful). We haven't caved and cooked or given her alternate food in many months so that isn't a problem for us. It's more about curbing our impatience with Cameron's approach to food.

I would never punish Cameron for not eating because I know that leads to more food issues and frankly she is far too young for the whole "if you don't eat something then it's time for bed" type of discipline. But where do we go from here? Do we just grit our teeth and continue with the plan mentioned above? Are there other things you recommend we try?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Part 2

As promised, there is a part two of our girls weekend adventure. Saturday was very tiring. Mostly because I am not used to staying up until midnight and my body automatically woke me up at 6:30 AM and I could not fall back to sleep. It was also tiring because we hit two museums and I sadly realize that my 40+ hours a week of sitting on my ass while doing my job in no way prepared me for trekking through massive buildings.

We hit a crepe place just across the street from the hotel. The crepes were great and it was probably our cheapest meal of the trip. Mommy, Esq. was impressed with the "European" feel of the restaurant but Natalie wasn't feeling much of anything but hung over.
Not happy with her decision to have a shot of tequila.
On A.'s suggestion we walked to the Metro in DuPont circle to get to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It took us about 40 minutes in very crowded trains to get to our stop. It definitely reminded me why I prefer cabs.

DH told me that this is like the third longest escalator in the US. Can anyone confirm that?
The museum was really interesting and was completely new to me given the changes in exhibits since I was there more than a decade ago. Helen was our tour guide being a professional teacher and all. She was better than purchasing the audio tour and if you are lucky, she'll let you rent her out for your visit to DC.

Helen shows us that size is all relative.
We grabbed some ridiculously over-priced food at the museum's cafeteria and then headed towards Mommy, Esq.'s choice of enrichment activity: the Hirshhorn Museum. In general I like art. I even like some modern art, particularly paintings or sculptures. What I don't like (because I don't understand it) are installations. There was one room that had three different displays of an elephant playing dead and then standing up. Or the condensation cube. Just odd. Fortunately for me, Natalie was equally un-impressed and we were able to sooth our aching feet on the numerous couches scattered around the floors while simultaneously making fun of the things we had seen.
We were pretty beat at that point so it was back to the hotel for a nice long nap before our fancy dinner. I napped for 90 whole minutes. It was freaking amazing and makes me realize how little I appreciated napping before I had a child.
We got ourselves dolled up and arrived promptly for our amazing dinner at the Darlington House. The food was sooooooooo good that I ended up with a food baby. Since I lost so much weight I haven't really tested the limits of my stomach size. I can no longer say that! I ate so much that I was kind of in pain but the food was so good it in no way diminished the memory of the dinner.

The matching outfits was not planned but very cute.
Helen, A. and I walked to our next destination (mostly so I could walk off the pain of my food baby) which was this cool little speak easy type bar called the Gibson. It was kind of cool because there was no sign and you had to basically knock on the door and give a password (in this case a reservation) to get in. They were a little pretentious by requiring you to order of their limited drink menu (no regular vodka martini was an option) but we settled in to enjoy several drinks. At this point I was ready to head home, mostly because of my overly full belly. But Helen came up with an interesting game that kept me in my seat. My lips are sealed (and fingers tied) about the game but it kept me through two more drinks.

Drinking through the pain of a too full stomach.

We gamely tried a bar next door but the loud music, non-existent lights and crowds resulted in an immediate exit and return to the hotel bar.
Our final eating stop of the weekend was an early brunch at The Hook in Georgetown followed by some window shopping. Then it was a sad good-bye to A. and off to the airport to kill a few hours before taking off.

As I said in my first blog post about our ladies only weekend it was a lot of food, a lot of booze and a lot of laughs. We're already planning our trip for next year!