Cameron is apparently allergic to anything that looks like school. He loves to figure things out on his own. He generally has his own way of explaining and doing things. He loves for me to read to him. He would be happy if I’d read to him all day every day. He mostly prefers non-fiction, often pointing to the pictures and diagrams and asking insightful questions to be sure he is understanding exactly what they represent. If something I’ve read impresses him or strikes him as important he will repeat it as if he is making sure the information stays in his brain. He does like some fiction like the Baby-sitters Little Sister series, Secrets of Droon series, and Fairy Realm series. Surprisingly he is not a big fan of the Dragon Slayer’s Academy series.

This morning Cameron told me that if I press this button (pointing to the delete key) I can disappear what I’ve written. He was playing with my laptop yesterday and made that discovery. Not delete it, not erase it. Disappear it. That’s a classic Cameron statement. It’s not what most people say but it is certainly correct. He does not pour cereal into a bowl. He spills it out. Again, not what most people say, but still correct.

Cameron is an incredible big brother. He just adores his baby brother and his baby brother adores him in return. He’s always been gentle with babies. My all-boy, run around, be crazy little man just is so sweet and calm around babies. We first saw this when Cameron was 2 and he met his one boy cousin, my sister’s son who was about 4 months old. Cameron was as sweet as could be with his cousin one minute and running off being wild with his sister and two older girl cousins, my brother’s daughters, the next.

Cameron is an artist. He has an amazing ability to take paper and create sculptures that stand up on their own without the use of tape or staples. He is quite good at making patterns using Ani’s melty beads (those plastic bead that you put on a shape and then iron to get them to stay together). He doesn’t care all that much about drawing, but he can copy letters and words (and enjoys it) and he has very nice handwriting.

Cameron is a very unique little boy. He marches to his own beat, that is for sure. I enjoy having him around very much. I just can’t believe in a few days he’ll be a five year old!

The ABC Song

The ABC song is Fritz’s favorite song. He can be fussing away and we’ll sing the ABC song and he calms right down. He doesn’t like Baa Baa Black Sheep or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Same tune, doesn’t like the words. It’s got to be the ABCs.

Flowers in the leaf press and other things

My parents brought Cameron home last night. It is nice to have him back. On Saturday they went to the museum in Solomons (Cameron dug in the sand there and found a couple sharks teeth), went on a one-hour cruise, and watched some of a model boat regatta. It was windy and a lot of the boats were breaking. At one point Cameron saw two older gentlemen fixing their boat so he asked my parents if he could watch. The pictures my mom took are adorable as Cameron slowly crept forward until finally he was right there actually holding the string helping the men fix the boat. On Sunday they went to the Air and Space Museum and Cameron of course very much enjoyed the visit. The one thing that most interested him was that they sent a monkey into space before sending humans up. He told us all about that.

Along with Cameron, my parents brought the leaf press to us. My mom said it looked like something was being pressed. She didn’t know what as it’s been 8-10 years since she started it pressing! So Jamie helped the big kids open it up and there were lots and lots of flowers pressed in there. Mostly my mom had pressed black-eyed susans and clover. They are beautiful. The big kids spent over an hour sorting and playing with the flowers.

Fritz is doing much better this morning. He’s just a little bit stuffy. I’m glad his first illness wasn’t a very bad one.

Finding Things to Learn, Crabs, and a Stuffy Nose

Ani’s behind on her schoolwork. Nothing new there. She was going to work on it when we got home after dinner (where, by the way, our little two month old sat between me and Jamie on the bench and entertained himself by looking around and “talking” practically the whole time). When we got home Ani started finding things to learn on her own so I never mentioned the unfinished lists. Those can wait. First she decided to paint. She got out a piece of paper, some watercolor, a paintbrush, and a cup of water. She then proceeded to not paint a picture but to discover what new colors can be made by mixing two colors together. She was very excited to discover orange and red with less red makes orange-red and with more red makes red-orange. Ani’s not into art and painting is not something she often does and if she does do it because Cameron is, she just does a quick picture and that’s it. After she finished her color mixing she went downstairs to watch something on the eMac (we don’t have a TV so things are watched on the computer). She came up a little later and announced she was taking a break from watching Pocahontas. There’s only one type of Pocahontas movie in our house since I despise the unhistory in the Disney version. It’s a biography that was shown on A&E at some point in the past. Ian downloaded it from iTunes recently ($1.99 is SO worth no ads!). So she learned about Pocahontas and apparently really likes Pocahontas. So there you go. Why do schoolwork when there’s so much else to learn.

Cameron had a great time with the crabs. He doesn’t like crabs, though. He tried a couple bites and told my parents he doesn’t think he likes things that swim. Isn’t it funny that it’s Ani who was born allergic to shellfish (since outgrown that allergy thank goodness) and she loves “things that swim” but Cameron has always been able to eat them and doesn’t like them. He did, however, have a great time picking the crabs. My mom said he was able to open the claws and get a big chunk out and by using a knife and the “banger” as he called it he could easily get to the crab meat. The visual-spatial learner that he is, he didn’t open the crabs the “normal” way, but the way he opened them up yielded lots of meat and worked just fine. I’m sure my dad liked having Cameron pick crabs but not eat the meat. My dad is one of those people that all-you-can-eat places lose money on (and somehow until he hit about 60 he was always very thin – why didn’t that particularly part of his genetics go to me…).

And then there’s the stuffy nose. Poor little Fritz has caught the congestion my two big kids had for the last couple days. My throat is sore a little, too. It’s mostly a post-nasal drip thing that’s more annoying than a problem for people bigger than two months. Poor Fritz is having a rough time nursing. As long as he stays semi-upright he’s okay (and of course he HATES nursing sitting up – Cameron rarely would nurse in any position but sitting up and he never got a stuffy nose until he started majorly cutting down on nursing a little past his third birthday). This is the only time I wish we used those car seat buckets. When we’re all asleep it’s hard to keep him up more than the bit of incline laying his head on one of our arms provides. Right now I’m holding him while I’m sitting up and he’s breathing through his nose and doing fine. It’s nursing and laying down that are the real problems. Of course this means we’re not going to the nurse-in at Whole Foods today. Definitely don’t want to expose other babies to this little cold.

It’s too quiet!

My dad left about 40 minutes ago to take Cameron for his weekend with the grandparents. Tonight they are going to eat crabs. Whole ones that have to be picked. By the time I was Cameron’s age I could clean a crab with the best of them. My grandparents lived on the Patuxent River when I was little and had crab pots hanging off their pier. We had family crab feasts a couple times a year. I don’t think Cameron’s ever even seen a cooked whole crab before. I’m sure he’ll have fun with that. Tomorrow they’re going to a museum on Solomons Island and on Sunday to the Air and Space Museum. I’m sure Cameron will also be able to spend quality time in the dirt. My parents live in a semi-rural area with lots of land and lots of great dirt to play in. It’s also fun when that dirt becomes mud (and I say this from experience). The trip to the Air and Space Museum is what Cameron is most looking forward to of course. They are planning to see an IMAX movie while they are there. Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag is the one Cameron chose.

Tonight we’ll be going to Red Hot and Blue for dinner. I told Ani she could pick anywhere and that’s what she chose without hesitation. She’s always loved their spicy sausage. We even had her second birthday there because she loved it so much!

Right now the house is way too quiet. Ani’s playing on the computer and Fritz is nursing. Cameron is a quiet kid but without him around it is so much quieter than normal. Kinda funny how that works. Even though he doesn’t talk a lot he does run around a lot and does a lot of jumping down stairs and jumping off of furniture. It’s very quiet because I’m not hearing lots of loud booms.

So he likes Latin…

Ani got the idea to “teach” Fritz Latin on Saturday evening. She took her flash cards and held them up one by one telling him what the word was in Latin, pausing for him to respond, and then telling him the word in English. He loved it. He loves any attention from his big sister. She did more yesterday. Again, he loved it. So I told her she can feel free to keep doing it. I think she learns better as the teacher rather than just reading the flash card and telling me what it is in English. It’s just a very funny sight to see a two month old laying on the floor next to a 6 year old with the 6 year old holding up flash cards for him and telling him Latin words and the two month old squealing over and over with delight.

A family of klutzes

We are a family of such klutzes. On Tuesday Jamie was running down the stairs and banged his head into the ceiling above the stairs. Result: A big old goose egg. On Thursday I accidentally broke the charger for the iPods. And, so, Jamie informs me he guesses we are even. A week and a half before his 3 year old iPod died. The cause: He accidentally dropped it in the toilet. I wouldn’t exactly say that’s even ($29 charger versus $349 iPod), but, nevertheless, a new iPod and charger are on the way. And then yesterday I accidentally banged my right ring toe (the one by the pinky toe) into the couch. I heard a snap. It hurt. The result: A broken toe that is several very ugly shades of purple and red right now. Luckily the big kids haven’t had any injuries or accidents nearly so bad and the baby is still too little to know if he’s a klutz, too, but, as we always say, Ani inherited my grace (which, I can assure you, is about zero).

The National Air and Space Museum

One of the books I got out of the library for Cameron was Best of the National Air and Space Museum. It is mostly words but also has lots of pictures. That has become Cameron’s favorite book that we checked out. He loves to look at the pictures and tell us what he thinks they are of and is always asking us to read the book to him. I got it on a whim. All the other books were for kids, but I thought maybe he’d like the pictures. I had suspected he’d prefer adult non-fiction books to kid non-fiction books now. I guess I was right.

When we go to the library this weekend I think I’ll get the Official Guide to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum that I noticed they had. Cameron was extremely excited to find out that he’ll be taking a trip to the museum his library book is about very soon. My parents are taking him for a grandparents-grandson weekend in a week and a half. One of their planned visits is the Air and Space Museum in DC.

The Day the Skyline Changed Forever

Soon after 9/11 I made two scrapbook pages. One is simply a newspaper clipping from the Washington Post of a very tattered US flag being held by several uniformed military people. The other is my story:

“On September 11, 2001, I was 37 weeks pregnant with Cameron. That morning I had an appointment with the back-up OB. Mommie drove Ani and me to the OB’s office. We arrived just minutes after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. When we entered the office it was silent except for the TV that everyone was staring at in disbelief. We quickly learned what had happened and joined everyone else watching the news in shock. Soon after the second plane hit the WTC and the third plane hit the Pentagon. After my appointment, we headed to my house and watched the news. Jamie came home from work early since the base was closed following the terrorist attacks (he had been in training off-base when the planes hit – he read about the attacks on his pager). We were able to quickly contact our family to make sure everyone was safe. 9-11 is truly a day when more than just the skyline changed.”

At the time we lived in southern Maryland. We knew several people who were in other parts of the Pentagon at the time the plane hit. Later we moved to northern VA. We met more people who were in the Pentagon at the time the plane hit. We attended church with the widow of a man who was killed while working in the Pentagon. We know a woman who was sitting at her desk in DC across the river from the Pentagon. She was celebrating her birthday. Her happy day turned to horror as she watched the plane fly into the Pentagon. Her horror increased when she learned that her friend had been killed. Five years later, it is once again her birthday. It’s a happy day again for her. She said if she lets it be a horrible day the terrorists have won. I agree with her.