Barnyard fun

I went on a field trip with Cam today... To the local county fair's petting zoo/children's barn area. The kids got to see cows, horses, goats, sheep, chicken, ducks, tires full of soy beans, wheat, corn and a bale of cotton. Cam had fun and he got to play with his closest friends.

I think he was really happy having me around. I had to leave after lunch to go feed the baby... And Cam was okay with me leaving. He gave me a big hug and said good bye: "See you when you get home!" It was sweet. His teacher and I talked and she thinks he's actually made improvements with his ability to get over anger since our vacation.

He's a scammer. I can't tell you the many ways he tried to delay bed time tonight. But I can also tell you that this evening we spent most of our time together with him on my lap as I read him stories with the Wiggles playing in the background. Oh! You should see him dance to the Wiggles. He's getting really good.

Too self-reliant

So here's our normal morning process: Cam wakes me up. I ask him to go get dressed. About 30 minutes later I get up and ask him to get dressed. Then we go down and get breakfast and Daddy feeds the dogs and gets them outside.

Today I woke up and found Bubba running around the house. He's a loaded cannon if he isn't taken directly outside to go to the bathroom. So I had to get out of bed in a fright at least 15 to 20 minutes early. Because Cam has learned how to get Bubba out of his cage. Dudley doesn't live in a cage, so once the basement door is open, he's free too. I ran through the house begging Bubba to get outside. Fortunately that worked and prevented any gross clean up somewhere in the house.

I'm not ready to put the feeding the dogs responsibility on Cam yet -- the dogs get so excited, and I'm afraid of him getting hurt.


The highs and lows of being four

He loves her.
Originally uploaded by NerdyMom.
Cam's emotions amaze me. He can go from raving crazy and out of control to sweet and cooing to the baby in a matter of seconds. It raises the question: When he's out of control... Is he really out of control?

Last night he was totally losing it because he was pretending to be hungry. He delayed and delayed trying to eat his dinner again until it was time for bed. That's when he was suddenly interested in eating again (of course). He cried and cried and cried. Until it was clear that wasn't working. So he asked for a hug, and suddenly everything was fine. I read him a book and he went to bed without any complaint.

He's a sneaky guy.


Fun day outside

After a long stretch of really hot, crappy days, today was cool and enjoyable. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze... And a thousand reasons why we needed to be outside all day. Right after breakfast, Cam, Jordan and I hopped outside to enjoy the treehouse. Buzz Lightyear and Woody were major players in the day. They were part of many of Cam's stories. I got to be Woody a few times, but Jordan kept grabbing Woody and chewing on his cowboy hat, and although Cam and I thought it was funny, he kept that toy away from her as best he could.

We also visited the "jungle" and the "waterfall" (which is really a water fountain). That always makes Cam's day. For most of the trip, he claimed to be the leader of the group, telling us where to go and make sure he was in front of the line as we looked at plants and flowers. He and his dad enjoyed staring at the water fountain and getting sprayed by the water that was carried by the wind.

We visited the grocery store, we picked up some pizza and we all took a nice afternoon nap, but the rest of the time was spent outside. Cam even ate his dinner in his treehouse. The night ended with Cam actually wanting to go to bed. I'm not sure what that was all about. But he clearly used up a lot of energy enjoying this day. (And he didn't even ask to watch movies much!)


Slammed door

Cam had a chance to get the last car in his Cars movie collection. All he had to do was turn off the tantrums and treat me with respect. When he couldn't do that, I told him he'd have to earn it for another week. That led to an all out tantrum that included a door slam.

A door slam?

Isn't that the most teenager thing you can think of?

So yes. Today Cam completed his first true step towards life as a teenager. He slammed the door. The great thing? He calmed himself down behind that door. When I had the baby put to bed for the night, he was on his floor, reading a book. He came downstairs when I told him dinner was ready. We didn't have anymore tantrums and we stopped talking about that car.

Maybe he'll be able to earn it next Monday. Only time will tell.

I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. But threatening to take things away doesn't work. So I'm trying to give him opportunities to earn things. I think it's a more positive light on modifying his behavior. I'm not reading any books about how to raise a boy the proper way. I'm just trying to find ways to be positive and reward the good things he does and try to not make a big deal about the negative stuff he does. I haven't found the right way to make this work yet. But we had a pleasant night time. We had fun at dinner. He and I had a nice talk as he got ready for bed. He even told me he loved me before he went to sleep. So hopefully I'm figuring out a system that is at least bringing out the good kid in Cam.


Earning stuff

Cam worked very hard today to earn things. First he earned a new bubble blower -- it's just like the bubble blower he named "Bubbly Bubbly" last year when we were in Maine. To earn this, he cleaned up his room... And he did a really good job. The only thing I had to do was help him get the books into his shelf... Since that's kind of hard. He picked up all the toys, clothes and books. I keep walking into that room and smiling because it looks so good. He also earned some sandbox toys by picking up things in the basement. He earned some smiles from Jordan when he danced around and acted silly for her. He earned some hugs from me when he quietly watched a movie while I mowed the lawn and took a shower.

He did try to scam me into scratching his back before bed time. I told him he could earn those scratched if he does a good job sleeping tonight.

We had a friend of mine bring by her sister-in-law and her niece and nephew to play. Cam kept talking about them all day. Just before bed he told me that he missed them and hoped they'd come back to play. It was very sweet.

Oh -- That picture. Cam, Jordan and I made a quick stop at the store to pick up some AAA batteries for Cam's transitor radio. He wore it on his pants for the rest of the day and he was very proud... As you can see in his pose. That's the radio just above his right hand.


Home again, home again

Cam is home... He's been here a little more than 24 hours. And things are back to normal. I can't think at times because Cam is so loud. He is already treating me with the same smart mouth and attitude as if I never was away from him.

But he is listening to me... And he is SO happy to be around his sister. And he's so happy to know that I missed him terribly. He was especially amused when his Grandma read him my last blog posting about how the house was quiet.

I took Cam and Jordan to a swim party today. It was hotter than hell outside... But Cam had a blast in the pool while Jordan and I socialized out under really huge umbrellas that protected us from the sun. Cameron had so much fun and it was great to give him a chance to hang out with all of his friends from school after he'd been away from them for two whole weeks. Of course I think he left his brand new sunglasses that you can see him wearing in this picture at the pool. Dang it. He's going to notice that tomorrow. I'm amazed I remembered to bring both kids home after the party since it was so hot and muggy out. Anyway. He looked really cool with his new glasses and hat his Grandma and Poppy got him.

Cam challenged the heck out of me before his nap and bedtime... but he's sleeping and hopefully he'll sleep late enough for Mommy to feel rested as well!


It's quiet here

With Cam out of town, my home is very quiet. I sleep later. I read books. And it's too quiet. Don't get me wrong, hanging out with Jordan on my own is great... But she goes to bed really early and she wakes up late. And I miss the way Cam talks about everything and plays and makes up amazing stories and adventures and challenges my every move. I can't wait for him to come home!!


"I'm sad I'm leaving Maine"

Cam didn't want to go home when we left Maine yesterday. And on the whole, he was an incredible helper as he traveled home. It was just the three of us... And he was such a trooper when we had to wait to go potty after we dropped off the rental car, got our bags checked and went through security. He was so sweet when people would walk over and see Jordan. Imagine Cam talking with a very matter-of-fact tone:

"That's my sister Jordan. I'm Cameron. We went to Maine. But now we're going home to Missouri."

I also learned a new way of measuring "coolness" among boys. We were walking to security when the boy ahead of us in line had a "Cars" movie backpack. Cam had to compliment the boy on his bag. I'd say this boy was 7 years old at the most. Cam was so thrilled, he had to pull out his Leapster and show him his "Cars" game cartridge. Then the boy says: "I have a Game Boy" and pulls put ten or so game cartriges. Cam was ohhhing and awwwing and I had to stop him from pulling out his games.

Now he's off on another adventure (Or as he pronounces "E-venture): He's spending most of the week at his Grandma and Poppy's house. He talked to me on the phone today and sounded very excited and happy. I miss him already.


Mommy, you made me mad.

Originally uploaded by NerdyMom.
Oh darling Cameron. If 4 years old is a peek into what you will be like when you are a teenager, I better start stocking up on valium now. Because I don't know how I'll stay composed when you are like this and taller than me. Today was obvious that Cam is behind on his sleep and in an environment where he knows he can push his limits. In between being adorable -- See the attached picture... Cam was horrible. We had fun and got to go on a cruise around some of the islands. Cam had never been on a boat before! So this was a big deal to him. But when he was told to follow directions, he'd throw a grunty fit, start calling us names or just stomp around and say no. I won't have it. His dad won't have it. We have to find a good solution to resolve the rude and disrespectful behavior because I really hate spanking.

Isn't vacation time fun?

We did have fun today. We really did. The ferry trip was great. We had fun playing and he really enjoyed a new toy for his Leapster. He and I giggled and were silly. But it was a rough day overall for him. I look forward to getting his world a little more under control in a week or so. In the meantime, we're in deep with this bad attitude problem.


Ups and downs of Maine life

Strong menCam is having so much fun... But all of this one-on-one stuff is leading him to some of his very bad habits. When he's unhappy with us, he grunts... Like he's constipated. Uh! And if he's really mad, he'll call me a baby. "You're a baby mommy." Today he took it up another notch: "You're a baby pee pee." I told him he had to take his mouth to the bathroom since that's where those words belong.

Anyway. He's enjoying the rocks and the water and getting his grandparents and uncle to read books to him. He's digging art projects that I brought... And he even helped his uncle with a couple of projects... You can see it here.

He's also so dang funny when he opens his mouth. He notices every last detail and asks the most amazing questions. But my favorite today was when I was playing one of my favorite playlists off my iPod in the rental car. Cam heard what he calls his "favorite song: "Passionate Kisses" by Lucinda Williams. He asked me: "How did that song get in this car?" He was thrilled when I explained that I brought the music with us on our vacation.

He had a great time last night with the fireworks for the 4th of July. He was impatient and exhausted by the time the 10pm show started on the island. So he was tired today... Tired enough to take a 3 and a half hour nap. And when we put him to bed tonight, he actually went to bed. Which is a great idea. I think I'll give that a try.


"It's a beautiful day!"

Cam woke up and looked outside our massive glass window to the ocean view and was so happy. The sky was blue, the ocean was blue... And he loved it. It was a wonderful start to the day. All was well until he realized that he didn't get to choose which Little Einsteins episode to watch. We don't have Tivo in Maine. He didn't want to watch "Tall Totem Tale." He wanted something different. This spiraled into whining and then crying... And since he was already crying and whining, I allowed the insanity to take a step deeper into madness and I turned off the television. We shouldn't watch TV anyway. It's too nice out. But I had this desire to take a nap on the couch and thought a 20 minute show wouldn't hurt. Well. When I turned off the TV, it set the day's theme of crying, whining and pushing every button in the book that gets Mommy angry.

Almost every outburst happened while the baby was sleeping -- so I was extra sensitive about it. No fun.

In between his whining and mind games, he had a ball. He went down to the cove a number of times to play and climb and throw rocks. He even met another 4 year old who is in town through Wednesday named Spencer. They played a bit and showed off their ability at pratt falls. Cam was not happy when I told him it was time to go and take his yearly rock pictures. The rock pictures started 4 years ago. And we keep putting Cam on the same piece of rock every year. This is his 5th time on the rock for the picture. It's amazing how big he's gotten in so little time. Cam is also getting really comfortable at climbing the rocks. The only part that he's nervous about is the climbing down part.