It's because he's a big brother

My boy is big. So big. Today he went out and kept working on his pedaling skills with his dad. Then he buckled himself in with the seat belt all by himself. I talked to him on the phone as I was about to drive home and I exclaimed how I was really impressed with how big he's getting. He told me "because I'm a big brother!"

Almost 15 months into the big brother thing and he's still proud about that. That just made my heart glow with pride.



After discussing pedaling the bike over the weekend, Randy was able to get Cam to really give it a try. They packed his bike into the car and took it to a nearby parking lot. And he finally did it: pedaled up and down the lot. He was so proud that when I got home, we all packed up and drove over to watch him bike up and down the parking lot again.

I'm thrilled! He's proud. He wasn't even traumatized after falling off the bike a couple of times. I'm proud. Then he even showed Jordan how to use the bike. It was very cute. It's so great to see him try to expand his boundaries and trying harder without just quitting before he even tried.

I'll be honest. I think I know why. We've made a conscious decision to change the way we praise Cam. I found an article called How Not to Talk to Your Kids; The inverse power of praise in February's New York Magazine. We're making a conscious effort to praise Cam for his hard work and focus on learning. I really think it's making a difference. Randy doesn't think it's possible to know that our praise change is the reason why Cam is willing to work harder and not crack sooner when he takes on new tasks. But I have to think that it's helping.

New responsibility

Because my boy is SO into books and reading words, he got his own library card today! So he is now responsible for his books -- with a special book bag and a pocket for his library card. We also talked to the librarian about how to find books that will help him read. I'm pretty excited and he was thrilled to take a pile of new books home.

He had the big task of cleaning up his book-covered bedroom. Of course one of the library books ended up in his book shelf. Hopefully that won't happen again!!

Cam plans to take his library card to show-and-tell at school on Tuesday.


Great day

The day didn't start well... With the pea incident. But overall, it was great. We got up, battled over peas and then played outside while Jordan took a little nap. Chalk drawing is a big activity at the house lately. Today Cam drew a pink Darth Vader with a white torso that was throwing pink fire. I drew a rainbow that had Cam and his friend Camryn standing under it. I gave Cam a smile which he exclaimed looked like he had lipstick on. Picky picky picky.

After lunch and a nap for both kids (and mommy), we headed out to a nearby water fountain. Cam likes to run around it. Then I got this awesome idea that we should get ice cream cones and then walk to a nearby garden. There was this place nearby that sold ice cream and snacks... But when we walked in there, things looked different from the last time I was there almost 2 years ago: No ice cream. Yup. The place didn't sell ice cream and snacks, just snacks. Luckily, there was a grocery store nearby and I bought a box of little ice cream cones... To make it even more exciting, it was supposed to be Incredibles ice cream cones. So we took our box of ice cream cones to the garden, gobbled it down with quite a mess. And we just played outside. It was awesome. Cam got to have even more fun when we saw a friend from school there. They ran around while his friend's mom and I stressed about elementary school plans. It really is more stressful than I expected.

After the big garden/ice cream fun, Cam rotated between running in the back yard and coloring a race track on multiple pieces of paper while I prepared dinner. Yes, I had vegetables in our meal: Chicken burritos with hidden mushrooms and red and green peppers amongst the cheese and chicken. The hiding never works. And after a number of dramatic attempts, Cam ate a tiny bit of red pepper. It included very dramatic gagging. But he didn't want to eat it at breakfast tomorrow, so at least he tried a new vegetable. By the way, the mom of Cam's school friend told me how she gets a report about lunch every day including how Cam ate one pea or one bean. That's how dramatic my boy has become about vegetables. Even the other kids need to talk about it at home.

I got the girl off to bed, then Cam and I played "basketball" in the backyard, talked to neighbors, got him in the bath (after much protest), read him a book and got him into bed. I asked him to clean up some of the billion books that cover his bedroom floor before waking me up in the morning. Hopefully that plea works. His room really is a disaster zone.

Anyway. The great weather gave us a chance to chat with many neighbors. We got to hang out for HOURS outside... And the boy seemed happy most of the day. It was nice.

One other thing, after saying his prayers tonight, Cam asked me why he prays for himself... Ever since he could say a prayer, he has always ended it: "And God bless Cameron Lee Reeves, Amen." I never encouraged or started this -- it was his creation. I told him that I didn't know why, it was his thing. So he announced that he won't do that ever again. If that's the case, I'm kind of sad. It was very cute.


He ended up eating one pea before breakfast. And that required a lot of drama. He's already asked if we'll have vegetables at dinner tonight. Of course I said yes.


I'm heading into a long weekend of family fun... And our dinner tonight was miserable. Cameron decided that he would return to the crying over vegetables tactic.

I turned the tables onto him.

He just wouldn't eat his peas and he just couldn't handle the fact that his sister had earned a yummy roll, milk and a Thin Mint. So he thought he could get that stuff by crying. So I let him choose: eat the peas now or eat them for breakfast? That made him cry more.

The peas are waiting for him when he comes down for that morning.

The morning will be interesting. Very interesting.


He's a star

I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with the rapidly changing world of Cam. First thing's first. He did a fantastic job in his show, "Curious George and the Puppies." I didn't get a lot of good shots, but when I have time, I'll download the video and post it online. By the way. Cam is in the top left hand corner of the picture. He had a grey and white doggie costume. I guess he could have been a wolf if he wanted.

It was very cute since I hadn't seen Cam in two days. So when I walked into the auditorium, Cam yelled hi and started waving his dog tail. Very cute. It was obvious he wasn't nervous, just excited. His class did a little dance. Then they performed the show. It was hard to hear some of the kids, they whispered. So it was hard for Cam to hear some of his cues. You could hear his director say: "Cameron!" to remind him to say his line. He crawled along the flood while he said: "He even saw a snake!" He climbed up on top of a chair to say: "One puppy climbed on top of a cage to watch the other puppies get into mischief." Very cute stuff.

After the show, the kids posed as a group (note the picture above). After that, Cam ran into the crowd of picture taking parents to hug Jordan who had come with me to take pictures. He was SO sweet. I don't know why. Maybe it was the 2 days away from him. But he looked so old, so grown up. I can't believe how he is maturing rapidly in front of my eyes. Maybe it's how we're growing his hair out. Maybe it's because he's going to Kindergarten soon. Maybe it's because he's reading up a storm these days. I don't know. But I'm already nostalgic for my little boy!

Cam and I had fun visiting the children's museum while we were hanging out in basketball bonanza world at his uncle's. Cam was fantastic allowing Jordan to play and patiently waiting from area to area so Jordan could enjoy fun too. He even helped her get down the little baby slide by herself! It was plain darling to watch him love her.

But a strange thing happened this morning. He woke up feeling icky. But Randy took him to school... and Cam promptly threw up in the car. YUCK. For the first time ever, Randy had to deal with the really messy mess. I went to a conference. By the time I got home, Cam was feeling better. We read some books together, we cuddled, he got a bath. Life seems back to normal again. I am really stunned by the simplicity of it all. Other than the periodic emotional outburst, Cam is just growing and working so hard to learn every minute of the day. He and I work on basic math because he wants to play with numbers. We read everything... He's sounding things out. He's making up stories. He's writing words with the magnets on the fridge. It's stunning to watch his brain grow by the minute. It's shocking to see how fast he's maturing. And best of all, I'm so proud of how caring he is of his sister. He's SO much nicer than I ever was to my brother (sorry Jon). I'm touched by his kindness and love. You should have seen him hug every kid her knew when we left his show on Saturday. He truly enjoyed his new friends.

Next big event: Cam's birthday. His High School Musical invitations showed up in the mail today. We're going to try to get them ready to go before everyone leaves town for Spring Break. The big party day is about two and a half weeks away! His birthday is a week and a half away!

WOAH. I'm going to have a FIVE YEAR OLD! I'm getting old.


Big day

Cam is with his dad watching basketball... So I went to a coach's meeting for his little league T-ball. I picked up the roster and signed up the team for practice time. So I start going through the list of names... And who is on the roster? Cam's best guy friend Eric!! I'm so excited.

So I call Cam and he drops the phone and yells and screams to tell everyone how excited he is that his friend, Eric from school is going to play on his team. I was so excited I even called Eric's Mom... Who told Eric. Eric jumped out of bed and jumped up and down with excitement. He's even excited that Randy is the coach. Very fun stuff.

Isn't is awesome how easy it is to be excited as a kid. So cool.


Growing up

I remember last year when I looked at the kids who were in the 4-5 year old preschool class and I thought... How do they look SO much older? I looked at Cam today and realized he is one of those older-looking kids now. It's like something happened to him in the last few weeks.

He's so grown up. He's reading like gangbusters these days. I went in to hear him read to me today. The kids in class thought I was there to read to him. We switched the tables around. Cam figured out how to read a book called "Ten Timid Ghosts." He only needed help on a few words. It makes me so darn proud... Especially since I haven't pushed Cam in any way to read. This was his effort. He works on words every day because he wants to. Some nights he reads to me, some nights I read to him. Most days we find time to do a little of both. After Cam does something really well, like read a new word or hit the softball really far off his tee, he closes his hands, squeezes his eyes shut and yells: "YES!" I love that he's proud of his effort as much as I am.

Ah. A warm and fuzzy posting. I haven't been able to do enough these with Cam lately.


Risky guy

So Cam's taking a few more risks on his "balancing bike." It's a bike that doesn't have any pedals to help him learn how to balance first. He got a real bike for Christmas, but he hasn't been convinced that learning how to pedal is the way to go.

Anyway. My mom visited this weekend and caught this moment of Cam riding his bike. Notice how she got all freaked out and I cheered:

If you can't see it, go here.


New hope

For the last almost two years, getting Cameron to eat healthy has been a struggle. This past year, he took to crying about vegetables on his plate. This week, things started to change.

It all started when someone in his class convinced him to eat "two halves of a pea." Yup. He ate a pea. One. And it took two swallows to finish it. But he started saying how much he LOVES vegetables. So the attitude was changing. So at dinner, he'd eat one, maybe two for dessert. But then I talked him into eating five so he could watch a show on TV.

It was amazing.

But what was extra funny was watching him eat those peas. He didn't really eat them. He swallowed them like pills. One at a time, drinking A LOT of water. But you know what? I think it gives us new hope in the vegetable world.

I have to say as a former vegetarian, it's killed me watching my boy who won't even eat corn or a simple bean... Let alone the extra yummy stuff that I can splurge on (like asparagus and artichokes).


Returning outside

Drawing in the setting sun
Originally uploaded by Jen.
Yesterday was cool, but the sun just screamed: "Come out and play!" So we did. We went for a walk through the breezy wind earlier in the day. Late in the afternoon, the sun told me that we had to come and enjoy its light one more time before it set.

So Cam, Jordan and I went out to draw on the driveway. I love playing with chalk. It was the first time Cameron was totally into drawing his own stuff. He drew his own hopscotch, a basketball hoop, basketball player and a scoreboard. Then we drew many, many characters from Sesame Street. I'm kind of good at making fuzzy monster heads, Cam did the bodies and Oscar the Grouch.

The funny thing was when we went outside, Cam had be asking to watch a movie. I looked over at him while we drew and I said: "Aren't you glad we didn't watch a movie?" He agreed and said we should draw on the driveway every weekend.

I like that idea a lot.