Letter to Camille: Forty Months

Forty MonthsHello my sweet princess, and Happy Forty Month Birthday! Tonight it is
very possible that you’re having dinosaur dreams, because they’ve been
on your mind a lot lately. I have the PBS show “Dinosaur Train” to
thank for this – or perhaps my confused Tivo. Let me explain.

Tivo got some wires crossed, and one day we sat down to watch Sid the
Science Kid, but Dinosaur Train came on instead. I would never have
thought to record this for you because you get scared so easily and the
show does occasionally feature a T-Rex with big teeth. But you wanted
to watch it, and as it turns out – you ADORE this show.

I have
been very impressed with your ability to remember and correctly
pronounce so many of the dinosaur names. You have a fairly good handle
on the word Palaeobatrachus (a frog from the tertiary period) and use
it several times a day. You seem to get words stuck in your head like I
do with songs, and the other day that word was “Ornithomimus,” one of
the dinosaurs on the show. You’d just out-of-the-blue look at me and
say, with a straight face and nearly perfect diction, “Ornithomimus,
Mama.” At one point you said, “Ornithomimus. That’s Spanish for thank

Despite the fact that you were making up uses and
definitions for the word, I had no doubt you knew its real meaning.
That same day we were walking along a trail on Oatland Island and you
took off running. The funniest thing is that you were holding your
hands up high and close to your body, “Like the dinosaur’s little
hands! I’m Ornithomimus!” you yelled back over your shoulder to me. Sure enough you were
right, Ornithomimus, known for speed, has small hands held close to its
upper body. Smarty pants.

And while you might like saying
Ornithomimus, your favorite dinosaur is, of all things, the T-Rex.
Although you correct me anytime I call it that. “Tyrannosaurus Rex,
Mama,” you gently remind me. This Tryannosaurus love was cemented on
our recent trip to Chicago, when we visited the Field Museum. You were
smitten with Sue, the T-Rex skeleton (although you didn’t like her

Camille and The Bean!Let me just tell you – you were such a great travel
buddy on our Chicago trip. You were my cosmopolitan girl, handling all
the new experiences
with more grace and good humor than I had the right to expect from a
three-year-old. Although I was reminded that you’re no country girl the
other day when we heard a fire truck’s siren and you said, “That’s the
sound we hear at night-night time!” But you seemed right at home among
the skyscrapers, loved the escalators and the subway, enjoyed playing hide and seek in the city parks and devoured the good food, even experiencing your first creme brulee.

Hide and SeekFirst Creme BruleeAbout the only thing you didn’t like was that so
many of the toilets in the big city flushed automatically. You HATE
those toilets.

And rock star though you were, there was one event in Chicago that
proved too cosmopolitan for a family outing – a trip to the Art Institute. Let
me be clear – you loved it. But I was the one having a borderline heart attack.

As we stood in line to tour the galleries, your Daddy and I
had a talk with you about not touching the art. In the first few
galleries you were very studious, absorbing your Daddy’s art appreciation lesson about several of the fine works.

Art Appreciation 101As we got a little deeper into the museum and the crowd thinned, the galleries grew quieter. Although you were still enjoying the views, you also began to sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, but a new version.

Row, Row, Row your boat/
Gently down the stream/
If you see an alligator/
Don’t forget to scream – AAAH!

It’s a pretty cute song, especially the little scream at the end, but seemed out-of-place in the hushed galleries. Thankfully, you got nice smiles from the other patrons, and the only frowns you got were from the guards. One guard became especially concerned when you were looking at a statue and asked your Daddy, “Can I hug it?’

I was nervous as we wound through these galleries, but felt we were handling things well until we turned the corner to find a “sculpture” involving a big pile of stuffed animals. You lept from the stroller, full of glee, and started running toward it. “NO!” your Daddy and I both yelled. “That’s art!”

“No, it’s not art!” you argued. “They’re toys!”

While I appreciated your critique, I wasn’t sure everyone around us would, and I knew it would be hard to keep you from touching those toys. So you and I found the snack bar and hung out there while Daddy took in a few more galleries. Really though, for a three-year-old at an art museum, I think you kept it together quite well!

We let you pick out one souvenir on our trip. Here you are trying on a shark head (or maybe a dolphin?) which we did not buy, but made for a fun photo.

Shark HeadAt the Shedd aquarium we lined up several acceptable souvenir choices including a stuffed dolphin with a baby blanket and a stuffed penguin hatching from an egg. And do you know what you chose? A stingray.

I love it.

You definitely have your princess traits and love all things pink and glittery, but I think it’s cute that you have your eccentricities too. Your favorite toys to date are a unicorn, a mouse, a bat and a stingray. I captured this familiar scene the other day when you were playing “grocery store,” with your beloved mouse and bat in the cart where a baby doll might otherwise be. I think it’s so cute because it’s just so YOU.

Going ShoppingBelovedsYour drawing skills have begun to blossom this month, and instead of just drawing random lines and circles you’ve started drawing figures. We have a chalkboard in the kitchen, and while I cook you often like to draw. I snapped this picture earlier this week – your family portrait. That’s you on the right, me in the middle, and Daddy on the left (complete with a beard on his cheeks).

Camille's Family PortraitDo you know what that’s a picture of? A happy family. Thank you for capturing it so beautifully, since you are a big part of the reason we have those smiles on our faces. I love you so much sweet girl.

NuzzleHappy Family

Leave a Reply