Friday, June 30, 2006

Max Plays Dirty

At the preschool where I used to work, there is an annual event called "Pig Week". There are several pig-related activities throughout the week, but the main thing is that it is an entire week to play in the biggest, wettest mud puddle mankind can produce. It is among the things that I miss most about not working there, and I couldn't resist stopping by and letting Max get his first taste of mudpie.

The kids were all very interested in Max, and are fascinated by the fact that what used to be only a lump in my tummy is now a living, breathing creature. They were very hospitable, and kept bringing Max shovels and 'helping' him dig.

I love how the little girl to Max's right is wearing her fancy fairy-princess dress in the mud. I also love how Max has about fourteen sand toys surrounding him, and looks deeply bewildered as to their origin or purpose.

Max was mostly interested in the kids and their crazy activity at first, but it did finally occur to him that he was sitting in a wetter, slimier substance than usual.

He got really into the mud play for awhile, and did his mama proud. (When I worked there, I was always the teacher most likely to dive directly into the mud with the kids. Ian has a much lower tolerance for slime, which is why I end up doing most of the diapers. I was interested to see which of our sensory systems Max would inherit. So far, it seems like mine has won the genetic coin toss.)

Eventually, of course, touching the mud was not enough, and Max helped himself to a taste.

I'm not sure what he was expecting it to taste like, but apparently he was unpleasantly surprised. He decided that he needed to nurse for awhile after this, to wash the grit down and to recover from the excitement. The preschoolers found his nursing endlessly entertaining, and it paved the road for a lot of those beautifully awkward questions that only young children can ask. Good times!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lovers' Quarrel

Max and Julia have, of course, met before. Their blossoming love affair has been captured on film and brought to you on this blog as it unfolds, and it has been a beautiful and harmonious thing. However, last night was the first time that Max and Julia have met since both have learned to crawl, and their relationship became slightly more stormy. Things started out romantically enough . . . Julia, as always, was very interested in Max, and wanted to pet his head. Max liked this at first, but then the head-petting became a little bit more like head-grabbing, and Max was in no way prepared to accept this level of affection.

Somewhat understandably, Max excused himself from the interaction, and attempted to get some space and collect himself. Julia, however, having found Max's head delightfully soft and pettable, was reluctant to let him retreat. She tried to reason with him . . .

. . . And, when reason failed to get results, opted for full-on pursuit. Max tried valiantly to escape, but was forced to face the fact that Julia, being three months older, is a much faster and more agile crawler.

Ultimately, Max decided that face-to-face combat would be both manlier and more effective. He was, of course, mistaken on both fronts. Julia proved to be the more determined and steely-nerved of the two.

There were some tears (mainly from Max), and some yelling (mainly from Julia when Max's head was taken from her, along with the rest of him), but I think that in the end, Max and Julia will find their relationship strengthened by this little setback. If nothing else, it will encourage Max to practice his crawling skills more vigorously, now that he knows the price of slacking off.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Max's New Friend

Max's godfather, Mike, and his wife Samantha were kind enough to create a little friend for Max. Merritt Maui was born on Sunday, June 25th. We went to visit him and his parents at the hospital yesterday. I had forgotten (already!) how small and light newborn babies are. Merritt is very beautiful, and already has more hair than Max, I think. We didn't get any pictures of our own, so I borrowed this one from Mike's blog. Congratulations on being born, Merritt Maui! We love you!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jamba Me

Max and I made the trek to Napa yesterday, to visit my mom's work, which is another way of saying that Granny got her long-awaited opportunity to show off her grandson to her friends. She made the most of this, and Max worked the crowd of teachers, speech therapists, and behavioral specialists with his usual enthusiasm. Afterwards, we went to Jamba Juice to celebrate. It turns out that Max is enthusiastic about smoothies, too . . . he ate part of both of our smoothies, as well as his own pureed bananas. He felt it was important to experience his jamba juice as fully as possible, which explains why he has it all over his face. I don't know if it shows up in the picture, but I even found some cherry charger up his nose -- and I mean, really deep in there. Drunk on various fruit juices and tired from being charming, Max slept most of the way home. It was a nice day!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Acrobatics From All Angles

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it seems like ever since that physical therapist told us not to help Max to stand up, Max's entire life is devoted to standing himself up. He can crawl now, but he disdains crawling. He can sit on laps, but he disdains laps. All his free time is spent grabbing the edges of chairs, couches, coffee tables, his parents' body parts, and hoisting himself to a standing position. Once there, he gets so excited that he does a little happy foot dance, resulting, of course, in a loss of balance and subsequent demotion back to a sitting position. Gravity, Max will defeat you in battle and laugh over your grave!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Next He's Coming For You

Nothing is safe now that Max is mobile. Today, for instance, he has pulled every book off of the bottom shelf of the bookshelf six times, attempted to breach the kitty litter closet door twice, found several pine needles left over from the Christmas Tree and tried to eat them, cried when said pine needles were taken from him, reprogrammed the DVD player and the TIVO, tried on four separate occasions to eat Ian's Xbox controller, cried when the Xbox controller was taken from him, tried on those same four occasions to strangle himself with the wires from the Xbox, cried when I forbade strangling with those or any other wires, pulled to stand on three wobbly surfaces, fallen over when pulling to stand failed, cried about the failures, and headed back over to the bookshelf. This was all in the last two hours, and there is more but I am too tired to type it out. Guard your household treasure, people, there is no telling where or what he will strike next!

Friday, June 23, 2006


I knew, when Ian and I got married, that he was a carrier for the video gaming gene. I held out some hope that it might be a recessive tendency, but I see now that I was wrong to hope. Max clearly shares his old man's love of the wondrous world of the computer. I suspect that the comic book and action figure genes are waiting to manifest themselves, as well.

I am glad to say, however, that my DNA is obviously in there somewhere. Here we have Max choosing between Harry Potter and The Golden Compass for his naptime reading. (Right now he absorbs reading material mostly through the taste buds, but he has chewed through more and denser fiction than a lot of people get through using their "eyes". Don't judge him.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Primal Instincts

The wild Max conceals himself below the coffee table and lurks in the shadows, searching for prey.
Prey in his sights, the Max risks exposure and ventures out into the open.
Swiftly, the Max leaves the shelter of the coffee table and scrambles across the open Savannah, hoping to be upon his prey before it senses his presence.
Smug in his victory, the Max explores his acquisition. Now, his only obstacle is his mother, the ferocious Chelsa. Will she deprive her cub of his hard-earned prey? She will if she catches him.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Scottish Roots Live Action

I managed to capture some video of Max playing his imaginary bagpipes this afternoon (see below if you don't know what I am talking about). Ian would like me to mention that the video has a soundtrack, so turn it up and rock out!

Scottish Roots

Max has started doing this really humorous thing recently. He picks up a toy (it can be any kind of toy), holds it up to his mouth, and flaps his bent arm up and down while singing (example of his lyrics: "ohohohohoooommmmmmaaaaah va va bahbah"). It looks exactly as if he is playing the bagpipes, using his arm to exert pressure on the bag part while playing the pipe part. This picture does not really do justice to the phenomenon -- I have been trying to get video of it, but Max always stops right when I whip out the camera. I'll keep trying. I've heard of air guitar, but air bagpipes is a new one. It must be built into his genetic code. His great-grandparents would all be so proud!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Narcissus Complex II -- The Obsession Deepens

Yes, I'm afraid that this is exactly what it looks like -- a picture of Max giving an affectionate kiss to his own reflection. My parents have those closet doors that are all mirror, and Max loves them. I bet that in his mind, Granny and Gramps' house is great because that really attractive baby lives there. Oh, Max. Hopefully you will outgrow this vanity, or at least learn to conceal it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Brief History Of Max's Beds

In those innocent days before Max was born, our initial thought was that he would sleep in his co-sleeper, peacefully beside us while still leaving us our bed to ourselves. Look how well Max took to this idea!

Next, we borrowed a portable crib, so that Max could nap in comfort, but still be nearby while I toiled around the house. Goblin found this bed to be luxuriously soft and convenient. Max slept in it, oh, maybe twice.

Now here we have the correct answer, as far as Max is concerned. Remember the bed that we were going to have peacefully to ourselves? Max finds it very comfortable, and is generous enough to share it with us upon occasion.

Now that Max is older, we have begun trying to transition him into his own crib, especially at naptime. Max had reservations about this idea initially . . .

. . . But he is now convinced that solo napping, especially in the summer (oh, central air conditioning, how I pine for thee), has its advantages. I would also like to say (in the interests of filing grievances against Max that I can use to guilt-trip him at a later date) that in order to convince him that the crib was just as good a place to nap as the big bed, I had to nurse him while he lay in it. Look at the picture here and imagine all the ways I might accomplish this. None of them could possibly be comfy, could they? You think about that, Teenage Max, before you go out drinking and carousing.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Ian, over the many years I have known you, I have seen you take on many roles: arch-nemesis, friend, boyfriend, husband . . . And I have seen you excel at each role more than the last. I have been the lucky recipient of your loyalty, your exuberance for life, and your love. And, for the last nine months, I have been priviledged to watch you take on a new role as a father to Max. You are the standard by which Max will judge what it means to be a man, and I feel so grateful that he has such a high standard to live up to. Thank you for helping me create the wonder that is Max, and for helping him to soar.

Happy Grandpa's Day, Too!

Max feels very lucky to have so many grandpas, and to have the quirky wisdom of each in his life. Happy Father's Day, Team Grandpa!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Max Versus Watermelon: Rematch

I was somewhat hesitant to reintroduce Max to anything he could gag himself with (see "Hulking Out" from May 24's blog for more details), but he has been demonstrating a definite need to bite recently. Since I do not wish to expose myself to any more breastfeeding bites, I have been driven back to Max's old nemesis, watermelon slice. I was eating some yesterday morning, and he kept gazing at me accusingly, so I finally gave him a piece of his own.

Before commencing eating, Max studies his foe from all angles. It shall not defeat him or make him barf a second time!

Like a lion devouring a gazelle, Max buries his ferocious maw in his opponent.

Muzzle coated in the flesh of his vanquished enemy, Max allows himself to celebrate his victory.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Speed Demon

Max has been honing his own, personal crawling style, and has finally achieved long-dreamed-of mobility. He has very long, flexible toes, and he puts them to good use when he crawls. He digs them into the carpet, curls them under for grip, and then uses his elbows to scrabble along. This is a more efficient technique than it sounds -- he can get into all sorts of far-reaching mischief in the thirty-five seconds it takes me to pee.

See the slight blur in this photo? That's because he is too fast for the camera. He's like lightning! (He's like a kind of lightning that sometimes moves backwards or sideways accidentally, and that often would prefer to be carried by passing storm clouds, but there is some lightning like that. Yes, there is. You don't know.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Movin' On Up

Ian and I often try to imagine what Max might be thinking, and we have gotten into the habit of "speaking" for him, a habit he is sure to find irritating soon (if he doesn't already). Here is how I imagine his thoughts during his pull to stand today:

Hello, nursing stool. I bet you'd make the perfect launching pad for me to stand up and rumple the neatly folded laundry.

Let's see . . . Foot One always cooperates no problem, but Foot Two always gets twisted under. Your bad attitude is getting noticed, Foot Two. There's no 'I' in 'team', you know.

Listen, Foot Two. We need everybody pulling together, here. You're holding the whole operation back!

Ah. Here we go. The rocking chair! You'll help me foil Foot Two's evil plot, won't you?

Victory is mine! Take that, Foot Two! Nothing left to do now but rumple that laundry. Oh, sweet laundry rumpling.

Ian's new blog

I made a new blog that will mostly cover politics and goings-on in a light and friendly way. Feel free to read it and comment as you feel the need to. Or ignore it completely, if you so choose, I will not be offended. I will try to have interesting content roughly five times a week. Here is the link.

The White Hat Society

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Rare Breed Of Baby Monkey

Max does this super cute thing sometimes, especially while he is nursing or when he is going to sleep. He puts one hand over my hand or arm, and wraps his foot and leg around me, even curling his toes around me for extra security. Ian managed to capture him in the act today, and I am so glad he did. I know that this picture will be one that I always cherish, and I am so happy that I will have it to remember Max's full body hugs by.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Multi-Media Max

Max got a toy (seen here in use) called 'Phil Harmonic' from Grandma Kay for Christmas. It does a number of things, including sing songs, make silly noises, and light up in various parts of itself. Max didn't do much more than stare at it at first, but he has begun interacting with it quite frequently. It has a wheel you can spin, which changes the song/nursery rhyme/weird noise it is currently attuned to. For whatever reason, Max is especially drawn to this wheel, and turns it rapidly and without regard for song beginnings or endings. The result is that Phil Harmonic has become a sort of DJ station, with Max as the evil genius mixmaster. If I could offer you an example of his musical stylings: "The wheels on the bus go -- four little monkeys -- four-four little mon -- Jack and Jill went -- POP! Goes the weasel! -- swish swish swish -- the first star I see tonight --" and etc. To add to the auditory delight, each of these songs/rhymes is sung by a different mechanical voice, each more zany than the one before. I know that Phil Harmonic is a tool of learning for Max, but Ian and I have learned a lot from it, as well. For example, do you know all the noises that you might hear on a bus? Are you aware of the sounds produced by each and every animal on Old McDonald's Farm? Did you know that 'Pop! Goes the Weasel' has not one but six verses? And do you know them all by heart? We do.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Max Plays Peek-A-Boo

It is incredible to see Max begin to respond to us verbally now, not just by saying words, but by showing that he understands what we say. His new favorite game is 'peek a boo', and he has begun initiating the game at every possible opportunity. He will take a blanket or piece of cloth, cover his face, and wait for someone to say, "Where's Max?"

Then he will uncover himself and squeal with joy. Sometimes it takes him a second or two to find his way out of the blanket. Sometimes he needs to bite the blanket before lowering it completely. Sometimes he falls over with excitement. I think it's the element of uncertainty that he enjoys.

It is then our job (after we have helped Max to collect himself) to cry out, "There he is! Peek-a-boo!" with just the right combination of relief (because we found him) and glee (because we are glad we found him). This game has been repeated frequently in our house over the last week or so. You'd think it would get old, but so far it hasn't.