Friday, September 29, 2006

The Splendid Sandbox Story

Ever since we moved in here, I have wanted to get a little sandbox for Max to use on our patio. He is just the right age for it, and I have really fond memories of playing in the sandbox with my sister when we were little. I looked around for a sandbox to use, but they were all too big, too round, too covered in cartoons, etc. When you can't find something of this nature, the only thing to do is to put my dad on the job, and so that is exactly what I did. Accordingly, he hand-built a little sandbox for Max that fits perfectly into one corner of our patio. Max was napping today when my dad got it all set up. When he woke up, I took him out on the patio and let him discover the new arrival.

Max's new climbing obsession allowed for no hesitation, and he clambered right into the box. Once inside, he was apparently startled by the texture of the sand on his diaper-clad hindquarters.

The cool gritty sand punched a temporary hole in Max's devil-may-care philosophy, and he appealed to a higher power (me) for rescue.

Before anyone swooped in to save him, however, Max discovered that you can pick up sand and sift it through your fingers.

And Max and the sandbox lived happily ever after from that moment on.

I could make any number of jokes here about eating your heart out, and I expect many hearty thanks for not making any of them.

After drooling on every available surface of an object, Max likes to examine his work. This allows him to find any spots he may have missed, and further allows him to transfer some of the sandy drool from the toy onto his hands.

Then, when the object is as drool-covered, sandy, and generally untouchable as it can possibly be, he likes to offer it to a friend. His generosity knows no bounds.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

When we moved into our new apartment, Ian and I thought we had devised a watertight, no-risk, ingenious plan. We sold all our furniture before we moved, we measured all the walls and nooks and crannies in our new apartment, and we went out and bought new furniture that fit with almost painful precision into our new space. Our new furniture is practical, spacially economic, and comfortable. Within a month, however, we have begun to see some drawbacks. Or rather, Max has begun to create some drawbacks. Our new furniture fits perfectly into our new living room, provided that everything stay exactly where it is now. The stereo cabinet fits exactly under the countertop between the kitchen and the living room. The bookshelves exactly squeeze into the hallway niche. And (sigh) the couch only fits on one wall in the living room, snuggled right up against the computer desk. This posed no problem whatsoever, until our young monkey of a son learned to climb the sofa. Max has a long-standing affair with lighted buttons of all kinds, and he has apparently been eyeing the printer for weeks now, gauging the distance, flexing his climbing muscles, preparing himself spiritually for the moment when he would be able to heave himself up onto the couch and be within easy reach of the printer. That moment arrived three days ago, and in between then and now, Max has progressed from climbing the couch and touching the printer, to climbing the couch and dismantling the printer, to climbing the couch, climbing the printer, and touching the computer next to it. We unplugged the printer to make it less enticing, but Max is unfooled by our ruse. He knows those buttons light up and make whirring noises, and he will keep pushing them until he can prove it to the world.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One Giant Leap For Maxkind

Max took his first ever independent, not holding anyone, not touching anything step last night! We were unable to capture footage of the event itself, mostly because it took us by surprise, but I have recreated it as best I could with the following photos:

Max started out walking back and forth along the edge of the couch, holding onto the side. I call this 'the crab walk', because it goes sideways and he scrabbles along so quickly with his little bowlegged limbs.

Max decided that he wanted to get over to the computer, which has a wealth of sweet forbidden buttons and cords to mess with. The computer chair was just far enough away that Max couldn't get from the couch to the chair without letting go. He braced himself, let go of the couch, swayed for a second to get his balance, and stepped over to the computer chair.

Max, brilliant evil mastermind that he is, took advantage of his parents' delighted amazement over his accomplishment, and quickly touched all the most forbidden parts of the computer during the distraction.

Unfortunately, Step Two did not go quite as smoothly as Step One. Max started out strong with his repeat performance, but his feet got a bit tangled mid-stride, and he fell and bonked his head on the computer desk. Here is the war wound to prove the truth of my tale. He wears it with pride.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Goin' Grazin'

All right, I admit it. Despite my best efforts at cleanliness, sometimes Max's high chair remains coated in filth for a little while after he is finished eating. He has recently become very enamored of shredded cheese, and the cheese shreds get everywhere while he is eating them. I try to clean them all up in a timely fashion, but sometimes I am in a rush, or other chores are more pressing (stinky diaper, impending cat/baby conflict, etc.), and the high chair briefly stands as a monument to baby slime. Much to my annoyance, Max seems to prefer these wayward bits of leftover food to his actual meal.

Here he is today, immediately after eating a granola bar in the high chair (and throwing about half of it down the pants), carefully selecting a previously rejected morsel of food for illicit consumption.

Jackpot! A giant chunk of granola bar, stashed in the chair and just waiting to be snagged by an enterprising baby!

Oh, Hi Mama!I didn't see you there! Oh, me? I'm not doing anything at all. I'm just standing here, you know, looking adorable. I'm sure not eating pieces of filth off the chair or anything. You know me, Mr. Never-Eats-Filth. Yep. You might as well just move along, Mama. There's nothing to see here, that's for sure.

Okay, I may have eaten one piece of filth. I had you going for a second or two, though, didn't I? Look how cute I am. Let's all focus on the cuteness, and leave the past in the past. That's what I think we should do.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Max's style of play has become more sophisticated recently, now that he has turned one and feels that he has an image to keep up. Ian gets this transformer car down for Max in the evenings (it is a supervised play only toy, because some of the pieces could be eaten and choked on), and Max's whole self lights up when he sees it. What's weird is that he rolls it back and forth on the ground and says "vrooooommmm!". How does he know that cars go 'vrooom'? I don't think that either Ian or I has taught him this, and yet it appears to be ingrained. Ian is very proud of this, as he feels it is portentous of Max's inherent manliness.

I don't know what this is portentous of. More teeth coming in? An inexplicable rage towards all cars, inherited from his mother? Or are we just not feeding him enough rubber and metal?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Don't Fence Me In

We put a baby gate across the kitchen doorway yesterday, in response to Max's ever-increasing fascination with the oven dials and other things that could kill us all. We were inclined to believe that the baby gate would be an unpopular addition, and we were not disappointed.

At first, when I went into the kitchen this morning and Max discovered that following me was suddenly not an option anymore, he examined the new obstacle in his path relatively calmly. He went to work, with systematic determination, to dismantle or overturn his new nemesis.

When the challenge proved greater than anticipated (thank you, makers of the baby gate), Max's independent spirit cracked in a few places. He requested help in removing the gate, and was baffled and dismayed to find that his father, mother, and both cats seemed to have taken the gate's side of the conflict.

This is a baby whose Mama's cruelty knows no bounds. Not only is she not removing the baby gate, but she is photographing the subsequent rage and frustration! Oh, cold betrayal, thy name is Mama.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This Is The Life!

Max and I have been spending a lot of time outside on our little patio. The laundry room is out there (well, laundry closet, but a closet is like a little room, and if you're going to get that hung up on syntax, you need more vibrant levels of activity in your life), and I have been feeding Max's newfound love of water by giving him buckets of it to splash in while I do laundry. Sure, when I was sixteen, a squealing wet baby and five uninterrupted minutes to do laundry may not have sounded like the ingredients of paradise, but it turns out that they are. Plus, look how nicely maintained the lawn is. Not a fox tail or a trash pile to be seen.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

He's Weird, But We Love Him

Max has developed an obsession with water-play recently. This is great during bathtime or in the pool, but the obsession cannot be fed by these sanctioned activities alone. When going in or out of the bathroom, we now have to open the door a crack, sidle in or out, and then slam it behind us quickly. Otherwise, certain family members are in the bathroom and elbow-deep in the toilet before you can say "disgusting". On his birthday, for a treat, I sat him in the sink, with the water trickling over his toes, and let him hang out for awhile. The fact that Max considers this a treat, instead of some weird terrorist semi-torture, says something about his character. I don't know what it says, but it says something.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Birthday Chronicles

I know that many of you wish you could have been present on the momentous occasion of Max's first birthday. I have therefore tried to summarize the day for you, so that you can feel that you were present.

After awakening at 5:45 am (a new earliness record for Max and hopefully attributable to excitement about the big day and not the beginning of a trend), Max enjoyed a hearty birthday breakfast of oatmeal and peaches. You can see by his sly eyes that he is still reflecting on the humor of waking me up before sunrise. If you could see my eyes, they would be reflecting on the same thing, only less humorously.

After breakfast, Max got the stains out of his birthday suit. I got revenge for the early hour by taking and later posting yet another shot of Max's naked booty for the blog. I don't know why the bathtub has a bar across one wall, or who put it there, but Max would like to shake the hand of whoever it was. Most of his time in the bath is now spent trying to do chin-ups.

After the necessities were taken care of, Max had some time to reflect on his one-ness and to play with some of his many presents (grandparents are great, aren't they?) Max likes this car, which he got to open early (because Granny and Gramps couldn't wait), but he can only get it to go backwards. Like his mother, he seems to have some driving issues.

In the afternoon, we went over to Max's Tillman grandparents' where we had a wild party for the boy in question. Max refused an afternoon nap before the party (again, hopefully excitement-related and not a new pattern), and therefore became progressively tireder and more wiggly as the afternoon wore on.

Of course, even when tired and over-partied, Max always takes the time to charm the ladies!

Max and Julia (his girlfriend) have brought a sort of a Wuthering Heights-ish flavor to their relationship of late ... which is to say, they are drawn irresistibly to one another, but do not always get along. They played together quite well for most of the party (here they are conspiring to pick and eat dirt out the planter and then go swim in the algae-infested fish pond), and only came to blows at the very end, when present time caused a brief but violent rift between them.

You can see here the first tell-tale signs of tiredness in Max, as his eyelids have begun to visibly droop.

He ate an enthusiastic birthday dinner, comprised of various bite-sized items. He got to try peanut-butter and jelly for the first time, and declared it fit for the gods. Even with these culinary delights at hand, however, you can see that they eye-drooping has gotten noticeably lower and more pronounced. I was convinced that he was going to fall asleep face-down in his food, but he heard that there was going to be cake and forced himself to stay awake for it.

It was worth staying awake for!

Max has recently begun clapping his hands, and throughout the 'Happy Birthday' song, he applauded his own longevity with great and unselfconscious glee.

Despite increasingly alarming levels of exhaustion, Max polished off an entire slice of cake by himself, allowing surprisingly few crumbs to escape onto the lap or down the shirt. If you asked Max, and if he could answer in English, he would probably tell you that this was his favorite part of the day. The rest of the party had its moments, but let's be honest. A one-year-old birthday party is more about photo opportunities than it is about the desires of the one-year-old in question. Cake, however, holds an ageless appeal.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Entire Year Of Max

My baby turned one at 6:25 this morning. (Sadly, Max decided we should all be awake so that we could mark the occasion at the exact second.) In some ways, it feels as if Max has been in our lives forever, but I still can't believe that an entire year has gone by. When I look at pictures like this one, I realize how much he has grown and changed, and I am so very grateful that Ian and I get to be front and center to watch him transform. He has been surprising and wonderful from the moment we knew he existed, and I can't wait to see what comes next!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Air Conditioner: A Love Haiku By Chelsa

So hot where I was/
Until you entered my life/
Now I am happy

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back In The Saddle

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! So good to be back. I have always believed (and not without years of hard evidence) that Ian was the computer-addict of our family, but I have to say, these two weeks have been rough. I have come to really love using our blog to keep track of our adventures, and using other people's blogs as a way to keep in touch. Anyway, our drought is ended, and we are back. While we were gone, we moved (obviously), we discovered Ikea (Ian wants to live there, but I am reluctant to move again so soon) and bought a bunch of furniture to replace the stuff we sold. We love our new apartment a lot. Even including the fact that it is a bit smaller, and that most of our stuff is scattered throughout the house in random boxes, it is an infinite amount more cheerful and comfortable than our old house.

Max has been busy during our internet absence, as well. He has grown some more teeth, bringing his grand total up to three and a half. He has added "cat" to his vocabulary, along with "mama", "dada", and "grrrrrr!" (The growling is in response to Granny attempting to teach him animal noises. He quickly grasped that the lion says "grrr". He also thinks that cows, elephants, pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, birds, horses, and sheep say "grrr". I will not be visiting that petting zoo any time soon.) He climbs like a monkey. Unfortunately, he climbs like a clumsy monkey, and got his first bloody nose right after we moved. There were a lot of valuable lessons about gravity to be learned from the experience. Max has chosen not to learn them. He has also become very interested in opening drawers and cupboards. We have safety-proofed our house, but the whole time we were doing it, I kept thinking about that saying about more complicated mouse-traps breeding smarter mice.

... And speaking of mouse-traps. We borrowed this from Ian's parents to transport the cats, but I am thinking of asking if I can keep it. If I pad the sides, I could keep Max perfectly safe in there all day, and it's not really any weirder than those kid leashes that I am always seeing at the mall.

I will have pictures of our new apartment posted as soon as it looks like an apartment instead of a cardboard box-encrusted tomb. Our couch was delivered today, so we are one step closer. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Moving Update

Again, I am sorry this is not a Chelsa-written post. It will not feature cute Max pictures. We will have cute Max pictures soon, as our internet will be up and operational on the 14th. Poor Chelsa has been photoediting like crazy too, longing to post.

Notable updates: Moving has given Chelsa the opportunity to sell most of our old furniture (see previous posts) and so we have been purchasing new furniture. Some furniture we can get through my work, like anything bedroom-related.

But I must tell you about my newfound love for Ikea. I had never been before, but I must say, what a cool store. First of all, the breakfast special...eggs, bacon/sausage, potatoes, swedish pancakes, and coffee for $1.99! Just crazy. Also, little stations for babies/infants to play in, nursing area in the bathroom, and really cheap stuff. Not necessarily amazing quality, and you put most of it together yourself, but wow, great for desks and lamps and such. Also very stylish modern-style stuff, if you are into that, and we are.

Anyway, we are going again tomorrow to get some shelves and accessories. And internet and cute Max pictures/better Chelsa written text soon to follow.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where did we go?

Okay, I just want everyone to know that we have not died. We have moved, however, and won't have internet till 9-14-06. Chelsa is going into severe blogger withdrawals as we speak, so give her a call if you can.

Details will follow at some point, but as of now we are waiting on DSL, satellite, washer dryer, and pilot light lighting. Then, our life will be complete. Max, Chelsa, and the cats have adjusted suprisingly well to the new place. It is much nicer then where we were living.

Anyway, Chelsa can't wait to revisit the blogosphere. If I can "borrow" some bandwidth tonight, I will get you to post.

Thanks for reading,