Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Baby Grievences

Max had to endure a doctor's appointment yesterday, which came complete with a thorough check-up, a poke or a prod in all the most personal and sensitive areas, and two shots. Ian and I were both highly pessimistic when we had to wake Max up, get him dressed, and stuff some food into him at seven a.m., accompanied by the melodious sound of Max howling bloody murder. Once we got to the doctor's, however, Max perked up considerably, and played with the toys in the waiting area with enthusiasm. His visit went well -- Max did not like the shots, but bore them manfully, and he showed off his walking and climbing skills by running around like a naked maniac the whole time the doctor was trying to examine him. Currently, Max is 33 inches tall, putting him in the 88th percentile for his age. He weighs in at 26pounds, 11 ounces (the 71st percentile and a big leap from his last visit). His head continues to set new records for size as well as beauty, although the doctor did say that the growth seems to be slowing down a little. He is also meeting or exceeding all his developmental milestones, in spite of his prematurity and the burden of carrying around his giant cranium. While the visit went better than expected, Max did have a bit of a rough afternoon and evening. One of the shots he got was in the muscle of his calf, and it made him a bit stiff-legged and clumsy. As a result, he tripped and banged his face against the piano leg before dinner, getting a bloody and swollen lip to add to his list of woes. On the plus side, the shots, the facial wound, and the long day all combined to make Max an object of great pity to his parents, and he was spoiled in the following ways:

1) Max often gets to play on the computer with Ian, but he is generally discouraged from touching the screen. Last night, however, Ian found a soothing fish screen-saver for Max to look at (he is into fish lately), and Max was permitted to point at the fish as they drifted to and fro.

2) I "shared" my ice-cream bar with Max (which basically means that I held it and Max ate it). It soothed Max's swollen lip, and seemed to go a long way toward healing his bruised soul, as well.

3) Yes, I taught preschool for a long time, and I took all the classes and read all the books, so I know how important it is to be consistent when establishing a new routine (such as teaching your child to sleep in his own bed, for instance). Last night, however, Ian and I both agreed that a violation of the rules was in order, and Max was put to bed in the big bed. He had had such a long day, he was running a little fever from the shots, he was swollen and disgruntled, and he is our cherished little baby, so we all slept in the big bed, crowded and smashed but peaceful. Max is in much better spirits today, and looks significantly less like a boxer who just lost his last few rounds to Mike Tyson.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fashion Icon

I actually went back and forth for awhile about whether or not to post these pictures. There is embarrassment for both Max (someday, when he is old enough to feel shame) and myself (right now, since I am already old enough to feel shame), but the humor of the whole thing outweighs the humiliation, and so here we are. I compromised by posting on a Friday night, since Ian tells me that our blog is least frequently read on the weekends.

Max is growing into his personality more and more, and is developing his own very firm opinions about what is funny, what does and does not taste good, what comprises a fun activity, etc. He has apparently decided to make his own fashion decisions, as well, and has predictably developed an unusual and cutting-edge sense of style. Today he asked for a glass of milk (which means that he held up an empty sippy cup, said "meek? meek!" and then yelled until I took the cup and began filling it.). While I was getting his drink, Max rooted through a pile of freshly washed laundry, selected a pair of my pink maternity underwear with great and thoughtful deliberation, and placed them around his neck like a scarf.

Thus draped, Max climbed up on the piano bench so that he could check out the effect of his new accessory in his reflection in the mirror.

Apparently, his new look met with his approval, because he smiled, patted his chest, and said, "Me! Me! Me!" over and over. (On an unrelated note, he has started referring to himself as 'me' lately, which is a developmental leap that is supposed to come much later. He is a genius, which at least means that he will be able to write off his questionable fashion choices as charmingly eccentric and above the heads of the rest of us.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Them Tillman Boys (Extended Edition)

The other day, I was reading in the living room, taking a break while Ian played with Max in the Max-room. (I can't really call it Max's bedroom, since his bed is in our room, and it isn't really organized enough to be called a playroom or a nursery yet, so it's the Max-room.) I was hearing some clattering noises, but not very much talking, which is rare for both father and son, but I was enjoying my break too much to wonder about it extensively. Suddenly, from the back of the house, I heard Ian call, "Chelsa? Hey, Chels!" His voice had a strange note to it that worried me a little. Was Max hurt? Had Ian discovered a gross bug somewhere in our house? (They are doing some construction across the street, and so we occasionally receive visits from disgruntled creatures that lived in what used to be a field and will soon be a park.) When I asked what was up, Ian said, "I'm just so happy right now!" This was intriguing (and alarming -- many of the things that make Ian happy involve bothering me slightly), and I went to the Max-room to see the source of Ian's delight. I beheld Ian and Max, both buried up to the armpits in boxes of Ian's lego collection. Ian has been waiting for most of his life for someone who can sit and play legos with him with the necessary absorption and passion. Apparently, that someone has arrived, and is now old enough to hear the siren song of the lego bricks. Yesterday, Grandpa Phil was invited to share in the Tillman Male Initiation ceremony. It has been hard to get Max to play with anything else, and I don't see much of him or Ian anymore unless I want to build giant robots or tiny space ships. Maybe Speck will play with me after she comes out.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Them Tillman Boys

Several things in this picture point to the fact that Ian is a great dad. 1)It is really early in the morning when this picture was taken, and Ian is still visibly happy to see and play with Max. 2)Both Ian and I hate this book deeply (it has appeared before on our blog), and yet Ian is voluntarily reading it to Max, who loves it. 3)Ian is snuggling with Max, despite the fact that this is first thing in the morning, and Max has yet to have his diaper changed. Ian was slightly reluctant to have his picture taken so soon after waking up, but I want us to always be able to remember these moments, when the bond between Max and Ian is so visible and so amazing to see.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

King Of The Road

Max and I have been walking to the park near our house at least once a day lately, so that we can stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Max has begun neglecting the playground equipment in favor of a new and novel activity -- running like a maniac all over the park lawn and up and down the walkways. He has just recently discovered that he can walk independently while he is outside, and he wants the world to see him in action. Today, I was apparently taking a little bit too long getting ready to go, because Max took it upon himself to speed up the leaving process. Behold ...

Seeing that I was at least a drink of water and a trip to the bathroom away from being ready to go, Max decided to drop me a hint or two, in the form of putting himself into his own stroller.

It was an uphill battle at first, getting the diapered hindquarters up over the snack tray ...

... but once the majority of Max was up and over, the rest was easier.

Pleased with his accomplishments, and blissfully unaware that he was about to be removed so that socks and a jacket could be applied to him (no, Granny, I did not take Max out with bare feet), Max settled himself into his hard-won throne.

He was quite displeased to discover that, even after relieving me of the necessity of strapping him into the stroller, I was not as ready to go as he was. Is it possible, he wondered to himself, that Mama doesn't hear the call of the open park walkways as strongly as I do? How could it be so?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quesadillas Of Love

Our plan to forge an alliance with our friends The Lindsays, through the marriage of our respective offspring, seems to be going swimmingly. While we were eating dinner together last night, we beheld Max and Julia, gazing lovingly into each other's eyes and exchanging slimy, partially chewed pieces of quesadilla. I was getting worried for awhile there -- Max and Julia hit a rough patch in their relationship when Julia became mobile before Max, and used her advantage in speed and dexterity to put him in his place on a couple of occasions. Now that Max is equally upright, and significantly larger, they seem to be back on track, and last night's romantic dinner put my fears to rest. Max even offered Julia milk out of his sippy cup, and, like a gentleman, held the cup for her while she drank. Max loves his milk deeply, and usually yells baby obscenities at anyone who tries to take a sippy cup from him, so this gesture is extremely significant. There is nothing quite so beautiful as young love in bloom, is there?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Max Interviewed About Upcoming Baby Sister; Expresses Indifference

Several people have asked me if Max found the ultrasound and its results exciting. He was not actually present at the ultrasound, so the world cannot know what his opinion of it would have been, but I did ask him if he was excited about the fact that he would be having a sister. In response, he said, "Baby, bababababa, heh heh, mama? mama! dadabanama, aieeeee!" and then commenced playing with his new truck and screwdriver. I think that says it all.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

After Much Nail-Biting Anticipation ....

We finally had our mid-point ultrasound, and we are now ready to share the results with the world (or, at least, the portion of the world that reads this blog). As you may know, we (well, me) have been very anxiously awaiting this day, and we (well, me again) are very relieved that the anticipation is over. First, and most importantly, Speck is healthy and happy, and was gracious enough to coincide her morning wiggly time with the ultrasound, allowing us to see in detail everything that we needed to see. It is difficult to see which parts are what in still photos of ultrasounds, and it is even more difficult when those pictures are further blurred by a computer screen, but we have included them anyway. Since we are not there in person, you are at least spared the awkwardness of pretending that you can see what we are trying to show you in the blurry, black-and-white blobs.

In this picture, you are looking at her face head-on. The two dark spots in the large white spot on the right side of the picture are her eyes. I think she has her mama's round cheeks!

This is a profile shot, and it is really hard to make out, because she was turning her head right when the doctor was trying to take the picture. Basically, the profile is on the left of the picture, and the little arrow is roughly parallel with her mouth. Because she was moving, it is hard to see in the still shot, but I am pretty sure she has her daddy's nose.

This is another head-on shot, and you can see her ear in this one. Her head is on the left side of the picture, and her knees are drawn up on the right side. She is sucking on her fingers. How cute is that? I know, it just looks like a blob right now, but it was really beautiful and adorable when we could see it in motion.

These are her feet. Look at the little toes!

Out of deference to Speck's modesty, I did not include the picture that showed us the gender, but she was very cooperative, and gave us a very clear view. If you missed my many hints, Speck is a little lady Tillman, proving that the majority of people (in our circle of family and friends, at least) are intuitive when it comes to baby gender. Congratulations to the seventy percent of you who voted correctly! Our doctor cautioned us that no ultrasound can offer 100% proof of a baby's sex, but that this one came as close to 100% as it is possible to come. Thank you, Speck, for your ladylike straddling of the camera. I am extremely excited to tackle the new adventure of being a mama to a daughter, and I can now stop worrying about the ultrasound, and start worrying about all the other stuff that is out there just waiting to be worried about.

Monday, January 15, 2007

T-Minus Twenty Hours Until Ultrasound!!

Now may be your final chance to vote in the He-Speck or She-Speck poll! See below for voting opportunities. Don't let this chance to show off your psychic powers pass you by! So far, She-Speck has a significant lead, with about seventy percent of the votes. Those of you who voted for twins, or for an unclear ultrasound, should be expecting a kick in the shins from me any day now. If either of these things comes true, I am going to be blaming those who voted that way for jinxing me. Tomorrow at 10:40 a.m., the moment of truth will be upon us!

Happy Birthday Elaine!

Happy Birthday, Elaine! Thank you for being such a wonderful mother, mother-in-law, and grandma. We wish you were here to celebrate with us, but we will be thinking of you!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Artistic Statements

This afternoon, I drank a glass of water, set the empty glass on the kitchen table, and went to the bathroom, leaving Max happily playing with Superman. When I came out of the bathroom, I beheld, upon the couch, the image that I give you now in the included photo. Either Superman was involved in some sort of rescue involving a dive into this glass, or Max is dabbling in abstract art. Andy Warhol should watch his back.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Energy, Thy Name Is Max

Max has long been a fan of climbing, and has become so adept at it that I expect to find him hanging from the ceiling any day now. I'm not joking, either -- he climbed from the kitchen chair to the kitchen table today, and was just beginning to scale the bookshelves when he was apprehended. In an effort to satisfy Max's mountain-goat-like tendencies, I have begun taking him on a tour of the Davis playgrounds. I keep steering him towards the baby climbing structures (not entirely unreasonable, since he is, in fact, a baby), but he is having none of that. He feels very secure in his ability to climb to the highest peaks of the most sophisticated structures known to park-kind. The fact that this security has no basis in reality dents it not even slightly. After removing a wailing, infuriated Max from several playgrounds after his desire to go down slides and leap over high ledges proved too much for me to squelch, I called in reinforcements. Max is now only allowed to go to playgrounds if there are no large climbing structures, or if I can bring at least one, and ideally two or three, other adults with me. Ian, Ian's parents and I all banded together to take Max to the park near Ian's parents' house the other day. The mission was a success in the sense that we all had fun, although it did not noticeably dampen Max's enthusiasm for climbing the furniture afterwards.

Max throws himself into sliding with a passion that must be seen to be believed. He starts saying "more! more!" before he has even reached the bottom.

This slide is kind of weird. It is made up of stuck-together tubes. Ian tried sliding down with Max a few times, but found the consequent bum-massage a little disturbing. Max's diaper padding and aforementioned passion for sliding allowed him to enjoy the slide in spite of the tubes.

If you think that all that action subdued Max, let this picture disabuse you of the notion. I don't know how Ian's parents managed to get this shot, but I love it. Even when his wee knees were trembling with exhaustion, Max kept staggering around, trying to get to the slides and saying, "more! more!" in an increasingly weary voice.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Burning Question Of Speck's Gender: Place Your Bets!

Our ultrasound is now less than a week away, and we are officially opening the polls. Do you think Speck is a boy or a girl? Cast your votes, and then check back in on Tuesday to see if you won! (Again, to be clear, we are not offering cash or prizes of any kind, other than the satisfaction of a correct guess.)

He-Speck or She-Speck?
He-Speck (boy)
She-Speck (girl)
One of each (secretly twins!)
Ultrasound unclear, you will wallow in ignorance.
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Max Joins The Justice League

Ian was very insistant that Max needed some superhero action figures for Christmas this year. I agreed because they weren't expensive, but I privately thought that the only one actually playing with Batman and Superman would probably be Ian. I was greatly mistaken. Apparently, the tidal pull of Ian's love for Superman is part of Max's genetic code. Max carries his action figures around constantly, one in each hand, and has begun humming the Superman theme song under his breath. (Or rather, he makes humming sounds which, with imagination, very vaguely resemble The Superman Theme Song, but he only makes this particular set of noises while carrying Superman, which aids our understanding of what he is singing.)

Ian has shown Max how Superman flies around (I was wrong about Ian being the only one who plays with the actions figures, but I was not wrong about Ian playing with the action figures), and Max has begun attempting flight, himself. This is accompanied by a high-pitched shrieking sound, which he seems to think will help him become airborne. So far, his launches have failed to get him off the ground, but keep your eye on the skies.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Halfway There, Baby!

I am twenty weeks pregnant today, which puts Speck and I at the official halfway point. (Always supposing that Speck doesn't come out early, like certain older siblings, or stay in there past his/her due date, which is exactly the perverse kind of thing that Speck would do.) I am feeling pretty good -- this is the golden eye of the pregnancy storm, where I am past the morning sickness, round enough to be definitively pregnant-looking, but not yet so pregnant that I can't see my feet. Max has called me "ball" at least twice, which makes me sad, mostly because it is somewhat apt. Speck continues to expand alarmingly, and seems to be feeling increasingly sassy in there. He/she is quite wiggly now, especially at night or if I lie down. In exactly one week, we will get our glimpse of him/her, and hopefully we will be able to see whether he/she is a he or a she, and get rid of the / in future posts. We will be posting a boy/girl poll the week of the ultrasound, so be thinking about your bets. You don't win money if you're right, but you do get the warm glow that accompanies correctness. Current theories still favor a She-Speck.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bob The Builder (And Max, The Apprentice Builder)

Max and I received a visit from Granny and Gramps today, and while they were here, Gramps did his usual repairs/fixer-upper projects around our apartment. Gramps has always been a project kind of guy, and since neither Ian nor I are particularly inclined that way (especially with my constant pregnancies and Ian's constant long work hours), we feel that it is in everyone's best interests to let him go to town. Max loves it when Gramps busts out the tools, and has begun actively taking on the role of assistant. At first, he was content to watch while Gramps tightened some screws on our kitchen table ...

... but he quickly decided that Gramps needed a helper, and whipped out a screwdriver to lend a hand. I don't know how much help he actually was (more than me, since I mostly sat at a respectful distance and watched the proceedings), but motherly pride does compel me to inform you that he did get the screwdriver into the correct position within the screw, and that this points to a boy who has inherited his father's fine motor skills.

With the table secure and level, Gramps and Max exchange a manly snuggle and a celebratory fly around the dining room.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thirteen Days To The Ultrasound!!!!!

Okay, I have always said that I would be completely content to wait until our babies are born to know their gender, but that Ian has to know the second that it is possible to know. Since Ian has a long-earned reputation for opening his presents early, this has been readily believed by those who know us. I have to admit, however, that I am having a really hard time waiting for Speck's next ultrasound. I felt very certain, almost from the beginning, that Max was a boy, so his ultrasound was exciting, but mostly just a confirmation of what I already knew. This baby is more secretive, and while common consensus seems to believe it is a girl, I could still go either way. January 16, at 10:40, we will know for sure. If Speck has his/her legs crossed and we don't get to see what he/she is, I may have some sort of breakdown.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Here's To You!

Happy New Year, Everybody! Ian, Max, Speck and I spent New Year's Eve with my parents at their house, where I was outlasted by everyone in the energy department. I made it to twelve, barely, through sheer will alone. Seriously, it was embarrassing. Ian was only slightly more lively, but then he had some coffee to help him prop his eyes open, which is an option currently closed to me. Speck was jumping around doing goodness knows what the whole night, Max stayed awake, very determinedly, until eleven, and then woke again at twelve, and my parents were still partying down with my aunt and uncle when we left at 12:02. During the evening's festivities, Max learned a new word -- "Cheers!". Saying it and clinking his sippy cup up against everyone's glass has replaced eating as the awesomest thing to do at the dinner table. We must have toasted one anther's good health seventy-two times today alone.