Friday, February 23, 2007

Basket Case

We recently purchased a new laundry basket for Max's room. Little did we know that this $4.99 receptacle for peed-on pants would ascend the ranks rapidly and become his favorite toy. Sometimes he stashes a bunch of stuff inside it, and then picks things out and shows them to us one by one. Sometimes he throws balls into it, like it's the basket in a basketball game. His favorite thing to do with it, however, is to crawl inside it and have me look at him through the other end while he smashes his face against the netting and growls.

As you can see, his ferocity is shown off to prime advantage by the blue netting.

His attractiveness is considerably enhanced, as well.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Milk Breath

When I was first trying to wean Max off of breast milk, we started offering him cow's milk, in the hopes that it would take the place, both nutritionally and spiritually, that Mama milk had once held in his heart. This was a spectacular failure. Max would accept a cup of milk, take a swig, spit it out, and then look at us indignantly over his milk-spattered chin, as if to ask us why we were trying to poison him. I was beginning to get worried that Max would never embrace the world of non-mother-based dairy. And then, one day, for no reason that any of us can determine, Max's attitude toward milk did a complete 180 degree turn. Not only will he drink milk when offered, but he will demand milk if it is not offered. He has been known to go through a half-gallon a day, and I am absolutely not exaggerating. If allowed, he would abandon all other foods in favor of it's creamy goodness. Here he is, fresh from savoring a sippy cup full of the stuff, sporting a delightfully whimsical milk moustache and goatee. Who wants to give him the first kiss?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cleaning Up America, One Trash Bag At A Time

Ian and I have been extensively cleaning and organizing the Max/Speck room, with help from my parents. Max is very interested in this process, and wants to be a part of each and every phase of the operation. In an effort to divert his attention away from dismantling freshly organized piles of stuff, Ian taught him to throw garbage away in a garbage bag. This was a huge success -- in a way. Max loved being part of the action, and he loved putting things into the garbage bag, and he loved the applause he received when he threw anything away. In fact, his love ran so deep that when he ran out of trash, he began throwing other stuff in the bag. Stuff we would actually like to keep, like puzzle pieces, new clothes, the cats, etc. When he had tossed every possible item in the bag, he took it all out, the trash included, and then began throwing it all in again. You have to admire his enthusiasm, even if his results are spotty.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Speck Continues Large And In Charge

We had another Baby Speck check-up on Thursday, and all is well with both Mama and Baby. Once again, my fears about Speck's largeness and overabundance of kickiness were scoffed at by the midwife. Everyone always takes the fetus' side. Since I expressed some fears about another premature delivery, they went ahead and did an ultrasound to check my cervix, to see if there was any indication that Speck was kicking her way to an early freedom. Apparently, Speck's constant and violent pounding on her uterine home is not a sign that she is ready to vacate any time soon. The doctor declared my cervix 'excellent', meaning that it is the exact right length for my current level of pregnancy. It is a body part that I have never had complimented before, but you have to accept praise where you find it in this life. We also, incidentally, got another very clear shot of Speck's personal areas, and the doctor said that she could now tell us with 100% confidence that we are having a girl. Max came with us to the appointment, and the midwife let him push the button to start the Doppler machine that lets us listen to Speck's heartbeat. He was thrilled, and wanted to turn the machine on and off several times. If pushing a button once is helpful, pushing it twenty-six times must be twenty-six times more helpful, right?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


The rousing success of the lego experiment has emboldened Ian to try Max out on other popular forms of male entertainment. So far, he has had mixed success. Max likes video games, but lacks finesse, and usually tries to get involved too actively and at crucial moments in game play. Max likes music, but has yet to discriminate between the sublime and, well, J-Lo's "My Love Don't Cost A Thing". The latest attempt has been introducing Max to the subtle and ancient art of chess. Things Max enjoyed about chess: the nice clinky sound the chessmen made when placed in their storage bag, the black-and-white checkered pattern of the board, the taste and texture of the felt at the bottom of each chessman, and the drawstring on the chessmen storage bag. Things Max did not enjoy about chess, or that left him indifferent: being told not to lick the felt at the bottom of the chessmen, being told not to sit on the chessboard or put the chessmen down his pants, and any and all of the rules that actually make up the game of chess. Bobby Fischer, be warned.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Tender Moment

Max has started giving these full-body hugs, completely spontaneously, often mid-activity. It is one of the many things about him that make him irresistible. Today, I was taking pictures of him when he walked up to me and commenced hugging. I thought it would be cute to take a Mama's-eye picture of the hug while it was happening. I had dreams, in fact, of it being the kind of picture that I would keep forever, and that would bring nostalgic tears to my eyes in later years when Max is grown-up. Imagine my disillusioned surprise, therefore, when I put the freshly taken photo on the computer for viewing and beheld this! Nice face, Max. It's practically a Hallmark card.

Monday, February 05, 2007

No Rest For The Wicked

Sorry about the long absence from blogland, but I do have a good excuse. For the last week or so, our entire household has been missing one of life's great pleasures -- sleep. Ian and I remember sleep, vaguely but fondly, as something that enhanced our joy in living and enlivened all our higher mental functions. Why, then, have we abandoned slumber as a logical and satisfying end to the day, you ask? The answers (there are two of them) lie in this picture. Firstly, Speck, always a feisty fetus, has taken to kicking me vigorously as soon as I lay down. When I say vigorously, let me be clear -- she is keeping the neighbors awake with her karate moves. She sometimes literally takes my breath away, and while feeling her move is an ever-absorbing wonder, she is making sleep impossible. We are looking into neo-natal anger management classes for her as soon as she is born. With his usual whimsical sense of timing, Max has coincided Speck's burst of nocturnal kung-fu with his own sleep issues. He has begun sleeping like a newborn again, waking up every two or three hours and crying for no reason that we can determine. We think maybe he is teething -- his pediatrician thinks he has some molars coming in. Last night, Max woke up at three and yelled for an hour, demanding (in sequence, and in an ever-increasing volume of rage) milk, to be "done" sleeping, to get down from the bed, milk, milk, and milk!! While it was tempting to give Max what he wanted and hope it pacified him for a decent interval, Ian and I both agreed, after a exhaustion-befuddled conference, that none of these demands should be met, which meant that all of us were significantly the worse for wear this morning.

Max and Speck seem to have achieved a beautifully choreographed symmetry in their sleep depriving behaviors -- as soon as Speck finally stops kicking and retreats into whatever fetal meditations she indulges in during the night, Max begins rolling around and grumbling, then standing up in bed and calling out for various forms of assistance. Ian and I have wondered about the perfect timing of our children's campaign of psychological warfare against us, but I think I have finally figured it out. All this time, when we thought that Max was kissing and hugging Speck, he was actually whispering conspiratorially to her through my belly button. I am going to start wearing thicker pants and sweaters, to muffle their communication pathways.