Max's play has been much more abstract of late. He is getting into that representational play thing, which is delightful because he gets to use his imagination and I get to be amazed by his unique and quirky mind at work.
Max and my mum were playing with chalk a couple of weeks ago, and my mum drew a circle on the sidewalk. Max took the chalk, drew some lines on the circle, and said, "Sun!" This is the first time that Max has ever drawn something and then defined it for us. (Well, he has occasionally claimed that various scribbles were letters or numbers, but this is the first time that he has drawn an image.)
For some reason, almost everyone we know was born in September or October. This has given Max the impression that we eat birthday cake at least once a week. He is reluctant to let this impression go, and hopefully requests, "Cake?" at every meal. He has also asked a few times about "Party? Mike? Grandma Grandpa?" which tells us that we had better start buttering him up now, because he is already composing a guest list for next year's birthday party. When forced to confront his dreary and party-free existence, Max was disappointed but undaunted. If your mean Mama won't make you a cake or throw you a party, what do you do?
You throw yourself a party, of course! Max carried a bunch of wooden pegs outside, set them up on top of an upside-down bucket, and sang "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" to himself. Then he blew out the candles and applauded for himself. I love him to the moon and back.
And now, the part where I am an idiot.
For the last week or so, we have been having extreme difficulties with the naptimes. Max, although he sleeps in his own bed at night, has continued to nap in our bed, and I snuggle him to sleep while Maggie nurses on my other side. This system has been working more or less beautifully since we had Maggie, so imagine my dismayed astonishment when we had a system-wide mutiny four or five days ago. It has been harder and taken longer to get everyone corralled and napping with each day that passes. Yesterday, the insubordination climaxed, with Maggie howling and wriggling in a variety of locations while Max had an hour and fifteen minute long tantrum. I finally had to hug/pin Max into submission, and after he finally went to sleep, I felt terrible. Today seemed to be going along the same lines -- Maggie started squeaking ominously, Max requested stories and then kicked the books restlessly, and I felt a newly-developed facial twitch start revving up. "Max," I said sternly after escape attempt #3, "if you do not settle down and go to sleep in this bed, I am going to try putting you in your crib." Max brightened visibly. "Okay!" he said happily. I put him in his crib, thinking that he had misunderstood and would now crumple in despair at his exile. "Music?" Max asked cheerfully from the depths of the crib. I put on his bedtime CD. "Thank You", he said. He lay down. And he went to sleep.
Not only that, but Maggie, left to her own devices in the big bed, had peacefully gone to sleep, as well. They have been in there now for an hour and counting.
I cannot tell you how many everyone-go-to-sleep techniques I have tried over the last week, or how elaborate those techniques became, or how close I came to having a few tantrums of my own. And all along, they apparently just wanted me to stop bugging them so they could go to sleep, already! Good grief.