Friday, November 30, 2007

Mr. Oneful

Max to Mama this morning: I crabby, Mama!
Mama to Max: Why are you crabby?
Max: I need muffin! I hungry, Mama!
Mama: Okay, Max. I'll get you a muffin.
Max: Treat, too? Cookie, Mama? Cake?
Mama: Don't push your luck, Little Son.
Max: Okay, Mama. I looovvvee youuu!
Mama: I love you, too, Max. I think you are wonderful.
Max: Mmm hmm. Yep. Max is oneful, Mama. Yep. Cookie is oneful. Cake. Yummy and good.

Parental Checklist For The Day:
Teach Max to express feelings

Teach Max to use flattery to achieve goals and receive treats

Instill positive self esteem in Max

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vie Dans un Fairytale

Maggie's current lack of cheveux does not allow her to effectively portray Rapunzel, but she does bring you her soon to be famous self in the following classic roles:

Sleeping Beauty


Little Red Riding Hood

elle est une bonne actrice, non? Sorry, too much Ratatouille watching seems to have put me in a french-speaking mood. A bit sad, really, because I speak french pas infiniment du tout. How'd I do, Jessi?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

House Of Pestilence

We are not well. We seem to have been felled, one after another, by Maggie's cold. We appreciate your concerned desire to check up on us, but don't. Save yourselves. Don't even email us -- your computer may get a virus from the contact. If you wait patiently, just outside the quarantine zone, we will be with you as soon as the snot abates somewhat.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving (Unless You're Canadian, In Which Case, Happy Totally Ordinary Thursday)!

What am I thankful for, you ask? Hmm, let's see ...

I am thankful that I have so many people to love that we don't all fit on one curly slide.

I am thankful that this baby's head is kissably soft and sweet-smelling.

I am thankful that the aquaintence who told me, back when I was pregnant with Max, that boys are fun but they don't like to snuggle, was only half right.

I guess that pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Genetic Imprint

I found this website where you plug in a picture of yourself, a picture of your spouse, and a picture of your offspring, and it tells you which parent the baby most closely resembles. According to the mysterious inner workings of this website, Max is 6% more like me than like Ian, and Maggie is 36% more like me than like Ian. When I showed these findings to Ian, he said dismissively that the website would conclude that almost all babies would resemble the mother more than the father, since women tend to have rounder faces and softer features. Ian is no fun at all, and the only reason I even keep him around is that he can make a mean french onion soup. Since my chart and graph research did not impress him, I have been forced to find further proof that I rule the genetic roost. The first picture is of me at around four months old. The second picture is of Maggie when she was the same age. Clearly, I have the hair advantage -- I was a freakishly lustrous-maned child -- and Maggie, of course, is an improvement on the original model in both beauty and strength, but I think we can all see which genetic tree the apple fell nearest.

Chelsa in December of 1977. I am wearing a double cloth diaper for bedtime, in case you are reflecting that I was a curiously lumpy child.

Maggie in August of 2007. She is a beautiful little clone, is she not?

Monday, November 19, 2007

You Gotta Love Him

Ah, Max. His sharp increase in vocalizing skills, while not without its downside ("Max do it!" "No, Mama clean it!" "Don't want to!" and etc.), brings me much amused delight. And, therefore, it brings you yet another 'Max is funny and awesome, and here is how and why' blog post. So, recent humorous/touching items of note:
1) The other day, Max and I were reading a book about a bunny named Max. Max (the bunny) gets dirty, and his older sister tells him that he needs a bath. When I read the line, "Oh, you need a bath, Max!", Max (the boy) pointed to himself and said, "ME?!" I laughed for about an hour, and apparently Max (the boy) enjoyed my reaction, because he now points to himself and says, "ME?!" whenever anyone in our household says anything to anyone else about anything. Oh, man, it slays me.
2) Max is a boy who enjoys routine. He has come to understand that certain phrases get certain responses, and he will correct you quite indignantly if you fail to deliver the expected answer to a question or statement. Last night at bedtime, for example, he said, "I love you, Mama." When I was not quite quick enough saying it back, he tapped me on the forehead and said, "I love you Max, Mama!" sharply and disapprovingly.
3) A short while ago, we watched the Wallace and Gromit movie, The Wrong Trousers, which features a pair of robotic pants that cause mayhem when their remote control is stolen by a criminally-minded penguin. (What a weird plot summary for a movie! you are thinking to yourself right now. No wonder poor Max says and does strange things, if this is the kind of thing he is allowed to watch!)Max took in this film with deep enjoyment, and has spent the last week marching around the house without bending his knees. When you ask him why on earth he is walking so stiffly, he will intone "Robot Legs!" and continue on as if you never spoke.
4)We have had to limit Max's milk consumption to after meals and before nap and bed, otherwise he will consume nothing but cow juice. In addition, one of his parents (I won't say which one, but it wasn't Ian) foolishly introduced him to the concept of chocolate milk in a moment of weakness, and he can't for the life of him understand why he was accepting the non-chocolatey kind like a sucker for so long. Max disapproves of milk-related limits. Having recognized the pattern that accompanies milk delivery (milk, then bed, or meal, then milk), he has formulated the following plans: When confronted by food, Max will gently and neatly place his dish on the farthest possible corner of his tray from himself, and say with finality, "Done!" followed, after a discreet pause, with, "Milk? Chocolate milk?" When told that he will be receiving no milk until bedtime, Max will say, "Chocolate milk? Sleep?" which he has now shortened to "Chocolate sleep?" Needless to say, he shamelessly welches on the sleep part of the deal.
5)When Max wakes up in the morning, the first thing he does is slide out of his crib, circle around to Ian's side of the bed, and say, "Max play. Legos? Mans? Dada, too? Coming, Dada?" Max is friendly, and he likes most people, but no one holds a candle -- or even a sputtering, slightly damp, barely lit match -- to Daddy. Does it trouble me, being a distant second in my much-loved boy-child's heart? No, no it doesn't. Firstly, the father-son bond is important and should be nurtured, and secondly, if Max makes Ian get up and play with him in the morning, then I have the big bed to myself (well, relatively to myself. Maggie is usually there, too, but she is small) and can sleep in a little bit.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Santa,

Hi, Santa! It's me, Chelsa. How's it going? How's Mrs. Claus? Listen, I know you're pretty busy this time of year, and I don't want to take up precious time that you need to train reindeer, or supervise toy assembly, or whatever. I just thought that, if you or any of your elves were Christmas shopping for Max or Maggie, you might want to be aware of the following:

*If you are getting or making clothing, bear in mind that a Tillman baby is a robust specimen of babyhood. Max wears at least a size 4T, and Maggie is in the twelve-month size for most clothing.

*Maggie does not have enough hair to support a hair bow or barrette, and I am fundamentally against headbands that are not holding any actual hair back out of the eyes, or the kind of barrettes that stick on the baby's head with sticky goo. I am sorry, but everyone has to be guided by their principles, and one of mine is that you don't wear hair apparel until you have hair.

*Neither of them really need toys, and our apartment is already overflowing. Max enjoys writing, so ABC books or puzzles would be good, as would art supplies. Maggie is mostly interested in milk-drinking, and I've got that covered. She does like music, and she is very into crawling towards and then biting things, so I hope that helps.
Santa, I know that you keep meticulous lists of everyone's size, needs, and interests, and I certainly don't mean to bore you with details that you already know. I also know that you rely on a certain amount of outsourcing, however, so maybe you can pass this note along to whatever Fry/Ailman/Tillmans you have helping you choose and purchase items. I hope that you are finding time to relax a little this holiday season, Santa. Remember to take time for you, too, okay? Get a massage or something. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

With Added Bonus Shot

Maggie has graduated into a fully upright sitter. This new perspective has allowed her to more fully understand the world around her, and she will now play, by herself, for as long as it takes Max to notice and take whatever she is playing with away. (To be fair, Max almost always replaces what he takes with something else, saying "Here you go, Maggie!" quite cheerfully, as if he is offering her the less desirable toy as a favor to her. She is too little to notice that she is getting shafted, and she loves it when Max throws her even the most rudimentary scraps of attention, so everyone is happy.) The real story, though, is not so much this picture of Maggie, upright, proud, and playing a game she invented herself, called "Eat The Barn". The real story is that, while photographing her, I got jostled, but accidentally took a picture anyway, resulting in:

That's right. It's a close-up shot of the most delectably fat, roly poly baby leg in the entire universe. As my mum would say, "She's got kilt knees!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Who Is Taking Care Of That Poor Child?

Did I just walk outside in nothing but a parka and a diaper? I did! I have no pants on at all! Oh, well.

Sure, my lower half is unpleasantly exposed to any errant breeze, but my top half is well-insulated. Plus, this gives me an awesome idea for Halloween next year. World's li'lest flasher! Mama? Hey, Mama, good news! No need to stress over next year's costume. I got it covered. Or uncovered, as the case may be.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things That Are Good In Theory

Let me set the scene for you: It's raining, and it has been raining off and on all weekend. As a result, Max is going a bit stir-crazy, and if he is on the train to Crazy Town, you can bet that there are boarding passes for each and every one of us to ride with him. Plus, Maggie is sickly. Snotty, sneezy, stuffed-up, and deeply unimpressed. I am having to suction out her nose with that suction bulb thing on an hourly basis, and Maggie is of the firmly held opinion that I am torturing her. I actually see her point -- if that bulb thing doesn't look like a medieval torture device, then I don't know what does. Max is solicitous of Maggie's well-being after a fashion -- he says "Bless you, Maggie!" when she sneezes, he advises me to clean her when snot or barf comes out of her, and he gives her his least-desired toys to play with. His altruism does not extend to giving up parental time and attention that should be his, however, and despite our differences over the suction bulb, Maggie is loath to be parted from me.
Now, having given you the background, allow me to take you on a journey, through all of our clever yet flawed attempts to resist succumbing to madness. Ready? All buckled in, are you? Here we go:
1)Seeing that it was raining, Ian and I thought that we would spend part of Saturday afternoon at the Library. It would be an outing, there would be the excitement of new books and new scenery without the spending of money, and we would be out of the rain. However, Max is two. The outing simply irritated him, because he did not like the sensation of getting rained on while getting in and out of the car. The new books registered with him not at all -- I don't think he looked twice at a single literary gem, and he simply said "no no no!" when we suggested any. Instead, Max viewed the books as exciting rows of obstacles, and he siphoned off his cabin fever by running through the aisles at top speed, rounding corners with abandon and hooting like a maniacal owl. We spent so much time in the rain, loading and unloading children from the car, that we may as well have just gone to the park and gotten wet. Plus, I am pretty sure that Max's picture is now behind the librarians' desk, under the heading, "Peace and Quiet Killer #1".
2)We have had on-again, off-again issues with Max's sleep routine ever since ... well, since forever. Our plot to bump his bedtime up with the ending of daylight saving was a success, despite its premature execution, and he has been in bed asleep by nine every night since the time change. However, he has been waking up correspondingly earlier, and has been treating us to a bonus night-waking every night for at least three weeks. I theorized that maybe Ian and I were waking him when we came to bed, since he fell asleep with a little light on, and we turned it off when we came to bed. Perhaps, if we put him to sleep without the light, its absence would not cause so much consternation later. It's a good theory, right? I was proud of it. I was actually nearly certain I was right. So we put him to bed in the dark on Friday. He fussed about it a little, but went to sleep fairly quickly, and I prepared to bask in the cleverness. However, Max awoke an hour later, found himself alone in the dark, and panicked. Not only did he come into bed with us earlier than ever, but he woke up every hour for the rest of the night, checking to make sure that he wasn't alone and abandoned again.
3)To celebrate this spectacular failure, I came up with yet another plan last night. We took the side off of Max's crib and moved his bed right up against ours, so that his mattress was touching ours. This would allow him to feel that he was in bed with us, since he was sleeping right beside me, but would leave him and us with our own space. This theory sort of panned out -- Max woke up around three and tried to climb over into the big bed, I tried to cuddle him back to sleep in his own bed, and he ended up somewhere in the middle. I spent the rest of the night fretting that he would fall into the crack between the two beds and never be heard from again, despite the fact that the crack is small enough that I don't even think one of Max's hairs could fall through it. It didn't matter, anyway, though, because Maggie was awake for the next hour and a half, trying to nurse and then squawking angrily when her stuffy nose prevented breathing. Finally, around six, she let out a giant sneeze ("Bless you, Maggie!" emanated from the depths of the crack between the crib and the bed immediately afterwards, startling me and signalling Max's awakening) and then fell deeply asleep. This pleased me, until I discovered that the sneeze had masked the sound of a giant poop being expelled. Diaper, pajamas (hers and mine), sheets, and blankets were all soiled, meaning that sleep time was officially over. I have had to burn the sheets, blankets, clothing, and mattress, and I have assigned Max the task of salting the earth where they stood. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how we spent our weekend.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Big, Stripey Slice Of Adorable

Every now and then, you find a baby outfit that elevates your already freakishly adorable baby to heights of cuteness that make the very angels weep. This morning, Ian and I found that outfit.

Maggie knows how to play it cool. She looks like a very small, very round cheeked gangsta. It is not the first time such a tendency has come to light.

It is worth noting that this outfit is a 12-18 month size, which is why we haven't unleashed it on the world sooner. We did not imagine that it would fit our 6 month old daughter. However, an epic poop-in-the-pants-athon this morning left us with lots of laundry and few options, and we figured that she could swim around in a too-big outfit while we washed her other stuff. And, lo and behold, it fits perfectly.

In other news, Maggie seems to be trying to stand up. She will do push-ups that lift her hindquarters up to the very tips of the toes, push off the ground, and then face-plant into the carpet. While I am sorry for her frustration at not walking (and she does get very frustrated), I cannot say I am in support of my six-month old learning to walk. I am still trying to cope with the ramifications of Max having learned how.

Friday, November 09, 2007

And The Emmy Goes To ...

Yeah, so the Terrible Twos, not as much of a myth as I always thought they were. Don't get me wrong, Max is still one of the top two most wondrous beings currently walking the planet. He has an inherent sort of delightfulness that even being two cannot squelch. I have, however, noticed that it is taking exponentially longer than it used to to enlist Max's cooperation for even the most simple and mundane of projects. Bedtimes, for instance. Mealtimes. And oh, my Lord, the diaper changes. Today, detecting the bewitching and unmistakable odor of Max poo wafting on the breeze, I got out the changing pad and a fresh diaper. "NO, NO!" cried Max. "All done! All done dipeys! No poops!" Then, weeping piteously, he fled down the hallway, ran into our bedroom, and slammed the door behind him, leaving me standing there with the changing pad, reflecting darkly on what his teenage years were going to be like. By the time I had set down the pad and walked down the hallway, though, Max had apparently recovered, because when I knocked on the door, he opened it with a smile on his face, and while he tried to escape the diaper change (being true to his principles is important to him), he giggled throughout the cleaning/diapering/recapturing/pinning to the changing pad process. It's an emotional roller coaster around here, I tell ya.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

I introduced Maggie to Mirror Maggie today, and watching her, I thought about how bizarre the whole reflection thing must seem to her. She doesn't know that the baby in the mirror is just a reflection. I wonder what she thinks is actually going on. A portal to another world? An evil twin we never told her about? And how, seriously HOW, does that other baby have the exact same clothes, an identical mama, and all the same moves made at all the same times? What mad experiment with reality has poor Maggie stumbled upon? While I could not read her thoughts, her expressions throughout the mirror encounter indicate that her moods ranged thusly:

Initial fascination, tinged with fear.

Followed by wonder and delight. Her little feet were kicking like mad, and she let out a whole string of high-pitched cackles.

Eventually, however, Maggie grew wary. Who was this baby, really? What were her true motives? Were her identical movements intended to be flattering, or mocking?

Eventually, the mystery and excitement became overwhelming, and Maggie appealed to me for aid and succor. Actually, right after this picture was taken, she started to cry, and needed immediate removal from the whole wacky mirror scene. You can only tolerate your reality being toyed with for so long before your mind starts to bend, and you need a little nurse and a nap.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cinnamon And Bedpan: A Justice League For A New Generation

You know how New Kids On The Block, that horrific Boy Band from our youth (assuming that you are around my age, and that your youth therefore coincides with my own), tried to remake their image at one point and decided to go by the more concise but equally awesome name NKOTB? Well, something similar has apparently happened with Superman and Batman. Some time in the last month or so, they had a meeting with their PR manager, Max, and decided that they needed an image makeover. Same costumes, same crime-fighting dedication, same inexplicable flying/fighting/kissing/falling/dancing activities whilst in Max's hands, but new names. Max, publicity wizard that he is, has rechristened Superman and Batman, and has decided that their names will henceforth be pronounced Cinnamon and Bedpan.

That's right, folks. Cinnamon and Bedpan, fighting for truth, justice, savory desserts, and incontinence.

And The American Way, of course.

P.S. Max's unique pronunciations have also been at work on The Transformers, who shall henceforth be known as The Assformers. I didn't include The Assformers in the Blog Post Proper, because I have no pictures of anyone Tillmanish interacting with a transformer, and because I shudder to think what I would find on tracksy the next time I looked. I didn't feel right about leaving The Assformers out altogether, though, because they are doing their part to save and maintain the world, too, and they should be acknowledged. Plus, The Assformers made Ian laugh until he literally cried, and I am pretty sure that there are at least two or three of you out there who share his juvenile sense of humor and will have a brighter day just knowing that somewhere out there, a small boy is accusing a robotic toy of sculpting buttocks. More than meets the eye, indeed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Like Smaug, Except Cuter And With Alphabet Stickers

(I like to work in a Hobbit reference every now and then, so that my dad knows that his genes went to good use.)

What is Max doing, you ask? What pile of treasure is this that he is so gleefully hoarding? Gold? Jewels? Exotic Spices from far-off lands?

No, no. Max cares not for your poor, sad, narrow, worldly interpretation of treasure. What he has here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a big pile of foam alphabet stickers. See his riches and weep with envy! Weep!

Monday, November 05, 2007

London Bridges

I think I'm sitting up! I am! I'm sitting up! Sure, it's kind of a scrunched-over, Hunchback-of-Notre-Dame-ish position, but it still counts! I sat myself up! I rule!

Hmm. I seem to be slipping. And I don't really know how to get out of this position, now that I'm in it. Maybe I'll just wait for gravity to do its thing, and then I'll play it off like every move was totally on purpose.

Well, this is embarrassing. It's going to be hard to act like this was on purpose. Maybe I can pretend that I'm looking for spare change under the couch or something. Far-fetched, sure, but my parents will probably buy it. Between the two of us, Max and I have sleep-deprived them into buying pretty much anything.