Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tough Crowd, Man

Maggie to Max: Let's play LEGOS together, Max!!
Max: Okay, but I get all these grey ones, Maggie. You can have the pink ones.
(Director's Note: We don't have any pink legos)
Maggie: OH THANK YOU! We are going to be brother and sister forever and ever, Max!!
Max: I know that Maggie. I already know that. It's not anything new to get excited about.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Half A Decade!!!

Five years ago exactly (yep, I'm awake at 6:25 am, and nope, it wasn't my idea for sentimental reasons or anything; Max appeared by my left ear at 6:12 and whispered in that kind of whisper that is so loud that it is secretly shouting, "MOM! MOM! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY NOW! IT REALLY IS! I AM FIVE YEARS OLD AND I THINK MY EYES GOT BIGGER! MY TEACHER THINKS I AM GOING TO GET TO WEAR A CROWN ALL DAY SINCE I'M THE BIRTHDAY BOY! IS IT TIME TO GET UP?" and we were off), Max appeared in the world, in all his rosy, soft, slightly pointy-headed glory.

I have spoken, and most of you reading this were there to see it anyway, about the sense of flurry and anxiety that accompanied his birth and it's unexpectedly early timing. At Max's pre-kindergarten doctor visit, his pediatrician was going over his medical history with us, and he said at one point, "So I think we can move his prematurity out of the "current" part of his medical file and into the archives. It doesn't really seem to be a relevant part of his story anymore". He meant medically relevant, of course, and from my layman's perspective, I agree that it is probably way past time to safely put that piece of Max's history to bed. As his mom, however, Chapter One of the story of Max always has resonance, and it has been an ongoing challenge to hold onto those first memories of our life as Max's parents without also holding onto the anxiety. There is, therefore, an added sweetness to the delight of seeing him this morning, gigantically tall and exuberantly joyful and amazingly capable and uniquely creatively intelligent, celebrating this birthday that was earlier than we thought it would be but somehow at exactly the right moment.

I love you to the moon and back, Max, and I am so glad you are here, and that you are five, and that you continue to be your sunny and quirky self, more so with every year, every day, every minute that goes by. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Week One

Well, we have been doing our new kindergarten thing for one week as of today. During the worst of my hand-wringing prior to sending Max off into the wild, my mother-in-law told me that she remembered it being very hard to let Ian go at first when he started kindergarten, but that she had been amazed by how quickly it became a natural and even enjoyable part of the day. And I think -- I think -- I am beginning to agree. The first couple of days, I missed Max horribly. I have been so used to being with Max and Maggie pretty much all of the time, to knowing what their indecipherable comments about their day meant because I was there to see what they saw. I felt tremendous sadness thinking about this big, important stretch of time in Max's day where what he did and how he felt about it were largely a mystery to me, and I counted down the seconds until it was time to go pick him up. But whatever he is doing at kindergarten (and I have only his opaque descriptions of his day to go on right now: "Well, we sit and there are books, but we don't read them, there are earphones sometimes, you know, Mom?"), he loves it. He is excited to go to school every day and he always has a giant smile when we go to pick him up. His entire body and spirit seem to have relaxed in some way, too. He is ready to assert his independence, and kindergarten gives him a way and a place to do that.

Maggie has actually struggled with the transition a little bit more than Max, a predictable turn of events that I completely failed to predict, somehow. Max has been the focus of a great deal of attention and a flurry of activity, and Maggie was kind of baffled (and by baffled, I mean enraged) as to why she was being left out of so many things and denied so many opportunities. Ian and I have made an effort to make the time that she is home with us by herself special for her, and she enjoys the sudden dominion over the TV, all the toys, and the choice places to sit in the house. After about an hour, though, she always starts missing Max and asking if it is time to go pick him up yet, and it has been a challenge once or twice to convince her that charging into the classroom to reclaim her brother is not a mission that she can or should undertake until the end of his school day. So we are juggling, like always, the various needs and wants and problems and hair bows and favorite shirts and Rube Goldberg machines, and trying to make sure that we are all taken care of. And I think, or at least I hope, that we are mostly succeeding. It always feels like a ball or two is about to pop out of the rotation and crash (if I may stretch the juggling metaphor to its breaking point), but so far nothing vital has broken.