Sunday, January 31, 2010

Maxwell Makes it to Two!

It may not seem like that is worthy of a headline, but our Max is such a daredevil that I am only grateful he he still safe and sound as of this writing. After his stealthy escaping from the house undetected in May and being scooped up in the street by a lady who stopped her SUV in front of him, I thought we'd always know what's going on with him and that I could magically protect him from all harm. Ha!

This past year, he has figured out how to break past childproofing: open cleaning and medicine bottles (and sample each), turn on the gas stove, climb to places I never imagined, flush all sorts of crazy things down the toilet, disposal, and sink, break appliances (like our relatively new dishwasher), and scale the roof over the driveway the day after Christmas. We've made modifications for his personality that it seems other parents don't have to make: he has a crib tent, and what relief it brings. We really try to be aware of him at all times, but he is quick, daring, and thinks of things in such a different way that it is hard to anticipate his next move. It has been a humbling lesson in parenting and helps to console me that I am really not in charge. I know that He whose child this truly belongs has been watching over him. And every day I express gratitude that Max has been safe.

This is really a quite unflattering picture of me (and my pantry) at 7 am on a school morning, but Max is an affectionate child and loves to sit on my lap when he can be persuaded to be still. I love it, most of the time. Here he is getting animal crackers as a birthday gift. In the green bag are the books he loves to read over and over again, so much that we needed new copies since the older editions were too well loved: Brown Bear Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, The Bellybutton Book, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Not looking so thrilled with the big pack of blocks. But he loves them, he's just very up and down in the mornings. He loves playing with his blocks and a family member, as long as the family member does everything he wants. (Hey, he's 2.)

Max loves chocolate, and didn't burn himself on the candles this year!

He was eager to get started and dig in, as always. This boy will never starve to death. He has always been good at finding food (see intro, above) and helping himself. He can also boost himself up to the sink and drink out of a faucet, despite being rather short for his age.

"More ShaLocket cake, please." -Max is very mannerly (with the exception of his obvious lack of table manners), which we all appreciate, although I don't know why he's so good with the please-and-thank-yous and another child is not. In any case, it makes it hard to turn him down for anything, a detail of which he is probably well aware.

The day after his birthday, he went for his first x rays for his pinky finger, which was accidentally slammed in a door. (Nothing was broken, thanks for your concern.) I have no doubt of meeting our insurance deductible with this child. Life will always be exciting with Max.

Monday, January 25, 2010

If you don't share, you are a bum

When I was a little girl, my family used to listen to several Sesame Street records. (That makes me sound really old, but I'm really not. It's just that my family was committed to records for several years and didn't give them up until the late 80s. In fact, my younger sister -now 25- used to listen to Bedtime for Frances so often that my entire family had it memorized. ) So anyway, these records had a lot of really great songs on them, including some classics such as "C is for Cookie" and some lesser-known ones like "Roosevelt Franklin" (a character long since retired from the show).

Keep in mind, these records were made long before Sesame Street was PC, which is why one of the song's chorus ended in the title of today's subject: "If you don't share, you are a bum." I doubt that would make today's cut in any PBS Kids' production, but especially not the acutely socially-aware Sesame Street. In any case, the line from that song has been going through my head a lot these days. I think it has something to do with a concept we are struggling with at our house.

I have four children, all of whom are wonderful and intelligent in their own way. However, with every person there are some weaknesses, of which family members become intimately acquainted. Two of my children share both a weakness and a strength- each is very compassionate, giving affection and condolences when another person is sad, hurt, or frustrated. But each of these two has difficulty in sharing.

It makes me remember when I first realized a parallel between paying tithing/ giving back to the Lord and parenting. I had made some cookies and gave my children some. I had not yet eaten any and asked one child if I could have a bite of hers. Her response was to give me a tiny crumb off an edge. "Wait a minute!" I said. "I made this cookie! I gave it to you! And all you can do is to grudgingly give me back a crumb?"

Still, we struggle. It is so hard to share. With parents, with siblings, with anyone. Why are two of my children generally generous, and two of them not? And how can I encourage sharing and teach it without it sending them more in the other direction?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Matthew's 5th

Our Matthew recently turned 5. He was really excited about his birthday, as most 5-year-olds are. Hard to believe that a short time ago, he was too little for preemie clothes, and now he's taller than some of his first-grade friends. I don't anticipate the height will last long, but he's enjoying his advantage while he can.

Dad tries on the new tie. He always attempts to re-gift things back to himself. That's okay, Matthew has always been a great sharer, and this year is doing better at showing empathy too.

A superheroes backpack! Matthew loves to be thought of as brave and strong. He's a renaissance man though; this guy also loves to cook and bake and does dishes on Thursday nights (with help). He doesn't love to do chores, but when properly motivated, he amazes all of us with his efficiency: being both thorough and quick.

Matthew doesn't look excited here, but this turned out to be his favorite. It's a small electronic gadget thing from Radio Shack that you put together with adult guidance, and then play with it for hours on end. Matthew loves putting things together and taking them apart, so this really was the perfect gift for him.
He requested fajitas for dinner and fudge covered oreo cake. He had a little difficulty with some of the candles because a couple of them were trick candles- refused to go out!

Our family does the every other year approach to birthday parties, and 2010 is the year of the party. Since Matthew had the first birthday of the year (and since Daddy was still working every weekend), we went with Matthew's request: Chuck E. Cheese- land of craziness, fun games for kids, and horrible pizza.

Katrina was the designated Max-watcher until Mark could get there. She put him on the rides, which he loved.

Big Smiles from the birthday boy- when we got home, he said that he didn't actually eat any cake (which he helped to make that morning), because he was having too much fun. Don't worry, he got some.

It was hard to take pictures of Matthew because he was so distracted, but that's probably a good thing.

Max trying on the birthday crown- his birthday was up next!