Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Christmas SURPRISE!

Last night I was reading over Max's weekly review sheet from school. It's always helpful to see what they've been working on so I can talk about those things with him here at home. Last week was brought to us by the color red, the number 17, the sign for "snow"....and working on A Christmas Surprise.

I asked Max about each these things, and he got so incredibly excited about the SURPRISE! that he nearly jumped right out of his socks. He kept exclaiming "PIES!" (his version of "SURPRISE!") while beaming from ear to ear and jumping around with glee.

We always joke that our secrets are safe with Max. And when he truly does have a secret, I never ask him to tell me what it is. (Partly because I don't think he would be able to tell me, but mostly because it just isn't fair to tempt him to spill the beans like that.)

But last night, I did.

We were talking back and forth about this fabulous SURPRISE! over and over and over...and finally I just asked, "What is it??"

He yelled, "CAKE!" and then promptly fell off the stool in all his excitement.

His delight was so pure and the novelty of having this SURPRISE! just wasn't wearing off, so I did what I always do at moments like this -- I pulled out the camera for some video footage.

A Christmas Surprise! from Jujyfruit on Vimeo.

I have no idea if the surprise really is cake (as he told me off camera), or if it is a mysterious Christmas-related item that sounds like "Kai-ooo!" (as he told his dad in the video), or if it is something altogether different.

But I can tell you this: I'm really eager to find out. His excitement is contagious!

Also, I wanted to point out that this video captures another one of Max's enduring (and endearing) quirks -- his confusion about using the pronouns "you" and "me." It's an oddly circular grammar rule and our attempts to correct his usage sometimes turn into little "Who's on first?" comedy routines.

Think about it -- how DO you teach that? Modeling doesn't work, because what WE say is always the opposite of what HE should say. My brother actually tried switching them once, saying "you" as he pointed to himself and then "me" as he pointed to Max...but then Max mimicked, just the way we always want him to, and the pronouns were still exactly opposite.

Oh, to get inside that brain of his!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back to the Basics...and True Mom Confessions

Max was sick all weekend and stayed home from school on Monday. It's not often that he and I are home all alone, just the two of us, for an entire day.

True Mom Confession: I sort of like sick days with kids. I mean when they aren't TOO sick and miserable, of course. I'm talking about those sort-of sick days, when they are almost better, but not completely. They're bored from all that time spent feeling lousy and laying around and watching TV and sleeping, so they're totally ready to DO something. But at the same time, they're still feeling kind of fragile. That means they are highly moldable. Snuggle-able. Content. Energy is low, but connections are high. They're glad simply to be feeling better, and suddenly realize they can reap the benefits of all that precious one-on-one time. Don't get me wrong -- my kids get vaccinated and we wash hands frequently and if you have the flu you will definitely not be welcomed here! I'm just sayin'...a slight illness now and then is actually kinda nice. Does that make me a bad mom? (Or just an honest one?)

So anyway. Monday was a day like that. The worst was over, Max was happy, the house was quiet, his usual tv shows had FINALLY lost their allure. It was the perfect day to go back to the basics, where basics equals all those good things I used to do when the kids were little that I don't really do anymore.

The most exciting thing we did was making homemade play dough. Max enjoyed the cooking process (though was very upset that I wouldn't let him stir the burning hot pan of ingredients or play with it immediately), and he had fun choosing which two colors to add to the finished product.

We played with the dough for a long time. Each time his attention began to fade, I pulled out a new trick. Stamps! Knives! Cookie cutters! Look -- PRETEND PIZZAS! He requested that I make violins, which I actually managed to do. Then he wanted me to make his favorite Christmas song. (That one totally stumped me.) I distracted him by making one of his other favorite things, instead -- his name.

This was a good day, illness and all.

Just a nice quiet day with a boy and his mom.

And some play dough.

Having said all that, it's now high time for Max to go back to school.

*Giving him Sudafed and quickly wiping away the tell-tale line of snot as I push him out the door and wave merrily at the bus driver.*

Because here's my other True Mom Confession: I really, really, REALLY love school days, too.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Chex Mix....for Breakfast?

(Sure, why not?)

(Yep, corn nuts, garlic salt, and all...!)

(Signing "X")

Saturday, December 5, 2009


The string incident should have been my first clue. Yes, Max is sensitive to strings, but such a STRONG reaction should have made me realize he was feeling slightly "off" in general.

Clearly, the runny nose was a second clue. But it wasn't that bad. (As I said, it was clear. heh.)

So there were signs. But none of them was a flashing red arrow.

But then I happened upon this scene:

THAT, my friends, is a Flashing Red Arrow. (As well as one of the saddest little scenes I've come across in a while.)

Max loves his videos with a passion. It's a loud, messy, hands-on, interactive, busy type of passion. For him, watching videos is practically a sport. We are constantly reminding him to pick ONE movie, to turn down the volume, to back up, to sit down, to LEAVE THE BATTERIES IN THE REMOTE, and COME DOWN FROM THERE!

But today he was in a dark room. All by himself. With a barely audible soundtrack from one silently spinning DVD. He was perched on a hard ledge at the far opposite end of the room, quietly rubbing his shirt seams. He hasn't made a single peep, yet the message is loud and clear.

Max is sick.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

The Only String We Have to Fear...

Strings, yarn, dangling ties, long fringe -- they're all banned in our house. The reason is simple; they make Max puke. It's not enough just to keep the offending strings out of his face or away from his fingers, either. He gags on sight alone.

Today I wore a new sweater. (You already see where this is going, right?) I put it on after Max left for school this morning, so didn't give much thought to the draw strings dangling so flamboyantly and offensively down the front. The sweater is a basic gray, zip-up, hoodie type --the kind of thing I often wear -- so I promptly proceeded to forget about it, actually. I wore it all day without a second thought....until Max got home.

I was standing in the driveway to greet the bus, like normal. And he started down the stairs, like normal, but then something changed. He gave me a weird look and then he stopped in his tracks, refusing to budge. I didn't catch on to what was happening, so I moved in even closer to grab his hand and coax him on down the stairs, tugging at him while I rolled my eyes and chatted cluelessly with the driver. Then Max stepped down onto the driveway, turned dramatically away from me, leaned over, and puked. Repeatedly.


In that split second, I suddenly realized what the problem was and grabbed my strings, tucked them out of sight, then wrapped my arms around myself to keep everything firmly in place and securely hidden. Max followed me -- warily, at a distance -- into the house while I assured him we were going straight to the scissors to cut those strings off.

Max hovered near the sink (just in case) while witnessing the operation, and then continued to give those strings the ol' stink eye while I quickly photographed them lying on the counter. (What? It only took a second!)

Order has been restored. All is well. Nevertheless, we have officially upgraded our household security alert to Code Orange. We urge you to go about your regular business, but PLEASE, remain on the lookout for any suspicious strings in the area and report them to your nearest authorities! Thank you.

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