Max is 2.5!

Holy cow! Max likes to say that a lot these days ever since he heard me say that in response to the price of organic cauliflower ($7.65/head! Are you kidding me?) Anyhow, Max is getting older and I can hardly believe it.

Picture Day (11/14)

Picture Day (11/14)

As you may know, I keep a private blog called Max Memories where I record one cute, sweet, funny or memorable thing per day. It has been a such a fun endeavor and it has been so awesome to be able to look back over the past year and remember everything. It is also amazing to see how far he has come over the past year. Almost exactly one year ago, for the first time Max gave me a hug when I asked him to. He was barely verbal then, and would express himself with sounds (yah, no), motions and signs. Now we are having full conversations. Well, maybe not complete ones, but definitely dialogues.

We LOVE bath time!

We LOVE bath time!


Yes, I am totally biased, but he is a great kid. He is FUNNY! I don’t know if all 2 year olds are so funny but Max really makes me laugh.

Max continues to love books more than pretty much anything – other than his parents, of course. We have a good collection but we still love going to the library for fresh material. On our most recent trip I was so proud when he picked up a book and correctly said “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” He pretty much always wants to read from the moment he gets up to the moment he goes to sleep. Books trump toys every time. Oh how I hope this love of reading continues forever. IMG_0851IMG_0844

His teachers report that Max is an easy going kid. Apparently he is pretty passive so they are happy when he asserts himself. I’m not sure who they are talking about but I am glad to hear he is well-behaved. At daycare he is very compliant, and is the first one to follow instructions to start nap time. That is not the case at home and I am aware that we are being played. Haha!


At Clemyjontri – Fall 2014


Building on that compliant personality, we recently implemented an award chart. The main motivation was to shorten the bedtime routine and eliminate all of the fussing and crying. It worked like a charm in just a couple of nights. As I have mentioned before, this kid really likes to follow the rules and he is very responsive to positive reinforcement. The snowman pez dispenser he got for a week of good behavior was a huge hit!


Around the end of October Max started speaking more in sentences. I can’t tell you how neat it was to hear him ask “Where’d Daddy go?” Most recently, he told me “This is a good day!” and “I like that plan!” I was looking back and my last post where I mentioned Max had said “Eat, Mama. No house.” Now he says “I want to eat at a restaurant. I no want to eat at home.” He can tell you what he wants to eat (and what he doesn’t) which is good and bad 🙂


It is interesting to watch the physical changes in him. In November I took him to the indoor trampoline park and then again in mid-January. The first time around he was much more interested in playing with the balls than in bouncing. The second time we went he was much more interesting in jumping – though the balls and running around really did prove to be the biggest draws. Oh well, he had fun – and so did I.

He has begun to get into his stuffed animals and now makes a big pile of his animals and blankets before going to sleep. His favorite is “Ice Bear” which is a wonderful stuffed Harrod’s bear our dear friend Karen brought back from London. He will sometimes cuddle with them but mostly just has to have the mountain next to him.


In the past month he has started showing an interest in playing with, not just near, his classmates. This is so cute to see. It started with him pretending to eat his classmate, but okay.

He is also learning at an amazing rate, like all toddlers. We are definitely having some of those moments where we realize we need to be very careful about what we say.

The Knight wants to help Max develop his physical skills so recently we’ve been playing catch and soccer a lot. We are definitely not the “no playing inside the house” kind of family. I am sure I will live to regret this at some point.

An amusing moment from the other day went like this. We’ve been trying to get him to say “yes” instead of “yup” or “yeah.” Usually we do this gently by simply saying “yes” after he says yeah or yup. We were in the car the other day when I answered “yup” to a question he asked me. He said “Say yes Mommy.” He followed up with “Don’t say yup.” Okay, buddy.


Max loves to cook, especially when it involves tasting, too

Max loves to cook, especially when it involves tasting, too



There were a lot of highlights of the past 6 months. We took a trip to Greenville, SC and then to Augusta, GA for the Knight’s half Ironman. It was a great trip overall and Max discovered a love of hotels. I am not sure what exactly. Perhaps it is the long, open hallways or the elevators. He did really well on the trip and slept in his peapod travel tent without issue (unlike the first time we tried it where he wound up sleeping in our bed after hours of failed efforts).

We did a lot of fun activities over the past six months or so. We had a blast at the pumpkin patch and Cox farms. It was a fabulous day full of animals, slides, a hayride and a LOT of apple cider.


One of Max’s two Halloween costumes (his other was a monkey)


Max loves snow and snowmen, though to be honest the only snowman we made was more like a pile of snow than a man. Oh well. He didn’t know any better so he was fine with it.


We met the Cookie Monster at the Children’s Museum. That was interesting. Max loved the idea until he was actually confronted with the life-sized character. We are so not ready for Disney! 😦



As you would expect, Christmas with a toddler is a blast. Seriously! Everything was so full of magic and excitement. I would have to say it may have been my best Christmas ever. From the day we decorated the tree to Christmas morning, it was wonderful. Egg nog might be the best thing Max has ever tasted. He couldn’t get enough. That’s my boy! George the Elf of the Shelf joined our household for the month and we had a great time with him. We didn’t do anything elaborate. We just moved him every night and Max thought this was great fun.


If we’re friends on Facebook, you know all about the play kitchen that Santa brought (huge thanks to Es, Don and Jared for assisting in the assembly endeavor!). Max was and still is over the moon about his kitchen. He is constantly cooking for us. He is also good about storing the leftovers. He will make us, for example, a lemon. He puts it on a plate and serves it. We pretend to take a few bites and then we give it back and Max tell us he is going “save it for later.” I had no idea until I looked the other day that what he was doing was putting everything in the Tupperware he lifted from our pantry. I looked in his fridge and found a bunch of containers full of plastic food neatly stacked in his refrigerator. It cracked me up!


Max is a huge fan of Santa – in concept. He talked about Santa non-stop and assured me that he wanted to meet him. When he saw him in person it was a completely different story. Wow. After that he kept telling me “I no like Santa.” Okay, got it.

Yup! Loving Santa!

Yup! Loving Santa!



In my last post about Max I mentioned that he is generally very compliant and eager to please. While this is still true, he is definitely developing more of the toddler independence and testing the limits. Honestly, I think he is still extremely well behaved for his age but he truly has his toddler moments. We follow the basic tenants of the book series Love and Logic, which works very well for us. I recommend it.



Over the past two months I have noticed a big change in Max’s relationship with the Knight. He still wants Mommy most of the time, but he is much more excitedto get home to Daddy or to play with Daddy. One night the Knight was downstairs fixing something and Max wanted to wait to eat until he came upstairs.IMG_0735

We had a really interesting few months involving Max’s fear of shadows. It started suddenly and took months to work through. Now he is fine with them and tries to catch them, but wow, that was some phase. It is like so many things that come and go with little ones. You know it isn’t going to last forever but it can be hard to manage when you’re in it.



We started a new tradition of going out for frozen yogurt (Menchie’s- YUM!) on Sundays after dinner. It is so fun and is such a nice way to end the weekend.Honestly, I could write pages and pages more. Being Max’s mom is just awesome.



Max is Two

I have to say, I am little emotional about this whole getting older thing. Just wow. I can’t believe I have a two year old.


I’ve said it before: this kid is amazing! He blows my mind and melts my heart every day. He is just a wonderful little person and I am so proud of him. There is something about watching your own baby go from a little blob to a functioning, interactive little person that totally rocks your world.


Max is so full of energy! We frequently joke that we need to find a way to cheer him up because he is constantly laughing or trying to make us laugh. He is such a fun-loving little guy.


Emptying out the spice drawer

He is also a super sweet and affectionate toddler. He is so considerate and seems very aware of others’ feelings and needs. He is concerned if he thinks you have a boo-boo and will give kisses (even when it is just a beauty mark). He is generally very open to cuddles and kisses and loves hugging and kissing his mama in the mornings.

He is pretty sensitive, which makes discipline somewhat easier. He aims to please and gets very upset when he perceives that he has done something wrong. He still has his toddler moments, but we have been lucky in that we can usually reason with him or distract him. We found the approaches from the Love and Logic books very helpful, as well as The Happiest Toddler on the Block.

He is talking up a storm these days. This past week I noticed a big change in his verbal skills and his voice. He is talking in basic sentences now. “I want do that. Daddy more milk please. Mama come here. Auntie did this.” It is pretty cool.




Following our July trip we saw a big rise in Max’s separation anxiety at dropoff and bedtime. That was pretty rough. I am happy that it seems to be under control now. The bedtime routine went from being super easy to taking up to an hour to get him to sleep. We have been working through this with a combination of my silly made up story (about a bunny (Pete) who loves his mommy and daddy so much that he doesn’t want them to leave him at night) and a system where we come back every five minutes to check on him.  We are now down to about 1-4 minutes of crying at night (last night there was no crying at all).

Max remains around the 20th percentile for weight (25 lbs) and 55th percentile for height (34.5 inches). He is very active and loves to run (another trait we can’t figure out). He is a little monkey. When we were on vacation at the beach he discovered that he could climb up and sit on my head. I definitely know where he gets that from (I was a little monkey when I was little).



Max loves to help us. His favorite chore is cleaning the floor, followed closely by emptying the dishwasher. He recently began cooking with us, which is fantastic. Yes, things take at least twice as long, but it is SO fun. He says, “I took [cook].” In fact, some nights I will have him “help” me cook an egg, even though we are eating leftovers. He enjoys it so much. When I am cooking he doesn’t want to do anything other than be right there with me. He chops (holding the end of the knife while I hold it), helps me measure and pour, adds ingredients, and stirs. I am so excited for this to continue for years to come. I think I always envisioned baking Christmas cookies together but I didn’t expect that we would cook together like this. It is fabulous.




He is a talker, for sure. We can’t figure out where he gets that. He has recently started talking in sentences, which is just an amazing thing to hear.

Max is very affectionate – some of the time. He loves to give kisses and is very concerned if he thinks you have a boo-boo (even when it is a beauty mark).


Auntie Laura reported that when she picked Max up from school one day one of his teachers was talking about how they are all impressed with how polite Max is. That was a nice pat on the back and really made me smile. Glad to hear that the constant work is paying off. He is saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ a lot more these days and it really makes me smile when he does it without prompting.


Max wearing his “onion goggles” while chopping, just like Mommy

One thing has remained constant: Max is still a great little eater. I think that his overall intake is starting to decrease, as it should at this age. However, he is still pretty good about eating a variety of foods, including veggies. He has amused us recently by demonstrating that anything spicy, including wasabi, is his friend. First, he took a finger full of wasabi out of some soy sauce and after eating it asked for more. Then he happily ate wasabi-soy almonds when he was with Auntie, even though she made the yucky face at him. He made the face back and then requested “more nuts, please.”

Fun stuff
We had an awesome summer! We spent some time at the lake, which usually involved playing in the sand. He likes sand castles but prefers sand “mickeys.” That is just a cluster of three buckets of sand together which he mushes down. Ta-da.

I had been feeling bad about not keeping up with swim classes. The session we did last year was not what I would call successful. He vacillated between distressed and barely tolerant. I was really happy when I got him in the lake this summer (very gradually) and was able to do everything with him that we did in the class. He loved it. He “swam” between Oli and me – stomach down, hands out, even some kicking. He loved it! He got his face in the water once and did not freak out. I’ll call that a win!


Lots of horsie rides!

We had fun doing things like playing outside with his water table, going to riding his balance bike (the Knight is THRILLED about this), checking out various playgrounds, running a 5k together, playing at a couple of spraygrounds, enjoying the neighborhood 4th of July parade, eating lots of ice cream, going to the fair where Max got to play on a fire truck, and trying out the new indoor bounce house. We also celebrated the Knight’s birthday and Max’s birthday within a week. Max also had his first full day without mommy and daddy, thanks to Auntie and Grandma watching Max so we could have a night away. It went perfectly well.


Knight, Jr.


Water table fun

We took two trips this summer. We went to the NY Finger Lakes for my Musselman triathlon in July (a race report was partially written but never finished. Short version: I did it and am happy to be back in retirement). Max was a terrific little Sherpa, although he is still not a fan of the brief hellos during the race. He just doesn’t understand why Mommy is leaving again so soon. Fortunately he had a playground to play on and lots of new Team Z friends to entertain him. He and the Knight stayed cozy under the team tent during the downpour, where Max napped on Oli’s chest after eating two whole chicken breasts, some fries and a variety of other foods.

The day after the race we went to visit my mom in Ithaca. That was a nice, but brief visit. The highlight for Max was Jake the dog (aka ‘woof woof’). They both had fun chasing each other around the house.


Who wouldn’t love a Grandma who shares her ice cream?

At the end of August we went to Pensacola to the rest of the immediate family, including our grandson. We rented a house on the beach and had a fantastic time. Max loved the ‘ocean’ and the sand and amused us by saying “beach house” all day. He was insistent on “MY mommy! MY daddy!” but he eventually got used to us holding the little guy (14 months). I also tried to explain to him that the Knight was also Joseph and Rachel’s daddy but he was not happy about that either. However, he was a big fan of his big brother and sister-in-law, as totally nuts about his big sister. It was a really great visit.

Speaking of family, Max thoroughly enjoyed his 3-week visit from Grandma. His attachment to her was instant. He loves his Grandma! He also loved that we ate out a lot more than usual. One night in the car he stated, “Eat, mama. No house.” He cracked me up.

Meanwhile, he and Auntie have a very special thing going. They are so lucky to have each other. Max talks about Auntie constantly, and frequently wants to call her on his toy phone. He tells us all the time that “Auntie did this” pointing to the monkey decorations on his ceiling and wall.

Max Auntie bubbles 24 months

Auntie and Max enjoying the bubbles

Other news
[When I say news I think everyone is waiting to hear that I’m pregnant. Nope. There will be no more pregnancies for me. ]

Max began in the “two’s” class this week. It was kind of unfortunate that he started a new class his first day back at school after vacation. It was a lot of change and it didn’t go as well as we would have liked. However, the second day was completely different since Max brought Thomas the Tank Engine to school. He held onto him the entire day and was holding him when I picked him up. We all miss his former teachers but we are excited about his new class, teachers and friends (some of whom he already knew from his prior class).


After celebrating Max’s Birthday

On a different note, we have started processing this whole potty training thing. Our plan it be pretty laid back about it and not pressure him. We have had the little frog potty in the bathroom for a few months. We have started discussing how mommy and daddy go potty and we even started rewarding ourselves for the accomplishment. Yes, this feels totally bizarre. Now Max cheers, “Yay Mommy!” when I use the toilet. He instructs as I go through the process. “Wipe.” “Flush.” “Wash.” SO funny. Afterwards he exclaims “Treat, mama!”


Do you think he likes to swing?




More, Dada!




After the neighborhood Fourth of July parade (and the cookies and lemonade)

I always ask him if he wants to go to the potty and he would always say no. On Labor Day he surprised me and said yes. We went and sat down on the potty. He got a treat. He asked for more and I told him he could have another one if he took off his diaper to sit. He agreed, much to my surprise. When he asked for more I told him he would get one if he made pee-pee or poopy. That didn’t happen but we had a very positive start. I believe it will happen in time. Max’s teacher thinks it will be easy with him because he hates being messy. We’ll see.














Max Update: 20 Months

I was telling a coworker this morning about how shocking it is to me that Max is 20 months old. That means he is just months away from turning two. You know I’ve said that the first year didn’t exactly fly by like so many people say. But year 2? definitely. I guess it is true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun.

I am totally biased and I’ve probably said this before: Max is amazing! He is the greatest little guy. Oh, I am so in love with him. My heart actually races most days when I go to pick him up. Imagine that. It is a terrific feeling. I love being around him. Going back to work on Mondays is the pits.

What’s new?

Not much has changed since the 18 month update.  Reading is definitely his favorite pastime. That is a remarkable thing. He has even started ‘reading’ on his own and will sit quietly for short periods with his books. That is a very good thing.

He is all boy. He has recently discovered trains. If I could post a video (anyone know how?) I would post the one of him excitedly celebrating “choo choo” as he played with his new Thomas trains. His favorite book is Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo  He is also really into trucks and loves the Diggers book I bought him. I can’t find a link for that one but did you know that Amazon has a whole subcategory of Children’s books for “Heavy Machinery” books? Good to know.

We had our parent-teacher conferences this week and we were very pleased to hear that Max is doing great. He is on target in some areas and advanced in others. His teacher had no concerns about him. On a related note, given the difficulties we faced in the first year it is so astonishing for us to have people randomly comment on what a mellow guy he is.

What else does he like?

Max loves to clean. Vacuuming is his favorite. He also likes to wipe things down and empty the dishwasher. He is surprisingly good at following instructions and listening to us – most of the time.

Dogs are so exciting to him and he will gladly wear any garment with dogs (or woof woof) on it. We have exposed him to a lot of different dogs and he is becoming comfortable around them. He gets so excited when he sees them but gets a little nervous when they get close. I can relate. Meanwhile, our cat Pepper is a saint. Max has taken to picking him up. You can imagine how that is.

Peekaboo is still a big hit. His favorite variation involves me hiding outside the kitchen while he is in his high chair. You would think this is the funniest thing he has ever seen in his life. The best part is that I sometimes sneak around to the other entrance to the kitchen and shock him by appearing behind him. He LOVES it!

What doesn’t he like?

Max is still not a big fan of brushing his teeth, but we get it done most nights. He has only lost his nightly book privileges once and we haven’t had to do that again. I now understand the old expression about it hurting the parents more than the kids. I was so sad to have to withhold his books from him that night but it worked.

At our conference Max’s teacher noted that Max has texture issues and he doesn’t like finger paining. This might have more to do with staying clean, though. When he sees them bring out the finger paint he starts calmly  saying “Nooooooo. Noooooo.” He doesn’t like playing with shaving cream either. I tried to do hand prints with him recently and that didn’t go so well. Fine with me if my boy likes to stay clean.


We have been experiencing a language explosion lately. His vocabulary grows every day. I write about a lot of his new words on my post-a-day blog. (Email me if you want to see it.) His newest words are “nana” (banana), bike, ice, and all done. He also says his name “ma” – which can be easily confused with Mom, milk and more. He can say “I love you” “thank you” and “yes, please” but these are really hard to make out. We know what he is saying from the context but he has a little ways to go before anyone other than us understands him.

Our biggest recent achievement has to do with bath time. We went for about two months with Max been absolutely traumatized by the bath. I have no idea what happened. It was not fun. Thanks to a new book about baths and some patience, Max now loves that bath more than ever before.

He has also become very skilled in identifying pictures of objects. It had been a month or so since we regularly read one of Max’s most treasured books from Aunt Es “My Favorite Things.” On the last page there are pictures of all of the items in the book. In the past I would ask Max where each item is. Over time he would get more and more right. He could always identify the bananas (of course) but most of the items were a little iffy. I was shocked last week when I read it to him he got about 95% right. I couldn’t believe how well he did.


Max’s sleep lately has been, well, fantastic. Really. I am probably totally jinxing it. Not only does he go to bed without protest, he often requests that we put him in the crib. Not just that, but he has had a few 13 hour nights recently. It is shocking! He naps pretty well, too. Who would have guessed?


Max’s teacher reports the same thing we observed: Max still eats a LOT. This is a great thing. He has tried many new foods, and likes sushi and pizza. That’s my guy. He still eats his veggies but I think he has gotten sick of his old favorite: peas. His latest favorite is shredded brussels sprouts. Mmmmm.


We have completely weaned as of about a six weeks ago. I have mixed emotions about it. Last week Max had strep and a big part of me wished I could provide Max the comfort (and nutrition) from nursing. We did just fine without it but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. He is a big boy now and it was the right time for us to wrap that up.


My favorite thing about him is his laugh. It is contagious. Not a day goes by that we don’t have some serious laughter in our house. We laugh while we change diapers, when we eat, when we bathe, and all of the times in between. That’s not say we don’t have our serious moments. The Knight and I joke all of the time that it is too bad that Max is so sad and that we wish we could find a way to cheer him up. He is just a happy kid.

We are becoming more and more aware that we need to be careful about what we say and do. The imitation has started. The funniest thing was recently Oli walked by me and brushed my thigh with his hand. The next thing I knew Max was walking by me doing the exact same thing. I realized that Oli touches me all the time but I don’t usually consciously notice. Ha! He’s going to have to start watching himself.

Max has also started imitating me when I give a thank you wave to a car stopping to let us cross the street or similar things. It is so cute. Can you imagine driving along when a 1.5 year old gives you a thank you wave? Ha!

In sum, life is great! We are happy, healthy and very fortunate. Max is doing so well and I am just overjoyed to be his mom. I wish I could freeze time. I am savoring every day and wish that these wonderful times will never end. I know that lots of good times lie ahead. I just want this time to last longer. I love his sweet cuddles, his giggles, and his joy. Ahhhhhh, motherhood.






18 months – can you believe it?

Little Prince climbed up here all by himself!

Little Prince climbed up here all by himself!

Just wow. My baby is a year and a half old. Fabulousness.

My little guy is so fantastic and we are thrilled with the little man he is becoming. I am seriously smitten – can you tell?

I continue to be amazed at the most mundane accomplishments. You know that your friend’s kids grow up and start talking, walking, and developing but when you see your own little bundle of joy transition from an adorable little blob to a little person who has preferences and, personality and actually *does* stuff it is a miracle every day. Everything he does is astonishing – from feeding himself oatmeal to putting garbage in the trash can. It is so ridiculously awesome.


Max is a little bundle of energy.  That’s nothing new. What is new is how quickly he moves. He is running now. Yeah. It is awesome and terrifying at the same time.

IMG_6271Max’s favorite activities currently include reading, helping, and general mischief. Balls are his favorite toys and bubbles are a close second. Anything that isn’t a toy is one. Kitchen utensils and just about anything that he shouldn’t have is a toy.

He still loves books. He has a few favorites that he loves which the Knight and I can mostly recite from memory. This includes two books his Aunt Es and Uncle Dude gave him for Christmas (My Favorite Things and the Peekabo book) as well as Dr. Seuss titles.

As for helping, Max wants to do everything we do. He is involved in whatever we’re doing from making a fire to getting dressed. He loves to help clean. I could see how some might not find this endearing but I love it. Yes, it makes things harder and getting out the door can take forever, but it is so ridiculously cute.

Max is an outdoor boy and will grab his coat and bring it to you and tell you he wants to go out. It doesn’t matter if it is dark out or he is in his pajamas. He loves to be outside.


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We knew it was coming and it is here. Max’s stubbornness/determination has arrived. He is also big on order. None of this really comes as a surprise. He likes things to be where they belong and for everyone to follow proper procedures. His daycare teacher told us that Max has become the class informant and reports on his classmates. Yes, he is a tattle tale. Oops. Ms. Claire says it is actually helpful. Haha!

Along those lines, Max will shut containers, doors or anything which he thinks belongs closed.  He loves putting stuff away and is delighted to oblige a request to put something in the trash. He does not like it if you do things out of order or mess with a system. The other night I went to wash his hair and put the shampoo in my hand instead of in the washcloth as I usually do. Max let me know that was not how we do it. He didn’t get too upset but he did let me know he noticed.

Where he does get upset is with getting dressed. It must be a control thing. Either that or he just doesn’t like some of his clothes for some reason. Getting dressed in the morning can be a big battle. He gets very upset and seriously protests certain articles of clothing. It is heartbreaking how upset he gets. We just try to work with him and sometimes just let him pick his shirts. It seems early to me for this kind of thing but friends say it is normal for this age.

On a happier note, in general Max is a fun, playful and affectionate little dude. He smiles most of the time and is a little clown. He loves to do things to make us laugh. He loves to play chase, mostly when it is time to do something he doesn’t want to do. In other words, when it is time to put on his coat he thinks is hilarious if he runs and I chase him. I’ve tried to cut down on this by not chasing him but then I’m just standing by the stairs like a dummy waiting for Max to come back. He thinks it is hilarious. I see the humor, but….

As you can imagine, Max is very good following instructions (other than in situations like above). He will carefully pay attention and then retrieve the cat food dish you requested or put away his books. He loves to be involved and be part of the action. We give him lots of praise when he listens well.


Max continues to be a good eater, though he is still getting pickier. I follow the saying that it is our job to give him healthy options and it is his job to eat them. He still eats a pretty wide variety of foods. I still find it absolutely fascinating to watch him eat. He has gotten really good at using utensils and seems to really enjoy the reaction he gets from doing so. His morning oatmeal has gotten much less messy and he manages to get most of it in his mouth.



We have made some process in the weaning process. We’ve dropped all but the before bed (and weekend before nap) nursing sessions. As I write this I realize that I’m weaning because I feel like other people expect me to – not because I necessarily want to or think I should. In any case, I don’t think the benefit of the morning nursing session was worth the cost – which was the time it took to do it. I am certain it was more for comfort at this point and during the Knight’s last trip we really needed that extra time in the morning. There was a little protest but nothing that a little distraction didn’t take care of.


Max is talking up a storm. Most of it is unintelligible but he actually has many clear (to us) words now. I would estimate he has about 20 + words. Some of them are clearer than others. Mama is the most used word which is used for just about everything and is often expressed with urgency.

When he wants something he will sometimes say “more” which sounds a lot like “ma.” I will ask him if he wants more and he nods yes or says “da” because apparently we speak Russian in our house. Then I suggest he say “more peas please”  and then he will say “ma ppppe” and sign please. I will then say something like “Say ‘May I please have more peas’ ” to which I will get a whole bunch of sounds that are probably Max’s very special version of whatever I just said. So, we’re working on it. He gets the idea of repeating but just hasn’t formed the words yet.

As far as we can tell, Max is right where he should be. I think the Knight believes he is a little genius. I’ve heard him say he is scary smart. I think he is amazing but from what I can tell he is just a normal, wonderful, bright 18 month old who has both of his parents head over heels for him. We are so very thrilled to be his parents. I don’t want time to keep flying. Before we know he is going to be one of those teenagers that wants nothing to do with his uncool parents. Now, if I lay down on the floor, Max will climb up on top of me and give me kisses. I never want that to stop!


Hanging out in the closet in his sporty clothes




Tonight I am feeling the need to express some gratitude. Facebook just didn’t seem like the right place so I am writing here. You know, on my equally or more public blog.

Listing my good fortune is a regular habit for me. I don’t know how it started but whenever a negative emotion hits me I automatically start listing all of the things I have to be grateful for. It is overwhelming, actually. I mean, if you real get down to the basics, how about breathing, running water, electricity. Then there’s freedom, love, my abilities, etc. I could seriously list about 1000 things without a bit of effort.

Well, it has been a hard week. The a Knight is away and the stress of the past two weeks has taken a serious toll on me and apparently, my immune system. Not only did my period come over a full week early (TMI, sorry) but I developed the beginnings of a head cold shortly after my long run Saturday morning and then a stomach bug hit me some time yesterday. Fortunately I am successfully winning the fight against both things but let me tell you, solo parenting while sick is the pits!

That’s a lot of complaining for a gratitude post, I know. So here is what I am especially thankful for tonight:

1. My solo parenting is short-term – and voluntary.
2. The Knight will be home Saturday (or in 3 sleeps, as we would explain to the little Prince).
3. My immune system is pretty awesome. Not only have I not succumb to the full sickness that could have gotten me (my sister has the full-blown stomach thing) but also I don’t ordinarily get sick.
4. I have a job that provides me sick leave – and the ability to use it. I don’t have to worry about not being able to pay my bills when I get ill. I also feel free to use my sick leave when I need it.
5. Daycare. For the first time today I took Max to daycare and then came home and slept. Blessing!
6. The little prince is healthy. My biggest wish right now is that he not feel even a bit of what I have felt this week.
7. Support. I haven’t needed to call in reinforcements but I know that they’re out there if needed. Thank you, friends!

I am already on the mend. I had six tortellini and some applesauce for dinner tonight. Progress.

Think healthy thoughts and be grateful everyday!

Max Update – January 2014 – Part II

I disappear for a few months and now I am back with long posts. Here is the second part of my overdue update.

New stuff:

-Speech and Other Development-

Although I tried really hard to be laid back about speech development, there was a part of me that was a little concerned that Max wasn’t saying many words while it appeared that his peers were. Like so many other parenting concerns, practically overnight it all seemed to fall into place. Max now has a ton of words, though many of them sound the same (baby, bubbles, bacon and bread are indistiguisable without context). Nah is the word for No. Hot is so cute, because it usually is accompanied by putting his palm to his mouth.

The funniest (and my favorite) thing is Mama. I call him my little Italian, because he often emphasizes the second syllable and says Mamá. It is especially amusing when he is pleading for something: Mamá, Mamá, Mamá. So stinkin’ cute! Other frequently used words are book, cat, pepper (the cat’s name), and Dada.

He still signs a lot. He mostly says eat, drink, grapes (see above), please and the occasional thank you.


max trailer dec 13

First Team Bike Ride

He has become very stable on his feet and is so fast he is practically running. We are very thankful for our fitness these days. Peek-a-boo remains a favorite game, but at a new level that involves any prop he can get his hands on.

We’ve been doing a lot of fun activities lately including indoor play areas, museums, and things like that. We are all happier when we get out and do stuff.

max reading 11-13

Books, books, books!

Another recent development is that Max has become a book lover. It used to be a huge challenge to read to him. He wouldn’t stop moving. Well, then “Mr. Brown Can Moo” came along. It is a Dr. Seuss book and it totally captured his interest. Now the challenge is limiting the number of books we read. He loves to read!


max providence pool

Before swim class – November 2013

Max started swim lessons this fall. It was really more of a water acquaintance class than a lesson. I can’t say I was thrilled with it overall, and Max definitely wasn’t. He averaged about 60/40 between tolerating it and hating it. We’ve taken him to the pool ourselves a few times. I will swim (yes, voluntarily) in the slow lane while Oli walks with Max along side of me. After 30 minutes I take Max out and we shower and get ready while Oli gets his laps in. The whole process is pretty exhausting for all of us but it is worth the effort.

-Good Habits-

So, I’m going to try to avoid labeling my kid, but this little cutie has some serious organized tendencies. We love it and find it adorable. I posted on facebook about his compulsion to sometimes put things away. He likes things to be where they belong, though obviously it doesn’t always apply. Nevertheless, he will let us know if a door should be closed (the baby gate, the microwave door, etc.) if he can’t close it himself (he loves closing the refrigerator door). He will help us unload the dishwasher – we’ve only lost one plate so far.

max cooking 11-13He is very good about following instructions most of the time. He will put his books/toys back when asked, though sometimes the books get close to the shelf rather than on it. He will help put away his toys when asked. It is so cute to see. I know this might be short-lived but we are appreciating it while we can.

His level of understanding is astounding. I’m not saying he is any more intelligent than any other 16 month old. It is just that as a first-time mom I didn’t expect to have this level of interaction at this early age. It is such a blast to see!

That’s the very long Max update. I really wish I could freeze – or at least slow down – time. I love this age. I cherish our time together and want to remember every wonderful moment and development. He is my little sweetpea!

max family shot 12-13

Holidays 2013

Max Update – January 2014 (16 months) – Part I

max pumpkin 10-13 max elf 2013

Boy, it has been too long since I wrote about my little man (the pictures above are from Halloween and Christmas 2013). To say I am in love with this little guy would be a serious understatement. After having eight straight days together over the holidays just make me want to spend more time with him (and my big guy!).  He is such an amazing little person. Watching him grow and learn is a truly remarkable experience.

Overall, things are great. There are always challenges in parenting and our toddler is still a toddler. This tot, however, is a wonderful. It is kind of amazing how this difficult, colicky, highly-allergic baby became a happy, fun, delightful little child. I am amazed and so grateful!

Some of the old topics that I wrote about previously:

-Sleeping –

max sleeping 12-13

He often sleeps like this

I really hope I don’t jinx it, but 90% of the time sleep goes pretty well. We have some challenges here and there due to teething, colds or schedule upsets (aka Mom & Dad’s attempts at attending social activities or other such frivolities) but generally Max goes to sleep at 7 p.m.(ish) and wakes up between 6 and 7 a.m. We almost never have nighttime wakings anymore. [Oh please, please don’t let that change.] When we do, it completely throws me for a loop. 

Naptime is typically 12/12:30. He will usually nap for at least 75 minutes, and sometimes even for 3 hours. Yes, this makes weekend afternoon planning challenging.

– Eating –

max mierke wedding 10-13

As mentioned previously, all of the allergies appear to be 100% gone. I am still in disbelief. He eats yogurt, cheese and even edamame, like a champ. Hooray! He is a pretty good little eater. He likes a variety of foods and eats serious quantities of the things he likes. The daycare folks say he eats everything in sight and they can’t figure out where he puts it.

He has moved past the food throwing phase for the most part. For months I would tell him not to throw food and that he should leave unwanted food on his plate or hand it to me. Well, he takes this instruction very seriously. It doesn’t matter what else I am doing when he decides he wants his plate clear of an undesirable item. He is very fastidious about handing me everything he wants taken away.

The biggest challenge right now is probably getting him to eat the first bite of foods that aren’t his favorites. He will always eat certain things (peas, corn, bread) but other items that he loved the night before he sometimes refuses to touch. It is so frustrating. I have to remind myself of the phrase I recently read along the lines of: It is our job to provide healthy food options; it is their job to eat them.max fruit nov 13

Fortunately, after reading a recent article on toddler nutrition I realized that Max is likely getting all the nutrients he needs and then some. In fact, based on the quantities/portion sizes listed in the article, I think he may be getting all that he needs by 11 am.  Heck, he may be getting a complete days nutrition just at breakfast. A typical breakfast includes a big serving of steel cut oatmeal with whole milk, a banana, sometimes some whole wheat bread with olive oil, some of mom or dad’s smoothie made with spinach, fruit, almond milk, protein powder and chia seeds, and sometimes some grapes or orange pieces to finish.

His favorite foods other than those listed above are hummus (eaten by the huge spoonsful), yogurt, pancakes, chicken (some days), noodles, tortellini with pesto, spicy guacamole, berries, and grapes. If he catches a glimpse of a grape or even hears the word grape it is all over. We have to be very careful about where we place things in the fridge because if he seems them he wants them and will refuse all other food.


Don’t judge. Not too long ago I remember a while back a friend mentioned another friend who had done extended breastfeeding. She is a very nice, non-judgmental person, but she was surprised that someone would breastfeed a toddler well past age one. I remember agreeing with her. Well, here we are.

Max is 16 months and breastfeeding is a regular part of our morning and evening routines. I don’t imagine he is getting a ton of milk these days. However, the evidence seems to support that even a small amount is very beneficial – nutritionally and immunologically. That plus the emotional benefits mean I am still at it. I’m taking the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach – within limits, of course. In general, I love the together time, the quiet cuddles with my little guy, and the automatic reset that breastfeeding provides.  The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age 2. I don’t really see myself going that long but we will continue to take things a day at a time and see what happens.

 max vest dec 13

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