Max and Miles who, to Me, Will Always be Secretly Named "Gus"

The blog about Max and his little brother, Miles. Stunningly cute boys and future leaders of the rebel forces.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fun With Parenting

Teach your kid to call the little wound the IV left on the top of his right hand a "battle scar".

"Battle scarrrrr!" He'll say dramatically.

Now, a week later, the mark from the IV is nearly gone. Today, while playing quietly near the coffee table, there's a pause: "Battle scar almost gone," he haltingly refers to the fading blemish.

This kid is dope, yo.

Man Who Catch Fly with Chopstick Accomplish Anything

Well, we're getting there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Really, Not an Afterthought!

We have another kid. His name is Miles. Other than milk, sleep, and some visual stimulation, he requires little maintenance. While Miles may get short-shrifted around this blog, we appreciate him and his low-need lifestyle. . . a lot. Miles has the same grandfather Max does. The grandfather is also low-need (or, so he claims). We appreciate this too.

I Want to Believe or Deep Debriefing Thoughts

I've been trying to figure out what this whole experience was like for Max. I mean, aside from terrifying, disorienting, painful and annoying, what would be a good, common reference point to help us understand this event from Max's point of view?

Well, remember that time you were swept off, suddenly and inexplicably, to a unfamiliar place? Remember that time strangers poked and prodded you? They took blood samples, they looked at your orifices, they put needles in you and pumped fluids into your body, they thoughtfully looked into your ears with small, bright lights. Sometimes they would wake you up at all hours of the night to do these things. Remember that time people weighed your diapers to track your fluid output? You may have blocked it out and require hypnosis to recall your suppressed trauma but, yes, it was when you were abducted by aliens!

For Max, really, this was all just a weird, really scary, toddler version of "Fire in the Sky".

Things I learned in the hospital:

- You can, in fact, lie very, very still for hours and hours if your sick kid can only only sleep lying on top of you.
- If you have to go to the hospital with your child, and your child is previously obsessed with earth-moving equipment, make sure there is a giant construction project with bulldozers and excavators and lots of dirt going on next door before you're admitted. You'll be glad you did.
- If you're in the hospital and your child can only sleep lying on top of you, watch your fluid intake!
- You know you went to the right hospital when there's a construction site next door and, within moments, they have an Elmo DVD piped into your ER room.

I'm not going to bore you to tears with a bunch of "life-is-precious" type-stuff. I will say, though, that it'll be a awhile before I look at Max and don't have a flash of things breaking in slow motion. It's like the moment you wake up from a "falling" dream: Crap!!! Oh. Having said that, however, a visit to just the sixth floor of Children's Hospital will tell you that, for many parents, there is only the "falling" dream. To them, Max and family were just tourists, passers-by.

No matter how much I didn't sleep last week, no matter how many times I had to fake not-crying because Max was watching, no matter how many times I had to untangle Max's IV tubes on another walk to the window with the excavator-o-vision, I got to wake up from the dream and take my boy home to knock Legos over and spread jelly in his hair. And that, my friends, makes me the luckiest bastard from the sixth floor. So thankful to be here; so thankful to be washing this damn strawberry jelly out of this kid's hair.

Semblance of Normality

By 9pm, house looks like a two-year old tornado has cut a swath through every room in the house? Check. Dad/Mom, on couch, post-bedtime, in a questioning stupor: Do I clean or get drunk? Can I accomplish both? Could he get just a leeeetle bit sick? Check.

It's just so great to have The Max Attack back. We've even taught him to dramatically refer to the mark on his hand as a battle scar. It'll give him something to show off if he's ever stuck on a boat, hunting a killer shark, with some salty sea dogs.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

This Must be the Place

Home with Max. Everybody home.

Friday, March 21, 2008

All the News that's Fit to Post

Max is doing better today. His fever seems to be under control and he ate some solid food: bacon! He may get off the continuous IV soon. This would be nice as the better he feels, the more he becomes like a rodeo bull about to be released from his pen. Instead of frightened-but-hiding-it, chaw-chewin' cowboys, Max has heart-broken and easily manipulated parents. It would also be good, because the brief moments when he's walking solo with his IV stand, the bag swaying up top, the tubes and the pump massed around the middle and the wheels rattling softly on the floor. In those moments, Max in his little hospital gown and his little socked feet poking out the bottom. . . well, he just looks like a very, very small old man. And the sound you make when you see this is exactly what it sounds like when your face tries to laugh and cry at the same time.

How bad was it? Well, in a nutshell: there's a number. This number is a good indicator of the amount of infection your body is fighting. When you're 100 percent healthy, sittin' on your couch, eatin' a pretzel and watchin' your Elmo-stories, the munber should be around .5. That's point five. Max's number when he was admitted? Are you wearing your diaper? 23. Twenty-three.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Take Max Down to the Hospital

What the inside of Max's head probably feels like.

I'm not sure which way to go with this post: Cutesy/Nonchalant? Straight news? An enchanting mix of the two?

A few days ago, we mentioned that Max had a bit of fever. Well, the fever never really went away. Then, most bizarrely, a day or two later, Katie and I found ourselves wondering, "Doesn't the boy look different somehow?"

"Yeah, his ears are different, aren't they?"

Katie comments, "He kinda looks like Michael Landon."

It turns out, if you (in our case, unwittingly) let an ear infection go untreated for too long, the bone behind the ear becomes infected, swells and makes your ears stick straight our from your head. This would be funny if it were purely cosmetic and not systemic and centered millimeters away from your brain and spinal cord. That pretty much is how I define "buzz kill".

We took Max into the the ER at the super-fabulous Children's Hospital mere blocks down the street. We got diagnosed, admitted and they started Max on a turbo-charged antibiotic via IV. He's already doing better but, since the infection is literally bone-deep, he'll have to spend a few days on the IV to hammer the shit (an image I've come to enjoy) out of the infection. Bam! Bam! Infect my boy, will you? Bam! Bam! Not so tough now, are you?! Those who know me best will edit in the colorful expletives to the previous sentences.

Right now, it looks like Max'll get through this without having to undergo any invasive procedures and we should all be home in time for an Easter Egg hunt. Until then, keep Max in your thoughts and stay tuned for new, battle-hardened cute.

Monday, March 17, 2008

No-Hitter Going

When dude's got a no-hitter going, the last thing you want to do is sit down and talk about it between innings. You don't load up a mouth fulla seeds, plop down on the bench next to him and ask, "How's the arm feeling? Tired, I bet! Those guys are really swinging hard, huh?" You avoid the dude; you don't even look him in the eye. You don't want to be the one responsible for the bloop single in the next inning 'cause you asked the dude if he wanted a Gatorade.

And that is why you will never read at this blog about how unbelievably easy it is to parent the baby named Miles.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Think Pretty Thoughts

Here are some things to think about while you aren't thinking about Max and his 102 degree fever and Miles with his snuffly, snorkel-ly nose. The cough of a 3 month old. Lordy, my heart has not broken this many times in one day since I was single in 1995 and I went to graduation weekend at the U of Wisconsin: Madison. Let's not think about Max, fever-dopey Max, drifting off while sitting up, trying to watch his fiftieth Elmo of the day. Trying to pretend he was awake much like my Grandmother watching Larry King.

So, instead of thinking about that, think about this:

1. Tonight. Tired Max, read to, ready to be sung to, carried out to the kitchen to say "nye-nye" to mommy. Says "nye-nye" to mommy and then continues: "Nye-nye, talkie (that's my walkie-talkie for work). Nye-nye, apple." He looks at the stove, "Nye-nye, cooking." We walk back towards his room, going through the living room, his eyes look for friends, "Nye-nye, Play-Doh. Nye-nye, phone." Before we go through his door, he looks back down the dark hallway, towards his brother's room, "Nye-nye, Miles."

2. Max's favorite YouTube links:
Pancakes for your Face
Cooking with Dave Max's quick review: "Sawing! Potatoes!"
Red Bull Helicopter
Kittens at Lunch

Don't you feel better?

Friday, March 14, 2008


As we've previously established, Max is more into knocking things down than building things up. Ugh, maybe he is a Republican. The tantrums, the neediness, the greediness, the crying when he doesn't get his way. . . Man, it kinda makes sense. And tax cuts for the wealthy, he never shuts up about tax cuts for the wealthy! "It's the only way to stimulate the economy," he says. "Shut up and eat your wild rice," I say.

Anyhoos, you didn't come here for that. You came here to watch Max wreck stuff. Typically, tower destruction would be preceded by a hearty "Knock it down!" with some hands thrown in the air for effect. This time, though, it was personal!

My Son the Post-Structuralist

Bear with me here:

Back in the day, once, for a brief period of time, I was almost pretty smart. One of the many things I could think and talk about was Post-Structuralism. P-S is one of a few critical or cultural theories that smarty-pants types refer to when they're trying to make sense of our coo-coo, crazy world.

My favorite thing about Post-Structuralist theory is the slightly conspiratorial attitude it holds towards truth and meaning. In a nutshell, if I say "tree" and you think "tree", we're conversing about my idea of "tree" and your idea of "tree"; in reality, we're never really talking about the exact same thing. Under Post-Structuralism, meaning gets lost, slippery, they say, since there's never any exact definition you can firmly attach to any word or image. The truest thing you could ever say is still a little bit of a lie. I like that kind of thing.

So, when Max and I are drawing in the tub--we're in there every night--Max orders up drawings of bulldozers, the Count from Sesame Street, Elmo, chainsaws (don't ask), and whatever else pops into his head, it's totally Post-Structuralist! I have no idea what Max really wants; it could one of about 40 thousand bulldozers he's seen and freaked out over. When I draw The Count, he knows what he wants and I know what he wants but all we get his my crappy drawing of The Count.

But then, Max, my superboy, takes it to a whole. 'Nuther. Level. Towards the end of his bath, he takes his washcloth and scrubs away the drawings, then points at the red or green or orange smudge on the rag and says, "Bulldozer!" Every time, I pick him up, give a big hug and say, "Yes, yes! Daddy's drawings are lies!"

Oh, I have to go now. Katie has some divorce papers for me to sign.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Context is Important

In the Ceramics world, we do a lot of demonstrating. "Demo-ing" we, now, I guess, they call it. People who make pottery watch other pottery-ers make their pottery. It's a funny clay thing and one of the ways we scare off curious painters and sculptors.

"The Demo is at three," people say. "I heard Sam Chung is Demo-ing! He's hawt!" Undergrads yell. "John Britt was demo-ing, but then he scared me with some crazy talk about molecular unity. So I went to the Ron Meyers demo." I've heard that, like, a hundred times.

Anyway, you get the point.

So, to contextualize the previous cute picture, the whole time, Max was Demo-ing "How Mommy uses the breast pump" to an amazed Miles.

"Pumping!" Max says and then he tries to mimic the "RRRrrr, RRRrrr, RRRrrr" of Ol' Bessie's motor, hard at work. Oh, "Ol' Bessie" is what we call the breast pump. The fun never ends, folks!

Friday, March 07, 2008

General Demeanor

There are a number of things you could do to Miles to get him to smile. You could look at him; you could breathe; you could pick him up; you could put him down; you could change his diaper; you could not change his diaper. All of this would be fine with Miles and he'd say, "Grrriiinnn."

This is a disturbingly agreeable baby. If this baby were a guard dog, he'd be the guard dog that wags his tail at the dudes as they cart off Dad's spacebar-less computer and his dusty collection of MD players.

He's the kind of baby that--as much as any second baby tells you that you really don't need a third baby--makes you think, "Mmmmmm. . . perhaps another cute, possibly female one, wouldn't be so bad. We could do it!"

Then, you look down and realize you're driving to work in a state of sleep-deprived pantlessness, and realize: two babies is plenty.

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