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, April 27, 2008

Rainy Days, Mondays and the "Spring" of '08

These things get Max down.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grande! Venti! Large! Small!

Cute kid story ahead. You've been warned.

A couple of nights ago, Max is in the tub. This is quality playtime for the boy: controlled environment, warm water, lots of toys and, I'm pretty sure, a willful desire to delay bed-time. We're hanging out. Max is excavating and dumping water from bottles to dump trucks to bulldozers to cups and back to bottles. Nothing out of the ordinary.

At some point, dump truck began running a route along the edge of the tub. "Digging dirt, over there!" Max says. And he points to the other corner of the tub. Dump truck makes a run for the corner. Along the way, though, they kind of had to get around the built-in soap dish: dump truck didn't quite fit underneath. Now digging dirt was off the priority list. Now a guy's gotta shove the dump truck into the soap dish. Let's shove a cup into there, too. It's good if, while you do this, you yell random stuff.

While all this is going on, I'm half-watching, smiling, and flipping through whatever's on the bathroom floor: a two-month old Dwell, a Sierra Trading Post Catalog. I'm more of a life guard, really, a bath facilitator.

"One coffee, please! One brown coffee, please!" Max has grabbed the handle of the soap dish and leaned his face right up to it. I can see his eyes reflected in the chrome. He gets this squinty gleam going on when he knows he's being funny/smart.

"Max, are you ordering coffee?" I ask, disbelievingly.

"One coffee, please! One blue coffee, please!" And he laughs.

At this point I want in on the fun. So I cover up my mouth and respond like I'm taking the order, "One coffee, coming up! Thank you! One blue coffee, coming up! Thank you!"

"Daddy. Own. Coffee."

I do the "kid-on-the-other-end-of-speaker" voice again.

This wasn't right though, 'cause Max repeats, "Daddy. Own. Coffee."

"Do I need to order my own coffee?"


I lean over to the soap dish and make my order. Max falls down, he's laughing so hard. I fall over, I'm laughing so hard. the rest of the bath is spent filling up little cups with imaginary coffee and drinking them. Sail boat, too, had to get jammed in the soap dish to make an order.

The blue coffee wasn't bad.

Calling in the Airstrike

It has become difficult to shoot video or even take pictures of the boy. Once snapped, he invariably demands to see the picture you've just taken. "Pict-chur! Pict-chur!" He says while he reaches out for the camera to see what you've just taken.

If we had this kid not so very long ago, we would have no screens on our cameras and we'd be able to get pictures of him holding the walkie-talkie up to his mouth yelling, "Mosh! Mush! Mish! Mosh!" Which is what, I guess, he thinks he sees/hears me doing at work. Either that, or he's calling all the punk rockers on his frequency to come over and pogo out their rebellion in our backyard.

After he yells into the walkie, he'll hold it up to his ear, waiting for the punkers to respond. Thankfully, they haven't yet.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Warning: Cute Kid Story Ahead

This cute kid story features the confluence of two things: First, the world's smartest two-year old and, second, the first officially nice day of this "spring" we've had here. We're talkin' "Lounge-around-and-grill-with-a-beer" weather, rather than "dash-home-before-the-sun-sets-and-it-gets-cold-again-but-let's-grill-anyway" weather.

As usual, Max was in the back yard, moving dirt around, commenting on the grass (status: crappy)and seeing bugs where, really, there were none. We weren't grilling but our neighbor, Nick, was. Nick sat near his grill in his yard while Max and I sat on the back stoop, eating wild rice.

Suddenly, Max got up, walked down the stairs with his little bowl of wild rice and dumped it into a little toy grill that his great grandmother got him last summer. For the most part this wee barbie has served as a dirt receptacle lately, though, Max has been pretending that the large rocks he drops in there are steaks. Going so far as to try to bite the rock. Like his Dad, he likes 'em rare, baby.

So, now, I guess, he's going to cook his rice. That's fine. More edible than the rocks, right? He dumps the rice in the grill and then be-bops his way over to the garage where he begins to implore his sun-lit and half-a-beer'ed Dad to open the garage door. I'm not budging, but the door is only stuck shut, not latched, so once Max leans his back into it, the door swings open and he plops down onto his butt. He sits there for a second with that look of stunned surprise that says, "Holy crap! I got he door open. I don't know how. But it's open and I fell on my ass and I still look good!" He jumps up and disappears into the shadows of the garage.

Now I figure I'm going to have to get up 'cause, you know, he could probably hurt him self in there. But I'm hearing this funny, heavy rustling from the garage that doesn't sound too dangerous. I sit there to see where this is going.

Into the beautiful day, with a big, stupid grin and a grunt, appears the boy dragging last Fall's, nearly empty, bag of Kingsford Charcoal up the sidewalk towards his grill and the rice, waiting to be cooked. Nick about fell out of chair, he was laughing so hard.

This has gone about has far as I'm willing to go and I know Mom won't be happy if she sees Max looking like a chimney sweep. I agree to allow him one briquette with which to "cook" his rice. The next ten minutes were spent trying to convince Max not to eat the freaking briquette.

Like I said: beautiful days and smart kids.

Bonus Mega Cute
: I probably blocked this out to protect my brain and yours. But, hey, brains. Who needs 'em? So, Max comes out of the garage, dragging his bag of Kingsford and I ask him, "Max! Why are you bringing out the charcoal?"

"'Cause! Cooking!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Hope You Know: This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record

When you fire a kiln, mostly, when you fire with gas or wood, you try to keep a log as the firing progresses. Firings can take a long time and it's easy to lose sight of forest for the trees. Logging the firing helps you notice things like "Oh, I've been stuck at the same temperature for three hours. Perhaps I should do something." Primarily, this happens because all potters are stinky hippies with short-term memory banks ravaged by. . . oh, I'd rather not say.

When Max was born, for the first few weeks of his life, nearly every detail of his life was logged. This helped tons for feedings and eventually helped us notice his sleep patterns, which--we think--was one of the reasons we got him sleeping through the night so early in his life. Also, it's fun to go back and peruse the data: "Awww, remember that poop at 4am on March 15th? That was a big one, that Ides of March poop."

We didn't log much with Miles 'cause we were tired and lazy and old hands at this parenting biz. Recently, though, he's been waking up at funny, early times and Katie's been logging these just to see if there's a pattern in there. We haven't solved anything yet. However, Katie has decided that fifteen years from now, she's going to shake Miles awake to celebrate the anniversaries of these little wake up calls. "I'm gonna get him up and force him to make me cookies," she says. I hope she's not kidding about the cookies.

Deep Thought

99 percent of the time, it's better to live next to a friendly electrician than a friendly doctor.

F**k Winter

I grew up in North Dakota. I can remember getting off the bus in April on the first day that could be considered "warm" by North Dakota winter standards. I can remember getting off the bus on that day, walking not towards the house to watch Looney Tunes and Popeye and The Beverly Hillbillies that ran every afternoon on the station out of Fargo, but walking towards the garage. The garage where my bike lived.

On those days, those first warm days, the only place you could really ride was the big cement patio in front of our house. The gravel driveway and the rest of the world were still too sloppy and snowy to traverse. But the patio would melt early and a kid could ride around in circles, through the big cystalled snow that remained. Around and around in circles, I'd ride my bike over the same, snowy spots: wearing the snow out and spreading it out until it was helpless water under my bike's knobbies. Spring has busted a cap on y'all's ass, yo!

Katie couldn't get Max to come in today. The sun was setting and she still had to bribe him in with fruit snacks and "Here come the 123's!". Miles, who can't walk or talk, still managed to laugh and point at the last bit of snow, as it cowered in the shadiest part of the yard. Spring is finally here!


Since there's not really much I can add to this other than "Here's a picture of our nearly perfect child, Miles, who makes an excellent complement to our other, slightly more willful, but equally perfect child, Max", I'll tell you about Katie, The World's Greatest Wife: My job is not completely sucky and soul-sucking. It does, though, have moments when a suicide/killing spree seems like a viable option. This, I'm sure, is not unlike many other jobs.

Today was one of "those" days at ye olde giant non-evil wholesaler. Now, as you well know, spring is a difficult time for the mild alcoholic: too warm for scotch, yet too cold for beer. This makes a quandary out of self-medication. The rule, of course, is: fall to the arriving season. So it is spring, finally, here. Almost summer, even. When work gets you down, that means beer. The transition is tough, though, and Spring can surprise you. You've cases of scotch but no beer! Not, at least, that are cold. Before I drove home, I called my wonderful wife, to ask if she could throw some of last fall's bottles in the freezer for quick cooling. And this is how she responded, nonchalantly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world: "Oh, there's beer in the fridge. I went to Trader Joe's today."

There is no diamond large enough, that I could mine with my own hands, and cut until looking at it would blind you like looking at the sun; there is no shoe, funky enough, and comfortable enough, that I could search out and buy at great expense; there is nothing I could ever do or offer that would equal the greatness of my incredible wife. This doesn't even include the excellent job she's done merely balancing out my totally flawed genetics. So, here's to Katie, Miles and Max! To everything that is absolutely right in the world.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Max-onthy Bourdain

I'll admit, proudly, we live in a culinarily goofy house. Katie and I are both foodies, however, we have gone long stretches of subsisting on popcorn and Sourpatch Kids. Oh, and beer. And wine, I guess, too. Also, some scotch. When Katie and I first started dating, I learned that, rather than impress her with some spectacular breakfast, I could rock her world with some salted toast and a decent cup of coffee.

I'm pretty pumped that Max and Miles live in a house where pancakes and waffles are made regularly from scratch. Very often, after the boys are in bed, I love thinking of their rooms, wafting with whatever funky thing Katie is trying out that night. Top that off with some cookies and these kids' olfactory centers have got to be frequently amped.

So, it makes sense that Max has some weird food interests: Rice, loaded with soy sauce; Olives with just about anything; Pasta with an equal volume of Parmesan; anything sort of spicy and bean-y. Lately, he's been into raw corn on the cob and dry instant oatmeal. Yes, dry. Dry, Apples and Cinnamon instant oatmeal.

That's all fine. Whatever. Calories.

Today, however, he went to a different place. Daddy was frying tortilla pieces to make yummy-yummy Chilaquiles. A great thing about Chilaquiles is part of the recipe is making homemade tortilla chips. I was making these chips while the boy was eating some wonderful, dry oatmeal and he asked me for one. Hey: tortilla chip, who can blame him, right? With a little lime and some salt, they're pretty kick ass. Go to it.

To set the mood, you have to play the scary, "attack" music from "Psycho" as I watched him dip his glorious chip into his dry oatmeal and eat it like a dip. Reee! Reee! Reee! Reeee! Dah-Duhhh! Dah-duhhhhh!

Monday, April 07, 2008

In Case of Emergency, Insert DVD

Let's say you had an emergency. And by "emergency", I mean, "two-year old in the midst of a life-celebrating whirling dervish". This may or may not include dipping a ball of Play-Doh into a dish of paint and using it as a brush. It may or may not include pushing things off the table accompanied by hand-clapping and crazy, evil scientist-type laughter. It may or may not (but probably does) include "Gooey Gooey Clap Clap".

What ever the emergency, we have a new, highly effective mind-zapper available to tired parents: "Here Come the 123's" by They Might Be Giants. This ain't no normal mind-zapper. This here is one of them there edu-ma-cational mind-zappers. There is nothing more gratifying than finding a way to edifyingly occupy your kid's brain. You can put this DVD in, email two or three people and then talk about numbers with your kid!

Max just stands there, absolutely stunned by the graphics and the songs. And then, a couple of hours later, he asks to see "Seven" or "High Five" again.

The kinda great thing about all this is, back in the day, back in the 120 Minutes days, I told anyone who would listen (a number, to this day, that remains quite small) that They Might Be Giants were the super-genius, weirdo, pop sensation of all time. Now, 20 years (gasp!) later, I sit here with Max laughing at the same damn band. The circle is complete, the prophecies are fulfilled: They Might Be Giants, contrary to the Uncle who once told me it was the Grateful Dead, is the glue that holds the universe together.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I Don't Get No Respect

Friday Mega-Cute Brain Melter

Max and Miles say: Yo, it's Friday! You will not need your brains for the weekend, anyhoos. So, allow us to toast you into oblivion for a peaceful and bliss-filled fin de semana.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gooey Gooey Clap Clap

Rules of "Gooey Gooey Clap Clap":

1. Get some paint
2. Get as much of the paint as you can onto your hands.
3. Rub your hands together until The Blue Men get jealous of your hands.
4. Clap your hands and chant "Gooey! Gooey! Clap! Clap!"

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