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.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Miles is awfully fearless. He's our little two year-old bull-in-a-China-shoppe. He's been voted "Most Likely to Have Stitches Before Age Five" by the rest of his pre-pre-school classmates. All that said, My-My he has little sprinkles of total innocence that sparkle through his Evil Knievel exterior. One of those dashes of purity is the quiet, whispering way Miles says, "Wooooooooow" anytime something blows his mind. I suppose it is sweet that you can still elicit this response -- for the time being -- just be showing him a really cool Lego or a dead bug with holding up a Playboy centerfold right behind it.

I finally realized, tonight, that, yes, you can flip the screen of the camera around to get Miles' wow-face while simultaneously taking a picture of wow-face! Ladies and Gentleman! I present, wow-face!

The Art of the Harangue or My Little Perspective Machine

Like any good “ism” -- Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, Modernism, what have you – your ideology needs a central tenet. In Marxism, of course, history moves forward in a dialectic. Capitalist pigs will become Communists once they realize the folly of their silly individuality and money-grubbing ways. Dialectic! Parenting kinda works the same way: the parental ideology goes head-to-head with the little bastard ideology until somebody gets their goddamn ice cream. . . .or not.

If we have a central thought to our parenting, it’s basically of the “Short leash now, long leash later” mindset. The idea being, I guess, that if we hammer things down now, they don’t come loose a few years from now when we aren’t with them every second of the day. As in, hopefully, I don’t have to follow people around the house, turning off lights; or, getting tossed in your room for sticking your tongue out at me means, 12 years from now, I don’t have to be picking you up at the police station regularly. Yes, I wish me luck too.

Much like any of the aforementioned “isms”, they’re great in theory (Socialism: everybody gets stuff and we’re all happy! Capitalism: everybody gets stuff and we’re all happy!) putting that theory to work can be a little trickier. With Parenting-ism, our little “short leash” experiment results in a lot of haranguing. Some might more politely call it debating, while another, equally accurate person might say nagging. I suppose it depends if you control the ice cream supply or not.

I don’t think this is a new or exciting theory of Parenting, it’s sort of just my way of rationalizing all the “No, Max! Max, no! Miles, stop it! Hey, eat your potato! Guys! Guys! Guys! Can we pick this up, please? Guys! Give that back to your brother! Give it back! Miles! Miles, could you not shovel that dirt onto your brother? Max, could you put on your pants for me, please? Max. Max. Max! Alright, I guess nobody wants ice cream.” that goes on around here. While it's tiring, I have to admit, it kinda works 'cause these boys can be amazingly polite and obedient.

But, admittedly, you can only push the harangue so far until even your kid let's you know you moved from firm parenting into asshole territory. To whit, one evening, not long before bathtime/bedtime:

Max: "Daddy, why are you so distracted tonight?"

Me, surprised/chagrined: "Wha. . What, Max?"

"Why are you so distracted tonight?"

At this point, of course, I knew he was just trying to express to me that I had been being a jerk most of the afternoon and evening. But, every moment is a teaching moment, right? So I tried to get him to flesh it out a little.

"Max, when you say "distracted", what do you mean?"

"Well, today you are just being mean to me and I'm sort tired of you yelling at me today."

"Oh, Max."

Here's where even the most hardcore parent should turn to jerkbag-flavored putty and so, that's what I did. I pulled Max close and told him I was sorry and while I'm always going to be a little bossy, I would try to be nicer about it in the future. Max growled his little "Ohhhh, Ooo-Kay" that he uses when he really doesn't think "OK", he's just too tired to argue about it anymore. Plus, he got his ice cream.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chip Off the Old Block, Chip Off the Old Block

Miles proves that not only is he ready to write full scripts for most of the sitcoms currently airing on broadcast television, he confirms that he, unlike his brother, is not an alien and is very much his father's son.

Here's a link for you facebookers since I'm too lazy to upload this to the FB:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fantastic Four

One of these days we need to convince Katie to throw a crappy party with crappy decorations and crappy cakes for horrible, ugly children just so the rest of us mortals needn't feel so very, very inadequate. Katie has no mercy for our fragile egos, though, so, if you're going to top Max's Fourth Birthday Party, you'll need to: Make more than two earth-moving machine themed cakes (Or perhaps one very, very large one). Make a excavator-themed runner for the table. Recover the dining room chairs to match the theme and, finally, hire a massive front loader to give the kids rides around the neighborhood in its bucket (Kidding!).

The amazing thing is, as awe-inspiring as her efforts are, there's no amount of obsessive Wes Anderson-esque decorating that could fully express how much we love this goofiest of goofball kids, Max. For every tantrum and episode of stupefying insubordination during the last four years, there are dozens of little (and big) moments made up entirely of crystalline wonderment. These moments, while they fill me pride and love and joy that pretty much percolates down to a molecular level, also come a tint of sadness. It is in those moments that I realize that a goofball this cute and good could not have possibly come from me, really, in any way. So, it is in those moments that I realize my son is an alien. An alien from a planet populated by horrible, beautiful angels so enchanting, by the time they've driven you insane, it's too late.

I for one, love the comforting feel of my strait-jacket and welcome my little alien overlords!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Missing: One Beach

At least one week of our blog-cation was predicated by an actual, real-life, use-your-vacation-time-for-something-other-than-home-improvement-projects vay-cation. Katie's parents, who live in some sort of magical commune down Florida way where, instead of running around barefoot; growing organic produce; selling hemp necklaces and having casual sex, the world revolves around playing golf and being retired, flew the whole fam-damily down to escape winter for one glorious week.

While it wasn't the warmest winter week Florida ever unloaded onto the tourist hordes, we still managed a full day at the beach and, most pleasantly, a guy could walk around barefoot and not find himself suddenly and awkwardly frozen to the ground, contrapposto. The Beach, I think, is particularly thankful it wasn't warmer because, seriously, the amount of damage that Max and Miles were able to incur in one day, armed with an array of plastic shovels and buckets was, um. . . impressive. Impressive and disturbing. Like, if they had more time, eventually the Florida DNR would have been forced to amend their "No at the beach" signs with Ghostbuster-style pictures of Max and Miles.

The boys' first plane trip went swimmingly. Max decided that watching DVDs wasn't worth the inconvenience of wearing headphones which left Miles alone with his favorite videos, blissed out at 39,000 feet. Max read books and was generally adorable while he peppered his accommodating travel neighbors with questions about their personal lives.

While I might say that picking a highlight would be tough: The yards of fried fish? Grandpa using a cordless drill to punch open a coconut? Cooking in a kitchen with a. space and b. awesome equipment? The endless supply of good beer and amazing wine? That coupled with the fact that we didn't have to drive anywhere? Katie finally giving in to her urges and feeding one seagull one cracker and then being surprised when every gull for two miles went all "Birds" on us? Nope. The highlight would be watching the boys totally bond with Grandpa TR and Grandma Sylvia: TR spent a good portion of our rainier day re-discovering Looney Tunes via the boys' current number one favorite DVD of all time, while Syl, Max, and Miles cultivated a mutual appreciation for fine antiques and the art of their preservation in the face of the inferno of destruction called "Grandchildren".

So, to Pop-pop and Gange, we say thanks for your hospitality and generosity! To the beach, we say Sorry! Hope you're feeling better! We'll be back!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Efficiency Expert

The boys have a lot of opinions about how we do things around here. Many of their beliefs are incorrect and based on flawed logic. Say what you will about their misapprehensions (When you help make waffles, the color of the chair you stand on matters. No, I don't need to come in right now. Is is actually not dinner time. I didn't want noodles, I wanted pilaf), you can't say Miles, at least, isn't organized about the whole deal.

Here's Miles observing and recording data about (possible) inefficiencies during dad's dishwashing. You may think you've have feelings of inadequacy before, but nothing comes close to having a two year-old take notes on your dish-doing. I could barely get out of bed the next morning, I was so depressed.

And, of course, I was devastated when the final report was leaked to the public before I had a chance to formulate a response.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

They Call Him Rio and He Dances on the Sand or Yes, We are Like Rabbits

Our little blog-break was long enough that another cousin fell out of the Max and Miles Cousin Tree. Super-cute cousin, Lucia, got a brother named Rio a few weeks ago. Much like Lucia, her brother has a heavy genetic predisposition to overwhelming cuteness. So much so, we might almost be able to forgive the fact that Duran Duran gets stuck in my head every time I look at/hear about/talk about/think the baby boy.

Eventually, someone will have to have a conversation with Rio explaining why Uncle breaks into a spastic rendition of "The Reflex" each time he comes around.

Until then: Welcome Rio!!

Cool Hand Max

I don't know: somewheres about 3-5 times a year, this will get stuck in my head. It's quite catchy! Sad thing is, I only remember one line which I will sing over and over. Katie loves it when I sing one line from a song over and over and over. Loves it! Now that I found this video, horrifically, I hear that I was even singing that one line incorrectly. It's like the time in fifth grade: I was singing The Eagle's "Heartache Tonight" wrong. (I think I was screwing up the "heartache tonight" part. You know, just that part.) Scott Morrison, rightly, about fell out of his desk and then ran to the first 15 people he could find to tell them I was messing up "Heartache Tonight". I think Sister Leonida laughed the hardest. Then she washed my mouth out with soap.

Of course, since I'm a dork, I've been singing it to/around Max his whole life and now I find out that I've been mangling one of the better moments in film history and, as a result, (like anyone is surprised), I've screwed up my kid! So, just as a parenting rule, do you admit you were wrong and start singing it correctly and then have to explain why? Or, more likely, do you sing it correctly only to have Max tell you you're singing it wrong (which he will) and just keep singing it wrong? Years from now, some film freak is going to pull up this clip on his YouTube Brain Chip (tm) and show Max another way his dad turned out to be quite a fallible dweeb. I see Max standing there, blinking, "My dad. . . was. . . was. . . wrong?!" Hopefully he'll be between 13 and 50 when he finds out so it won't come as too much of a surprise. Otherwise? Oh! The heartache. . . tonight.

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