Mister. Buckaroo. Little Man. Tiny Chef. Maxxa. Maxi. Maximalian. Bubba. Manchego. Max goes by these names and other ones I can't remember. He's 2 years and almost three months old and he's wearing Zoe's old converse that look just like Zoe's very old converse.
I don't know if I wrote about this before but Max. We called him stubborn, but that was us just trying to be nice. Max was a bit of a screamer. I did mention the "train. train. TRAIN" aspect of him earlier. He does like a cookie. Cookie. COOKIE. When we took his bottle away, he cried "more milk" and made the one sign he knew, the image of a milking a cow all day until his hand hurt. When he finally realized we weren't going to give in, he said fine. No bottles. No milk. He hasn't had a drinkof milk since.
But, sometime around his 2nd birthday I said to Erik and Zoe but mostly myself. "It must be hard, being Max. We're all so used to us be us, and us being us together. Max has his own plans, like trains and cookies, and, when they're not being our plans, we think he's being a stubborn butthead. But maybe we would think that less if, once and awhile, we could appreciate trains and cookies with him. Let Max be Max.
Since then, Max has chilled extremely. Maybe also he has chilled because he can talk. His talking is impressive. He's a bit of a myna bird. He'll say whatever you say. Usually, it's just the end of your sentence. "Max, you want to sit down?" "Sit down." "Can I have the keys." "Keys." "Should Zoe sit down?" "Zoe. Sit." He's a fan of the imperative form. It's fun to try to make him work and say, "delicious" or "inquisitive" or "serendipity." It IS delicious, his serendipitous inquisivity. He can also very much make his own sentences, which usually take the form of demands: "Mama carry blanket," "Mama, juice." "Mama, I watch George." "Mama, I watch Gummies." "Mama, would you please give me all the TVs, computers, and iPhone in the house and put Curious George and that dumb gummy bear song on and leave me to it?" I hate it when I don't know what he's saying. Today, he said something like "Plate ceelio poon." Which, I finally figured out meant that he would like a(nother) bowl of cereal. On plate. With a spoon. And milk. I gave him cereal in a bowl.
There's something about his being able to talk and my being able to talk to him that makes all the bowls of cereal in the world easier to get.
Today, I took him running. Usually (please don't call Child Protective Services), I get him to stay in the stroller by giving him gummy bears or Skittles. (Let's face it. Skittles was one of his first words. "More" being his first). Today though, I told him that he could walk all the way home if he would just hang in the stroller. Now, I don't know if it was my sweet argument or the fact that he was full from eating 3 bowls of cereal that made him comply, but he sat happily in the stroller until the run was mostly over and we turned toward home. On the walk home, he pointed out every Skittle-sized bit of deer poop. "Poop!" He was so happy. He squatted down to investigate it. I had to say, "goodbye deer poop" for him to move on to the next deposit.
For some reason, the forest was full of garbage today. It has been windy lately. The snow had probably covered some of this up all winter. But the run turned out to be "remove plastic from the forest day." I got the plastic. Max picked up every rock, stick, and dirt clod (not poop, I hope) and asked, "garbage?" The forest would have been very, very clean if we had stayed out there all day.
For lunch, I made Salad Lyonnaise (again. I'm sorry for you who weren't here and for those for whom I've never made it. I'm getting kind of tired of it). Max was my best audience. He loved the bacon. And, Mister I don't eat veg, he loved the salad. And the salad dressing. After lunch, I said, I need to clean up before we go get Z from school. He left me to the dishes while he went in his room, gathered up as much as his little arms could hold from his laundry basked it and carried it to the washing machine. He put down the clothes, opened the door, stuffed the clothes in and asked, "push button?" Max likes nothing more (well, maybe Skittles and Curious George) than pushing buttons.