All posts by jpm333

Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck

In Max’s swim class we sing the song “Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck” accompanied with various swimming motions. It’s one of his favorites, and he also loves the fire truck piece from a puzzle we have. Imagine our surprise when we stepped outside for a walk this afternoon to find a fire truck in our alley! Thankfully it was there for a good reason. Turns out one of neighbors (who has a different floor plan than us) has a smoke detector at the top of her two-story entryway, and she can’t get to it to change the batteries. I know, not the best design. The local fire department came out to change the batteries for her, and the firefighters invited the kids to check out the truck. Here’s Max in the passenger seat:

By the side of the truck with Daddy:

And ready to go for a ride on the back:

A couple weeks ago we were lucky to have a visit from our dear friends Doug and Donna. They moved to California right before Max was born and we miss them so much. They were in Seattle for a wedding and made the trip up here for dinner after the wedding and before beginning their long drive home. We really appreciated that they got up here to see us during their short visit and it was great fun to see Max with them. Here’s a photo of the three of them, Max is about to give Donna one of his famous nose beeps.

Max’s next physical therapy visit is Friday. He is making good progress on the walking front; he’ll now walk holding only one of our hands most of the time, and tonight he was stood up and then took a couple steps to Jeff, and then repeated that a few more times. Here’s father and son walking at the park:

If you’ve visited our house, you’ve seen the comfy glider chair we have in the living room. Lately Max loves to sit in it and play. He leans forward and back to make it rock, stands up and looks over the back, reaches his hand into the space between the seat and the arm, and can get down all by himself. Here he is in action:

And reaching in. He always reaches into the right side opening, I’m not sure if he hasn’t yet realized there’s also one on the left, or just prefers the right side.

Swimming and Steps

We had a busy and fun weekend….so much so that I am just sitting down to write about it a week later! We started off with Max’s first swim lesson on Saturday morning. That afternoon we went to a birthday party for a friend’s two year old, and then celebrated our friend Oliver’s second birthday on Sunday. We were anticipating that swim lessons would be a hit, since Max has always loved baths, but we knew that was no guarantee. Thankfully it was a definite success!

Here’s Max checking out the pool…”It’s like the biggest bathtub I’ve ever seen!”

And then heading for the water:

Intercepted by Daddy, asking to go in:

I love my son enough that I will post pictures of myself in a bathing suit on the internet. Here’s when we first got in the pool:

And during the lesson:

Heading toward the steps to get out at the end:

The swim lessons are held at a local park, which also houses a petting zoo during the summer. After swimming we walked down to check out the animals. We’ve been working with Max on the concept of “one finger touching.” As you might surmise from the name, this involves touching certain things (our kitties, anything fragile) with just one finger. Max is pretty good at doing this and he did lots of one finger touching of the animals, as seen here:

Here he’s trying to feed a piece of straw to the goat. Please excuse my peeling nail polish, I did remove it that afternoon.

A double one-finger touch using both hands:

I didn’t take many pictures at Ishaan’s birthday party Saturday. Max had a good time walking around holding our hands, playing with the balloons and snacking. We did get some pictures at Ollie’s party on Sunday. Here’s Max and me with Justine (who has taken all those great pictures of Max), Kacie, Leanne and their daughters. The birthday boy is not in this picture because he was busy splashing in the kiddie pool they had out.

My friend Leanne, mom to the birthday boy, also has a six-week old daughter, Eva. Max did a great job of gently one-finger touching her:

And then oh-so-sweetly held her hand:

The big news here is that earlier this week Max took two steps by himself! He was standing near his new “Cozy Coupe” car and wanted to get over to it. I was holding his hands and let go, and he stood for a few seconds and then took a couple steps to get to the car! He hasn’t done it since, usually he won’t walk unless we are holding his hands. I think the key was he didn’t even realize he was doing it on his own. It was very exciting to see progress and we will keep working on it. It’s hard to believe Max will be 16 months old on Monday. He is learning so much, he now says “Da Da” and his versions of “woof” (when he sees a dog) “meow” for a cat and “vroom vroom” for a car or truck. He also signs more, please, eat, all done, bath, sleep, apple, milk and will wave, blow kisses and give five on demand. We have been talking about parts of the body and he can usually identify eyes, mouth, nose, head, hair, ears, teeth, hands, fingers, toes and feet. It is so much fun to see him learning new things and to realize how much he understands. Happy 16 months, Bug!

Fun Times with Grandparents

Max’s Grandpa and Grandma Helen left this morning to go back to Ohio. We had a great time with them as always and the days went by too quickly. Unfortunately, Max was sick for the tail end of their visit. He came down with a fever and cough a couple days ago; we went to the pediatrician this morning and thankfully his lungs and ears are clear, so it’s one of those wait-it-out-virus things. But for most of their visit he was feeling good and they got to have some fun grandparent-grandson time together while Mom and Dad were at work. Here are some photos from their time here.

At the park:

A few taken while they took care of Max…that favorite activity, swinging:

Giving Grandpa a kiss (which currently consists of Max resting his open mouth against your face):

Reading Goodnight Moon:

I’ve mentioned our friends Eric, Angel and Emmeline here before. We’ve noticed that every time we get together with them, one of our kids does something new (Emmeline climbed stairs for the first time at our house). Well, the trend continues, because we went over to their house for a yummy Mexican dinner last week and lo and behold, Max did some great standing. He used my legs to get up and down and then would stand on his own for a few seconds. He did it over and over and was so proud of himself! We’re all curious to see who will do what next time we see each other! Here he is in action, sporting his “Captain Awesome” t-shirt, appropriately enough:

I’ll end with a couple prime “messy face” pictures from this past week. One is after an enthusiastic yogurt snack, the other at the end of a delicious pasta dinner that Dad made, which Max topped off with some more yogurt.

Father’s Day, and a Visit from Shani

We celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday. This was actually the first Father’s Day that Jeff and Max got to spend together, as last June I was on my trip with Max to Michigan for Jeff’s first Father’s Day. Didn’t think about that when I was booking that plane ticket. We were also enjoying a visit from my cousin and dear friend Shani, and we had a great day together. Here’s Jeff and Max starting the day with a little father-son (and Froggy and Blankie) snuggle:

Later we all went out to lunch at Red Robin. Maxwell loves their grilled cheese and mandarin orange meal.

We had such a great time with Shani and the visit went way too fast as always. She just left last night and already I miss her! Here are some pictures from the week.

Max giving Shani a nose beep while Pixel looks on in the background:

Playing in his wooden cart:

Fun at the park!

One of the days when I had to work I met my mom, Shani and Max at Starbucks for a chai break. Max has decided he no longer likes eggs prepared at home, no matter how I make them, but he loves the egg from a Starbucks breakfast sandwich. You can see the sandwich taken apart and cooling in preparation for his enjoyment. See the guy in the background reading? Max kept trying to get his attention, he would wave at him, wait a few minutes, wave again, wait a few minutes, hold up Froggy for the guy to admire…sadly, the man was oblivious to the cuteness and very focused on his book.

Here’s one that Shani took at dinner one night. Max likes to have music on while he’s dining, and he loves to try to do the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” motions when that song comes on. Here’s a nice family sing-along moment:

Finally, sporting his cool shades with Mom at the park:

The fabulous Justine of J. Shelton Photography put a “sneak peek” of our Mom and Me photos on her blog. We love them and can’t wait to see more! How beautiful is that first black and white?! You can see them here

I’ll end with a physical therapy update. We had Max’s first physical therapy home visit on Friday. The therapist (Lisa) was very nice and said that Max is doing really well and has come a long way in the six weeks since he was evaluated. She doesn’t think he needs every-other-week visits at this point, we scheduled our next appointment in three weeks. Lisa said that while Max is still a bit wobbly when doing his new skills, that that is not a concern because he is still so new to doing these things. She gave us some things we can do to help Maxwell build his skills, like encouraging him to play while standing rather than sitting, holding his hands at chest level when we help him walk, and encouraging him to walk holding only one of our hands when he’s ready. One interesting thing Lisa shared was that while a lot of kids will practice and practice at a new skill and you can see them going through the process, other kids will wait until they can do it “right” to start. Max definitely seems like he’s in the latter group, which is probably one of the things contributing to his slower attainment of the gross motor skill milestones. It was great to get good news from Lisa as well as some things we can work on.

My dad and Helen arrive tonight, so Max is in for some wonderful grandparent spoiling in the week ahead!

Family Day

We had a great family day today. After a run of cool and rainy weather, this weekend was warm and sunny. Max is finally feeling better after his cold-double ear infection-throwing up illness. This morning Max and I had our “Mom and Me” photo shoot with the fabulous Justine of J. Shelton Photography
This was our third try after getting rained out twice, and the weather finally cooperated. I can’t wait to see the pictures and will share them here for sure. Justine did these mini-sessions for Father’s Day and I couldn’t pass it up. Max was apparently very excited as well, as he woke up this morning at 5am. After strutting our stuff for the camera, we went out to lunch and Max enjoyed a cheese quesadilla. Then it was home for a nap…we thought after that early morning wakeup we’d get a longer nap, but after an hour our Bug was awake and ready to go.

We had to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, so we went out for a nice long walk around the neighborhood and visited the park. Before we do the park pictures, I must introduce you to Froggy. I may have mentioned him before…our friend Eric (dad to Emmeline, who appeared in last week’s blog entry) made him for Max. Max loves Froggy and sleeps with him every night and at nap time. Today Froggy accompanied us to the park, and for the beginning of our time there, Maxwell was not at all interested in putting Froggy down. So, without further ado, Froggy:

Isn’t he cute? Max loves to play with Froggy’s tongue. Here there are in the swing together. Max is doing the sign for “please” because Jeff stopped pushing the swing so I could take a picture, and Max is requesting the pushing to commence again.

After a good round of swinging, it was time to explore other areas of the park. Max likes to walk holding both our hands, but he didn’t want to put Froggy down yet. A conundrum that he managed to overcome, no problem:

Here’s Maxwell walking between a ladder and a red pole. I think he looks like I did at his age in this picture:

Next it was off to the slide:

Then he crawled up the steps a couple times by himself, with me close behind in case he decided to suddenly stand up and then sit down in the air, as has been known to happen:

Enjoying the view from the top:

Time for a snack break. Mmmm, mandarin oranges…

Max loves the park. It’s hard to leave a place you love, even when Mom and Dad promise you’ll be back soon. Here’s his reaction when it was time to go:

Parting is such sweet sorrow. See you soon, park. Thanks for a great afternoon!

Home Again

I’m still here! What with being out of town over Memorial weekend and following that with a busy weekend, I have been a blogging slacker for a couple weeks. My apologies. I’m happy to report that everyone survived my trip away very well. Of course we knew going in it would be harder by far for me; Max had a great time with Daddy and Oma as expected. I missed my boys a lot but knew they were very well off in each others’ hands, and I had a great time at Jessica and Wes’ wedding in Ohio. It was hot and humid, as Ohio can be this time of year, but the setting was absolutely beautiful and there wasn’t a drop of rain on their wedding day. It was so special to be a part of it and the time went by so fast.

Poor Max got his second double ear infection last week. That probably contributed to his poor nighttime sleeping the past few weeks, combined with teething and his earlier stomach bug. After a good six months of solid nighttime sleeping, we must have been getting too complacent, because the past few weeks have had multiple nighttime wakeups each night. Thankfully the past three nights he has slept all through the night (please don’t let me be jinxing myself by writing that!). Jeff and I both suffered from ear infections as kids; I was hoping perhaps Max would escape that fate but so far no such luck.

In happier Max news, he continues to learn new things and amaze us with his cuteness. One of the therapists from the Early Intervention program came out on Tuesday so we could write the goals for Max’s physical therapy. We set goals of crawling further distances, climbing stairs, standing independently and walking. Wouldn’t you know it, Wednesday morning he starts climbing the stairs. Check that one off the list! His crawling is much refined from the video I posted last time. He’s also a pro at pulling himself to standing and creeping sideways while holding onto something. He also likes to walk holding our hands. He’s started to do a couple more signs and now consistently signs: More, All Done, Please, Bath and Milk. He also does the “round and round” motion for “The Wheels on the Bus” and attempts to do the Itsy Bitsy Spider motion with his fingers. So cute! He’s also very in tune with what we say and do. If one of us coughs or hiccups, he will do a fake cough or hiccup in return. When I took him to the pediatrician Thursday, I was telling her his symptoms and I said something about having her check his ears, and right away he reached up to touch them.

Here are some random pictures from the past couple of weeks. I forgot to change my camera’s white balance on the indoor ones, so they’re a little yellow. I think the cuteness still shines through.

We have some friends who have little girl just a couple months older than Max. It is so fun to see the two of them together. On Monday I went over to their house for a play date and some lunch. While my friend Angel was fixing our lunch, the kids played in the kitchen. Here’s Max looking a bit concerned that Emmeline is holding the salad spinner over her head:

Then he decided he should help her pull it off:

Here’s Max holding a big spoon during dinner. He was enjoying some asparagus:

And a couple cute ones from the playground, first with Oma:

And enjoying the sunshine after many days of rain:

On the Move!

Look out, world, Maxwell is mobile! The night before our first home visit from the physical therapist, Max crawled for the first time! We were upstairs and he spied my cell phone, which I don’t normally let him play with. He was reaching for it and I placed it out of reach to see what he’d do, and he managed to get him himself up and crawling to reach it. Then I ran and got the video camera and he repeated the feat a couple more times. He did it again for Jeff when he got home that night. We are so proud and excited! We will continue with the physical therapy as planned since he can still use some catching up, but it was pretty funny that he crawled so close to that first visit. Guess he finally realized we were serious. Here is the first video I took that night:

Here’s Max enjoying another chance to play with the coveted phone this morning:

Jeff’s birthday is Tuesday, so Max and I took him out for a sushi lunch today for an early celebration. Max had a great time and sampled several different things (no actual sushi quite yet). The restaurant is the kind with a moving belt with different plates and sushi chefs working in the center. Max loved watching the belt go around and made friends with one of the chefs. He also tried to go upside down as much as one can in a high chair:

The noodles were a hit:

At one point a server in a short skirt was standing at the hostess stand behind our table. Max was enthralled. Here he is checking her out:

And one with Mom:

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day a week late to all the moms and moms-to-be out there! Our Mother’s Day was a bit different than planned, but still very nice. The original plan was to go up to my Grandma’s house and spend the day with family. We had to alter this when Max got sick Saturday night. He didn’t have much appetite on Saturday but was otherwise okay. Then when Jeff and I went in to check on him before we went to bed, the poor kid had thrown up and then gone back to sleep! We got him all cleaned up, the sheets changed, got him back to bed, and about 15 minutes later we heard some odd noises…and he had thrown up again. Repeat the cleaning, and then I slept in his room because we were afraid we’d miss it if he threw up again, since he didn’t make any fuss. Thankfully he slept the rest of the night and there was no further throwing up. So Sunday we took it easy, he seemed to be doing pretty well so we ventured out to Taco del Mar for lunch, took a couple walks, and hung out at home.

This week marks another growing-up milestone in our boy’s life. I’ve written before about how Max loves to suck his right thumb while pulling his left cuff over his hand and holding onto it. With the warmer weather, we decided it was time to transition him to sleeping in short sleeves…which of course means no cuff. Overall he’s done really well, there is a bit of crying when he goes to bed at night and when he wakes up in the morning, but not as bad as we thought it might be. The thumb without the cuff just doesn’t seem to be as comforting. We put a small blanket in the crib with him in the hopes that he’d use it in place of the cuff, but so far no such luck.

On Friday Max’s physical therapist will come to our house and do an additional evaluation. Then at the next visit we will make a plan for his treatment. I will be sure to update as we know more!

A mother-son moment on Mother’s Day:

Eating chips like a big boy:

One of Max’s birthday gifts was a small ride-on car. He loves to sit on it and have us push him around, and he’s starting to get the hang out of moving himself on it, though he’s more successful going backwards than forwards. Here is cruising in the kitchen:

Have a good week!

Appointment Updates

I promised an update on Max’s medical appointments this week, so here you go! On Wednesday we had Maxwell’s physical therapy evaluation. They evaluated both his fine and his gross motor skills. He did great on the fine motor assessment, which involved doing things like putting Cheerios in a small container (of course some went in his mouth), “coloring” with a crayon, and turning the pages of a book. He was 13.5 months on the day of testing and his fine motor skills were at a 15 month level. Gross motor was a different story, as we expected. The physical therapist warned me before she scored the test that his gross motor would be really low, just because he isn’t doing any crawling. Sure enough, he scored at a 7 month level, or a 40% delay. This qualifies him for Early Intervention services, so a physical therapist will be coming to our home and working with Max probably once a week, and also coaching us on things to work on with him. The good news was the therapist said she didn’t see any red flags that this would be a long-term problem. She said she could see that Max knew what he needed to do, he just doesn’t have the strength to do it. He has low muscle tone, so he starts to do something, it feels unstable, and then he stops and relies on his charm to get us to reach whatever he wants. So we need to work on encouraging him to get things on his own and helping him to get to what he wants. She also showed me a few things to do with him to work on building his strength. After the appointment my mom took Max home again and I went back to work. Mom called me shortly and said that Max was in his crib for naptime, repeatedly pulling himself to a stand and flopping down, which he hadn’t done yet. So I guess the eval gave him a little motivation!

Yesterday was our pediatric ophthamology appointment to assess Max’s slight bit of lazy eye. This runs in my family so we wanted to be extra cautious about getting it checked out. We had to drive almost an hour to and from the office and then were there for almost two hours, and Max was a champ. He was examined by the nurse, then examined by the doctor, then the nurse came back and put drops in to dilate his eyes, then we waited for the drops to take effect, then he had another exam from the doctor. Quite the afternoon! We got good news; the eye doctor said that Max’s eyes are very healthy, look great, and he does not need glasses. He thinks that the condition will most likely correct itself. Max will go back in a couple of months to have the nurse check him, and they will continue to monitor him for the next year. If it gets worse, then we will need to intervene, but otherwise it should just get better and better. That was great to hear. Max also got lots of admiration for his cuteness while we were there, which is always fun.

Here’s a few random pictures from the last month that I haven’t shared yet. In honor of Mother’s Day coming up, a couple of Max with Grandma. This was out to lunch at a local spot that has a train that runs around above the tables, a definite hit.

Here’s Grandma saying “Choo choo!” as the train comes around the corner:

On the way home that day Max was reading one of his all-time favorite books, “Hippos Go Berserk” in the car. First upside-down, then right-side up:

Getting ready to do some Costco shopping and tasting of free samples:

For his birthday, Max’s Oma and Opa got him a little table and chairs. Here he is checking it out and demonstrating his “scrunchy face:”

Weekend Fun

I don’t have a lot to write about this week, but I wanted to get a couple new pictures up for Max’s adoring fans. We’ve had a very nice weekend. On Saturday I co-hosted a baby shower for a friend at our house. Max slept through most of it but enjoyed hanging out with us towards the end of the afternoon. Then Saturday night our friends Laura and Dave came over and brought dinner (their delicious shrimp pizzas). Max was in fine form and performed all his tricks for them…blinking, nose beeps, the “more, ” “all done” and “milk” signs, lots of waving and of course plenty of general cuteness. He also showed off his latest development on the mobility front: He stands by the side of his toy shopping cart, pushes it and takes steps! It happened by accident a few days ago, and then we figured out that it works better for him than pushing it from the back or front, because the wheels just slide sideways across the carpet and the cart doesn’t move as fast. He’ll do (guided) laps of the living room that way now.

Today we got to babysit for a friend’s little girl who is just a couple months older than Max. It is always fun to see what things she is doing and she liked checking out the toys at our house. Her favorite part of visiting us is crawling up the stairs (closely supervised, of course!). All in all, a great weekend!

This week we have Max’s physical therapy evaluation on Wednesday and then his pediatric opthamologist appointment on Thursday, so it will be a busy week! Here are a few pictures: