Friday, October 05, 2012

Setptember 10, 2012

Max the big leaguer
Max and Alex got to play on the Sounds field cause papa joined a business group that does wild events -- like renting out the stadium.

He also started playing on his new team the Cardinals.  As much as he loves playing I'm questioning what to do. 

In fact, the experience with over-zealous coaches has made me think a lot about my dad.  One thing my dad did for us (and I think the other kids on the teams my dad coached) was make baseball fun.  It wasn't about winning and losing -- which these coaches believe.  It was about having fun.  "We'll go for ice cream after the game," my dad would say.  "What if we lose, coach?" some kid would ask.  "We're going for ice cream after the game no matter what," my dad would say. 

I compare that to hearing one coach say the kids should feel bad about losing and the discussion later about how I'm doing my kid a disservice by hiding winning and losing from him.

"He's six," I said.  "At this age if he has fun and maybe learns something, I'm happy.  If it's about winning and losing and having to do it right, then half these kids aren't going to be back next year."

The other interesting thing to me is that Max hasn't played as well as I know he can.  I think he feels the pressure of a coach telling him what to do after every pitch.  "Do it your way Max," mama told him when he went up to bat after striking out the previous time.  He hit the ball.

I thought about pulling him off the team.  Instead, for now, I go to every game and practice and commit myself to coaching in the spring.


"Hey, teacher, leave my kid alone!"

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September 3, 2012

Max the nature boy

Max and Alex had fun at their friends farm house and creek.  The highlights were the jeep ride and the walk through the river.  It was fun watching the boys immediately take to nature -- even though it's not their papa's thing and they haven't done much of it.

The week also featured Max and papa making healthy cookies -- Max's idea -- more hockey and a feeding of the elephants at the Zoo as part of Alex's birthday celebration. 

He also continues to be excited about school.  Lately it's all about books:  the purple books, the blue books etc.  Can't wait to go to school to see what he's talking about.

The XBoy-isms of the week:

Max said "Your the baddest daddy in the world." 

Alex counter "No he's now.  He's the goodest."

August 28, 2012

Max the brother
Max helped brother Alex set up for his Lego Birthday party and then later helped him open the presents.

He also started a second session of hockey classes and decided to play baseball in the Fall rather than go back to soccer.  Despite my lack of knowledge of the sport, I pushed for soccer figuring it would be good for him to keep playing a variety of sports.

 Max's new favorite things to say are "It's not fair" to about anything I get him to do he doesn't want to and "Only if you give me $10" or "Only if I get to do this or that or something." 

Guess he's learning to negotiate!

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August 21, 2012

 Max the schoLEr
Max started back at Abintra in a new classroom this week.  He finished the Early Childhood program and has moved up to LE.

Earlier in the week he was a bit concerned about the transition -- especially when mama told him so hard truths:  She wouldn't be picking him up early any more on Fridays; he wouldn't have Marina and Patricia as his guides; and he wouldn't see brother Alex much during the day.  In bed, he turned away from mama and had tears in his eye.  Smart mama then said "Do you want to hear about your new class?"  She told him about the new room and the new guides.  He calmed down when he learned that he'd get his own water bottle!

"Daddy I'll miss you at school," he said.  Then he said he wanted to have a date with me.  He whispered that he wanted to get food from Fido and then go to mama & papa's bridge to eat it.  We did that and played in the new park too!

He got to meet some of his new friends at a play date at a returning kids' house before school started. 

The first day was a good one, Max reported.  He had lunch with Arthur and the playground was slippery.

8/18 max crying about LE - no friday early, finally asking about it, excited gets his own water bottle.

8/19 at bedtime "Daddy I'll miss you at school."  Makes a date with me to take fido food to bridge

8/20 first day LE ' "good day, lunch with Arthur"  slippery playground

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Thursday, October 04, 2012

August 14, 2012

Max meets the President
Max and family got a surprise on our White House tour.  We got to see the helicopter land on the lawn, President Obama walk out of the White House and then the take off.  Incredible!

The tour of the inside of the White House wasn't much more exciting to the boys than viewing the monuments had been the days before.  We did get them to smile for one photo before we left.


After DC we headed to Boston for a day to see papa's high school friend and his family.

Then it was off to Rhode Island for Cousin Kelly's wedding.  The weekend wedding had lots of fun stuffs for the kids including an end-of-wedding all-out family dodge ball game! 

One weird thing about the wedding, it was on what would-have-been Grandpa Phil's 80th birthday.   I also realized that my dad would have been 80, Cousin Mike is 70, I'm 50 and Cousin Michelle is 40.

On the way back to Boston for our flight to Nashville, we stopped at Cousin Michelle's green home and the boys got to play a bit with Caimen, who knows the X Boys as "Barista Boy & Bongo Baby."

8/8 obama at white house

8/11 - Max choses baseball over soccer for fall

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August 7, 2012

Max goes to Washington
Max probably didn't know what to make of Washington, D.C.  Somewhere between monument number seven and the fourth mile or so of walking did I realize that my boys were probably feeling like my brothers and I did when we went to England:  "Please, not one more church/castle/statue."  I'm just surprised one of the X Boys didn't pull an Uncle McGee -- who at 10 or so fell asleep on a Westminster Abbey church pew!

I love the sites of Washington and wanted my family to see all my favorite places.  And I wanted to see the FDR and MLK ones that are new since I lived there for a few months in 1987.  Thus, I had the boys walk all around the river to see the statues.  My legs were tired when we were done.  Thus, not sure how they made it through.

We did so much but I didn't get all I wanted.  I remembered loving the Einstein statue and having a great picture of me and a couple of my grad school roomies sitting in his lap.  Wanted to recreate that with my X boys.  The photo wasn't so great.  Nor was the photo at the Lincoln Memorial -- still my personal favorite.  And the ones at the FDR, MLK and Washington of me and my boys weren't much better. 

The boys' favorite places were the Air & Space Museum, the Botanical Gardens and of course the hotel swimming pools.  The  y also preferred the library (specifically the children's section) inside the US Capitol more than the tour of the building.


July 31, 2012

Max the acrobat
Max helped mama show off her leg strength this week and also showed off his growing thirst for knowledge and ability to reason.

First he asked if he was going to be just like me.  "No," I said.  "You'll be a bit like me, a bit like your mom and you'll become your own person."  He thought about it.  "I just want to be like you." 

Then he wondered how caveman were born since they were the first people. 

I didn't have a good answer for that only thought that I hope he's not like me and pays more attention in school!

Then he asked how baby's get into mama's bellies.  "Do mama's take a special nut?" he asked.

The week also featured brother Alex having to go to the hospital.  More about it coming on his blog.  For this blog, we'll just say everything turned out fine, no big deal and brother Max slept through the whole ordeal.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

July 24, 2012

Max the pool boy
Max found another reason to like going swimming this week.  He hung out with brother Alex and parents at the kiddie pool for awhile.  He seemed  to really enjoy just hanging on the side of the pool.   We'd keep calling him to play with the family.  He'd do it then he'd swim right back to this one spot.

Eventually we realized there was another reason he liked that particular spot.  There was a water jet there and it hit him right in a particular place.

Oy vey.  He's just six!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

July 17, 2012

Max and papa
Max and I took a father-son trip this week.  This was a present I gave to myself for my 50th Birthday year:  I promised to take each of my boys away for a weekend. 

I had in mind the trip my dad took me on when I was 11 or 12 to Springfield, IL.  I don't remember much about it.  He took each of us away when we were that age. 
  •  I remember he played a game of trying to not come to a complete stop at any point until we got to Springfield; he'd slow down way before traffic lights giving himself plenty of space to creep up while waiting for the light to change.
  • I remember learning to dive on that trip.
  • And I remember getting ice cream. 

With those memories, you'd think I'd have realized that all Max wanted to do was spend time together.  Instead I had us doing everything!

I asked Max on Thursday if he wanted to go away with me for the weekend.  He was so happy!

"Tomorrow is my favorite day ever," he said.
  • We first stopped at Mamoth Cave.  We had about a half-hour to wait before our tour started so we played catch on the lawn.  After the tour, I told Max I'd give him $20 to spend on the trip.  He insisted on spending it all right there at the gift shop.  I tried to tell him there was so much more to see and spend his money on.  But he bought a couple nature books and a maze book and was very happy.
  • I then planned to drive straight through to Indianapolis, far enough that I figured he'd crash for awhile.  Instead, the traffic got terrible in Louisville and Max said "Why don't we just stay here?"  So we did.  I had pre-scouted Louisville and knew there was a minor league baseball game that night.  So we found a hotel, went to dinner and then to the ball game.  "I just want to go swimming," Max said.  I should have listened.  Three innings into the game he was ready to go.  And swimming at 9pm or so  we did!  
  • Next day we drove to Indianapolis and headed straight to the Children's Museum.  He was exhausted and not much into it.  I felt bad.  Should have known better.  Should have took it easy and went to this incredible facility the next day so he could enjoy it.  Mostly he wanted to look at the Legos in the gift shop.  Finally he got into the Lego and Hot Wheels exhibits.
  • That night, of course we went to another baseball game even though Max just wanted to go swimming.  Same thing, a few innings later we were at the pool for a late night dip.
  • Next day we rented bikes and then paddle boats before heading back to Nashville.
  • We found the perfect place for lunch:  Mama Irma's Peruvian Restaurant!
  • Just before it got dark, I stopped at a rest stop.  "Max, one last thing on our trip.  I'm not sure when we'll get to do this kind of thing again.  I just want to say I had so much fun with you.  I was driving, saw this rest stop, thought about my dad and wanted to do something with you that my brothers and I would do with him on driving trips.  Get your glove.  Let's play a bit more catch!

The Maxism before the trip was "tomorrow is the best day ever."

The Maxism of the trip came the first night.  After all we did, Max's response to our bed time ritual "What was your favorite thing of the day" was "Going to dinner."

"Not Mammoth cave?  Not the baseball game?  Not swimming at 9pm?"

"The miso soup was really good," he said.

Not to be outdone, brother Alex added his own great line.

He said his job was to babysit Max's stuffed animals.

7/14 Max more and more waking up and sleeping with us.

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July 10, 2012

Max the home guide
Max and Alex got a special treat when their school guide came over to visit.  Marina chased them around the house -- something so different than at school.  The kids loved it!


July 3, 2012

Max the Chicagoan
Max and family went to Chicago for several days for the Bernstein-Simon Family Reunion and to see grandma, cousins and a surprise visit from New York Ava.


June 26, 2012

Max the decathalete
Max showed off more of his athletic prowess this week as we attended the SportsFest in Nashville.  He got to try archery for the first time, ping pong (a long-time favorite), golf, baseball and who knows what else.  I included a photo of him and Alex on bikes because it was so cute.

Maxism of the week:  To mama:  "If you were a boy you'd have a penis and two balls like me."

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June 19, 2012

Max the Lego Man
Max shows off his Lego guy collection.  Seems like everything is Lego's around the house these days.  Whenever there is savings, the boys spend it on Legos.  When there is a party theme needed, it's Legos.  When Irma is concentrating on something so much she doesn't hear me, it's Legos.

The one break we got from Legos was Father's Day.  Here's my latest, greatest favorite photo of me and my boys.

And the Maxisim of the week:  Alex had a bad dream and mama was trying to tell him how he can wake up, realize it's just a dream and go back to bed.  Max put it in techie terms.   We haven't had a TV for nearly a year now.  Sometimes we show the boys a movie or cartoon on the Ipad or computer.  And sometimes it's a struggle finding something appropriate (content and length and all that.)

Max put this experience to work to help his brother how to change his dream.

 "You can change your dream like an I-pad.  You just pick another."

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June 12, 2012

Max the Rider
Max learned to ride a pedal bike, got his final birthday present, learned a new sport and got word of a female crush all in one week!

I've known for awhile that Max was ready to ride a bike.  The process got delayed after he mastered his balance bike and Santa in 2010 gave him a bike with training wheels.  As good intentioned as Santa was, the training wheels became a crutch that Max just wouldn't let go of.  I should have woken up early, removed the training wheels and told Max that Santa thought he was ready for a pedal bike. I'm convinced Max would have been riding when he was four if I did that.

No matter, Max is riding!

I think what really pushed Max to learn was hearing that his cousins Cole and Brooke had learned to ride just a few days before.  Max said he was ready.  I told him I'd take the pedals off for a couple days for him to get re-used to the balance bike.  He balked but did it.  For a couple hours on Saturday and an hour on Sunday he dutifully rode a bike without pedals.  Sunday he insisted I put them back on.  I did (with of course the help of the bike store).

After hockey (his latest sport), Max said he was ready to go biking.  I drove across the street from the hockey rink to Centennial Park.  I got the bike out.  Told him I'd hold him a few times while he got the hang of it.  He said "No, just let me go."  I insisted.  He insisted louder.  And on and on until I relented figuring a scraped knee would teach him a lesson.  Instead, he started riding around and around the parking lot.


Once again, he proves to me that when he's ready he knows it and there is no stopping this kid!

In fact, a couple days before he told me that he wanted to keep practicing so he could learn to ride is bike.   "Never give up if you want something," this wise-beyond-his-years boy told me. 

He started the Nashville Predators G.O.A.L.  hockey camp too.  He took skating lessons a couple years ago.  However, he seemed to learn more in a couple sessions just being in pads and on ice on his own.  Seems to me there is a lesson for education here:  when kids see a reason to learn to skate they do!

The family went to Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson show to celebrate Max's b-day.  The boys were so excited they agreed to take  naps before the show.  Perhaps we let them sleep a bit too long since they seemed a bit tired during the show.  Max was found dancing in the lobby during intermission, so I guess he liked it.

Not sure if it's the athleticism, the dancing or just his overall wonderful self that little girls are finding a liking to.

One father told me about his daughter's crush and the songs she sings about Max.

"I asked her how she feels when she thinks of Max," he said.  "She said 'I feel sort of sick in my stomach and nervous, but I also feel good."

The father good-naturedly added "Thanks to your charming son, I'm having to deal with a little girl with a crush.  But I do like the songs.  Maybe she'll develop a real talent, become a succesful songwriter and be able to take care of her daddy financially when he is old."

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