Those who have been reading my blog for the past 9 years or so will know Kate and Adam pretty well as I have blogged about them quite a bit, but I haven’t blogged much about Max (I haven’t blogged much about anything for the last four years), so you might not know him at all. I thought I would write a blog post about our Maxie boy and tell you a bit more about my third and last child.
Where to start…. Well, let me start by saying that we are home-schooling Max this year. And if that sounds as if I have had a personality/life transplant to someone far more capable than I, let me tell you that this is not by choice. The reason why Max is at home until next year is that he has the dubious honour of being the first Albertyn ever to be kicked out of playschool for disorderly conduct.
Only joking! He wasn’t kicked out of playschool. But it was close ;)
The truth is that he is no longer in his wonderful playschool because I took him out of school. Not because I wanted to (I love the playschool and I especially love the teacher, the twins were there for two years when they were younger), but because he was behaving badly. He was too rough with the other children. The last straw was after one particularly wild day when he hit three kids at school. For his sake, for the sake of the other kids and for the sake of his poor teacher, I made the very hard decision to take him out of school. I cried big tears about this. But having made the decision, I feel a huge sense of relief. Being the mom of a child who gets hit at school is difficult; it is even harder being the mom of the child who hits. When I take him to a kids play place and I hear someone cry, my first thought isn’t “is that my child crying” but instead “dear lord, please don’t let that be my child who caused the crying”. Sigh.
So, as you can tell by that colourful introduction, Max is not the quiet bookish type. Max is loud, busy, crazy, rough, extremely loving, active, strong, sweet, domineering, kind and a real tough cookie. He has to be – he regularly gets stick from his siblings. The twins themselves are pretty loud, busy, crazy, rough and so in order to get a chance at anything, Max has to be the same, and even more so. Which is fine if he is interacting with 8 year olds, not so fine if he is interacting with children his age or younger.
Max is speech delayed, but is going to speech lessons and is improving by leaps and bounds. And I am noticing that as his speech improves, so does his ability to control his emotions and his temper. He is now able to say, quite fluently and in context: “Shut up”, “I really, really hate you” and “you idiot”. We are working on better vocabulary selection.
Another thing that has helped Max enormously is having occupational therapy. His OT is the same one that helped Adam (and coincidentally, the same one my youngest brother went to). This woman is amazing. Even if she tells me that the umbilical cord is still very much attached and far too tight between Max and I.
Between the speech lessons and the OT, I am confident that he is going to have a far better handle on his emotions and his behaviour as he matures.
(I have tried to embed a short video, if you can't see it displayed in the blog post, then please click here: https://vimeo.com/71162700. If you still can't see it, don't bother - it isn't that special, I was just trying to show his speech.)
Max is my baby – my darling, sweet, funny, loving little boy. The OT is right; the umbilical cord is still very much attached between the two of us. I don’t know whether it is because he is my last child, or because he was a natural conception, or because it was such a wonderful experience for me during the pregnancy and the early years (one baby at a time!!! Soo much easier!) – but I am enjoying him so much. My best friend, my mother and my husband will all say I baby him far, far too much and they would not be lying. I know I do. But he is my baby! My little bonus baby!! If I didn't think you would judge me for it I would admit to you that he still has a dummy at night! And a blankie! And heaven-forbid, a bottle!!!
I look at him with wonder and pride – how on earth did he happen? The twins I conceived through blood, sweat and tears (literally) – I worked so very, very hard to have them. And Max just happened! By himself. It is like he chose to be here, like he made it happen. It was an easy conception, an easy pregnancy, an easy birth and an easy first few years. Of course he is making up for this by being bloody hard work as a 3 and 4 year old. He is my very special baby.
Max and I are crazily in love with each other. He tells me about 20 times a day that he loves me, and I am not exaggerating. “Love you Mama”. I reply 20 (or more) times back “Love you Max”. He is a busy, rough boy but he is an extremely loving boy too. He loves to hug people. Totally (TOTALLY) different to the twins in that regard.
Max is not shy or scared of anyone or anything. He will talk to anyone. I sometimes think that he is a bit too fearless. But I can’t help but be a little proud of it too.
Max is trusting, free spirited and happy – I am determined to keep him that way. I refuse to break him down in order to get him to behave. I feel extremely strongly about this. I don’t want him to be wild and ill-disciplined, but I want him to be taught to behave appropriately through love, understanding and yes, firmness - but not through fear.
I know that the way Max is now is not necessarily the way he will always be. I look at Adam and what a difficult time we had when he was little, and how very, very well he is doing now and I know that difficult toddlers do not necessarily mean difficult children. (I am holding on for dear life to the hope that as 'difficult' as Max is now is how easy he will be later. One can dream. We just need to channel that energy in the right way)
Max is tough – he will fall and hurt himself, or get a smack on the bum (yes, he gets a swat on the bum occasionally) and he simply picks himself up or shrugs his shoulders and carries on as if nothing has happened.
Max is clever – he learns amazingly quickly and is already a bit of a techie. He has had his own iPad since he was two years old. He is an Apple fanboy!
The only person who spoils Max more than I do is Rose – she is as in love as I am.
The only person Max has a slight bit of (respectful) fear of, is Marko. He listens to Marko.
Max has crazy hair – if I let it grow, it looks like a big afro.
(I just had to intervene in a domestic dispute – Max hit Kate on the head with a (toy) cat and she responded by jumping on his back. A scuffle ensued)
I am looking very forward to next year when Max goes to ‘big school’. He starts at the twin’s school next year in Grade RR and I think it will be a much better fit for him. Max needs a firm hand – he is not a sensitive little flower of a child, he needs to have a firm hand and a beady eye on him all the time. I have already requested that he be put in the strictest teacher’s class.
So I have six months left until the start of the school year next year to improve Max’s speech, moderate his behaviour, stop babying him too much and get him ready for the next chapter in his life. I am going to start next month! Or maybe the month thereafter! Just going to enjoy my last baby for a few more days.
And that is Maxie boy. Crazy, busy, sweet, naughty, loving, loud, rough and kind. He’s a nice boy and I am extremely fond of him. My little bonus baby.