It's hard to believe that five years ago, in the teeming metropolis of Los Angeles, our dear sweet Max was born. Jack was a mere 21-months-old, the age little Zöe is today, when we brought Max home from Cedars-Sinai. He was able only to speak in sounds and noises reminiscent of Gerald McBoing-Boing. Saying, "I'm so happy to have a baby brother!" was most certainly out of the question, but he was able to muster an enthusiastic "MA!" Thankfully Max was a dream baby; calm, content and perfect in every way. He was happy to be held, happy to lay in his basinet, happy to sit in his bouncy chair. He would nurse at night and go right back to sleep all by himself. It was truly a wonder to behold. With an energetic almost-two-year-old nipping at my heels I considered myself supremely lucky.
We lived in a cool, enormous, Spanish-style old Hollywood kind of apartment right near the intersection of Wilshire and Fairfax.
The LA County Museum of Art was pretty much across the street and adjacent to that were the La Brea Tar Pits. The famous Farmer's Market was only a short walk away. We busied ourselves at the park, the Market and the mall (Beverly Center), and made weekend day trips to Manhattan Beach, Griffith Park, and Pasadena. It was fun!
Well within the first year of Max's life it became clear to us that although they were brothers, Jack and Max were as different as peanut butter and jelly. While Jack was a boy's boy, busying himself with construction trucks and Brio trains, Max would spend hours looking at books, playing with stuffed aimals, and studying the faces of people around him. He was always happy and easy and almost eerily good natured, full of love and hugs and snuggles. And despite their differences, the boys developed a fast friendship which seems only to solidify and strengthen with each passing year. They have no concept of what life would be like without the other, and they talk a lot about how lucky they are. Max said yesterday, "Having a brother is like a built-in friend." I didn't bother asking him about the little sister...
Max continues to display all of those fabulous character traits we came to love in his infancy. He is affectionate, passionate, dramatic, and wears his heart gigantically on his sleeve for the world to see. He loves slapstick, board games, video games, and anything cute, silly or funny. And he is complicated. Boy, is he complicated. His reactions to people and situations are forever a surprise to me, as much perhaps as they are to him. His exclusive friendship contract with the many girls in his life has just added a clause to include a few boys. It seems Max may be exploring his tougher side for now. No matter. He is a delight. He is my all-around buddy, my partner in crime, my silly giggling roll-around-on-the-floor kind of boy. And he's turning five! Happy Birthday, dear Max, Happy Birthday to you...cha-cha-cha!