The scene: Cold Stone Creamery, every time we go.
Dave: "Max, how many milk shakes do you want?"
Max: "OOOOOOH!" [TWOOOOOOO!"]
We order one milk shake and ask the counterperson to put it into two cups. Max finishes 'em both off.
The scene: Max's room at bedtime.
Max climbs into bed and positions his little purple teddy bear (who is also named, coincidentally, Purple Spaghetti Max) just so on the pillow with the purple pillowcase. Then he carefully lies down to the right of him. On top of his purple comforter, never under it. Once he's asleep, I toss a blanket over him so he won't be chilly.
The scene: Our kitchen.
Max has been keeping a purple Halloween bucket at his place at the table. He snatched it from my friend Betsy's house this weekend. This happens often when we go to people's homes: Max finds something purple, and our hosts inevitably let him have it when I explain his love for all things purple. Just wait, one of these days we'll visit someone who has, like, a purple armoire and Max will expect to take it home. Anyway, after each meal Max walks back to his spot at the table and positions the bucket just so, at the edge of the table and parallel to his chair. He adjusts—a little to the left, a little to the right, back to the left—then walks away. Unless Sabrina runs over and shoves the bucket, just to be charming, at which point much screeching ensues.
The scene: Our playroom.
Max asks me to prop up a mirror against a big chest where we keep toys. Then he grabs a purple firetruck and runs it back and forth and back and forth in front of the mirror. He can sit there for thirty minutes, if I let him, and do just that. Sometimes, I let him.
The scene: Our driveway, whenever we've come home from somewhere.
Sabrina and I go in the back door. Max and Dave go around the front door. Max rings the doorbell.
"Who is it?" I say.
"Ur-ul Ah-eh-hee Ax!" says Purple Spaghetti Max.
I open the door. "Purple Spaghetti Max, how nice to see you!"
Max cracks up, every single time.
It used to be that Max just enjoyed repeating phrases, especially ones involving purple and his name. Lately, he's very into routines. I am glad they make him happy and content. At the same time, I wonder if I should be pushing him to break out of them—to flex his brain cells, to keep expanding his mind.
For now, though, he's got his set ways of doing things, and all is good in Max's world.
Do your kids have their special routines, too?