Friday, January 22, 2010

The purple thing was starting to worry me

Thanks to those of you who seemed impressed yesterday that I found such a ginormous bottle of purple sugar online. I have been complimented on many things in my life, but never before on my purple-sugar tracking skills. It takes a certain kind of talent, I know.

So, about the purple thing. It started in October, some of you may recall, and I've fueled it—with making him the Bed, Bath & Beyond purple shopping bag costume, buying him lots of purple stuff and decorating cabinets and walls with purple-paper crafts. His babysitter, therapists and a teen reader of this blog named Belle have joined Max's Purple Club, too.

Max talks incessantly about the color. Like we'll be hanging out in the family room and he'll see something purple on TV and he'll say "Ur-ul! Ur-ul!" and then he'll look at Sabrina and say "Lue!" (blue), her favorite color, to make sure that we all know purple is HIS color.

We have an entire purple routine, soon to be made into a Broadway musical:

Me: "Does Max like red?"
Me: "Does Max like blue?"
Max: "Erina!" [Sabrina likes blue]
Me: "Does Max like yellow?"
Me: "Does Max like green?"
Me: "Does Max like orange?"
Me: "Does Max like PURPLE?"
Me: "Who loves PURPLE?"
Max: "MAX!!!"

In the past few months, Max has indicated that he would like a purple nose, purple hair, purple limbs, purple fingers and purple toes. We assume he would like a purple penis, too, but have decided not to ask. He would also like us to buy a purple car and paint the entire house purple. Sometimes, we'll do a Google Images search of the word "purple" and look through all the pictures together. He walks around the house clutching a printout of purple Converse sneakers.

I had Max's parent-teacher conference tonight (more on that next week, it was all basically good), and one of the fascinating bits of information to emerge is that EVERY single person in the ENTIRE school knows that Max's favorite color is purple. When he walks around the halls, he will go up to teachers and students alike, scan their outfits, then point out the purple on them. The speech therapist had on gray boots that were lined in purple fabric, and she said Max had even noticed the lining.

I spoke up about something that has been on my mind: I have been concerned that this purple fixation is related to his special needs. Back in the fall, the neurologist had said that Max loved to talk about purple because he was proud of his ability to communicate about his favorite color. But the obsession's gotten so pervasive that I've been wondering if it's an effect of the brain damage—like a CD with a scratch that forces your stereo to keep playing the same phrase again and again.

The teachers had a heartening take on it: "Purple is Max's trademark," one said. I thought of Sabrina, who is so proud of her ability to do magic tricks; someone brought her a trick cardboard box that makes objects disappear and every single time friends come to visit she delights in putting stuff in there and saying "Abra-da-cabra!"

Max is similarly proud of having picked a favorite color and, boy, does he own it.

It is Max's color, and his alone.

Can you guess what I ordered when I got home from his school?

Have a purple-tastic weekend, everyone.


  1. Our Max owns opera. He LOVES it! It was one of the first words we understood consistently of his. All of his doctors, therapists, and our family and friends know if they have nothing else to communicate with him about, they can say "opera" and he will talk to them about it.

    And I love the shoes!

  2. I love purple too, Max!!

    I've given you the Sunshine Award so come over and claim it!


  3. This is Joyce.Phew...You had me worried there for a minute that you were going to take away his purple:) You are such a great mom Ellen, ordering those purple shoes. Did you see the purple camo clothes on that website you mentioned a while back. Those might be cool for him too.

  4. If i ever meet u I know what color to wear

  5. Most people profess to having a "favorite color." It's pretty universal. Max is challenged to communicate, but when it comes to HIS favorite color, purple, he can go for it and have a "thing" that resonates with pretty much everyone. From his perspective, I'm guessing there's a great deal of joy in just being understood. Probably many days are an effort, just trying to get his points across, especially to people outside his family sphere who aren't attuned to his verbal cues. He's trying, they're trying, there's stress, tension, concern, nice to be able to say "Hey, that thing is PURPLE!" and everyone "gets" it.

    Who doesn't want to be a member of a club, to fit in, after all? We all do.

    My youngest has been on a pink kick for almost two years--the hotter the pink, the better. Here's my take: It's probably not the most subtle choice, he sticks out like a sore thumb when he wears any of his pink stuff (easy to spot on a playground), but he likes it, so that's all that matters. At least he's not beating up classmates or on a path towards robbing gas stations or something!

    If it makes him happy, good enough. It sure isn't hurting anyone.

    So make Max a nice treat of a Purple Cow (vanilla ice cream tossed in the blender with grape juice) and have a toast to the color purple!

    That kid is gonna love those sneakers--what a great mom you are!

    No worries!

  6. I have a typical 7 year old who has been talking about Pokemon non-stop for 18 months, and I mean non-stop! He eats, breathes and sleeps Pokemon, similar to Max and purple. I can understand your relief that Max is able to take ownership of something and express it, his facination is a good thing rather than something to worry about. However, I also get that it can be wearing at times, even if it is funny:) At some stage Max will move on to another interest, as children do, and you will have some amazing warm memories of purple:) Of course, what will he move onto next is the question lol. Jen.

  7. Hey, Ellen!
    I wouldn't worry to much. Since Max has gone nuts over purple, you know, Faith has taken to green. She doesn't always recognize it, as he does, but when she does she is so excited. I really think it is just a developement milestone. My sister was obsessed with pink, Forever, when she was small. I think it is great, personally!

  8. Oh Max, I like purple too!

    Ellen, thank you so much for sharing your stories. You've been blessed with an amazing little man there. I hope that one day he'll find his place in this world and I know he'll make you a very proud Mommy... As I can clearly see, he already does.

    - Meagan

  9. As I mentioned once before,purple is my favorite color also. In fact I have a purple shirt on right now. I love those shoes, he is going to be sooooo excited!!!!

    I think it's great that he can express himself & if it takes the color purple to it,then so be it.

    Long live the color purple!

  10. I LOVE those purple converse.

    I think we should be using what motivates our kids to make them happy and interested in communicating. And kids like having their own "thing" or trademark that sets them apart from others. I can't wait to see a pic of Max wearing his converse!

  11. Luca is also obsessed with purple. All through last winter, he wore the same purple shirt every single day (I bought five if them), insisted on coloring only with purple markers (everyone else had to too). I encouraged it to a point as well. Fast forward a year and he is much more flexible, but purple is by far his favorite and I bet it will be for a long time. :) Love the converse!!

  12. Excellent take on it---his trademark! :)

    You know, on Facebook there is a HUGE amount of purple flair. You can fill your whole board with purple flair. Just thought I'd pass that along as I saw it on a friend's page.

  13. Max is so smart, purple is the color of royalty. I love it, it's my signature color. I love the purple shoes, I want some. Have a great weekend.

  14. I have had a little bit of a purple obsession myself lately. My favorite color is still blue, but I recently bought a purple purse, purple sweater and a purple shirt. I have a purple scarf that I love. Whenever I go shopping, purple just keeps catching my eye and I think it is Max's influence. : )

    Max is going to love those purple sneakers! You will have to share photos or video when he gets them.

  15. Have just discovered your blog and love it. Can't wait to see a pic of Max digging his new shoes too...they're so cool.

  16. i love the shoes!!!! I got Izzy some pick glitter ones she loves glitter~!!! or anything that shines lol! Her fav color is still black lol but blue and pink are not high runners well! it is so much fun to watch them choose thins for themselves!! She now has a fva shirt which is purple and I though of you guys! lol She loves it becuase it has sprakle thread throughout as stripes it is a and me down and she thankss me when it is washed and in her drawer I think I have to wash it every other day now just for her reaction to the clean shirt!!lol!!!

  17. I love purple too!
    Ellen,I don't know if you know....this week in Eyewitness News in New York they had a segment about stem cells and they showed you and Max.


  18. I'm pretty sure he will be sleeping in those. I love them!


  20. OHH! He is going to sleep in those shoes! He will love them. And I wouldn't worry too much about the purple obsession, it seems to be the thing since it is currently my son's favorite color as well.

  21. I may have mentioned this before, but Emma is pretty obsessed with YELLOW. I think Emma likes YELLOW because she can say YELLOW. I totally agree with Felicia's point. I also like the trademark thing. Emma digs her YELLOW, and says it every chance she gets. Just recently, she got a new yellow dress, cardigan, beads, polo shirt, and several tees. So, we are also feeding this YELLOW thing. It happened that way with penguins too. She has been obsessed with those for several years now. Of course, we have penguins of all sorts coming out of our eyeballs and ears.

    It's also a great way for others to rally around Emma and get more involved in her world and making her happy. She gets lots of gifts that are either yellow or penguin related--never gets old for her.

    Recently, we have added microphones to the list. I think it is a phenomenon with kids and me. Her daddy likes guitars, and he buys one every chance he gets. (Expensive obsession for a man in his 30's.) So, I think it is pretty common.

    I love the perspective, love the teacher.

    You're such a wonderful mother.

    Sorry for the novel! But I am also loving those shoes. Do you think they have them in YELLOW?

  22. Max knows what he likes! Good for him!

    I wonder how longstanding his purple thing will be.

  23. Good for Max. I like purple too.

    I wouldn't worry too much. I was an orange fanatic as a kid. My sister was the purple girl. My brother was the blue boy. We eventually (a long eventually) wore ourselves out on the colors and moved on. I'm just now buying orange things again (to my wife's dismay).

  24. Once again, you? as Max's mother?


    Cannot wait for a picture of Max workin' those purple sneakers. Can I tell you, you were handpicked to be his mama....all the way.

    So lovin' this purple thing.


  25. I student taught in an inclusive preschool, and one of our inclusion peers in the 5 year old class was known for his shoes. Everyone knew that Alexander wore red boots. Bright red rain boots, even when it was not raining. It was "his thing". Even his baby brother, who was an inclusive peer in the class for kids 1-2 years old would tell you "Alexander wears RED boots. Benjamin wears Brown boots." He did not even take his red boots off for nap time.

  26. My favorite color is purple. So much so that anyone that knows me knows it and Most rooms in my house are painted purple and I dislike blue... blu8e is yucky!

    Way to go Max....

  27. Purple is my favorite color. Max you have amazing taste..and I LOVE the purple must share where you got those!

  28. The purple Converse can be found here:

    If any you get them, you and Max can start a club! Or maybe a Facebook group. Or something. And GreenGirl, yes, I'll bet he sleeps in them.

    I can't believe how many purple lovers are out there! I am not one of them. My favorite color is green.

    Joyce, I don't know if i can handle purple camo, but may consider it for Max's sake! And Felicia, I love that your youngest loves hot pink! And, Candace, that Faith is into YELLOW!

    Anonymous, LOVE that purple store but am hestitant to introduce Max to it as it could lead to personal bankruptcy.

    Wyndi, that is adorable that Izzy thanks you when you wash her shirt.

    EmBelieve, yep, I heard about that—we knew they were taping us for a news segment when we did the stem cell research, then they did some followup at the house!

    David: I think orange is a very underappreciated color.

    And Bethany, doesn't "Alexander wears red boots" sound like a great title for a children's book?!

  29. What about purple socks to go with the converse?

  30. I'm glad Max had a good report with his teacher. & now he and I will both be rocking purple converse :)

  31. I just love that Max has branded himself. It's so touching. As someone said, he can't yet talk that much, so when he has a way to let you know what he's thinking and who he is, he goes for it.

  32. Hi Ellen,

    I had a kind of creative idea I wanted to share. They say (although I have never seen it myself, I totally believe) that each of us has a color around us, an aura, that changes over time. Perhaps Max has seen this color around someone (like his mom) and loves it!!! I did a little reading about purple aura (which you can totally do on so many sites) and it seems to be associate with healing and spiritual health, among many other wonderful things. I just thought it was so sweet, I wanted to put it out there!

    Lots of Love!!


  33. very cute purple shirt!

  34. I just found your blog today, and I wanted to let you knwo that I love it :)

  35. Hi Ellen
    Meant to post this ages ago. I seem to remember you you not wanting to go the bib route for dribble with Max (we use scarves). A few kids I know with the ability wear and wipe their own chins use sports wrist sweat bands and I saw these the other day and thought of Max
    btw Mac has told me just this week his favourite colour is purple too - Mac uses auditory scanning and has chosen it clearly four times as his fave. I told him about how Max in America also likes purple - he thought that was funny.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...