"How does Sabrina feel about your having a blog called Love That Max?" a blogger friend recently asked me. My heart lurched. Nobody had ever asked me that (not that I haven't thought about it). "Well, she isn't yet aware that I blog about Max," I said, and left it at that. And then I kept thinking about the question for the rest of the day.
Sabrina may not yet be clued into the blog, but she is very aware of the fact that Max gets extra attention, and she's always trying to get in on it. For one, she likes to crash his therapy sessions at home. I don't blame her—they're a blast! Max and the therapist hang, toss back a few brews, play air guitar. OK, that's not what happens at sessions. They drink wine. Anyway, usually it's fine for her to join in, although if Max really needs to concentrate we have to lure her to the basement playroom to get out of his way (he usually does his occupational and speech therapy sessions in his room).
Since we got Max's new purple night brace for his right foot, Sabrina's been coveting it. Like she needs to accessorize or something. Last night, I let her try it on and she clonked around in it and Max thought that was a laugh riot. She is also madly jealous of Max's iPad. She knows that he gets to have one because he uses it for speech purposes, but really, he uses it a lot to watch YouTube clips of car washes. "See?" she'll say. "He's just having fun! I waaaaant an iPad too!"
Sometimes, Sabrina helps care for him. She'll wash him in the bath and shampoo his hair, although she does charge him extra for pedicure services.
On days when they like each other, they do this for fun.
Last week, while Max was away, we gave Sabrina lots and lots of attention, including the all-day Fourth of July celebration. It was her first week at camp, and at night when she came home, we went out for ice-cream and talked about her day. It was a big week for her: For months now, she's been tugging at various teeth and telling me they were loose (they weren't), and then suddenly one really was. It hung in there for a few days and fell out at camp.
Sabrina still pronounces words with "th" as "f" so she keeps saying "MY TOOF FELL OUT! MY TOOF FELL OUT!" Which makes me want to hug her and never let go. Also, she gets these freckles during the summer that another mom described as looking as if someone has sprinkled cinnamon on her cheeks. Yum.
I'd gotten this adorable fabric tooth holder from my friend Megan, mom to Sadie Marie (her Etsy shop will be open again in a few weeks). Sabrina tucked it under her pillow. And then—parent nightmare!—Dave and I both conked out early, and Sabrina woke up earlier than usual. At 6:07 a.m., she marched into our room and said, "The toof fairy didn't come!" I kept my cool and said, "It's too early, she likes to sleep late on weekends." Then we tucked in some money as Sabrina hung out in our bed. She says she is saving up for a convertible. "Will you give Max rides in it?" I asked. "Yes," she said.
When I decide to explain this blog to Sabrina, and I probably will this year, I am hoping she'll understand why it's called Love That Max and mostly about raising him, even though I also write about her. It's tricky, because I've tried to help her see that Max is just like other kids, though he may do things in different ways or take longer to do them. But hel-lo, I have an entire blog dedicated to what it's like to raising a kid with special needs. Still thinking on that one.
Later this month, I'm taking Sabrina to her first workshop at The Sibling Support Project, a national network of programs geared toward brothers and sisters of people with special needs. I think it'll be great for her. Me, I'm planning to ask the workshop leader some questions about getting Sabrina to stick up for Max in front of other kids, something I've struggled with. The other day, Sabrina was at a friend's house and I brought Max to pick her up. Sabrina, her friend and the friend's little sister ran upstairs and locked themselves in a bedroom. "I don't like Max," I heard the friend's little sis say. Sabrina didn't say a word.
Also: I'd love to know how to get them to stop fighting/maiming each other in the back seat of the car, though I'm not sure they can help me there.