Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On not letting your kid's obsessions drive you to pinot grigio


When I say that Max will only respond to "Fireman Max," I am not exaggerating. If I ask him a question or make a request, he will not look at me or even deign to tune in until I address him as "Fireman Max." So, I do. It's no biggie.

When we meet someone new and they say "Hi, Max!" I immediately note, "He likes to be known as Fireman Max." Also not a biggie.

Letting him watch YouTube videos of firetrucks while we're at restaurants to keep him calm: Sure thing.

Singing the song I made up about Fireman Max multiple times while I am driving in the car: Not a problem. Especially when I can make up refrains like, "Fireman Max! Fireman Max! He's going to put out fires with chocolate milk when he grows up!" and get some great giggles from the back seat.

Buying him fireman pj's even though they're a tad on the small side: You betcha. Too cute. 

Figuring out new and innovative ways to incorporate fire themes into his "Word of the Week" homework: Of course! It's educational! (Sample: "If Fireman Max writes a book when he grows up, the index will list a lot of firefighters.")

Permitting him to pull the Fireman Max red shirt out of the laundry my friend Steph gave him and wear it for a second day: Yep. Heck, other male members of the family do the same with their favorite shirts.

Convincing him that a certain body part is like a "hose" and he needs to aim that hose into the toilet and not spray it around everywhere: Oh, yes. I did.

Making a photo book for his birthday that, per his request, can only contains photos of him in his fire hat, and no pics of me, Dave or Sabrina: OK, then!

Wearing his plastic Fire Chief hat at all times except to school, bath time and bed: whatever!

But then: 

Visiting the fire station multiple times in a weekend: Nope. We have a rule: Once per weekend. And maybe, just maybe, a drive-by. Or two.

Listening to him have a meltdown because I showed him a video of a firetruck I taped as I was walking to work only, tragically, he was not there: NOT. ENGAGING. Please!

Letting him wear the Fire Chief hat during the entire session with the photographer we hire every year to take family photos: Nuh-uh. The deal: Most photos without the fire hat. A couple with it on, snapped in front of the fire station.

Letting him make siren sounds as he sits at the kitchen table and watches fire truck videos on YouTube: Only until I can't take it anymore. I'll pretend to throw this big switch and tell him that I've turned him "off."

Buying him yet another roy fire truck: Not happening, unless they make one that prepares dinner.

Being asked to turn off Springsteen in the car to sing the "Fireman Max" song: Just, no.

Buying Max a fire station: Yeah, right. I am nowhere near as saintly as the parents of a 13-year-old with Down syndrome in Bismarck, North Dakota, who recently purchased a coffee house to ensure that their son (and other people with disabilities) had a place to work in the future. 

Parents, of course, aren't supposed to kowtow to their kids. But when you're dealing with an obsession and a child whose brain seems to thrive on them, you work with it. You let stuff slide that doesn't much matter and you draw limits for your kid, your family and you. You celebrate that the firefighter obsession is far less costly than the car wash one. And maybe, just maybe, you enjoy an occasional evening glass of pinot grigio.


  1. LOL Ellen this too shall pass like his obsession with purple.

    1. Well, at least this involves careers aspirations!

  2. I placed a minifogger inside of his haunted house trick or treat bag
    so it would be on FIRE

  3. Okay, I have to ask and I hope you are not offended Ellen. Do you and your husband ever try to guess what Max's next "obsession" will be? Maybe lay a friendly wager or two?

    1. Ha! A great question. We haven't even bothered guessing because we can never see them coming. I mean some, like spaghetti, make sense (kids love spaghetti) and Cars 2 (after he saw the movie). But we have no idea how the obsession with car washes or firefighters/fire trucks started. Too bad our car is no longer spotless!

  4. At least he has an obsession.

  5. Ohmygosh, Ellen, the "certain body part" thing? That's just genius. Seriously. :)

  6. Oh I so love this! I needed a chuckle. My guy is currently stuck on all things dinosaurs. We sing dino songs, read to the dinos, feed the dinos. I draw the line at kissing all the dino toys goodnight every single night. Though I've been know to kiss just a few. :-)


Thanks for sharing!

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