October 30, 2012

The storm before the storm

Sandy has nothing on hurricane Max.  The General's (a nickname taken from his favorite book, Drummer Hoff) wrath got underway days before hurricane Sandy made landfall.  After two nights at home, with fairly regular sleep and good spirits, the post-surgical honeymoon ended.  Max is experiencing pain and discomfort from his new palate and it has been a 24 hour-a-day job keeping him content (aka- distracted).  It certainly does not help that two new upper teeth are making their way through the top his sore, raw mouth. The typical "go-to" distractions, such as staring at pictures and videos of himself, looking in a mirror, reading Drummer Hoff, and jumping off the coffee table, have proven less effective.  So has Tylenol.  Max was supposed to get a follow-up flu shot this morning, but he was so upset that the doctor did not want to do it.  Poor guy.

Lucky for us, we had no damage from Sandy.  We did not even lose power.  But David and I did get two free days off from school.  Even a hurricane can have a silver lining.

 Max's arc (10.29.12)

Neighborhood Halloween party (10.28.12)

What channel is the Giants game on? (10.28.12)

These leaves were fun for 30 seconds (10.27.12)


Take a look at this handsome fella (10.25.12)

Happy to wake up in his own house (10.25.12)

October 24, 2012

10 months old at home

Three surgeries in exactly ten months- Max has been through the ringer and lived to smile about it. After sipping some formula (from a regular cup!) and chowing down on pancakes, Max was released late this afternoon. I am now enjoying the tune of his sleepy hum through the monitor almost as much as I loved our hospital crib sleepover last night.

The Brooks family surgical marathon of 2012 is officially complete!

Which button do I press to get released? (10.24.12)

Rare smile of the day because Sadie came to surprise Max (10.24.12)
Yogurt feels good in my new mouth (10.24.12)

October 23, 2012

Junky monkey

Max's surgery went well and his freshly repaired palate looks outstanding. We were surprised to also see that the scar on his lip is markedly improved (lighter and thinner) as a result of a cortisone injection. We are not surprised, however, by Max's incredibly loud breathing. He is a loud breather. But the drainage from surgery made him sound "junky" and "juicy"- slang medical terms for loud breathing caused by fluid. He received extra oxygen and breathing treatments for several hours, and after some careful suctioning, is breathing normally without any additional oxygen.

Although it pains me to see my little junky monkey in pain, I have treasured hours (possibly the longest stretch of his ten-month life) of holding him in my arms.

After surgery (March- bottom left, August- bottom right, October- top)

The General and his men (10.23.12)

Pre-op pro

In lieu of an alarm clock, we were awoken this morning at 3:30am by a teething Max looking for someone to bite. Despite a growling belly and tired eyes, he managed to climb all over the hospital bed and play with my phone. He chewed on both as well.

Max has come a long way from the raging, starving three month old he was in March, back when he was a surgical novice. We all have. David and I are by far the most calm parents in the waiting room right now. We don't see the light at the end of the tunnel- we are in it.
Before surgery (March- obvious, August- bottom right, October- left)

October 22, 2012

'Twas the night before surgery: Part III

Tomorrow will be Max's third and final surgery of the year. Turns out if you buy three surgeries you get one free- a palate repair with a bonus set of ear tubes. This is the largest and most significant of all the surgeries, but different because Max will come out of the operating room looking the same way he did going in. There will be no wondering. Or surprises. Or a new face waiting in recovery. Just our little woozy Max, in his bitty baby shackles- a familiar, sad, but thankfully, temporary sight.

Halloween practice run (10.22.12)

Topless art (10.22.12)

I will be sipping out of this straw in no time (10.22.12)

Standing and smiling

This has been a busy week for Max; we have been trying to jam as many activities in as we can before his big surgery on Tuesday.  Similarly, Max has been trying to jam as much food in [the roof of] his mouth as possible.  He had several "pre-surgery" photo shoots and hammed them all up with his gorgeous dimples.  Unlike his previous two surgeries, the procedure on Tuesday will not change his smile (thank goodness!!), but it is still a milestone worthy of photographic documentation. 

In other milestone news, Max did two exciting, yet drastically different things for the first time this weekend.  He stood up by himself and went to a bar.  David and I took him to watch the Florida-South Carolina game at the Gator Alumni bar.  It was an afternoon game- the perfect time to test the 'baby in a bar' waters.  Like the Gators, Max behaved like a champ for three hours!  Clad in his lucky Florida shirt, he loved watching the game as much as he loved watching the die hard fans go wild for every touchdown.  In regards to the more appropriate developmental milestone, Max shocked me by standing on his own (for about 15-30 seconds at a time).  I think he shocked himself, too, and now all he wants to do is practice.  Good thing his tushy is conveniently padded with a diaper!



Laundry time (10.21.12)

Standing! I had to show this photo even with the red eye!  (10.20.12)

Jamming with Jackson and Gianna (10.20.12)

Focused on the Gator game and trying to stand (10.20.12)

Won't be able to jam this much food in there for long (10.19.12)

after school cuddles and giggles (10.18.12)





little snack with a side of Fall ball (10.16.12)


October 14, 2012

Bagel boss

We have been taking every opportunity to enjoy the sensational fall weather while it lasts.  Max loves to be outside; it is a virtual antidote for anything that ails him.  On Saturday, the fire department hosted a family open house.  Max may have been too small to climb on the trucks and explore the station, but he loved the toy fire hat- and that he got to take home with him!  This afternoon we capped off our alfresco-themed weekend with a charity walk and lunch with friends. 

Cure Search Walk for Children's Cancer with Gianna and Jackson (10.14.12)

Fresh out of toilet paper (10.14.12)

The Yankees are giving Max a belly ache (10.13.12)

Just a little something to hold over the nugget (10.13.12)

Family Day at the firehouse (10.13.12)


Mouth watering [fake] muffins (10.12.12)

October 11, 2012

Best [birth] day ever

Max gave me an early birthday present when he said "mama", but today he and Sadie took a field trip to my school for a lunch celebration.  I also got not one, but two birthday cakes that said "Happy Birthday Mom", although I am not sure how much Max had to do with those.

My boys.  The best gift ever!  (10.11.12)


Before and after birthday lunch (10.11.12)

They didn't get to the 'personal space' lesson in school yet (10.10.12)

The general is giving orders (10.9.12)

Winter coat time! (10.9.12)

October 8, 2012


Max said "mama" yesterday!  I was skeptical at first and figured it was just a new baby noise, but after he clearly parroted me several times I officially marked it down as his first word.  Max probably has no idea what he is saying, what it means, or how much joy it brings my ears and heart, but I am one very proud mama!  Now we are working on teaching him "dada" and "thank you".  He needs to learn the latter, and fast, so he can respond to all of the compliments he gets.

Today Max visited  the "Cleft Clinic" at Johns Hopkins where he had a hearing test and follow-up appointment with Dr. Redett, his surgeon.  Max did not exactly ace the hearing test, but the results were expected considering the amount of fluid floating around his pretty little head.  He will have ear tubes put in during his palate surgery on October 23.  This will get rid of the ear fluid and improve his hearing.  Over 96% of babies with cleft palate require tubes and it is quite convenient that Max can have this procedure while he is already under anesthesia for his palate repair.

Thanks for taking care of me Dr. Redett and nurse Kim! (10.8.12)

More chicken, please. (10.7.12)

Mommy and baby Gators (10.6.12)


Who won the tug-o-war? (10.5.12)

Max cannot stop looking at Sadie (10.5.12)

Pair of bird watchers (10.5.12)

Dinner at Cafe Sano (10.4.12)

Very serious about breakfast.  (10.4.12)

I love your hair bow, Sadie! (10.3.12)

Dreaming dreamboat (10.3.12)