Reading to Maxie

I've mentioned many times how much I enjoyed reading to Maxie and how much he loved being read to.  It was seriously one of the greatest joys I had, even when I was just reading the same 8 books over and over.  I loved the view of Maxie's little head from behind.  He has such a strong neck and could hold his head up pretty well by about 8 weeks.  Until then, I just leaned him against my chest.  He had a birthmark on the back of his head that sometimes you could hardly see and other times got darker.  I loved his little posture and the way that his shoulders sloped.  Best of all was how he really looked so intently at all of the pages in the book.  I would lean forward so I could see his face and see him following along.  One evening, when Max was about 2 months old, my friend Sigalle came over and got here right at the end of the evening routine, when I was reading to him.  She sat on the end of the bed in his room, looking at him from the front and she was giggling and saying, "I can't believe he is actually following along with the book!".  Frankly, I don't know if all little babies do that but regardless, I found it very impressive.  Apparently, she did too.  I remember that she took a turn and read him the "Pajama Time" book....not one of his favorites, but I am not sure that I realized that at the time.  I loved reading "Goodnight Gorilla" to him because it was so colorful and there was so much room for imagination.  I always asked other mammas if they made up dialogue for the empty pages or just let it be silent while baby looked at the illustrations.  I made stuff up.  When Ted was with me, we would switch off turns while all of the animals would say good night and we would make up new voices for each animal.  Nasal voice, angry voice, Kermit the frog voice, girlie voice, soft voice....Max loved that.  Sometimes when we were out and he was a little agitated, I could just say "Good night" in a bunch of silly voices and he would smile at me.  I also liked to give a "shamana hamana hamana shamana" grumble to the zoo keepers wife when she was walking all of the animals back to the zoo.   I have also mentioned how much Max loved "Goodnight Moon".  This book is like baby crack.  I swear, you just read it and all is right in the baby world.  I know it by heart and would always recite it to him when we were out and about.  It definitely made him smile.  I recite it to him whenever I visit his grave.  I whispered it in his ear when we were in the hospital. I hope it gives him some comfort.  Bianca gave me these really basic books that Max loved with pictures of babies and animals.  He especially liked the little boy on the page where everything was Orange.  Whenever we got to "Orange", he would get a look like, "Hey, there is my little friend".  When I read the animal book to him, I would tell him which animals were our favorites so he could know us better, "Frog.....uncle Paul LOVES frogs.   Lion.....Lion is your daddy's favorite animal."  And, even though I don't think Max ever saw Sesame Street, he loved the books with the Sesame Street characters.  He had some wonderful Sesame Street teething toys that were the center pieces at the shower that my stepmother threw for me that her girlfriends attended.  Maybe he recognized some of the characters that way.  He liked to chew on cookie monster (Ted's favorite Sesame character as well).  The book he loved most featured the Sesame Street babies and it was about what helps them get to bed.  "Burt snuggles with a blanky, Elmo has a bunny...."  Max really responded to these characters.  In the last few weeks before he died, I would have him sit facing me so I could watch his face when he read.  He would look up at me and smile once in a while too.  My heart would soar!  Earlier on, I took photos of him looking at his books while I read.  I wanted to see him face on to confirm that he was really engaged.

He is so cute, it makes me crazy!  I LONG to read to my little monkey.  I am dying to move on to some of the books for babies over one.  I am SURE he would still love Goodnight Moon.  Maybe he would be ready for Pajama Time now.  We had started a few books with textures, a fuzzy chick, a rough haystack.  It's all gone.  I just sit here dismayed.  Everything we had together is gone.  He is only in my memories and in photos now.  It will never be the same.  I will never get to start a longer book and read him a chapter every night.  I will never hear him start to read on his own.  It is all over.  All I can do now is continue to read to my memory of him, to sit in his room, or at his gravesite and keep reading his books.  I miss you so much Max.  You were the best little guy ever and I hope you know I cherished every single moment we had together and always will.  I love you Max SOOOOOOO much.

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