Well, I couldn’t let Max turn eleven without mentioning it here!

This year, his goal was to pass level 10 swimming when he was ten. Not only did he pass level 10, but he also passed Bronze Star, although he struggled to lift bigger kids out of the water as he pretended to rescue them.

He also read a ton. I read all the Harry Potters to him, and our gifts were almost all books this year. I gave him graphic novels (“Please be Lunarbaboon,” he prayed over his last present), and his dad gave him the Percy Jackson series and Axel F sheet music. He’s read all the Wimpy Kid books, so we just finished Snoopy.

He wrote a melody for himself and played “The Entertainer” over and over at Christmas. He also started drawing comics.

On the downside, he failed organization, so we limited his screen time to an hour a day until he passed it the next term. He loves TV and computer more than anything else in life.

Overall, though, we’re lucky to have a happy, loving, healthy boy who’s slowly moving toward teenagerhood. He’s not there yet, but he’s showing signs. Like, I asked my family how Max had changed over the past year, and Anastasia said, “He has a little moustache.”

No one asks me about adolescence yet, but it reminds me of when strangers would ask, “Does he walk?” or “Does he talk?” At first, the answer was no, then “A little” and “Sort of” before it became a holy yes. It’s a continuum. He certainly doesn’t listen to me as much as he used to. “Why?” <door slam> Once he even cranked up the radio behind that door. So I know greater storms are coming. But for now, he’s still a pretty gentle soul. “Doux comme un agneau,” said his teachers in grade one, and he is.

Our friend Sandra gave us a night’s stay at the beautiful Alt Hotel in Ottawa. For some reason, they had a cube in the room. Max put it on his head, so Anastasia did, too.

Now I miss Max being 10.

Matt bought him a badminton set for his birthday, and that’s a big hit. Anastasia broke it three days ago. She tripped over the pole and broke it while chasing after a maple leaf. (“My leaf!” she cried. I mention this because it’s such a little kid thing to do. That leaf was crucial to her.) But Max rigged up a stick to put inside the hollow pole, and we played again today before Matt got a wooden dowel in there.

Happy birthday, Max-o. We love you.