There is a well known fact in my tight little neighborhood community. Michael does not like Max.
Max is the youngest boy in the neighborhood and he also happens to be the younger brother of one of Michael's close friends. Any time the kids are outside playing, Max is there.
Max is a typical little boy. He was crawling at the beginning of the summer, and he loved to dump out the sidewalk chalk. In Michael's mind, this was completely unacceptable. Dumping chalk is against the rules. Max dumps chalk. Max is breaking the rules. Max should get in trouble.
The problem with this is that Max didn't get in trouble for dumping the chalk. 16 month olds dump chalk. It's just what they do. So, while we would discourage him from doing it, he never got in trouble for it. Even worse, we let him do it!
So, Michael took matters into his own hands. He constantly tried to hide the chalk from Max. When that didn't work, he'd take the chalk away from him. This went on all summer long with chalk and any other toy that Max showed any interest in. It only got worse once Max learned to walk, and started chasing after Michael trying to get the very thing Michael was trying to keep from him.
Max drove Michael crazy. It lead to many time outs for Michael because he constantly knocked Max over while trying to take things from him. We had a lot of discussions about setting a good example and not being mean to Max. We explained that what Max was doing is just part of growing up, and that Michael did the very same things. We even hauled his hiney into the house a few times because he was so rude to Max.
A perfect example of how Michael feels about Max occurred a few weeks ago at Max's 2nd birthday party. When we walked in, Max was so excited he ran over and gave Michael a hug. Michael just lifted his arms out of the way while Max squeezed him tight. The look of disgust on Michael's face cracked up the entire room of parents.
It's pretty clear. Michael hardly tolerates Max's existence.
So, imagine my surprise when Michael got home from school yesterday and pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. He often colors at J's house before school, and it's normally a picture for Andy or I. I unfolded the sheet of paper and there was a picture and a sentence written at the top. it was little kid spelling, but it clearly read "This paper is for Max". When I asked Michael about it he explained that the picture was a drawing of a new Batman and that he had drawn it for Max.
"Really? You drew it for Max?"
He assured me that he had, indeed, drawn the picture for Max. I had just seen Max go in the house, so I asked Michael if he'd like to go over and give it to Max. I expected him to say no, but he did. He took the picture back from me and headed outside where he gave Max's mom the picture and asked her to hang it up for Max.
I just about melted on the spot.