And now he is six (want, need, wear, read)

My son Max is now six years old.  Six trips around the sun.  Six birthdays. Six years of amazement, silliness, and sweetness.

The only brother, surrounded on all sides by sisters, Max is shy, quiet, and curious about the world around him.  I hope you’ll allow this mother to gush as bit, because I have a few things I want to share about my Max.

My Max

Max is our miracle boy, the pregnancy we spent three difficult years hoping for, the news that we were having a son coming not many weeks before my father-in-law, John, passed away from lung cancer in 2005.

If I close my eyes, I can still see the look on John’s face when we told him he was going to have a grandson.  Christopher and I were visiting him in the hospital.  The cancer had spread to John’s brain and then to his blood.  He had deteriorated to the point where he could no longer speak to us.  But, when Chris told his Dad that our baby was a boy, their eyes locked and John’s face lit up and joy filled the room.  A son!

The baby boy growing inside of me was often the only joy we could find during that difficult time, all of us otherwise numb and very much just going through the motions of each day.

That pregnancy passed in a blur.

And, yet, at the end of it, here was this bright light shining for us.  This little fellow (well, perhaps not so little at 9lb 15oz) with deep blue eyes, jet black hair, and a very old soul, was waiting to meet us: our Max.

baby Max, 2006

Max is my shy child, but the one who will surprise you by breaking out into song at the dinner table or bursting into dance in the aisles at the grocery store.  He gets so happy he just can’t contain it!

Max moves at a different speed from the rest of us.  Max is the one who will see the butterfly first or spy the smoothest stone or the fluffiest cloud because he is always looking, observing, seeking.

Max does something positively silly and amazing daily.  Chris and I often remark how much his grandfather would have enjoyed this little boy.

For myself, I had spent close to three years trying to get pregnant, wondering what was wrong with my body that it wouldn’t welcome a baby.  I woke up each day thankful to still be pregnant.

To me, Max is our miracle.

Max is the ray of sunshine on the cloudy day.  The dove who gives me hope that there is solid ground ahead.  Dry land.  Promises kept.  Gifts we don’t deserve.  Fresh starts.

Answered prayers.

And a reminder to shine some light and make a joyful noise every single day.  Not just on the easy days.  Not just on the happy days.

Every day.

For the birthday boy

The thing about Max and birthdays is that he doesn’t ask for much.  For almost five years now, his two favorite toys have been “Red Mouse and Green Guy” (pilfered from a Mouse Trap game) that he carries with him everywhere.

Max is growing up a fairly content little boy and, as I mentioned, he’s also on the shy side.  His dad and I know that if Max approaches you and asks for something, it means he really, really must want it.

While this is wonderful from a parenting standpoint, when it comes to gift giving it does make it a little bit more of a challenge to give presents to a child who doesn’t have a ready list of items he wants (as his sisters do, ahem.)

Want, need, wear, read

Gift giving for a six year old boy:

  • Want: he asked for a “HUGE puzzle of the earth” (we chose the Our World Floor Puzzle from Mudpuppy)
  • Need: new sneakers (a gift from his grandparents, who found them in orange, Max’s favorite color)
  • Wear: gently used box of Summer clothes and swimsuits (purchased from a favorite eBay seller)
  • Read: Calvin and Hobbes comic book (it seemed perfect for a six year old boy and I’ve enjoyed watching he and his older sister Jillian read it together)

Happy Birthday, Max! We love you!

What are your favorite gifts to give to a six year old?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at

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  1. What a wonderful tribute to a special little boy! Happy Birthday Max :)
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  2. Oh happy birthday big boy!!! Somehow this little man has grown so fast… suddenly he is big enough for huge floor puzzles and Calvin and Hobbes!!! Hope you have many more exciting years plotting and planning fun surprises for your family!!!
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    • Thank you!

      I keep thinking time will slow down at some point, but it certainly isn’t. I’d better not blink or it will be car keys and then college, right? 😉

      Best wishes!

  3. Amanda Shaw says:

    I love reading these birthday posts! You have such great ideas that I get excited about and try to remember around my kids’ birthdays. :)

  4. So glad I stopped to read this this morning. My son will be turning 7 on Friday and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he asked for a Lego train. When he stopped to think about it for a minute, he changed his mind and said that instead we should keep the money so we can be sure to get the house we are currently in the process of buying. I am constantly amazed by his thoughtfulness (I also reassured him that we have the money we need to buy the house and that helping to buy the house is not his responsibility). Also, thank you for giving me a great idea – he would love Calvin and Hobbes! He is also getting a tinker box filled with old appliances, rope, clips, nails, tools, and the list goes on (happy to share it if anyone is interested) – creating with stuff is one his favorite things to do, especially if it involves tape!

    • A tinker box – what a cool idea!

    • I love the gifting concept of Want, Need, Wear, Read. Thanks, Kara.

      I also LOVE the idea of a tinker box. My son is about to turn five, and it would be right up his alley. Please would you share your full list of ideas for the tinker box?

  5. Happy birthday to your Max! My son is only 2, but I like to give my nieces and nephews real art supplies (not the Crayola stuff but things I can get at a “real” art store). I also like giving books and clothes as well as family game gifts.
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  6. My just-turned 6 yr old Liam loves tactile things so he’s really enjoying the little Legos kits he got for his birthday – which was a continuation of the generic (non-themed) bucket of Legos he got last Christmas. He also still loves Play-Doh and watercolors, which is kinda odd since he doesn’t care for crayons or colored pencils much at all.

    He’s also really fond of the Buzz Boy & Fly Guy books.
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    • Isn’t is neat how some kids are inspired by different things? Crayons are pretty big here, but only two of my kiddos like Play-Doh. I bet Liam is creating many wonderful sculptured creations and paintings :-)

      Legos are a hit here, too. But, I’ll have to look up the Buzz Boy and Fly Guy books. Thanks for the tip!

  7. I feel like I know Max after reading this sweet tribute–and I want to get to know him more!! Happy birthday!
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  8. This is the first time I’ve been to your blog and I find this post. Wow! I don’t know you or your family and this post made me cry-for all the right reasons. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday to your Max.

  9. Proud parents! Your Max is a beautiful boy. You’re right, you are lucky to have him. And he must me really smart for asking a puzzle of the world. Congratulations and happy birthday to him!
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