My dear Tobin,
You are ready for spring, big time. Just about every night, you end up running back and forth through the living room and hallway, because you have so much energy to burn. You have outside time at school every day, but I can tell you’re really missing the evenings you and Miles and your dad spend at the park during nicer weather. The indoor lap-running works okay, because you generally crash pretty well at night, but it would be better if you could do it out in the fresh air.
This month has been kind of a blur, due to the arrival of your new brother Callum. We’re getting closer to spring, and hopefully by the time the first balmy days of March arrive, your dad and I will have adjusted and will be able to be more active along with you. You’ve been a great big brother so far. You love to hold Callum and kiss him on the head. Today you said, “He’s so sweet and classy.” I don’t think you know what that means, but it was nice of you to say anyway. You haven’t expressed any negativity toward him. Really our biggest challenge is that you have a hard time being quiet. He’s still little enough that he can sleep through noisy situations, but I’m tired all the time, and sometimes your shouting wears me out further.
You’re still as enthusiastic about life as ever. You got invited to your first school-friend birthday party, and you talked about it for days and days before the big event. You had a very good time. School is continuing to go well. You are always cheerful when the school day ends, and you seem to enjoy all the works and other activities you do there. I’m very proud of what a good transition you’ve made. You want to do everything all by yourself, which is often not very time-effective, but I guess it’s a good idea in the long run.
Of course, you always want to do everything Miles does. You make homework activities for yourself that are an extension of playing school, and you tell me proudly that you do your homework just like Miles does. You sing and play the piano like Miles, and your dad and I have noticed that you’ve picked up a lot of his phrasings and vocal intonations.
You are sweetly, spontaneously kind and grateful. You often genuinely thank me for the meals I make you, even when it’s something extremely low-effort. You say things like, “Nothing better than a hot bowl of vegetable soup!” and “Thank you for making me three good meals, Mommy.” It’s easy to catch you smiling.
You got to see all four of your grandparents as well as Uncle Michael in the last couple of weeks, and you had lots of fun with them. Mubby tells me you were very good while they took care of you during my longer-than-expected hospital stay. Skittergramps said you were very frustrating sometimes. I believe both of them. You’re three. I’ve been seeing the term “threenager” floating around the Internet lately, which describes the volatile nature of kids your age. It describes you well.
Your current favorites: piling up huge numbers of stuffed animals and blankets and sleeping surrounded by them, granola bars, playing Candyland, waffles, dressing yourself, cuddling up for stories on the couch or the big chair. I am medically forbidden from lifting anything over 15 pounds right now, and I was worried that you would not respond well to me not being able to pick you up. But you’ve done well. You just scramble up next to me, get cozy, and we’re set.
Photo by Denny
The hardest part (well, one of the hardest parts) of my hospital stay was being away from you. One of the days that you came to see us, you asked if I was coming home that day, and I had to say no. Your sweet little face just crumpled in sadness. Keep in mind that I am still riddled with post-partum hormones, as well as dealing with the emotional and physical ramifications of a birth that was nowhere near what I hoped for—besides the obviously wonderful result of a healthy baby. I am a real Milhouse van Houten these days (“You cry when you scrape your knee, you cry when we’re out of chocolate milk, you cry when you’re doing long division and you have a remainder leftover”). A couple of days ago, I was standing in the shower, and I remembered that broken-hearted look on my sweet little boy’s face, and I cried and cried.
I am aware that it’s dumb to cry in the shower about something that resolved itself nearly two weeks ago. You probably don’t even remember it. But when you hurt, I hurt.
And when you laugh, I laugh. When you get into the bathtub in your underpants and laugh, I laugh. When you stare at yourself in the mirror and grin, so proud of your haircut, I grin. When you’re psyched because you kept your Pull-Up dry overnight, I’m psyched (we’re still running about 50/50 on feeling psyched in the morning).
I’m really glad you’re our family’s baloney brother, Tobes. There’s nobody I’d rather squeeze into a figurative sandwich than you.
Photo by Gary Clarke