Double correct

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:39 pm

M:  I drawed a picture.

D:  Yes, I like how you drew that picture.

M:  In this case, it’s drawed.


The Tobin Times #7

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:09 pm

Dear Tobin,

It’s happened.  You’ve reached the biggest milestone for the under-1 set:  you got your first tooth.

It’s right where we’d expect it, bottom left.  You’ve been a little fussy about the whole situation, and despite your prowess at eating solid food and taking your vitamin drops, you can’t seem to keep a full dose of ibuprofen in your mouth. It’s interrupted your sleep, and we’ve all been a little crabby.  You have been doing much more sleeping in your crib, though.  You spend all your naps there now, and you usually do a few hours at bedtime as well. Also, looking back on last month’s TTT, I realize that it’s only been this month that you’ve started taking extended naps.  That’s been a welcome change.  Now you almost always take one long nap (an hour plus) per day, as well as a couple of shorter ones.

You had your first ride in playground swings this month.  For posterity, it has been a freakishly warm March.  We’ve had days and days in a row of record highs—over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Therefore, we’ve been outside a lot more than a person might normally in March, and you’ve really enjoyed our walks and trips to the park.  You’re getting so mobile that my strategy of spreading out a blanket for you only sort of works.  Before long, you’re rolling and scootching to the edge so you can grab handfuls of grass out of the ground.  You can’t quite crawl yet, but you’re starting to get where you want to go.  When you’re inside on the carpet, you grab the fibers and pull yourself while pushing with your toes.  Your belly is so chubby you can’t really get it off the ground, but you manage to move from one side of the room to the other, a few inches at a time.

It’s getting harder to keep you clean, with all your floor adventures and solid foods.  Right now your favorite food is probably pureed carrots with applesauce (or c’rapplesauce, as I call it).  You open your mouth wide when I hold the spoon toward you, and I think you’re starting to understand the concept of “more” and associate it with both the word and the ASL sign.

Another fun thing you did this month was see Uncle Tyler.  He’s too tough to admit it, but he loves babies, and it was sweet seeing him with you.  Your brother hogged him most of the time he was visiting, but you were able to get some attention too.

Photo by Gary Clarke

It seems to have gone as quickly as it came, and maybe it was related to teething, but for a few days there you were in a phase of making the funniest faces.  You’d suck your lips into your mouth and look like an old man missing his dentures.  It completely distorted your face, and you didn’t even look like yourself.  You do have a knack for expressions, though a lot of times people describe you as stoic because you’re so calm.  Little do they know you have a full arsenal of wackiness when you choose to display it.  I noticed tonight that you’ve been turning your tongue sideways in order to feel your bottom tooth.  Your eyebrows do amazing things.  Your eyes squish into little slits when you laugh.  Your face is just the best.

I’ve had a hard time getting you to sleep today.  When I tried to rock you, you strained and cried and punched me in the ribs.  I was feeling a little under the weather (you and your brother have both had a cough, and I’m afraid I might be getting a touch of something), and I was not in the mood for it.  This is probably the part where I admit that I don’t do the sleeping thing “right.”  All the parenting books and websites (and the nurse at your doctor’s office) say the parent is supposed to put the baby down while he or she is still asleep, so he or she can learn to fall asleep alone.

I never do that.  I rock you to sleep or nurse you to sleep every time.  When the nurse asks, I just lie.  Well, I don’t completely lie—after you do a “power hour,” you fall asleep on your own.  A power hour is a phrase I use to describe what sometimes happens during the wee hours of the morning.  You decide you don’t want to snooze peacefully between your dad and me, and you roll around, whack us with your limbs, babble, and generally horse around.  Your dad usually sleeps right through it (lucky turd), but I’m a light sleeper.

My major strategy is just to ignore you, since I know you’re safe between us, and eventually you always fall back to sleep on your own.  So yeah, I guess sometimes I let you fall asleep the “right” way.

But usually you fall asleep tucked into the crook of my arm in the soft brown chair in your room.  I’m okay with it.  That’s how I always did it with your brother, and he eventually slept through the night.  Maybe it wasn’t as soon as if I’d left him alone, and it probably won’t be as soon for you either, but that’s okay.  There’s going to come a time when you’ll push me away when I want to cuddle you.  I’m not going to force you out of my arms before you want to leave them.

Sometimes I’m even going to grab you and cuddle you when you don’t want me to.  Like picking your boogers and brushing flakes off your scalp, it’s my right and borderline compulsion as your mother.

I love you, and don’t you forget it, my little Chub-Chub.




It’s what’s inside that counts

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:31 am

Note:  Miles likes it when Denny and I talk in a high voice and pretend to be Tobin talking.  Therefore, the T(D) means Denny speaking as Tobin.

M:  Pretend Tobin doesn’t know what a skeleton is.

T(D):  What’s a skeleton, Miles?

M:  It’s a scary creature that lives inside you.  Pretend Tobin doesn’t know what a skeleton doesn’t have.

T(D):  What doesn’t a skeleton have?

M:  Eyeballs.   Ask what else a skeleton doesn’t have.

T(D):  What else doesn’t a skeleton have?

M:  A penis.  Ask what else a skeleton doesn’t have.

T(D):  What else doesn’t a skeleton have?

M:  A skeleton especially doesn’t have HAIR!


The joke that won’t start joking

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:37 am

M:  Knock, knock.

D:  Who’s there?

M:  Elevator.

D:  Elevator who?

M:  How do we get out of the elevator at school if there’s an electric eye?

D:  How?

M:  We RUN.


Monthly Miles Memo #50

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:11 pm

My dear Miles,

50 months, eh?  That’s a nice number.  This, like the year you were born, is a leap year, so I’ve gotten extra Miles this time around.  I remember during your first year being happy that you were born in a year with 366 days, because you got to be a baby one day longer than 75% of all babies.

But a baby you are not.  Now, with the baby chair occupied by Tobin, you sit up to the dinner table just like a regular guy.  You don’t exactly eat like a regular guy—your food repertoire remains pretty limited—but it’s nice having you at the table with us.  That is, when you’ll deign to join us.  We keep trying to impress upon you the importance of family dinner time, but sometimes you just refuse.  When you refuse, it’s difficult-to-impossible to get you to change your mind.

You’ve been kind of emotional lately.  Sometimes the smallest thing will make you completely flip out, and it’s really hard to predict what those small things will be.  Last night, as I was tucking you into bed, you asked why dinosaurs are just bones and not skin.  I tried to explain as gently and optimistically as I could that when things are dead for a long time, their skin becomes part of the earth and helps plants grow, and since bones are harder, they’re more likely to stick around.  You seemed okay with that explanation, but then you asked when their skin will come back, and when I told you that it wouldn’t, hoo boy.   You got to sleep very late last night, because it took you about half an hour to calm down from that screaming, crying fit.

Extinction is a tough concept for a preschooler, I guess.

At your parent-teacher conference last week, your teachers were shocked when we mentioned that you’ve been defiant and boundary-testing at home, because apparently at school you’re very sweet.  Of course, when I picked you up yesterday, your teacher told me you’d had a rough day and had yelled at several of your friends.  Your teachers view that as a negative, which of course it is, but in a way I’m glad that you finally feel comfortable enough at school to express your emotions.  We did have several talks about expressing frustration respectfully.  I hope that sank in.  [Update:  Your teacher said you did great today, so maybe you were just feeling a bit off.]

I wish you wouldn’t yell at anyone, but maybe yelling at your friends will give you some valuable feedback.  When you yell at your dad and me, we try to model positive behavior by calmly telling you that yelling isn’t an acceptable way to express yourself, that in our family we don’t yell at each other, and by suggesting other ways to communicate.  Something tells me one of your 4-year-old classmates is going to yell right back in your face.

(I admit, I tried that once, but it scared you so much and I felt so horrible about it that I’ve never done it again.)

One of the very best things you’ve done lately was spend time with your Uncle Tyler.  He was able to get away for about a day in Ames, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so excited over a span of 24 hours.  When he pulled into the driveway, you rushed out and jumped into his arms.  From that point forward, you guys were enmeshed in a near-constant game of Throw the Stuffed Animal off the Balcony.  Uncle Tyler even invented a new sub-game that involved trying to land the stuffed animal on the beam.  He also gave you a new book about dinosaurs (skin-on) that we’ve been reading a lot.

Photo by Gary Clarke

Every night we read four stories, and you often want a story from one of the several compilation books you have.  You have a book of Curious George stories (also a gift from Uncle Tyler), The Munschworks Grand Treasury, and a collection with stories based on the various Pixar movies, like Toy Story and The Incredibles.  Recently, when I asked which stories you wanted, you wanted one from the Pixar book and one from the Curious George Pixar book.  I tried to explain that Curious George isn’t part of Pixar, that Pixar is a company that invented some stories and characters and put them into that particular book.

“No,” you replied.  “Curious George is a Pixar book too, because you get to PICK one.”

So now the word Pixar means compilation.  Maybe some day you’ll make a Pixar playlist for someone, or whatever the 2022 equivalent of a mix tape/CD is.

A motif that continues to recur is your absolute sweetness when you deal with your brother.  I’ve mentioned it a lot in these memos, but it deserves to be repeated.  If I’m going to mention the challenges you present, it’s only fair to point out that you are truly a kind, loving brother.  You are always patient when I ask you to be because I need to take care of Tobin.  You do a great job when I ask you to watch him for a moment while I do something.  This morning, we all cuddled in bed together and you gave him so many great hugs and kisses.  He laughed and smiled like he always does when you pay attention to him.  We’ve been having fun at the park lately, enjoying these first warm early-spring days, and you thought it was really cool that you guys could be on the swings next to each other.

The other day, after a trip to the Faraway Playground, we stopped by Hy-Vee on the way home.  I bribed you with the promise of a lemonade to get you off the sand-digging toy, so in we went.  The lemonade we bought was clearly too big for you to handle on your own, so I grabbed another straw to share some with you.  Then I stopped and looked at the nutrition facts.  Ay yi yi!  I’m still working on losing the last of my baby weight from pregnancy, and that many calories just seemed like too many to get from a beverage.

Photo by Gary Clarke

I hesitated.  It was really warm, and the walk to the playground was long, and I was thirsty from pushing that double stroller.  And I love lemonade.  I stuck my straw into the bottle next to your straw and took a long drink.  As I did, you bent your head down and found your straw.  You pressed your cheek against mine and we slurped lemonade together.

At least it was one of those all-natural ones with no HFCS and actual lemon in it.

And even if it hadn’t been, that moment with you was worth it.

I love you so much.


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