Malapropisms of youth

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:49 am

Things Miles says that he’s not going to say forever so I want to remember them:

Diacalbolical (diabolical)

Callepittar (caterpillar)

Baby thermometer (baby monitor)

Magniflying glass (magnifying glass)


Don’t tell Tyra

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:56 pm

In our folk choir, Miles and I are singing John Prine’s “Paradise.”  Miles has listened to the song many times, but he seems to have misheard the lyrics.

M:  Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty top models was all we would kill.


For reference, the original lyrics:

Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.


The Tobin Times #19

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:19 pm

My dear Tobin,

You’ve been doing the grossest thing lately:  you stick your fingers down your throat and very nearly gag yourself.  You seem to think this is fun.  Your dad and I yank your hands out of your mouth and tell you very sternly not to do it, but you laugh and laugh and keep doing it.  It is disgusting, and I have nothing to say on the topic except that you are very weird.

Although the last few nights have been better, you went through a really tough spate last week with your sleep.  I thought maybe it was related to teething, but it seemed like you had been working on the same two teeth forever.  Those two bottom canines were just loitering around beneath the surface for what felt like months.  I decided, teething or no teething, I needed to night-wean you.  I remembered that your brother magically started sleeping much better right after he was weaned, so I figured it was worth a try.

I picked a week, read a bunch of other people’s opinions on how to do it best, and got started.  Your dad wasn’t crazy about the idea, largely because I was going to be counting on him to help out with the middle-of-the-night grumpiness you were sure to express when I denied you your favorite solution.

We made it two nights.  Strangely, you didn’t really cry much.  You did a little, but mostly it just seemed like you were wide awake.  I think you’re addicted to the sleep-inducing qualities of warm milk, and without it, you just wanted to sit straight up in bed (prairie-dogging, I call it) and hang out.  So why did we make it only two nights?  On day three, you came down with a fever.  You were lethargic and crabby.  You also cut those two teeth that had been toying with you for so long.  I felt like I couldn’t deny comfort to a little guy who was feeling bad, so we got off our rhythm.  Now, you’re feeling better and those teeth are in, and suddenly you’re sleeping pretty darn well.

This has reduced my motivation for full-on night weaning.  It’s a lot easier to allow you your milky when it’s only once or twice a night, at reasonable times like 9:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., as opposed to five or six times.  Still, we’re going to have to do it at some point.  I don’t want you to be late to your high school graduation because you were up all night nursing.

[A note to people who may be new to this blog:  I am KIDDING. I only plan to nurse until he’s 13 or 14, tops.]

You are super excited right now about playing outside and riding in our new red car.  Spring has been very late in coming this year, and I don’t even think it’s fully in swing yet.  The last couple of days have been nice, so we’ve maximized your outdoor time with trips to the playground behind our house and the one by the library.  I think it’s going to get cold again next week, though.  I hope things turn around soon, because those afternoons when we’re stuck in the house can really drag.  Your brother wants to play computer, and you want to be anywhere he is, and that sometimes means mashing his keyboard and pulling out his power cable, and that always results in at least two people screaming.  You are not usually one of them.

I don’t mean to make it sound like you’re naughty all the time.  You’re really a sweetheart.  Mubby and Skittergramps visited last week during Miles’s spring break, and you had so much fun with them.  After they left, we went down to the room where the slept, because it’s also where we store some old clothes I needed to sort.  You climbed onto the bed and said in the saddest little voice, “Please?  Please?  My Skitter?”  Usually you saying the word please gets you pretty much whatever you what, which I suspect you have figured out, but there was no way I could grant that wish.

You remain a great talker.  Yesterday you gave yourself a little assignment.  You said, “Zzzzz.  Zzzzz.  Zzzzz.  Izzzzzzzaak.”  Izaak is a friend of Miles’s, and he and his family came over to our house for dinner the other night.  His name was hard for you to say, and you gave yourself the task of working on that tough sound and trying it out in the name.  You’ve started doing more and more multi-word sentences.  At Hy-Vee recently, your favorite check-out person gave you a sticker, and you said to me, “Sticker on coat.”  I was happy to fulfill that request, even if you didn’t say please.  Just tonight, you got tired of a song we were listening to in the car, and you said, “No more like it.”  The songs we’ve been playing the most are the ones from the Family Folk Machine practice CD.  Family Folk Machine is the choir Miles and I are in, and I think when you come to our concert, you’re going to be singing along in the audience.  It’ll be fun when you’re big enough to join.

You really enjoy helping your daddy make his tea in the morning, and you’ve recently branched out into helping me make coffee, too.  For the tea, you like to push the numbers on the microwave and dunk the tea bag into the mug.  For the coffee, you like to sit on the counter, help me pour the water in, and flip the power switch on the coffee maker.  I get a kick out of sharing these rituals with you, and they’re a good way to entice you away from climbing into your brother’s bed and sitting on his head.

You’re starting to learn some of your letters, using the magnetic letters in your room.  So far you consistently identify F (both upper- and lower-case) and X.  You know a lot of animals, too, even though you usually think dogs are horses.  We’ve taken a couple of trips to the Natural History Museum recently, and you’re crazy about the giant sloth.  You call it a dragon.

You also like the mannequin representing a native Iowan.  You call him Mommy.  Is it because he has long hair?  That is weird, because I don’t even have long hair.  Really, I look nothing like him at all.  You like his belly button.  I guess he and I have that much in common.

Photo by Gary Clarke

The biggest phase you’re in right now is “MY TURN.”  You say that all the time, whether the thing you want to do is age-appropriate or not.  If I’m eating something, I’m usually happy to share it with you, but you are not content to let me feed you bites.  You yell, “MY TURN” and grab the fork out of my hand.  It’s gotten so that I automatically bring two utensils if I think you might be interested.  Another thing you say a lot is, “Let go peepees.”  Can you guess what that might mean?  I’ll give you a hint:  you’ve heard it a lot from your dad and me at diaper-changing time.   There comes a point in the process where we can’t continue until you fulfill that request.

I hope that isn’t too embarrassing for you to read down the road.  I’m assuming you’ll care about reading these someday.  Maybe you won’t.  Maybe you’ll continue at your current pace and be out adventuring with no time to stop and reflect on your babyhood.  That’s okay.  These are for your dad and me, too.  It’s so easy to think we’ll never forget these funny things you say and do, but brains get so busy, and new memories come in and muddle up the old ones.  I want to have a record to look back on and remember when you were my sweet little Chub-Chub.

I noticed yesterday you’re not so chubby anymore.

But I still love you.

Love forever,



The five stages of sweatpants

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:08 pm

We’re going out for a nice dinner tonight to celebrate my birthday.

A:  Miles, before we go out for dinner, I’d like you to change your clothes.

M:  But these [sweatpants] can be jammies OR regular clothes.

A:  I know, but when we go out, it’s nice to put on something a little dressier.

M:  But I don’t need to.

A:  I want you to.

M:  You don’t need me to.

A:  Come on, Miles.

M:  You need to use acceptance.


Monthly Miles Memo #62

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:13 pm

My Miles,

Your dad and I have noticed lately that you’ve been growing in more than one way.  Your shirts and pants are getting too short.  Moreover, you’ve been a pretty chill and fun guy these days.  You still have your moments, like when you need to get out of bed and don’t want to, or when your brother is thwarting you in one way or another.  But your emotional meltdowns have been fewer, and you seem confident and capable in most ways.

Your jokes make sense sometimes.

“What day is April Fool’s Day?” [pause] “January seventh?”

January seventh is your birthday, so I more or less get that one.  This next one, not so much:

“What day is Christmas?”  [pause]  “Inside my eyeball?”

After you told that one, I said something about needing to work on the structure of jokes.  That seemed to hurt your feelings, so I quickly assured you that absurdity has comic value in its own right.

As we head to school to pick you up, your brother often says, “Bubby hug,” which means he’s excited to see you and hug you.  Now, every day, as soon as you burst out of your classroom, you ask, “Did Tobin ask for a Bubby hug?”  I think you’re proud that he’s so happy to see you.  Lots of your classmates like to crowd around him and hug and kiss him, but the big kid he most wants to see is you.

You’ve been doing great in school.  One big accomplishment recently was that you wrote your numbers on a long strip of adding-machine paper all the way to one hundred.  You were so proud when you came out of your classroom and showed it to me, and your teacher mentioned that you’d been dedicated to that project all day, even asking for (and receiving) special dispensation from Line Time to continue working on it.

You continue to enjoy music.  At our choir practices, you don’t have a lot of interest in singing with the group.  I hope I can convince you to stand with the other kids and sing during the concert.  During the adult rehearsal time, you usually sit by yourself and play with my phone.  While you do that, you sing as loud as you please.  The adults often look over and smile.  You know some of the grownup-only songs better than I do.

We got a new car yesterday, and your one requirement through the whole protracted car-seeking process was that you and your dad be able to play our choir song playlist while he drives you to school.  You liked the “robotic doors” on the minivan we test drove, but those were not as important to you as the music.  Luckily, the Subaru Outback we settled on has a USB port for easy iPod integration.  We’ve tested “Country Roads,” “Paradise,” and “Yellow Submarine,” among others, and they all work well for singing.

You’ve made a friend through the choir, a fellow video-game enthusiast who likes to watch you play games and show off his own.  He’s a little older than you, so I hope he’ll be a good role model for the group-singing aspect of the activity as well.  Another older kid you like a lot is your cousin Maxwell.  We visited Max and his family recently, and you guys had a great time working on a Lego project.  That visit also included your cousin Meredith’s birthday party, which was at a bouncy house complex.  I was so proud of how brave you were.  You were a little hesitant at first, but Max helped you get started, and soon you were scrambling around with the whole gang.

The biggest event of the last month was our Disney Cruise.  It seems to have made a big impression on you, because you bring up one element or another from it almost every day.  One of your favorite parts was our waiter, Claudius.  He did magic tricks for you every night at dinner, and you’ve been attempting to reenact them (with mixed results).  You loved the arcade, the beach, and especially the theatrical entertainment.  We saw two different plays, Toy Story:  The Musical and Disney Dreams, which was a loosely-plotted song and dance extravaganza.  It featured a flying Peter Pan, and you still like to talk about the “theater tricks” Peter Pan used to fly.  Your hypothesis:  invisible wires.

At one point, your dad was trying to impress upon you that going on a cruise was a very special privilege you should appreciate, and that most kids don’t get to go on cruises.  You looked around and said, “I think most kids are here.”  I’m sure it seemed that way to you, since the ship was teeming with short people.  You really did love it.  You haven’t stopped asking when we’re going on our next one.  I don’t know for sure when that will be, but considering what a great time you had, we should probably start saving.

In the meantime, spring is coming, and we’re going to be having a lot of fun in the coming months.  Your uncle Tyler is getting married, and you’re super psyched about that.  You found some of last summer’s water toys downstairs and were ready to go outside and use them, despite the snow that remains on the ground.  You’ve been asking when the Flavor Ice stand will open.

It was a tough winter, Miles.  We all felt the strain.  But we’re nearly through it now.

Have heart, little one.

You’re my heart, little one.





Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:41 pm

We’ve been having the worst time lately with Tobin doing something naughty, then laughing in my face when I scold him.  After just such an event…

A:  Why does Tobin always think that’s funny?

M:  He doesn’t think it’s funny.  He just doesn’t care.


The Tobin Times #18

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:49 pm

My little heart,

You are a year and a half old now.  Actually you’re more like a year and a half going on five, because there’s not much your brother does that you don’t try.  You sneak into his classroom when we pick him up from school.  You wear his clothes (you especially like to put his underwear on your head).  You mess with his computer and his toys.  You rough-house with him just as hard as he rough-houses with you, maybe even harder.  A couple of times lately when we’ve approached his school, you said, “Bubby hug.”  When I told him you’d made that request, he was happy to squeeze you.  I thought he might be squeezing a little too hard, but you were smiling so big I didn’t stop him.

The most exciting event of the last month was our vacation, a Disney cruise.  It was our first cruise and your first time out of the country, and it was exactly what we hoped it would be:  easy, fun, relaxing, and thrilling for you kids.  I knew you were going to love the ocean, and oh, how you did.  You played in the sand and the surf until your exhausted little body couldn’t take it anymore, and then you slept in my arms in a beach chair.  My love, there is really nothing better than lying in the shade of a palm tree with a view of the Caribbean, holding a sleeping little boy who smells like ocean water and sunscreen.

One pleasant surprise was how much you enjoyed the theatrical productions on the ship.  I was afraid your dad and I would have to tag team walking around with you outside the theater, but we had no need to do anything like that.  You were absolutely fascinated by the singing and dancing, bouncing and laughing in your dad’s lap.  When Mickey Mouse came out at the end, you pointed and yelled, “MOUSE!”

I could never have imagined myself going on a Disney cruise.  Seriously, the fifteen-years-ago version of myself would have laughed in my face.  But kids change things.  I still maintain my dream of sailing around the Turkish coast, visiting archeological ruins and drinking wine and eating local cuisine, and we may well do that when there are no more little kids in our house.  One thing I wasn’t prepared for in parenthood was the absolute vicarious joy of it all.  Mickey Mouse holds no interest for me, personally, but watching your eyebrows go up so high they’d disappear if you had hair when you saw him is very interesting.

You love playing outside in the snow these days.  Over the last week or so, we’ve had a good bit of snow, but the temperature has stayed around the 30F range.  That makes it perfect for outside play, so you and your dad and Miles have spent a lot of time throwing snowballs and sledding down the tiny hill next to our house.  The only bad part is that you hate coming in so much it’s almost not worth taking you outside at all, considering the screaming you do when we force you to come in.  You’re a persistent little fellow, too.  Just when I think I have you distracted with a nice, quiet, pre-bedtime book or activity, you’ll run back to the door and say, “Opie!  Opie!  Out-ide!”  I’m not much of a cold weather person myself, but once we get some true spring going on around here, I promise to take you outside more.  I miss our walks down the trail.

You’re still a little chatterbox.  I’ve long since stopped keeping track of all your words, but I bet you consistently say over 200 by now.  You’re putting words together more, too.  Just this morning you demonstrated an understanding of possessives.  I usually eat a Lara Bar for breakfast, which you like, but I don’t often share with you because they’re expensive.  Normally you’re happy to have a regular granola bar (which you call just “bar”).  Today at breakfast I asked if you wanted a bar.  You replied, “Yeah.  Mommy’s.”

I think I distracted you and ate my Lara Bar in the bathroom.  The things we do.

You like all kinds of foods.  You’re more of a savory guy than a sweet tooth, overall.  Today you chose couscous for lunch instead of pancakes.  You really liked the fairly spicy chili we had a while ago.  I didn’t even offer you any, since I didn’t think you’d like it, but you kept looking at it in your dad’s bowl and saying, “Poop.”  We figured out after a while you were trying to say soup, so your dad gave you some, and you dug it.  I hope you get that pronunciation sorted out before you start telling people you eat poop for dinner.

Reading books is still one of your favorite things to do, and you and your dad spend time every evening rocking in the recliner together reading.  Your top choices right now are The Monster at the End of This Book, Barnyard Dance, Science Verse, and Let’s Dance, Little Pookie.  You like to go to Hy-Vee with me and ride in a race car cart (“car-cart”).  You get so excited when we find that one is available.  Usually one is.  Every now and then we have to use a regular cart.  Those are not the best shopping trips.

We’ve been in the process of trying to find a new car for a while now, and your favorite part of the test-driving experience is scrambling around in the front seat.  That’s pretty novel for a kid whose biggest upgrade so far as been moving from a rear-facing infant seat to a barely-less-confining five-point-harnessed toddler seat.  I have the feeling you’re going to be pretty disappointed when we actually buy one of those cars and you find out your car seat ends up in there, too.

Sorry, dude.  I love you too much to let you get squished.

I even love you too much to shove you off me right now.  You’re lying next to me and sort of pinning my right arm to my body, which is not the easiest position for typing.  But sleep is a precious, precious thing, and I’m not going to risk waking you up for something as trivial as blood circulation.  Besides, part of being a mom is being able to do just about anything with one hand.

Have a good month, my sweet, snoring, naughty, funny, adventurous little boy.




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