The friendly features

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:26 pm

We’ve been working through colds, and Tobin’s nose has been stuffy.

A:  Is your nose still stuffy, sweetheart?

T:  No, it’s just nice.  (Tapping his face) Hi, little nose!


Blatantly false

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:26 pm

M:  Why did you have Tobin when you already had me?

A:  I wanted you to have a brother or a sister.  I know it might not seem like it now, but when you’re older, you’ll be glad you have him.

M:  Before he came, I never yelled.

The lazy family’s way to feel fancy

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:20 pm

Well, I’ve been neglecting this category, haven’t I?

Anyway, I have a new favorite thing.  I call it the “Going out somewhere nice is too much work with the kids, and we didn’t set up a babysitter or anything, but I still don’t feel like cooking an elaborate dinner, but let’s have something nice, okay?” dinner.  It’s vegetarian, which makes it healthy.  Yes.

  • 1 round of brie
  • 1 package of reduced fat crescent rolls in the can (I told you this was healthy)
  • Club crackers
  • sliced apples
  • grapes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 bottle dry white wine (we had this one, Angeline Sauvignon Blanc)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Open up the crescent rolls into a big rectangle and wrap up the brie (leaving the rind on is okay).  Trim away any excess crescent roll dough.  Place it on a cookie sheet (either grease it a bit or put it on parchment paper).  Brush the brie with beaten egg.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with crackers, apples, grapes, and wine.

It is so easy.  It is a way to have a snacky dinner or late lunch and feel kind of indulgent without doing hardly any work.


The Tobin Times #25

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:18 pm

My special Tobin,

I was looking at your brother’s Monthly Miles Memos from around this time, and I saw that I had written something about being mistaken about the Terrible Twos not affecting him.  Well, maybe it’s a trait in our family that the onset is a bit delayed, because you too have had a recent upswing in defiance.  It’s hard not to laugh when you stomp your feet and demand that your dad get out of the chair RIGHT NOW.  At least it’s hard not to laugh for the first couple of minutes.  It can get a bit wearing as it goes on.

But really, that’s not how you are most of the time.  You are usually sweet and friendly and enthusiastic.  You love dogs, especially our neighbors’ new fluffy little puppy, Stella.  You loving playing outside, throwing balls and running.  I got you some new sneakers recently, and you can run like a little maniac in those.  Sometimes you just run back and forth through the hallway and living room until you’re a curly-headed, sweaty little thing.  You tell me you’re exercising just like me.

You’re so observant and concerned with other people’s feelings.  When your dad got out of bed the other day, you asked, “You have good sleep, Daddy?”  When I finished eating, you asked, “You enjoy your lunch?”  When Miles swallowed some food weirdly and hurt his throat and was upset about it and eventually got over it, you asked, “You feel much better now?”  When we looked at National Geographic together and you saw a man who had been climbing at a high altitude, with ice all over his face and bandages on his cheeks, you asked, “How that guy feeling?”  As I got Miles dressed for school this morning, you looked at him and said, “You look handsome in that shirt.”  When your brother gets an injury, you ask him, “You need some ibuprofen?”  I love how engaged you are with the world.

You’ve been a champ about adjusting your schedule to accommodate Miles’s new school day.  I can usually get you down for nap by 12:30, because I am always optimistic that you’ll sleep a full two hours and wake up in time to go pick Miles up at 2:45.  Your naps have been getting shorter, though.  Usually an hour and a half is all you’ll do, and sometimes less.  You’re usually pretty tired by bedtime, but you’ve also been waking up around 6:00 or 6:30 most days.  That’s okay.  You’re fun in the morning.  You’re good at helping me make coffee.

Last week your dad went out of town for a few days, and you sure missed him.  We went to eat at Noodles and Company, which is in the same building as his office, and you couldn’t believe that he wasn’t coming down to meet us.  You really wanted to go up and find him.  At bedtime, our usual pattern is for you, Miles and me to gather in Miles’s bed.  We read two stories (your current favorites are The Fire Station, Show and Tell, and Jonathan Cleaned Up, Then He Heard a Sound, all by Robert Munsch).  After that, your dad puts you to bed while I spend some more time with Miles.  The first night he was gone, we finished our stories, and you hopped out of bed and went looking for him.  You were so disappointed when you couldn’t find him.

I always knew your dad was a valuable part of the family, but being without him for a short time certainly made me appreciate him.  It’s a lot of work taking care of a toddler and a five-year-old.  At least Miles was in school most of the day.  You guys definitely got more junk food and screen time than normal, but you survived.  I survived.  And when your dad came home, you squealed with happiness and ran right into his arms.  You patted his chest and said, “That’s a great sweater, Daddy.”

You are becoming more independent all the time.  When we walk to school to get Miles, you love to ride in the big kid seat on the double stroller.  Once we get there, you want to stand on the number line like the big kids.  I used to be able to distract you fairly easily while Miles got established on the big kid seat, but you’ve caught onto that now.  Now, as soon as you spot Miles, you race back to the stroller and occupy the big kid seat before he can poach it.  Sometimes it’s a struggle getting you into the little kid seat, but we manage.

You are crazy about Curious George videos, John Deere tractors (and all the related memorabilia you’ve acquired), digging in the garden, and generally being reckless.  Today you were descending the stairs on your feet, not on your butt like you’re supposed to.  I was at the bottom and started up to meet you, and when there were still at least four stairs between us, you leaped at me.  I caught you, thank goodness.  Fortunately, you’re more responsive to scolding than you used to be.  You seemed to notice at least a little that I was quite displeased with that maneuver.  I’m happy to hold you, sweetheart, but let’s do it with a reasonable approach.

Speaking of sweetheart, you’ve told me a few times now that you’re not a little Chub-Chub anymore.  Now you tell me that I can call you either Tobin or sweetheart.  That’s okay, I guess.  I miss your plump little tummy and thighs, but I also think you’re turning into a pretty fun little guy.  One of my favorite things you do is relate different concepts.  We went out for doughnuts this morning.  Your brother got his favorite, plain glazed.  You chose a white cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and dinosaur sprinkles.  You ate off all the frosting and sprinkles, exposing the white doughnut.  You looked at it and said, “It’s plain glazed, just like Bubby’s.”

You also seem to be good at connecting smells.  You opened a container of my vitamin C pills (you’re getting really good at opening things, which also resulted in a large quantity of my fancy face lotion dumped all over my bathroom rug), sniffed inside, and said, “It smells like marshmallows.”  I took a sniff too, and by gum, it did.  You also got into some cherry throat lozenges, and you said, “It smells like Icee.”  Again, it was eerily accurate.

I need to put things on higher shelves.  One of these days you’re going to turn into an evil genius, and people are going to blame me.  Actually, I don’t think someone as empathetic as you is capable of being evil.  Maybe you’re more likely to be a mischievous genius.  That’s pretty cool.

You are, mostly, a little ray of blondie-boy sunshine in my life.  Thanks for keeping things interesting/terrifying/hilarious.




Where and what

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:41 pm

Tobin and I were at the Java House, sitting on a couch.  At one end was a small table with an ornate lamp on it, which of course Tobin wanted to touch.  I was trying to dissuade him.

T:  (pointing to the far end of the couch) Get out of here!  Drink your coffee!


Monthly Miles Memo #68

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:02 pm

My sweet Miles,

Well, what do you know?  You’re a kindergartner.  And you love it.  The transition was as seamless as I could have hoped.  You like your school, your teachers, your playground.  You’re even doing a good job eating a packed lunch.  Every day it’s the same:  two muffins (one blueberry, one poppyseed), grapes, Wheat Thins, and a juice box.  Lately you’ve been having an apple, too, because we picked such good ones at the orchard over Labor Day weekend.  You had an early stumble with remembering to put your lunch box back where it’s supposed to be after lunch, but you worked it out, and now you’re doing great.

You were so proud of yourself last week when you came home with an enormous gold bead necklace.  You had earned a purple designation for behavior that day, the highest available, and that made you eligible for a prize drawing.  The teacher drew your name and you picked your treasure, and you have been wearing it a lot since then.  You don’t like it very much when Tobin tries to get it, and you two have gotten into some screaming matches lately.  Apparently you save your purplest behavior for school.

Actually, that’s not true.  You definitely have sweet behavior at home a lot of the time.  As long as you’re fed and lemonaded and not too much screen-timed, your attitude is pretty good.  You love to hug Tobin when you see him at school pick-up time.  Your dad and I went to the first PTO meeting at school the other night, and Tobin wasn’t very interested in being in the childcare room.  If we’d known exactly what it was going to be like (just one sixth-grader in charge of about 5 kids, most of whom were probably age 10-12), we wouldn’t have brought Tobin at all.  You, however, were happy to be there with the big kids.  Tobin was being such a distraction that at one point I planned to just take you kids home and get you ready for bed while your dad stayed at the rest of the meeting.  I went to the childcare room to ask you if you wanted to go, but you were having so much fun playing games with the big kids that you didn’t want to leave.  Tobin and I ended up playing with a playground ball in the empty hallway for the rest of the meeting.

Shockingly, you’re even trying some new foods at school.  There’s an afternoon snack every day, and you’ve revisited some things you used to eat but had given up, such as Goldfish crackers and string cheese.  You drew the line at Jell-O, though.  I can’t really blame you.  Jell-O is kind of weird.

We walked a different way home the other day—in fact it was the same day you got the gold necklace.  You wanted to stop by the Flavor Ice stand to show it off to the owner.  Plus, we’d filled a punch card, so you were pretty psyched to get an enormous, free Superman treat (blue raspberry, cherry, and lemon, your own invention).  She thought it was cool, you thought the Flavor Ice was good, and everyone was happy.

You’ve had seven early-release days already this year.  I think the weather is turning now.  The forecast for tomorrow calls for a high of 64, which is pretty amazing considering it was in the 90s Monday and Tuesday.  When I told you that you’d have a full day on Wednesday, you cheered.

It makes me so happy that you love school so much.  For the time being, it’s pretty rudimentary.  Kindergartners don’t all come to school with the same skillset, and I know the teachers are just trying to make sure everyone has some rudimentary skills to get started.  Still, when I see the work you and your dad do on your whiteboard at night, making elaborate number lines and grids and writing out words (last night you sounded out silent all by yourself), I wonder if you’ll get bored in school.  It doesn’t seem to be the case so far.  You love music and P.E. and computer time, and you were excited to tell me about the garden you’re making in art class.  Yours has a hummingbird, I understand.

You are still a very tender little fellow.  Last night we were outside playing with a friend, and you wanted to go in to get a towel to help her somehow (the details of how a towel was going to help her are still foggy for me).  You couldn’t get in the door through the back porch, and the garage door was closed.  The front door was unlocked, but for some reason you didn’t think to try that.  Then, on your way back to the park, you slipped and fell.  The screaming—oh man, I seriously thought you’d broken your leg.  Even our 85-year-old neighbor Martin heard it and came out to check on you, and he can’t hear anything.

You just fell on your butt.  You were okay.  I think you just got overwhelmed by the frustration of closed doors and thwarted plans, and the pain and indignity of a butt injury pushed you over the edge.  I remember something like that happened to me once.  I was having a bad day, and I was tired and grumpy, and I bent my fingernail back.  I cried for an hour.  I was in college, I think.  It hurt, but it didn’t hurt that much.  Your butt was probably the same way, just the final trouble that opened the floodgates.

Once I got to you and assessed the situation, I found that you didn’t need a trip to the E.R., so we went in and got a towel.  Then you were worried that your friend would have left during your longer-than-expected absence, so that was a source of stress.  Fortunately, she was still waiting, and the towel helped her (mysteriously).

You’ve been so tired after school that we haven’t been doing many of our old favorite activities.  Mostly you just want to cuddle up and watch a video, though I can usually drag you away after a while of that to read some books.  We were playing an online game of Family Feud the other day, and the subject was, “Things someone might get angry at his/her spouse for doing too much.”  You suggested, “Screen time?”  Lo and behold, the game accepted that answer.  You know the rules, even if you don’t always want to follow them.

Today is a normal Thursday, which means the usual early release of 2:00.  That’s kind of a tough time around here, considering it falls right in the middle of Tobin’s naptime, but I admit I like it despite the inconvenience.  Extra time with you wears me out, but I always love it when I get it.  I miss you when you’re away, but it makes me feel better to know how happy you are at school.

I also like the fact that, when you spot me in the parent waiting area, you run to me and give me a big hug.  I know you won’t do that forever, so I’m soaking it up while I can.

Congratulations on making the big transition, my little Miles.  You make me proud every day.




The Great and Terrible

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:00 pm

M:  When you die, is it black or grey?

A:  I don’t know, sweetie.

M:  Maybe you could look it up.

A:  I don’t think so.

M:  Maybe Google knows.


Everything’s different Down Under.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:39 pm

Tobin and I were looking at National Geographic together.

T:  What’s that bird?  That a chicken-bird?

A:  No, it’s called a cassowary.   It lives in Australia.

T:  Cassowary…or January…or February…

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