The Tobin Times #26

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:00 pm

Tobin, Tobin, Tobin.

I started writing this last night when I was feeling pretty frustrated with your behavior.  As always, I have forgiven you, because you once again managed to make up for your infuriating behavior with extreme funniness and sweetness.  You are going to be a rabblerouser, little boy.  Please try to be more like, say, Gandhi than Glenn Beck.

Some days you dazzle me with your wit and verbal acumen.  Some days you make me want to kick a wall in frustration.  These are often the same days.

I don’t know if you’re testing limits or just so  enjoy doing the things you do that you refuse to acknowledge correction.  You’ve developed an extremely annoying habit of throwing food off your tray at dinner, and when we admonish you, it seems to have zero impact.  You were displaying some similar behavior today—dumping out a set of Miles’s tiny Legos that need to stay together and not get lost.  I told you a couple of times in a reasonable but firm voice not to do it, and when you ignored me and kept doing it, I grabbed you firmly by both arms and yelled.

I don’t like yelling at you, but it’s the only way to get your attention.  I hate hearing people scream at their kids, and I hate being the one to do it, but hitting isn’t an option.  I don’t know what else to do to communicate clearly to you.  That made you upset, and you cried, and to be honest I’m still not sure you’ll refrain from dumping out the Legos in the future.  I try not to say no to every little thing.  You’re a squirrelly little kid, and forcing you to sit still and be quiet all the time isn’t a reasonable way to live our lives.  Fortunately you haven’t shown much for aggressive tendencies—you’re not a hitter or a biter.  I just need you to listen when I tell you not to dump food off your tray, okay?  It’s part of socializing you into a functioning human being.

And now, here we are, the next day.  We’ve been running lots of Halloween-related errands lately, gathering items from many different stores.  You’re my little adventure buddy, and oftentimes in the evenings, hours and hours after we’ve completed some task, you wrap your arms around me and say something like, “I just love going to Walgreens with you.”  Walgreens was particularly interesting this time because there was a spooky, human-sized Halloween decoration out, a skeleton draped in black robes.  You didn’t want to get too close to it, and you also filled in your memory gaps by deciding that he was holding birthday cake in his hand.  I don’t remember that part.

Photo by Denny

You’ve been talking about it a lot, as well as the spooky music and big spiders and little spiders and Angry Birds coats we saw at another Halloween store.  You’ve been asking to go back there, and maybe we will after Halloween when all the spooky stuff is on sale.

Two other things you’ve told me lately:  “I just love watching Daddy run,” and “I just love going to the Covered Bridge Festival with you.”  The running thing came from last weekend, when we watched your dad in the Run for the Schools.  You were very proud of him and excited to see all the runners.  Miles was mad that he didn’t win, but you were just glad to be there.  The Covered Bridge Festival, coupled with a visit to Nana and Papa’s, was also a big hit.  Your favorite thing there was the corn pit, though you also really liked riding Papa’s tractor and listening to the band.

Photo by Gary Clarke

A few weeks ago, we went to the Northside Oktoberfest.  Our old favorite Justin Roberts was playing, and you had a blast dancing.  He even played your favorite, “Henrietta’s Hair.”  After a while you got hungry (“Where are the snackses?”), so we took a brownie break.

Photo by Denny

Most Sundays, while Miles and I are at choir practice, you and your dad have some special time together.  One time he took you to a special event at the Children’s Museum, which featured large vehicles and machinery for kids to climb on and explore.  Given your love of construction equipment, especially diggers, it was the perfect activity for you.  You’re usually the first to spot a digger or a tractor as we drive around.  We even passed a wind turbine blade on the back of a truck the other day.  That was pretty impressive.

Photo by Denny

You want to be just like Miles in so many ways.  You think you’re ready to go to school.  We read stories together at night, and when it’s your turn to choose, you copy Miles’s method:  you run your finger along the titles and say “tuh, tuh, tuh.”  The repeated sound thing is Miles’s way of giving me a clue about the first letter of the title of the story he wants.  I don’t think you’re actually connecting the dots there, because most of the time when you say “tuh, tuh, tuh,” you haven’t even chosen a story yet.  But it’s really cute to see you mimic him in those small behaviors.

And yet, you are still totally yourself.  Your most noticeable trait is still your loquaciousness.  You make strangers gawk and chuckle when you engage them in conversation.  At a shoe store recently, you told the sales person all about my running habits.  I don’t think I would have even needed to be there.  I could have just sent you in with my shoe size and you would have picked out something perfect for me.  You make funny faces all the time, and your giant, chubby-cheeked grin is one of my favorite sights in the world.

You’re a tough little guy.  It takes a lot to get you down.  The small troubles of life, from a bonk on the head to a scolding, don’t cause you much distress.  I admire that resilience even as I struggle to manage it.

Your favorite foods right now are pizza, Goldfish crackers, popcorn, and broccoli.  You ask almost every day if we can watch Perdonzo (Rapunzel, aka Disney’s Tangled) and make popcorn.  We rented it so many times I finally bought it, and I think it’s paid for itself in saved rental fees already.  You usually lose interest right about when the popcorn runs out, so I’m not sure if you know how it ends.  You like to remind me that “Perdonzo has very long hair.  I have leetle hair.”  I need to make broccoli again soon, too.  You like it best roasted with olive oil and lemon juice.

Photo by Denny

I love you, little heart.  The problem is I want everyone else to love you too, and that’s easier when you’re not dumping out their Legos.  You work on that, I’ll make the popcorn, and between the two of us (with some help from your dad and others), we’ll channel your joy and persistence and charm into great things.  I know it.

Photo by Denny





No comment on Charlie Tuna

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:57 am

Miles and Tobin like to play with a couple of neighborhood friends, brothers named Sam and Charlie.  Tobin and I were shopping at Costco and walked through the grocery area.

A:  I wish your dad liked salmon.  I’d make it for dinner.  I love salmon.

T:  I love salmon too.

A:  You do?

T:  I love salmon-charlie.

(Say it out loud.)

Fightin’ words

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:55 am

Denny came into the bedroom this morning half-dressed during his getting-ready process.

T: You forgot to put on a shirt on, you stinker.
D: Did you just call me a stinker?
T: You’re George Bush. You’re a stinky-bink.


Recent Tobinisms

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:42 am

A few things Tobin has been saying lately that I don’t want to forget:

  • snackses.  E.g., “I’m hungry for some snackses.”
  • jumping roping.  E.g., while fumbling with Miles’s jumprope, “Look at me!  I’m jumping roping!”
  • soooo much.  E.g., “I love you soooo much.”  “I missed you sooo much.”
  • Take off that sweater!  For some reason he hates it when people wear fleece jackets.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:45 pm

Miles and I just found out that we’re probably going to be able to sing a special duet verse in one of our choir songs.

A:  We’ll have to practice a lot, Miles.  We’ll get really good at it, and then when we perform it, everybody will think we did great.

M:  Better than great.

A:  What’s better than great?  Excellent?

M:  They’ll think we’re adorable.


Monthly Miles Memo #69

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:15 pm

My dear Miles,

It’s been a good month, I think (except for the puking, but that’s what happens when people start at a new school).  Your brain has really been active lately.  You’re full of ideas you want to bring to fruition, and most of the time, they’re practical enough that I can help you.

Some of your recent ideas and projects include:

  • A fruit spring.  I think you got this idea from Curious George.  Your iteration of it is a bunch of rubber bands stretched around a frame so that when you throw things at it, they bounce off.  Maybe in the original it was fruit that one was supposed to toss at the rubber band grid.  We’ve been sticking to small balls and other household objects.
  • Your Halloween costume.  I’m going to wait until next month to show pictures of that, but it is super creative and it’s going to be great.  The idea was all yours.  I asked you if you heard about it somewhere, but you said you just thought of it.  I love Halloween, so it’s been lots of fun helping you get yours together.
  • Your “creation.”  One day, you told me about this elaborate meal you wanted to make.  It started with freshly-squeezed lemonade.  Next came a fried egg, then chicken sauteed in garlic butter, then spaghetti with tomato sauce, and parsley on top.  You pretty much only at the spaghetti, but you had a lot of fun with the creative process.  I ate the rest of it, and it was good.


I don’t know if it’s kindergarten that’s spurred this blast of inventiveness or if it’s a phase you would have entered regardless, but it’s been a lot of fun.  You continue to enjoy kindergarten a lot.  You tell me your best friend is Anthony, a chatty little fellow I’ve met a couple of times.  I was able to join your class on a field trip to Wilson’s Orchard, which I enjoyed.  You got clingy when I was there, so I didn’t really get to see you interact with your classmates very much, but you’re always in good spirits when I pick you up.

You love all the treats and stickers your teachers give out.  It’s quite a contrast from Montessori preschool, in which children are encouraged to learn for the sake of a love of learning, and there are neither punishments nor rewards. The Montessori experience was great and a good fit for your personality, but the bribery motivations of public school are pretty fun.  It’s also exposing you to a wider variety of people than you had met before, which is largely a good thing.  You told me I need to keep having babies until one has dark skin, as that is your favorite way for a person to look.  I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetie, but unless we end up adopting, that’s unlikely.

You’ve also come into contact with some attitudes we’ve tried hard to protect you from thus far.  When you chose what some classmates deemed a “girl toy” as one of the aforementioned rewards, you proudly told me that you just ignored them.  That warmed my heart so much, Miles.  I hope you can maintain that sweetness and strength of character.  Kids can be little psychopaths, and you’re a tender guy.  At the very least, I want you to always know that no matter what kind of crap people throw at you, your home base can always be your sanctuary.  That doesn’t mean your dad and I will always give you everything you want (which would be a 100% junk food diet and video games all day).  It does mean that there’s nothing you can do that would make us turn our backs on you.

We went to a special school event a while back, Literacy Night.  You had so much fun showing us around your school.  You also got your own library card, which is something we’d been planning to do for a while, but we hadn’t gotten around to it.  The public library representative who helped you took your picture with your new card, and it turned out so cute that they decided to put it on a brochure.  It hasn’t been printed yet, but I’m excited to see it when it’s available.  You were pretty proud when I told you about it.  I was glad you had that reaction, because you might have gone either way with it.  Sometimes attention freaks you out.  I timed telling you to coincide with a Monster Mash ice cream cone at Heyn’s, and a blood sugar boost always lifts your spirits.

You also got your school pictures back, with the same old classic blue background that has been featured in every public school picture I ever remember seeing.  It’s a rite of passage for you, though you probably don’t see it that way  now.  You’ve entered into the blue-background school picture world, and uninspired though it may be, I look forward to accumulating a big stack of them throughout the years.  Your picture turned out very cute, and it’s sitting in a frame on our mantle now.

Your reading skills are blossoming, too.  You’ve been writing new words and putting them together into sentences.  When we read stories together at night, you look over my shoulder and identify words.  My days of skipping paragraphs to get you to sleep earlier may be limited.  You still have a stubborn streak, and it’s very difficult to get you to do anything if it’s not on your own terms.  Maybe we can find a way to harness that power for good.

I’m glad you’re doing so well, and that your brain is churning with activity.  Have another good month, my sweet boy.  I’m proud of you now and always.




Don’t skip step B.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:36 am

T:  Why the ceiling fan not going?

A:  I was chilly.

T:  But…why the ceiling fan not going?

A:  I was cold.  Brrr!

T:  Why the ceiling fan not going?

A:  … because I turned it off.

T:  Oooooooh!

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