Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:46 pm

Tobin was cuddling a stuffed animal.

A:  Aw, is that so cute?

T:  Mhm!

A:  Do you know who else is so cute?

T:  Mhm!

A:  Who else is so cute?

T:  Skitter.


The Tobin Times #27

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:48 pm

My funny little Tobin,

I don’t know if I’ve ever met such a sweet, cuddly, lovable little guy.  You have been so generous with your love and hugs lately—big, two-arms-plus-a-head-nuzzle hugs.  They are just the best.  You love to cuddle in bed (anybody’s bed).  You blow kisses and tell people you love them all the time.

You’re not without your fits of pique, of course.  The other night you were trying to do something naughty and I stopped you, and you opened your mouth so wide and roared at me for a good ten seconds.  You were truly outraged, but it was such a funny thing to see that your dad and I had to struggle to keep from hooting with laughter.  I don’t mean to disrespect your feelings, sweetheart, but when a two-foot-tall person with little blond curls and pink cheeks roars at you, it’s hard to find it anything but hilarious.

You also said something to me a week or so ago, which I’ve already blogged on this site but I think bears repeating.  We were cuddling in bed, and I was trying to be quiet to encourage you to go to sleep.  You went on this long spiel about your Halloween activities, sprinkling an “I still love you” in there as well.  Then you leaned over, touched my cheek tenderly, and said, “I will always be your grandmother.”

Photo by Denny

I have no idea where you picked up that phrase or why you decided to bestow it on me at that moment, but it made me laugh so hard I completely ruined any calming-down we had thus far achieved.

You relished Halloween this year, from your costume to the candy to the decorations people put on their houses.  We made more than one special detour to see lawn decorations in our neighborhood, and you were sure disappointed when people began taking them down.  I bet you’ll love Christmas lights when they start going up on houses, but for the time being we’re stuck in the Thanksgiving lull.  It’s a fun holiday, but aside from an inflatable turkey down the street that’s not usually inflated, there’s not much in terms of neighborhood visuals.

You still love going to school to get your brother, although I’m having a harder and harder time getting you to vacate the big kid seat.  You’re allowed to sit in the big kid part of the stroller on the walk to school, but once it’s time to go home, you’re supposed to move to the little kid seat to make room for Miles.  That’s been a tough sell lately, especially when you’d rather be jumping in the leaf piles in the pick-up area.  Soon it will probably be too cold to walk to school, and the issue will solve itself.

Your favorite things to do right now are watch Curious George cartoons, run laps around the house (sometimes while shouting, “I’m Super-Tobin!”), read stories, destroy whatever your brother is working on, and jump on beds.  Your favorite books to read are the Spider-Man Storybook Collection (current top choices are “The Rhino’s Rampage” and the “Revenge of the Green Goblin”), anything from the If You Give a… series, Dinosaur Roar, and This Is Paris.  In fact, we picked your daddy up at his office the other day, and you walked past one of his coworker’s cubicle.  She had a print of the Mona Lisa hanging on her cube wall, and you looked at it and said, “Just like Paris.”

Photo by Gary Clarke

You’re so observant in so many ways.  You pick up words and phrases quickly and easily.  Recently, a snowfall started up while you were napping.  When you woke up, I held you up to the window to see it.  You said, “I can’t believe my eyes!”  A few days ago, you stepped on my bathroom scale, looked down, and said, “Not too bad.”  I’m glad you picked up a mostly-positive message, but I do need to make sure I’m speaking thoughtfully.  During my exercise this morning, you made an enormous mess in the basement, but you were otherwise great.  That is, you had fun playing as you made the mess and didn’t whine or beg me to stop to fetch you things.  After I was finished, I said, “You made a big mess, but you were still a very good boy.”  You replied, “I am still a very big mess.”

Your favorite food right now is pizza, and once a week or so I pick a slice up for you from the Hy-Vee deli.  You’re just about ready to order it yourself:  “One slice of cheese to go, please.”  You already have restaurant ordering down.  You hold the menu, peer at it, and say, “I would like…French fries.”

Photo by Gary Clarke

By next month at this time, I’m sure we’ll have a tree in our house.  You may or may not remember last year’s tree, but I know you’re going to love it this year.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to decorate it with more of an eye toward aesthetics and less toward not putting anything breakable within your grasp.  Last year our tree was pretty much nude from the waist down.  I’ll probably still have to be judicious in my decorating, but I hope we’re starting to move toward less wanton destruction in our lives.

You’re awfully forgivable, Tobin.  When I ask for a kiss, you give me two.  My lap doesn’t feel right without warm little you in it.






Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:31 am

I was lying next to Tobin, waiting for him to fall asleep.  He was feeling chatty, but I wanted to be a good role model, so I stayed quiet while he monologued.

T:  For Halloween, I was a witch.  I still love you.  I wore a hat and a cape.  I went trick-or-treating with Daddy and Bubby, and it was so much fun.  I got candy and it was SO GOOD.

Then he reached over and touched my cheek tenderly and said…

I will always be your grandmother.


At that point I burst out laughing and pretty much ruined the quiet mood, but I couldn’t help it.


Tail winds

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:50 pm

I was reading a book to Tobin about dinosaurs.

T:  I have a tail, too.  (He patted his rear end.)

A:  Where?  On your butt?

T:  Yeah, because I have poopy in there.


Monthly Miles Memo #70

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:33 pm

Sweet Miles,

This morning I asked you if Anthony is still your best friend, or if you have a new one.  I asked because lately at pick-up time from school, I’ve mostly seen you playing with Aster or Damari.  You said that Anthony is still your best friend and will always be.  Then I asked how you decided Anthony was your best friend, and you said, “He just decided it.”

I guess there are worse things.

In any case, school seems to still be going well for you.  I came to help at your class Halloween party, and it was fun seeing you in your classroom.  Your costume was a big hit—your teachers and classmates seemed to really like it, and you seemed proud of your hard work and creativity.  The after-school segment of the party was a little much for you.  The loud music and shrieking kids kind of overwhelmed you, but you were happy once you got some popcorn.

Again I witnessed the difference between your old school and your new one.  Another mom I know whose kids went to Willowwind and then changed to public school for kindergarten told me the hardest thing for them was sitting still.  That’s very counter to the Montessori philosophy, which encourages kids to work on what interests them, change to a new task when it feels right, and basically exercise free judgment as long as it doesn’t disrupt others.  It was difficult for you to stay in your seat to play the game your teacher wanted you to play.  You weren’t disruptive by any means, but if you wanted to go grab your water bottle from the water bottle area, you went and did it.  If you wanted to tell me something or check on Tobin, you just got up and did it.  Your teacher had to remind you several times to stay seated.

This made me feel conflicted.  She’s in a classroom with 24 students, so obviously she needs to maintain order.  The classroom would be in chaos if students didn’t mostly stay in their seats most of the time.  But on the other hand, unless you’re going to be a career military person, sitting still and keeping your mouth shut doesn’t seem like a very useful life skill.  Part of being a responsible member of society is being able to meet your own needs (e.g., getting your water bottle) and make your own choices within the bounds of decorum.

I guess an important life lesson is to know when to follow the rules and when to break them.  I’ve not seen a lot of incentives at your school for creative thinking and critical decision-making, so I guess we’ll have to work on that at home.

I don’t mean to malign your school, because you’re really learning a lot.  Your reading is taking off wonderfully, and your list of “sight words” is growing all the time.  You seem a little hung up on the idea that you can only read words you’ve been taught in school, though.  Your dad and I are trying to build your confidence by helping you sound out words, which you can do very well.  But for some reason, unless it comes from the sanctioned worksheets you do at school, you don’t think it counts.  Your parent-teacher conference is coming up next week, so maybe I can ask your teacher for suggestions on enrichment activities that we can disguise as homework.

Photo by Denny

You’ve been building great castles and robots and houses out of your various block sets lately.  It can be pretty frustrating when your brother destroys them, but you also have a tendency to freak out over small problems.  We’re not a yelling-and-screaming kind of family, so it’s important to teach you how to prioritize your reactions.  We’ve used the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” metaphor lots of times, and you even mentioned that you read it at school with your big-kid reading buddy.  The message hasn’t sunk in yet, as far as I can tell.

Your current favorite foods and drinks are hot chocolate with marshmallows, hot dogs, orange juice, and popcorn.  You still like pasta, but you only like short noodles with tomato sauce. Spaghetti must be served without tomato sauce.  I don’t know why.  You’ve been trying more foods at snack time at school, so that’s a positive peer pressure element.  You like Curious George, Angry Birds, Minecraft, and the color red.

I love that you’re still my sweet little boy.  You still love your bedtime cuddles, and we have our unbreakable ritual of four stories.  I cut it down to three the other night because you were making life difficult for everyone, and boy was that ever traumatic (for both of us).  I don’t know if it was the fact that you were being punished that upset you or just the disruption of your routine, but wow.  In any case, I enjoy bedtime with you too.  I’m getting a little sick of the limited variety of your story selections, but I’m still glad I get to read them to you.  Tobin stays in your room for two stories before your dad takes him to put him to bed in his room, and you absolutely require that he blow you a kiss as he leaves the room.  Sometimes you’ll even deign to blow him a kiss, too.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays.  You’ll have fun with your cousins and grandparents, and of course there’s nothing like the joy a kid feels about all the trappings of Christmas.  Your smile is infectious, and you’re so funny and tender when you want to be.  Have a good remainder of the fall, sweetheart.  I love you more than Halloween candy.

Photo by Denny




A stripe for all seasons

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:00 pm

I bought a black-and-white striped boatneck top for my Halloween costume, Madonna in “Papa Don’t Preach.”  I wore it again the other day for the first time since Halloween.

T:  That your costume?

A:  Yes, it was my costume.

T:  Your zebra costume.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:17 pm

Denny was teasing Miles about having his pants zipper undone.

D:  Your barn door’s open.  You don’t want your cows to fall out.

M:  My cows are too big to fall out.

This reminded me something his Great-Granddad would have said, or at least laughed uproariously at.


Curiouser and curiouser

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:33 pm

Tobin was laughing at an episode of Curious George.

T:  That’s the silliest George I never seen in the whole wide world!

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