12/28/2013

The Tobin Times #28

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:31 am

My little Tobin,

I just looked at the date and realized—my goodness, I haven’t written a Tobin Times yet.  It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you or spending time with you.  We’ve just been so busy, running around in preparation for Christmas and now celebrating it at various locations.  I’ve barely had any time to sit and reflect on the last month.  I guess I’d better get that done.

Technically I shouldn’t be writing about the holidays yet, since a more organized woman would have posted this on the 21st, but that represents so much of what’s been going on lately that I think I will.  You’ll have to do some interesting things between now and your next month birthday so I have more material, okay?  Maybe you could learn to drive or something.

Since your last month birthday, you’ve gone to your first and second real movie-theater movies (not counting the one you went to on our cruise, because you fell asleep right as that one started).  At Mubby’s instigation both times, you saw Frozen and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2Frozen was similar in visual style to your old favorite, Tangled (aka Perdonzo), which makes sense as they’re both CGI Disney films.  True to the trope that all Disney female characters look alike, when lovely, blonde Elsa fled in sorrow from her home in Frozen, you said, “Poor Perdonzo.”  I guess maybe you thought it was a sequel.

You were a little wiggly during the movies, but not too much.  You had a hard time keeping your shoes and socks on, but that happens at home, too.  I don’t know how you don’t get chilly, since you often end up with the rest of your clothes off as well.  I suppose it’s all the running around you do.

You’ve been having a lot of fun with Christmas and all the presents that kids like you with generous extended families get.  I couldn’t place any of our family presents under the tree until the day before Christmas, because I was afraid you’d open them the second you got near them.  In fact, even that one day was a challenge.  After much discussion on the topic, you resisted the urge to open them.  You did stack them like blocks, though.  You’ve been stacking a lot of things lately, as a matter of fact.  I may go so far as to call it your new favorite hobby.

We found out recently that Uncle Tyler and Aunt Oxana are going to have a baby boy, so it will be fun to watch you little guys grow up together.  It will probably also be fun for you not to be the littlest one anymore.  On the other hand, you do get away with a lot, so there may be some rough patches as well.

As sweet and engaging as you usually are, you’ve certainly let your angry side show a few times lately.  I asked your dad whether he’d checked your mouth for new teeth, because you were chewing on your fingers a lot.  He said, “Yeah, when he roars I can see them.”  When you don’t get your way these days, we hear some pretty loud roars.  But you also like to be helpful.  You love to help Skittergramps shovel snow and feed the fish.  You help me sweep the floor, and you do a reasonably good job putting away your toys when you’re done with them.  You’ve even become a tidier eater.  We got Mexican food the other day, and you got an enormous plate of rice.  You finished almost all of it, and only a little went on the floor.

Photo by Beth Clarke

You’ve been sleeping great lately.  You reliably sleep through the night now, if you’re in bed with us, and you often sleep a long time in your crib if that’s where you start.  It’s a mixed bag—when you sleep in your crib, I enjoy the luxury of extra space in bed (you’re cute, but you’re a bed hog).  On the other hand, when you’re not in bed with us, I miss you, and I wake up a bunch of times listening for you.  Sometimes I tell your dad to just bring you into our bed instead of putting you in the crib after he helps you fall asleep, because I know I’ll get a better night’s sleep if you’re snoozing next to me.

You and your brother have been talking about getting bunk beds and sharing a room, and I could probably get used to that.  I think you’d probably be happy if you were with Miles, and I could always come in and snuggle you both if I needed a sweet boy fix.  (No, Denny, you’re not chopped liver.  It’s just that the kids are so cute.)

Photo by Denny

You’re still funny and verbal and sharp.  You remember all kinds of things you hear, which is why we’re very careful about the media you consume.  Thus far, you’re pretty satisfied with Curious George and Berenstain Bears videos.  Curious George is actually pretty funny.  Berenstain Bears isn’t quite as witty, but it’s hilarious to hear you sing along with the slightly weird theme song:  “They’re kinda furry around the torso / They’re just like people only more so.”  In a very Miles-like tendency, sometimes you mishear things and insist that your version is correct (e.g., a character I thought was named Petrie is, in your very solid opinion, actually named Pee-tweef).

We were bundling up to get Miles from school a week or two ago, and you said, “Is it awful darn cold outside?”  You don’t mind your winter gear.  You look cute in your poofy yellow coat and Spider-man hat and fuzzy mittens.  You love the decorations associated with the holidays, especially the inflatable lawn decorations in some people’s yards.  I took you with me on a trip to Walgreens, and you stood mesmerized in front of a display of enormous Santas and snowmen for a long time.  The Christmas tree has only lost one breakable ornament so far.  I have noticed, though, that one by one, the ornaments are moving their way up the tree, out of your reach.  It will be a magical day when I can live free from the fear of wanton destruction.

Photo by Beth Clarke

Actually, “wanton” is too strong a word.  Most of the destruction you cause is accidental.  You do take some glee in knocking down your brother’s block towers, but you’re not a truly destructive force.  You just get excited.

You know what?  I’m excited too.  Having you around, with your sparkling blue eyes and quick smile, makes every day more fun, but especially the holidays.

I love you, my little snowman.

Mommy

12/20/2013

Gift wrap

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:11 pm

Miles and I made some holiday treats as gifts for his teachers.

A:  Did your teachers like their presents?

M:  Yes.

A:  Did you tell them that you helped make them?

M:  Yes.  Well, I told one of them.

A:  Which one?

M:  Mrs. Jensen.  (huge smile) But I got hugs from both of them!

12/11/2013

Monthly Miles Memo #71

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:31 pm

My dearest Miles,

As I was thinking about writing this, it occurred to me that this is your last month as a five-year-old.  That is mind-boggling to me.  How could you possibly be almost six?  Six-year-olds read.  Six-year-olds go to school.  Six-year-olds have wiggly teeth and no longer get their clothes from the toddler size range.

For all but the wiggly teeth, you’re there.  We had your first parent-teacher conference at your public school, and your dad and I were so proud.  You are becoming an excellent reader, which I see at home all the time.  I can barely get through a bedtime story nowadays because you so frequently interrupt me to show me words on the page that you know.  One thing I didn’t have as much direct experience with is your math skillset.  Your math teacher specifically called out your high performance in that area.  Another thing she mentioned was that you are tenacious.  There are a handful of kids in your class who can count and write the numbers to 100, but she said that among those, most get bored before they reach 100 on the “write numbers as high as you can” sheet.  Not you, Miles.  You got all the way to 100, and I bet you would have gone higher if the worksheet had given you enough space.

Photo by Beth Clarke

We were also pleased to hear that you’re doing well socially.  I’ve sometimes noticed you playing by yourself at recess, and your teacher said she’s also noticed that as well and sometimes encourages you to engage with others.  She also noted, though, that you get along well with your classmates and are well-liked.  You seem to be making a lot of friends.  You and your new friend, James, are going to have a shared birthday party next month.  I asked you about playing alone, whether you’re sad about it and wish you were playing with other kids.  You told me no, that you just need a break and some time to yourself.  I hear that.

Photo by Gary Clarke

Your dad took your conference report to all the family Thanksgiving gatherings.  He’s pretty proud of his Mini-Me, no doubt about it.

You are really into building tetrahedrons (you say tetrahedon and won’t be convinced about that second r) with your magnet toy.  You also spend a lot of time writing and drawing on your white board, and of course you still enjoy your PBSkids.org games.  I told you a little bit about the Harry Potter universe, because I’m really looking forward to reading those books to you.  You may be a little young yet, and for the time being you enjoy hearing stories from the same book every night.  This repetition and predictability seems soothing to you, kind of like building the same tetrahedron over and over.  You like the same movies, the same snacks, the same lunch, the same routine for everything.  I guess when you’re a little kid in a big world, those patterns help you feel secure.  I’m glad we can offer that to you (though I still wish you ate more fruits and vegetables).

We had our big choir concert a few weeks ago, and you were proud to sing a special duet verse with me on “Quinn the Eskimo.”  We have a special holiday mini-concert tonight.  This has been a very busy choir season, and I think you’ll appreciate the break we have after tonight’s event.  One song we’re singing is the spiritual, “Go Where I Send Thee.”  Not being a religious family, this is the first you’ve heard of a lot of these things.  One line of the song is supposed to go, “Five for the gospel preachers.”  As we practiced it together over lunch today, I realized you’re singing, “Five for the gang of creatures.”  I don’t think that’s probably what the author intended, but I like the image.  You also told me, a little shyly, that whenever we get to the line, “One for the little-bitty baby,” you always think about Tobin.

Photo by Gary Clarke

As much as you two squabble, you do really care about each other.  I was going through the schoolwork you brought home, and I found a construction paper project on which you wrote, “I am thankful for brthr.”  And it would take a fool to miss how much Tobin loves you, Miles.  You’ve been home sick the last couple of days (doing much better now, I’m pleased to say), and Tobin kept wanting to go check on you while you rested downstairs on the futon.  Unfortunately, his checking on you usually devolved into jumping on the futon and taking your pillow, so I had to haul him back upstairs.  But the motivation for the trips downstairs truly was love and concern for you.

I’m so proud of how well your fifth year has gone, Miles.  I’m self-servingly glad that you still have a lot of little boy in you, happy to have bedtime snuggles and needing help getting your orange juice from that big container.  You are growing more competent all the time, better able to see the big picture.  You still sometimes freak out over small things, but that will probably wane.  Even your aim is getting better.  You hardly got any puke on your sheets the other night.

Photo by Denny Crall

But even if you had, we’d clean it up for you.  That’s what mommies and daddies do.  We’re so glad to be yours.

Love,

Mommy

Most people don’t

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:19 am

Miles was talking in his sleep.

M:  Do you even know what a dudju is?

12/5/2013

Band-aid solution

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:10 pm

Tobin got a box of Band-Aids out of the bathroom drawer and was trying to open them.  He was having a hard time figuring out how to get into them.

T:  Where’s the…door to this?

A moment later, after he found the “door,” he started tearing the perforations between the Band-aid wrappers.

T:  I’m breaking these.

A:  Uh-oh.

T:  What do you think of that?

Slimy

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:16 am

Tobin had a rough night, waking up several times heaving and spitting up (no major pukage; just phlegm and post-nasal drip, I think).  This morning, he was lying pathetically on the hallway floor, and Miles went to check on him.

M:  You’re not feeling so well, are you?

T:  I spit out my brains.

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