Cutting remarks

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:44 pm

The boys have a toy sword they both like to play with a lot.  Tobin was having a hard time sharing it with Miles, who wished he had it.  Tobin was prowling around the living room with it in his hands.

T:  What shall I cut?

M:  How about you cut down your interest in that sword?

Nobody knows

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:04 pm

Tobin was standing on the hearth and bouncing up and down.

T:  What’s happening with this house?  It seems like it’s shaking.  Or…a skeleton!  (pause)  Why am I doing this?


The best medicine

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:32 pm

I’m sick, and Tobin has been doing a good job being sweet to me.  I was resting on the couch, and he came to check on me.

T:  Are you feeling your best?

A:  No, I’m not.

T:  Do you need some love?

And then he gave me a very nice snuggle.


Pattern recognition

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:14 pm

Tobin was being rude and messing with a drawing Miles was working on.  Miles got mad at him and Tobin ended up in tears.  I picked him up to try to calm him down, but apparently I wasn’t being as soothing as he thought I ought to be, and I guess I missed an important line.

T:  Is Mommy here?


Needed: 1 biology lesson

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:45 pm

M:  If it’s husband and husband, how do they have kids?

A:  Sometimes they adopt kids.

M:  Well, at least if it’s wife and wife, it’s easy.

The Tobin Times #29

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:17 pm

My not-so-little Chub-Chub,

We measured you and your brother the other night, and you have grown over four inches since last January.  You’re almost to the three-feet mark.  I have nearly a yard of Tobin.  It’s probably because you do such a good job eating healthy food.  Last night we had black bean soup for dinner, and you requested (and finished) three bowls full.  You’re also big on broccoli, asparagus, and salads from the Hy-Vee salad bar.  I hope you hold onto these preferences, though it seems like a lot of kids fall into a picky stage in late toddlerhood.  For the time being, I’ll keep filling you with fruits and vegetables and hope the vitamins accumulate in case of future deficiencies.

You’re in a big “I can do it” stage, whether it’s putting on your coat or making coffee.  I always have to budget extra time for everything, because nothing takes the amount of time it would take if you let me help you.  Your favorite thing ever is to go into your brother’s kindergarten classroom and act like one of the big kids.  You love the drinking fountains and tables and toys they have there.  These cold days have been tough on you, because you really love playing outside.  After school, you and your brother love to scramble around on the snow pile outside.  I let you as long as I can stand it, which hasn’t been very long lately.  We’re in what the media are calling an “Arctic Vortex,” the second of the month.  I’m not sure what that means exactly, but we’ve had some really cold days.

You’re also probably about ready to give up naps.  I am not ready for you to give up naps.  In fact, you’re napping right now as I write this, and without my mid-day break, I’m not sure when I’ll get things like this done.  But napping doesn’t last forever, and the upside of dropping naps is easier bedtime.

Our current bedtime routine involves you, your dad, and your brother all crowded into Miles’s bed.  Your dad reads you guys stories, but I don’t know if you’ve ever lay quietly through the whole set.  You’re always standing on the bed, running out of the room to go find me, messing around with the lamp, or fiddling with the curtains.  Once the stories are over, I take your dad’s place in Miles’s bed and cuddle with you guys until you fall asleep.  On the days you skip your nap, it happens pretty fast.  Other days…who knew lying in a bed could be such a frustrating experience?  I swear, that curtain rod is going to come crashing down on our heads one of these days.

Photo by Denny

We’ve made it through the holiday insanity now, which extends into your brother’s birthday.  I ordered you an un-birthday present, but due to the Polar Vortex gumming up the UPS delivery schedule, it didn’t arrive until several days after Miles’s birthday.  Fortunately, you’re more interested in the opening process than the contents, and Miles was generous about letting you help him rip off wrapping paper.  I’ve saved the present for another time—perhaps an upcoming trip.

Your favorite thing right now are your Jake and the Neverland (or Wonderland, as you say) Pirates toys.  You have a sword that you wave around a lot, and little characters and a map you like to play with.  I even got you some Jake underpants, which you were initially excited about (and had a little bit of success and a couple of accidents in).  You sort of lost enthusiasm for those, and it’s been so cold I don’t want you running around pantsless, so I’m biding my time on that.  We’ll keep working on it.

Your other major hobby is dragging the bathroom stool around and using it to reach things you’re not supposed to get.  We even caught you trying to haul it down the basement stairs, which fortunately didn’t turn out as badly as it could have.  I have to admire your problem-solving skills.

You’re still full of funny expressions and surprising words.  Yesterday I put you on the changing table to change your diaper, and you said, very matter-of-fact-ly, “A baby goat is called a kid.”  Today, also on the changing table (the changing table seems to be where you do your best conversing), you said, “Excellent shot, I say so myself.”  You were holding your brother’s suction-cup dart gun at the time.  It wasn’t loaded.

The concept of family has really been on your radar lately.  There’s this game on my phone you like to watch me play that involves rescuing a butterfly from a spider.  You named the butterfly Orangey.  When the butterfly gets too close to the spider, it trembles, and when you saw it do that, you said, “Is Orangey scared? Does he want to be with his family?”

You’ve been really into puzzles lately, and your preferred way of doing them is for your dad or me to crouch on all fours, then you climb under the person’s torso and do the puzzle from there.  You call it Daddy (or Mommy) Cave.  I guess, like poor Orangey, you just want to be protected by your family.  It’s not too bad on the carpet downstairs, but the other day you wanted to do four puzzles on the hardwood floor upstairs.  Nobody told me being your mom would require kneepads.  When we finished a puzzle with a picture of  a lion with a fluffy mane, you said, “That lion has unusual hair.”

Your hair is a bit unusual too.  It could probably use a trim, but I can’t bring myself to cut off your little blond curls just yet.  Earlier today, you ate an ice cream sandwich and made a mid-level mess on yourself.  You came up to me, sticky hands outstretched, and said, “I look awful.”  You didn’t look awful, sweetheart.  You often look unorthodox, but you’ve never looked awful to me.  Sometimes I have to pluck you up from your nap without taking the time to put you in fresh clothes or wash your face in order to get to school on time to pick up Miles.  Now and then I half-heartedly wonder if the other parents thing I’m raising a little urchin.  But I don’t wonder it hard enough to make much effort to change you.  Anybody who squats down by you and hears what you have to say will know that there’s more to you than grubby cheeks and weird hair.

I love you, my special Tobin.  Have a good month.




A kind invitation

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:23 pm

Tobin mostly sleeps with Denny and me.  I was the first one awake this morning, and I was trying to sneak out of bed without disturbing anyone.  Tobin woke up and caught me trying to escape.

T:  Come join the cuddle party!

I did, of course.


Preemptive strike

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:56 pm

This afternoon, I was talking to Miles in his room.  When I came back to the living room, I saw that Tobin had moved the bathroom stool over to a cabinet and was staring at a bunch of stuff he wasn’t supposed to touch.  When he saw me, he said…

T:  I’m just doing nothing!

Monthly Miles Memo #72

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:15 pm

My dearest Miles,

I think you’ve grown.  So many of your pants are too short.  I was about to buy you some new pants when your dad told me to stop, you’ve got lots of pants.  I’m not sure if he realizes how tall you’ve gotten, though.  You’ve finished your school lunch every day this week, which is unusual for you.

Photo by Denny

My tentative diagnosis:  you’re six.  Six!  This birthday spread itself over quite a span.  First we had a birthday celebration as part of a late-Christmas gathering with Mubby and Skittergramps.  Then we had our immediately family party with decorations, presents, and a special birthday sundae.  You were supposed to take treats to school on your true birthday, but the Arctic Vortex came through and cancelled school for two days.  The Arctic Vortex is all anybody’s talking about these days, but I have the feeling we’re going to re-read this in ten years and not even remember what it was.  Anyway, your teachers adjusted the treat schedule, and you ended up bringing your cake (complete with decorative robot rings) yesterday.

Photo by Denny

I came to your class to help manage the treat situation, and it was so much fun watching you in school.  Your classmates seem like a really sweet bunch, and they enjoyed the cake a lot.  One task everyone completed was to color a special birthday picture for you, which was a cupcake with a variegated cupcake holder bottom.  You did one too, and you were so methodical about coloring in the bottom in a specific pattern.  It was a slow process:  open the yellow marker, color in one stripe.  Put the lid back on the yellow marker.  Open the black marker, color in the next stripe.  Put the lid on the black marker.  Repeat.  You got about two-thirds of the way through the cupcake picture before your teacher called the class to the carpet, and it stressed you out that you weren’t done.

That’s how you are:  you want to do things right, and you want to do them on your own schedule.  You don’t like shortcuts, and sometimes it drives your dad and me kind of crazy when we need to get out the door or put you to bed.  As you and your friends were getting bundled up to go out for recess, your teacher suggested that you emulate firefighters:  jump quickly into your snowpants and boots.  That analogy must not have resonated with you very much.  Perhaps you’re better suited to a career in art restoration or computer programming.

Photo by Beth Clarke

One of your favorite things to do right now is make “germs,” which I believe you first learned to do at school.  It involves a lot of construction paper snipping and tape.  It’s a good thing I got a mega-pack of Scotch tape at Costco a while back, because between Christmas, your birthday, and your hobbies, we’ve been going through it.  Your germs are pretty cute, actually—anthropomorphic and colorful.  You still need a lot of reminders to wash your hands, but at least germs are on your radar.

Photo by Denny

You’ve been in a very sweet stage lately.  You’ve been more patient with your brother than he often deserves.  You do have a hard time sharing sometimes, especially your two favorite gifts:  a big Play-Doh cake-making kit and a balloon-animal-making kit.  Because he wants everything you have, Tobin can get grabby, and you can get frustrated.  I understand how you feel, and mostly you do a good job handling it.

It was a very big deal for you to be helper at school yesterday.  It’s a rotating honor that coincides with being in charge of bringing snack, so you’ve done it before, but celebrating a birthday also nets a person helper privileges.  One helper task I witnessed involved drawing a name from a hat.  You drew the name, glanced at it for only a moment, and began giving your friends clues as to who it was.  “It’s a boy…his name has seven letters…it starts with Or-Or-Or…” you said, grinning hugely the whole time.  That meant Orlando got to choose a prize.  Then, the teacher drew another name and gave it to you to read.  I didn’t think your smile could get any bigger, but as you said, “It’s a boy…his name has five letters…it starts with Mi-Mi-Mi…” it did, in fact.  I don’t know whether whether she chose your name by sheer luck or kind-hearted engineering, but either way, it capped off a great day in kindergarten.  You chose a sparkly bracelet.  You feel an item has to be really sparkly to qualify as treasure.  I blame Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Now is the part of the Monthly Miles Memo (divisible by 12 varietal) where I get nostalgic about how it seems so recently that you were my tiny little one-hander baby (I could hold you in one hand, I mean—you’ve always had two hands).  I’m sitting here on the very same couch where I sat six years ago when we brought you home from the hospital.  We didn’t have hardly any baby equipment yet, as your early arrival caught us off guard.  Your dad had gone out to run an errand, and I was sitting there, exhausted from the difficult work and little sleep that go along with a baby’s early days.  I remember that moment so clearly:  I had vague hopes of sleeping, and you were sitting in your car seat because we didn’t have a bouncy seat or swing or anything.  I lay down on the couch, which was in such pristine condition back then, and didn’t get any sleep because I couldn’t stop hearing every tiny noise you made.

That hasn’t changed.  In the middle of the night last night, I heard you whimpering.  I woke your dad up, and he went into your room and comforted you, so all was well.  But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to close my ears to you for the rest of my life.  Even when you grow up and move away (which you still aren’t completely sure you’ll ever do, and you know it’s okay with me if you want to stick around), I’ll probably still wake up at night, sure I can hear you snoring.

The couch is pretty much destroyed.  Your pants are mostly too short.  You may never finish that cupcake coloring page.  But that’s the way things are, that’s the way you are, and that’s the way I love you.  We can buy a new couch (perhaps in a more resilient fabric this time), we can buy you new pants, and nobody ever flunked kindergarten for not finishing a picture.  You are six, you are sweet, and you are mine.

Photo by Denny

I love you so much.



Honey-Sriracha wings

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:10 pm

We were supposed to have these New Year’s Eve, and they would have been good with champagne, but things changed and we ended up having them New Year’s Day.  They were good then, too.

I know the amount of butter sounds insane, but I actually only used probably 1/4 or 1/3 of the sauce.  Next time I’ll halve the recipe and still have enough left for optional dipping.

Photo by Denny

Adapted just lightly from Damn Delicious.

2 lbs chicken wings
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic powder
S&P, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Coat the wings in the butter and oil, then sprinkle with the dry seasonings.  Arrange on a large cookie sheet covered in foil and parchment paper.  Cook for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.  While they’re cooking, make the sauce.


5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp AP flour
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Sriracha (rooster sauce)
1 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1 lime

Once the wings are cooked, remove from oven and turn on the broiler.  Brush the wings with the sauce and make sure they’re all skin-side up.  Broil for just a a couple-three minutes, watching carefully, until they get a little crisped and charred but not burned.

These are less spicy than I expected, but really tasty.  Denny mentioned that the sauce would be good on other stuff, too, like grilled chicken or roasted vegetables.


Powered by WordPress