Park adventures

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:07 am

Freshly in from playing outside:

T:  I’m chemically treated!

Apparently he walked through the neighbors’ recently-sprayed lawn.  Fortunately, it had rained hard between the spraying and the walking, so hopefully his chemical treatment was minimal.

Another day, also freshly in from playing outside:

T:  I touched something long and lean.

A:  Was it…the monkey bars?

T:  No.  (pause)  I don’t know what it was called.

M:  It was a worm.


Cruciferous heart

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:20 am

Last night before bed…

A:  I love you more than ice cream.

T:  I love you more than broccoli.

If you know my crazy, veggie-loving Tobin, you know what a high compliment that is.



The Tobin Times #34

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:51 pm

My dearest Tobin,

You’re almost three.  You wear me out.

Your life lately has been all about excavators.  You and a friend (Ben, the Family Folk Machine director’s son) played with diggers and other construction toys together, and you absolutely had to have an excavator like his.  Since Miles had recently gotten a pretty big present, your dad and I decided it would be okay for you to have something special too.  Amazingly, your enthusiasm for it has barely waned since the first day you got it.  You love to dig dirt in the front yard with it and take it to the playground to scoop wood chips.  When you’re not outside, you’re begging to videos about excavators.  I let you sometimes, but man, those things are boring.  One exception is a cool stop-motion photography construction toy dance choreographed by Debbie Allen.

Photo by Denny

Miles is taking summer classes at Willowwind now, and you really enjoy going downstairs to the preschool area to see where you’ll be going.  I’m guessing you won’t be ready right away in the fall.  After all, you turn three right as school is starting, and while you’d probably love it, I’m not sure you’d be quite ready.  Plus there’s the ever-looming potty-training requirement.  You haven’t made any progress in that arena.  I’m not forcing it, hoping it will work like it did with Miles and you’ll just decide one day that you’re ready.  If you haven’t had a few more successes by the end of summer, though, I may have to start encouraging you a little more strongly.  Miles found the DVD Potty Power today, which was a key element in his transition.  Maybe it will be useful for you too.

Photo by Denny

I bet you’d take to the idea of peeing outside.  You love the outdoors.  We spent a lot of time playing outside yesterday, and you got so filthy the bathtub was caked with dirt after the water drained.  You and your dad and Miles are out at the park right now.  You brought your excavator.

Water has been a big part of your life lately too.  You love helping me water the garden, and the sprinkler has been popular as well.  You have no trepidation about sticking your face right into the spray.  The same thing happens when we go to the fountain downtown.  I hope we have some nice days coming up soon so we can do that again.

You love trips downtown, especially when they involve the library, the playground near the library, frozen yogurt, and the fountain.  The nice thing about summer is that we can rotate among those destinations easily.  We’ll probably need to include the Natural History Museum some time soon, too.

You were in rare form last night.  Up at the beginning of this letter, when I wrote “You wear me out,” it was mostly referring to times like that.  Yesterday was a no-nap day, which is always borderline disastrous.  You’re in a tough stage regarding naps.  A lot of times you’re not sleepy at a reasonable nap time.  Later in the afternoon, when you get tired, I can get you down.  The problem is that then you sleep until far too late, and once it’s bedtime, you’re ready to party.  I think you and your dad have a whole secret life together downstairs that you enjoy while I’m putting Miles to bed and you want nothing to do with sleeping.  So anyway, some days we just skip nap, and that comes at the cost of your personality.

You were truly outrageous last night, Tobin.  Everything was a tragedy in your eyes.  The major source of trauma was the fact that you picked an old scab, and it didn’t bleed.  Can you imagine the horror?  “I WANT TO BLEED!” you howled.  You wigged out about that on and off for much of the evening.

It’s been a bloody summer so far.  You and your brother have both had some scrapes.  You seem not to mind (and sometimes revel in) minor injuries.  You wipe out, stand up, and keep going.  Only later, when I’ve finally gotten you inside, do I realize that you actually scraped your knees and palms.  This has happened more than once.  You’ve gotten well-acquainted with Band-Aids, between all the tumbles and knocking off scabs from previous injuries.

You’ve had a couple of big head thunks lately, which of course worries us.  You haven’t shown any signs of concussion, fortunately.  After a few minutes of crying, you’re on your way.  Your forehead is multi-colored.

Another pastime you enjoy lately is playing with the Imaginext castle and accoutrements, like the ogre and dragon.  You can spend a long time carrying the dragon around and flapping its wings, and hiding the guys in the castle crevices.  You have a great imagination and really have fun playing pretend.

Photo by Gary Clarke

Current favorites:  Curious George, both books and videos; excavators and other construction toys; broccoli (still); cheese pizza from Hy-Vee; pretty much the entire staff of  First Avenue Hy-Vee; your Rooster t-shirt; playing outside and in the water; eating strawberries straight from the garden.

I love you, my little Tobin.  I love being around you when we’re both well-rested.  And even when you’re being a jerk, I’d still take a head thunk for you.




You and me, baby, we ain’t nothing but mammals

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:40 pm

M:  In people’s families it’s usually mom/dad, mom/mom, or dad/dad.  (pause)  Same with hippos.


Monthly Miles Memo #77

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:38 pm

My dear Miles,

Kindergarten is done.  You rocked it, for real.  I am so very proud of you for all you accomplished this year.  You can read, which is no small task.  You claim not to like to read, but you certainly seem to take pleasure in being able to read signs, informational blurbs on the video games you play, and food labels.  Often at dinner, you show off your reading skills by reminding us that you know how to spell “organic ketchup.”  You are still a high achiever in math as well.  You’re taking a summer class at Willowwind called “Math Wizards,” which from what I can tell mostly involves solving little puzzles on worksheets.  You seem to like it well enough, especially since your good friend James is in it.

Photo by Denny

The last day of school was lots of fun.  Mubby and Skittergramps came to join your dad and Tobin and me, and we all went to school and had a picnic lunch with you.  Then we watched you sing songs about your growth and accomplishments with your friends (yes, I cried a little), and we watched a slideshow of the various activities you’ve done in school this year.  We had ice cream sundaes, for which I donated a bunch of ice cream that never got used.  I guess we’ll be having ice cream sundaes at home this summer.

Photo by Gary Clarke

The day after your final day as a kindergartner, we had a mini choir concert.  It was only half an hour long, but I think it’s the best you’ve ever done.  You had four solos (if you count the two verses we sang together in one song as two).  You were just so brave, and your voice was strong and clear.  I was looking at your dad in the audience, and he was tearing up, which made me tear up, which was inconvenient because I needed to sing.  Why do you have to be so darn sweet, Miles?

Photo by Gary Clarke

You’ve been, for the most part, pretty pleasant to be around lately.  You do get into uncooperative moods sometimes, and we’ve been hearing “Not fair!” in a whiny tone all too often.  I don’t think you really know what it means, because you just say it when you don’t like a situation, whether it has anything to do with fairness or not.  You’re still stubborn, and you still refuse to admit you’re anything but 100% right, ever.  This can cause conflict with friends sometimes.  I hope that as you continue to grow socially, you are able to laugh off perceived slights and disagreements.  We’ll work on it.

You still hate repeating yourself and answering questions to which you think the asker already knows the answer.  I agree; it’s annoying.  But sometimes you just have to suck it up and tell your brother for the fourteenth time what’s in your cup.

It’s probably apple juice.  You love apple juice.

Your current favorites, besides apple juice:  cinnamon graham crackers, Hebrew National hot dogs (with organic ketchup), the cuisine of Noodles & Company and Z’Marik’s, watching videos of other people playing Wii games, actually playing Wii games (especially Mario 3D World and Mario Kart), and drawing and writing in your sketch book.  You learned how to draw a stylized pigeon at school, and boy have you drawn a lot of pigeons.  You made a book called Pigeon Wants a Puppy.  The pigeon had to read five books to earn a puppy.  The puppy was smaller than the pigeon.

Your dad has to drag you outside to the park in the evenings, because you’d rather be sitting in front of a screen.  Once you get out, though, you usually have fun.  It’s good for you to play with the other neighborhood kids and use your leg muscles a bit.

I think we’re going to have a good summer, Miles.  Your classes are only in the mornings, so we’ll have plenty of time to explore various playgrounds, go to the library, and cement the ingredients of a Superman Flavor Ice into the Flavor Ice lady’s brain.  We haven’t been to the Natural History Museum yet this summer, so we ought to do that too.  We should do some swimming and playing in the downtown fountain.  I hear the movie theater is doing discount kids’ movies.  Yes, we will definitely have some fun.

Photo by Gary Clarke

Every night, you and your brother and I start out in your bed together, and every night, as soon as we turn off the light, Tobin says, “I’m leaving.” He jumps out of bed, says, “Bye, Bubby,” and heads downstairs to play with your dad for a while.  Then you say, “Well, I guess it’s just you and me.”  I cuddle up to you and enjoy that alone time while I wait for you to fall asleep.

I know that what I really should do is convince Tobin to stay in bed, but the truth is, I don’t get much time with “just you and me” anymore.  That’s probably not going to change any time soon, so I send him on his way and cherish those minutes as you fidget, toss off your blanket, pull your blanket back on, kick your legs around, roll over, funch, and eventually fall asleep.

I love you, my sweet Miles.  I’m so proud of you.



A question of degree

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:35 am

T:  Ogres are pretty nice…but not really nice.


Neither nor

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:06 am

I was getting Tobin out of bed, and he wanted to linger.

A:  Are you ready to have some breakfast?

T:  I don’t want any.

A:  Well, I’m hungry.  I’m going to eat breakfast.

T:  Me neither.  (pause)  Do you know what “me neither” means?

Powered by WordPress