The Tobin Times #35

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:08 pm

Dear Tobin,

Here we are, in your last month as a two-year-old.  You’re becoming a big boy in a lot of ways.  One of the biggest developments of the month is that you and your brother got bunk beds.  You’ve done great in them so far.  Your brother technically has the top bunk, but the bottom holds a full-sized mattress.  About half the time, he ends up sleeping down there with you.  We don’t do it that way on purpose.  It happens when we’re all cuddling down there, with the plan that he and I will go up to the top bunk after you fall asleep.  But you are quite a champion at fighting sleep, and a good amount of the time, he falls asleep before you do.

That’s okay.  You seem to like having him down there with you, and I like it too.  You haven’t wanted to get into bed with your dad and me since you got the bunk bed.  You do wander into our room fairly often and want me to join you in your bed, but I assume you’ll get over that.  It’s a step in the right direction, and at least I don’t have to sleep with you draped all over me anymore.

I sort of miss you, though.  It didn’t bother me much when we took some recent trips and stayed in hotels, and you shared a bed with me.  Our trips have been due to some fun family events.  We saw Shrek:  The Musical twice in two weeks, because two of our family members were in the casts.  The first was Uncle Mark, who absolutely killed it at the Des Moines Playhouse.  He played Lord Farquaad, and he balanced the sight gags with great singing and theatrical panache. You were especially excited to meet the actor who played Shrek after the show.  You gave him a high five, and you said his hand felt slobbery.

We followed that event with some time in Des Moines with family and friends.  You especially enjoyed new cousin Charlie.  You just adore babies, and we’re really looking forward to meeting cousin Aleks next weekend.  I’m sure we’ll have large numbers of pictures documenting the time we spend in Lincoln.  I love how gentle and caring you are with babies.  It makes me feel confident that you’ll be a great big brother in January.

Photo by Denny

One thing I hope you accomplish before January:  potty training.  We got out Miles’s old Potty Power DVD.  You love watching it and singing along with the songs, though you haven’t done a whole lot in terms of actual potty usage yet.  You sat on the potty last night, which seemed promising, but nothing emerged.  You threw an enormous fit this morning because you wanted to eat the chocolate eggs my friend gave us to use as bribes.  I stuck to my convictions, though.  No excretin’, no egg-eatin’.  We’ve got six months or so to work on it, though I’d appreciate it if you got the hang of it sooner.  You can’t go to preschool until you’re potty trained, and it would be nice for you to be adjusted to school before the baby arrives.

Our second Shrek featured cousin Maxwell, who was a stellar Humpty Dumpty.  You had a little trouble sitting through it both times, but you definitely had fun with Max and Meredith.  They came and swam with us at the hotel, and then we all went out for brunch and to the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque.  That was a very cool place, and you enjoyed the interactive exhibits.  You also really, really liked Max’s Nintendo 3DS.  You’d seen a big kid playing one in the park some months ago, and the concept has never left your brain.  Max was very generous about letting you watch and even try it out.  You’re too little to have one of your own, but you sure disagree with that sentiment.  I think it’s fair that kids who can’t use the potty can’t have 3DSes.  It’s a wee bit pricey to use as a reward, though.

A more appropriate reward for true mastery might be another construction toy.  Your obsession with them, as well as their real-life counterparts, burns on.  I hope there’s a lot of road construction of the non-delay-causing type on our way to Lincoln, because you get really excited about excavators and back-hoes and dump trucks.  You still love to sit out in our front dirt pile and dig.  You have memorized several digger books from the library.

We did some redecorating in the living room over the last few weeks, and you wanted to help so much.  Unfortunately, most of your helping involved touching freshly-painted walls, so I ended up taking you and your brother out on a lot of errands so your dad could get work done.  That worked out okay.  You helped me pick out some new curtains, and you got to try mango juice at Costco.

You’re tired now, because you’ve been moving away from naps.  This can make for some long afternoons, especially because you’ve picked up the very annoying habit of saying, “But, Mo-o-o-o-o-m” whenever you don’t like how something is going.  Sometimes you even say it when you have nothing to complain about, presumably because you like making so many syllables out of one word.

You’re also in the middle of a stage I remember your brother going through, though I don’t remember at exactly what age.  It’s the stage in which you strictly assign tasks to certain people (usually me), and nobody else may complete them.  The biggest one right now is getting you out of your car seat.  Never mind that you sit behind the driver’s side, so it’s more convenient for your dad to take you out when we’re all getting out of the car at the same time.  Never mind that I’m often carrying a bag of library books and soggy clothes from a fountain adventure.  No—nobody can get you out of your seat but Mommy.  In general I prefer not to negotiate with terrorists, but I tell myself I’m picking battles by letting you have this one.

But let me tell you, you’re not getting any of those chocolate eggs without a legit pee or poop on the potty.  This much I swear.

Photo by Denny

We may have to hide the chocolate eggs from your dad, although I suppose he does a good enough job on the potty that he’s earned some.  Easter eggs are hard to come by in July, though, and I don’t want to squander them.

Your current favorites:  the “Wipe Your Bottom” song from Potty Power, excavator videos (still), broccoli (still), grabbing things triumphantly from your brother, playing outside and in the dirt, and sleeping in your Special Tobin Cave.

My current favorites:  your blond curls that get so fluffy in humid weather, when you kiss my tummy and say hi to Little Potato, your giant smile.  You are the sweetest, little Tobin.

Photo by Denny




A tangled web

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:37 am

We were staying at a hotel.  Tobin semi-woke up at about 6 a.m., crying and touching his head.  He fell back asleep without telling me what the problem was.  A couple of hours later, he woke up for real.  The first thing he did was touch his head.  Then he said, with relief in his voice:

T:  My curls are okay!


Monthly Miles Memo #78

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:10 pm

My dear Miles,

As always, the summer is going fast.  You’ve been doing a good job in your summer classes:  Math Wizards, Amazing Animals, Clay Creations, and Ratta-tat-tat.  Next week you start your final class, a three-week affair called Math and Reading Challenge.

You still claim not to like reading, but I’ve noticed that whenever you see a sign or other opportunity to decipher words, you go for it.  You’re working toward earning a new Wii U game by reading books above and beyond the library’s summer reading program requirements, and I have no doubt you’ll succeed.

You’ve recently declared that your future profession is an artist.  I think that’s because we’ve been reading a really cool series of books lately.  They’re Laurence Anholt’s artist series, and each one is a reasonably accurate view of a famous artist told through the lens of his/her friendship with a child.  We’ve learned some interesting things:  da Vinci was not only an artist and scientist but also a musician, and you had fun reading some backward writing like da Vinci did in his journals.  Matisse was jolly and lively, even when age and infirmity confined him to his bed.  Van Gogh was clearly mentally ill.  Degas was kind of a jerk.

You’ve been drawing portraits of everyone in the family lately.  You’ve come a long way from the stick figures you used to draw.  Now people have nostrils and fingers and multi-layered ears.  Tobin has nice curly hair.

Your other current obsession is Minecraft.  You play on my phone sometimes, but you also learned that you can check out iPads at the library, and you love playing on the bigger screen.  I don’t think your dad wants you to know that he has Minecraft on his iPad.

I was a little nervous about telling you that I was pregnant with your future brother-to-be, but you have been nothing but excited.  We were eating dinner in a restaurant when we told you kids, and you just got into the best mood.  “These are the best French fries ever!” you said.  When you were on a break from summer school, you sometimes watched Sesame Street with Tobin in the morning, and whenever a baby was on the screen you got a huge smile on your face.  I know you’re going to be a great brother this time around too.

Your only complaint was when we found out it’s a boy.  You’ve come around to the idea now, I think, on the condition that we name the baby Fred.  I personally like the name, but I don’t think your dad does.  Maybe he’d let you name his iPad Fred.

With an eye toward the future, we just got bunk beds for you and Tobin.  You guys were so excited to pick them out at the store, and to choose new sheets, and to get them all set up.  When the delivery truck came today and the workers got the beds assembled, I thought you guys were both going to explode with the thrill of it all.  You have reserved the top bunk (with red sheets, your current favorite color) and Tobin seems happy to take the bottom, but you’ve both decided you’d probably like to visit the other for some cuddles.

You two torture each other a fair amount, but you’re wonderful to each other a lot of the time too.  We went to Tot Time a week or two ago, and I was so impressed by how caring and concerned you were about Tobin.  You helped him find a trike to ride, and you made sure he got into the bouncy house safely, and you watched out for him around all the other kids.  Tobin honestly doesn’t need much protection, but nonetheless, I’m glad you’re the kind of guy who keeps an eye out for your little brother.  Tobin and Little Potato are both lucky to have you.

You visited a pet store with your Amazing Animals class, and you got the idea that you want to buy a piranha.  That surprised me, since when the store employee asked who was brave enough to feed the piranha, you kept your hands glued to your sides and looked around nervously.  But I guess you got braver in absentia, because you’ve been talking about it a lot.  Unfortunately, it costs $150, not including tank and other accessories.  You suggested you could use your tooth fairy money, and I said it cost a lot more than the $1.25 you found under your pillow.  You followed up with Plan B, which involved me chipping in some.  I mostly am just hoping you lose interest.

We’re on a hiatus from choir right now, after a big finish to our season at the Englert theater.  You did superbly, especially on your “Mama Don’t Allow” vocal and maraca solo.  I’m so proud of you, and I love that we have Family Folk Machine as a special activity to do together.  You’ve gotten much more brave and are having fun with your choir friends, too.

We’ve got exciting times coming up, with trips and family events and theatrical productions to see.  I know you’ll do a great job despite the stresses, and it will be fun to have some school-free time before first grade starts.  You’ve lost two teeth now, and you have at least two more wigglers.  One of them is one of your top front teeth, and I hope you lose that before school pictures.  There’s nothing like that classic first grade picture with a big gappy smile.

You’re good at other facial expressions too, though.




Sound the alarms

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:02 pm

T:  I don’t want to alarm you.  I don’t want to alarm you.  I don’t want to alarm you.  (pause)  We’re going outside to pick up sticks.

I’m not sure whether the two sentiments were related or not.

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