The Tobin Times #36

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:34 pm

My sweet little blondie boy,

I was looking at the family portrait Skittergramps took for us last fall, and I realized a shocking difference between then and now:  you didn’t have your curls yet.  I don’t know exactly when they appeared, but it had to have been within the last year, but your golden curls have come to define you.

You are springy and sproingy, a little wild, but undeniably tender and sweet.  You love to shoot hoops and play catch, but you also are quick to invent imaginary play games.  Yesterday you decided the arm of the couch was a stove, and we used a little pot and utensils to make pretend couscous.  Your favorite toys are diggers, excavators, dump trucks, and anything you can smash, dig, or put into them.  You love babies and do such a sweet job of singing the ABCs to my tummy.  We have a good relationship of mutual cuddling.

Photo by Gary Clarke

On your actual birthday last Thursday, I took you out to the big mall to have some lunch, play on the playground, ride the carousel, and cash in a gift card.  Your normal approach to eating a bagel with cream cheese is to stick the knife in the cream cheese and lick it directly off.  This time, though, with no prompting from me, you spread it carefully on the bagel.  You even ate most the the actual bagel rather than just licking off the cream cheese.  When I praised you for your advances in bagel/cream cheese consumption, you said, “I’m three now, so I can do that.”

Other things you can do:  you can demand that you get into the car not through the door closer to your car seat, but through your brother’s side.   You have to crawl over his seat into your own, and then you’ll deign to let me strap you in.  When it’s time to get out of the car, I absolutely must be the one to get you out.  Never mind that if your dad is there, he’s closer.  Never mind that my growing abdomen is making these tasks increasingly hard.  You know what you want and you have no qualms about communicating it.

Your brother went back to school last week, and you miss him.  You always hug him so tightly when he comes out of the building at the end of the school day that I’m afraid you’ll knock him over.  It has been nice havingmore mommy/Tobin time, though.  We’ve been working in the garden, playing in the dirt with your digging toys, hanging out with your girlfriend the Hy-Vee employee, and reading books.  You also like to watch videos, of course, and your current favorite is an animated version of Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

Photo by Denny

You also like to watch Potty Power, though that has yet to translate into any success in the actual potty-using realm.  It would be really nice to have you potty-trained before Little Potato arrives, both because it would mean not having two kids in diapers at once, and also because you’d be preschool eligible.  In my dream world, you’d start preschool before the baby is born, so you can get accustomed to a routine and we can space out the major life changes.  But planning can only take a person so far, as hard as that is for me to admit.

We’re both feeling pretty sleepy and cuddly right now.  We had a rough night due to your first true bunk bed mishap.  About 3:30 a.m., I heard you crying hard, so I rushed in to check on you.  I got to the room just in time to see you thunk out of bed, banging your head on the bedframe on the way down.  I’m not even sure you truly woke up.  It might have been a night terror that got too much gravity involved.  You fell back asleep just moments later in my arms.  I stayed with you in bed for the rest of the night so I could check you periodically for breathing.  You slept fine.  You breathed fine.  I did well in the breathing department too, though not so much in the sleeping.

I lamented my tired state to you just now, saying I didn’t feel like exercising, but you said, “You can do it, Mommy!”  I think your enthusiasm has less to do with concern for my physical fitness and more to do with eating barbecue chips and watching Curious George.  I appreciate your support, anyway.

You’ve taken a recent interest in the song parody I dedicated to you when you were tiny, “Baby, I Need You, Tobin” (to the tune of The Four Tops’ classic “Baby, I Need Your Lovin'”).  You like to sing it and have me sing it to you.  I have a USB microphone, and you brought it to me the other day wanting to sing into it.  I wasn’t in the mood to start a music project at that moment, so I tried to put you off by saying we couldn’t do it without the right USB cable.  You took off for downstairs, and thirty seconds later, you reemerged with exactly the right USB cable in your hand.  I was pretty impressed.  For one thing, we as a family own a lot of USB cables.  For another, I didn’t even know you knew what the words “USB cable” mean.   Of course we recorded the song.  I couldn’t let that kind of achievement go unrewarded.

That’s you, Tobin.  Your sizzling little brain surprises me all the time, with all the ideas and words and creativity that spiral out of you like your curls coming out of your hair follicles.  But please, please try to be careful.  We love your brain and we wish you’d stop banging it into things.  I will hold you and kiss you every time you bonk yourself, but I’d rather do it just because you’re so sweet.

I’m so privileged to have been your mommy for the third year.  Thank you for all the wonderful things you bring to our family. You’re my sugarbug always.

Photo by Denny

I love you more than you can know.



What goes in

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:19 pm

Tobin invented a joke.

T:  What did the fresh banana say to the decomposing banana?

A:  What?

T:  The fresh banana will stay here, and the decomposing banana will go in his butt.


Borrowed body parts

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:24 am

Miles was wondering whether he’d need glasses when he got older.

A:  Well, your dad got glasses when he was a teenager, so maybe.  But maybe you’ll end up with my eyes and not need any.

M:  But I already have my eyes!


Monthly Miles Memo #79

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:59 pm

My special Miles,

You have a new favorite person.  He’s small (relative to you), cute, and likes pictures of pigs.  His name is Baby Aleks, and he’s your very first first cousin.  That is, he’s Uncle Tyler and Aunt Oxana’s son, and you love him like crazy.  We got to go meet him for the first time at his home in Lincoln a couple of weeks ago, and you took every single opportunity you could to hold him.  You invented a game called “Touch the pig,” which involved you holding up a picture of a pig and telling him to touch it.  He did it enough times that you’re sure it wasn’t coincidence.  Sometimes you sigh about how much you miss him and speculate about how much he surely misses you.

Photo by Gary Clarke

I knew you were excited to meet him, but I was surprised by just how enthusiastic yet gentle and loving you were.  That’s even more evidence of what a good double-big brother you’re going to be.  Our Lincoln trip also involved a trip to the surprisingly large and fun Natural History Museum.  You liked the dinosaurs, the interactive computer-based activities, and the identify-a-smell challenge.  We agreed that the “chocolate” smelled terrible, like stinky feet.

Photo by Denny

You’re enjoying a couple of weeks off before school restarts.  We got to spend some time with Nana, Papa, and other extended family on a recent trip to Des Moines and Albia, as well as when Nana and Papa stopped by our house for a quick overnight.  Now we’re at Mubby and Skittergramps’s house for “mini-vacation,” which involves a lot of sweets and late bedtimes.  You’ve also had fun building and decorating a cardboard tunnel, splashing in the little pool, and playing in the sandbox.

We had a fun trip to Dubuque to see cousin Maxwell’s performance of Shrek:  The Musical.  We spent the night, and the next day the whole gang of us went to the Mississippi River Museum.  You and Max and Meredith and Tobin had a great time exploring that place.  There was an enormous tank with sharks and other sea creatures, and opportunity to touch a real snake (you declined), and a cool wiggly river raft simulator.  Your favorite part was the mock-up of a wood-fueled riverboat.  You got to put logs into a pretend furnace and watch them glow as if on fire.  You did that about forty times.

Photo by Denny

Another thing you’re currently obsessed with is making prank videos to publish on YouTube.  We stumbled upon one in which a guy faked dropping his wife’s Nintendo 3DS into their swimming pool, and you got it into your head that you needed to make prank videos too, and that you’d get a million subscribers.  We’ve only made one so far, and I think your dad is our only subscriber, but maybe our following will grow as you perfect your craft.

You’re all done with summer school now.  This seems like a short summer, considering how late you got out of school in the spring due to so many snow/cold days and the fact that school starts on the 19th of August this year.  We got school supplies, which was kind of fun, although you don’t get much flexibility in color or style of your items.  I remember finding it fun to choose exciting folders and pen colors, but your school supply list had very specific requirements.

Photo by Denny

First grade will be starting soon.  We have the Popsicles with the Principal event coming up next week, when you’ll drop off your school supplies, have a treat, and find out who your teacher will be next year.  I’ve heard good things about all the first grade teachers, but there’s one you’re a little nervous you might get.  The description I’ve heard of her is that she’s “tough but fair,” which sounds fine to me.  You heard a rumor that she yanks kids’ wiggly teeth out of their heads, and you’re terrified that you’ll be her victim.  I’ve tried to reassure you that if you get put into her class, I’ll talk to her and tell her she should keep her hands out of your mouth (which is probably a moot point, as that sounds like the kind of story like I heard about Mr. Tosten, the supposed dangler of children out the second-storey window by their ankles).  Odds are that you’ll get one of the other two teachers anyway, but even if you end up with her, I’m sure you’ll do fine.  One of our Hy-Vee friends has a son who thinks she’s the best teacher ever.

Photo by Denny

You’ve lost yet another tooth, and two more are wiggly.  This last one got a special boost from Tobin, who bonked it and hastened its departure from your mouth.  You were a little freaked out by the blood, but you got over it, and the tooth fairy visited the top bunk for the first time.

Your reading and writing skills have grown over the summer.  You read enough to earn the special Wii U game your dad offered up as a prize.  You’ve also been doing lots of spontaneous reading and writing.  You’ve written me notes, and I see you reading signs in your environment and books over people’s shoulders.  You’re excited about the Magic Treehouse series right now, along with the Laurence Anholt artist series.  Mubby and Skittergramps bought you a Laurence Ahnolt book that our library doesn’t have, and you got just as excited for that as you did for Super Mario 3D World.  Leonardo da Vinci is your personal hero.

Photo by Denny

The next time I check in here, you will have been a first grader for a couple of weeks already.  I’m looking forward to seeing what you learn over the next year and what you get excited about.  I hope you make great new friends and keep in touch with old ones.  I hope you eat something in your packed lunches besides grapes and Wheat Thins.

I’m not placing any bets on that last one.

But I still love you.





Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:01 pm

Tobin chose fried rice with egg and vegetables to go with his Hy-Vee Chinese Express beef and broccoli.  After he finished all the broccoli…

A:  Do you want some of your rice?

T:  (poking at it)  This rice is kind of…um…complicated.

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