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.