The Tobin Times #38

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:28 pm

Dear Tobin,

As we brainstormed baby names, your dad and I were talking about how we didn’t specifically plan to give you the nickname Tobes.  I had envisioned calling you Toby, which I still sometimes do.  But somehow, the nickname that stuck the best was Tobes.  I don’t know why.  It just suits you.  You’re a Toblerone, a Tobalicious, sometimes a Toby or a Tobester, but you’re most often a Tobes.

We have had a wild month.  We’ve been traveling all around, visiting family and attending events.  You’ve seemed extra sleepy lately, taking many more spontaneous naps than usual.  I don’t know if it’s all the activity or just a developmental stage, but after being napless for months, you’re back on them now and then.  Last night, it wasn’t even bedtime quite yet.  Your brother was reading you a story in the big chair, and from the other room, your dad and I heard him say, “Tobin, are you awake?”  You didn’t answer, so we went in to check on you, and there you were, snoozing with your head on your brother’s shoulder.  Your dad put you in bed fully clothed, and you slept a full night’s sleep.

My big plan for next weekend is a potty training boot camp.  You haven’t been too cooperative so far.  You’ll sit on the potty now and then, but it’s never your idea, and you almost never get anything out.  Starting this weekend, we’re going to be done with diapers.  The Three-Day Potty Training method specifies no bottoms at all in the house (they say for three months, but that doesn’t really seem realistic).  We’ll try it for the weekend anyway, and hopefully you’ll get the hang of it.  I don’t plan to let you back into diapers, but maybe after the weekend is over we’ll put you in big-boy underpants.  I’ll need to check on the status of our cleaning products.  You do seem interested in earning the stickers that go with the potty-themed book Nana got you.  I hope those remain motivating.

Your current favorite thing to do is play game after game of Trouble and Dinosaur Train Pop ‘n Race, which is basically Trouble with dinosaur illustrations.  You don’t seem to care a lot who wins.  You just like popping the die dome and moving your little pegs around.  We don’t play a cutthroat version (ie, nobody gets sent back home when another piece lands in the same spot).  Maybe we should switch to that, because just moving in circles around the board is pretty boring.  You also enjoy jumping back and forth between the couch and the futon downstairs, wearing your Spider-man costume to pick your brother up from school, and talking about Dr. Dreadful (still).  The next time I write your monthly letter and I don’t mention Dr. Dreadful, it will either be because you finally forgot about the blasted thing, or I’ve become so used to hearing about it that it’s no longer discussion-worthy.

Photo by Gary Clarke

You and your brother are both really into the show Wild Kratts right now, and you’ve both taken to spouting various animal facts.  You drew perhaps your best artwork yet today, a couple of squid.  You like the episodes about bats and platypuses a lot.  Thanks to Netflix, you can easily watch them between games of Trouble.

Photo by Denny

I took you to a doctor’s appointment last week for your annual check-up.  You’re at the 48th percentile for both height and weight, so I guess I have official confirmation that you’re not a little chub-chub anymore.  Your grocery store girlfriend commented the other day that you seem to look a lot older all of a sudden.  You’re thinning out, and your cheeks are less squishy.  We were counting birthdays last night, and you told me you’d be four on your next one.  I did my usual exaggerated sorrow response, bemoaning the loss of mah bay-bay.  You said, “You’re just kidding.  You like me being four.”  I had to admit that you were right.  I can’t imagine loving you any less, ever, even when you’re a weird teenager.

Last weekend, you and Miles stayed at Mubby and Skittergramps’s house for the first time without your dad and me.  He and I went to Minneapolis for a brief babymoon.  You had lots of fun.  Mubby kept you beyond busy, with excursions and crafts and apple-bobbing.  When we got home, you asked me why we went to “that apple place.”  It took me several guesses (I assumed you meant either the orchard where we picked apples last month or the orchard activity center to which Mubby and Skitter took you) to figure out you meant Minneapolis.

Other recent events include a trip to Nana and Papa’s farm along with a visit to the Covered Bridge Festival.  You got to pet a baby lamb, which Papa plucked right out of its pen, much its mother’s irritation.  You played out by a creek, rode in a tractor, jumped over and over into a corn pit, and ate a lot of junky vendor food.

Photo by Denny

We also had fun at my cousin Debi’s wedding.  It all took place outside in her big new backyard, and you had a great time riding around on scooters with cousin Josh and popping the giant bubbles Miles blew.

We have more busy times coming up:  next week you have your last swim lesson, Big Sibling class at the hospital, some time with your favorite babysitter Olivia while your dad and I go to Miles’s school conference, and of course Halloween.  You may need a few more naps this week, but at least it will be nice to be home for the weekend.

Pants-free weekend, that is.  This could prove to be interesting.

I will still love you if you pee on the floor.
I will still love you when you turn four.
I will still love you, with or sans clothes.
I will still love you.  You’re my little Tobes.

Photo by Denny




Enumerating reality

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:12 pm

I was packing for a weekend trip, and I was getting stressed out because I couldn’t find some things I wanted to pack.  I let Tobin play with a bag of my old makeup, knowing I’d be giving him a bath shortly after anyway, so it was okay if he got messy.  He really took it to the next level, though, getting makeup all over his clothes and smearing it thickly on his face.  He noticed my frustration.

T:  Why are you upset, Mommy?

A:  I’m just feeling stressed out.  I have a lot of problems right now.

T:  One, I’m a mess.  Two, you can’t find your pants.


Monthly Miles Memo #81

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:03 pm

My sweet Miles,

Last night, part of your homework was to write your “words to know” in your favorite color.  Those aren’t words that are part of your weekly spelling list.  They’re just words you should recognize and be able to read consistently.  I read the words to you, figuring I could hand you the list if you got frustrated.  No need:  you wrote those words with your red marker quickly, confidently, and accurately.

Photo by Denny

I was telling your dad just last night how much your reading has taken off, even since just last spring.  You finish your nightly reading easily now, often to Tobin, which he loves.  You have great inflection and enthusiasm, and he laughs and laughs when you do funny voices.  I’m looking forward to your parent/teacher conference next month to learn more about what goes on with you in school.

You’ve also maintained a great attitude about piano lessons.  You look forward to them every Thursday, and you love to play “Everything Is Awesome,” the first song you learned.  You’ve moved on to new songs, but still, every time you sit down at the piano, that’s the one you want to play.  It’s also fun that there’s a duet part, so you and I often play together.

Photo by Gary Clarke

I love witnessing your excitement about your upcoming new little brother.  You’ve felt him kick a few times now, and you’re very interested in learning about his weekly developments.  You know all about umbilical cords.  You took my explanation of why I’ve given up all alcohol and most coffee very seriously.  Whenever I drink anything slightly unusual (e.g., hot chocolate), you ask with great urgency, “Will that hurt Little Potato?”   The other day, we read that Little Potato can now open his eyes and see strong light changes.  You got a flashlight and shined it on my abdomen, and lo and behold, he kicked.  He also kicked when you hit a strong C-chord while practicing piano.  That was cool, but now it’s hard to get you to practice playing with both hands, because you always want a hand on my tummy in case the sound gets him moving.

We’re headed out of town this afternoon, first to Ames and then on to Winterset for the Covered Bridge Festival.  The Ames stop is to see Uncle Larry and Aunt Lily, who came all the way from California.  We’ll also see Aunt Suzy and Uncle Joe, as well as Mubby and Skittergramps.  Then we’ll head on to southwest Iowa to hit the festival with Nana, Papa, and hopefully Uncle Michael.

In other family news, we had a great time at Cousin Debi’s wedding last weekend.  The weather was chilly, but you didn’t let that stop you.  You had lots of fun riding around on scooters and blowing enormous bubbles.  You had on a cute outfit, but you never really got a chance to take off your jacket.  I knew how cute you looked, though.

Photo by Denny

You remain front-toothless, and my dream came true of having your first grade picture with a big gap in your smile.  You’re excited about an upcoming school event:  the annual visiting author.  This year, the featured author is Peter Brown, and you’ve been enthusiastically telling us about the books he’s written that you’ve been reading.  We ordered a couple of the books, and I look forward to hearing you read them to me.  I’m anticipating a very dramatic reading of You Will Be My Friend!

Photo by Gary Clarke

Your current favorites: Wild Kratts, designing and drawing inventions, pasta, French fries, improving your upper body strength on the playground, swimming, Minecraft.

Photo by Gary Clarke

We’re going to have a fun month coming up, my dear.  We’ve got more adventures on the horizon, plus of course there’s all the fun of putting together your Leonardo daVinci costume and the ensuing Halloween festivities. Then, before we know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving and Christmas and two very important family birthdays, one of which is yours.  I can’t deal with the thought of you being seven, so I’ll just postpone dealing with that for a while.

You’re a good kid, Miles.  Thanks for hanging out with me.



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