My little Tobin,
I am the worst mom in the world.
Who ever heard of a four-year-old with a cavity that goes all the way into the nerve in the root of his tooth? Well, one of them lives at my house. I was shocked when your dentist mentioned it. We brush your teeth, and you’re not a huge consumer of sweets. I’d be lying if I said you never had treats, but you usually choose water or milk over juice, and you only have candy on special occasions. You don’t even put M&Ms on your frozen yogurt. Just as we were leaving, he mentioned gummy vitamins, and it dawned on me so abruptly that if I were a cartoon, a lightbulb would have pinged to life above my head. You always take gummy vitamins right before bed. We must not have done a good enough job getting the goop out of your molars more than once.
I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me that gummy vites before bed is dumb-dumb-dumb. I feel just terrible that you had to have a fairly big-deal dental procedure at your age. We’ve switched both vitamin type and administration time, and we’re going to be extra careful from now on to get your teeth thoroughly brushed. You were very brave at your appointment, and you thought it was cool to miss school. You watched The Lion King on the couch and ate a lot of fudge pops. Don’t worry, we brushed your teeth afterward.
Photo by Denny
It seems like we’ve been busy all the time lately. We took our annual family trip to the apple orchard and had a good time harvesting fruit and enjoying a beautiful day. It was a popular morning to go out, and we saw your friend Jack from school. Jack is one you mention playing with a lot, which makes sense because he was your classmate last year at Willowwind. So far your transition to Hoover has been good. You seem to like your teachers and classmates, and we’ve got a good morning routine going. I’ve been walking with you and Callum to Hoover, and in order to avoid the noise and traffic of First Avenue, we’ve been taking Upland, a parallel street. It’s a nice, quiet street with lots of interesting yards, and the very first day we took it, you decided to call it Pretty Valley.
We have a few checkpoints along Pretty Valley, like the house with the decorative windmill, the one with the lawn dinosaur, and the one with all the flowers. When we make it to school, you line up with your friends and head into your classroom with zero trouble. When I come to pick you up, you’re usually doing big soccer kicks and running around with your friends. I’m so glad it’s been a good fit for you. You’ll only be there this year, since it’s just for three- and four-year-olds. We have to decide this year whether you’ll start kindergarten in the fall or whether we should find somewhere for one more year of preschool. It’s all a lot to consider, and you’ll read more about it in future Tobin Times letters, I’m sure.
You joined your first soccer team, the Hammers. Your first game is tonight, and we’re all so excited to watch you. Due to a coach shortage, your dad made a last-minute volunteer effort and is one of your team’s coaches. He doesn’t know a lot about soccer, but neither do the players, so it’s okay. Mostly it’s just fun for you to do something that’s special just for you. So far, all your activities have been tag-alongs with Miles, and while you’ve enjoyed many of them (see below), it’s cool that soccer is just for you.
One of the very positive tag-along activities is Family Folk Machine. You’re so proud to be a part of it now that you’re old enough to join. We’ve been singing a lot of the songs as we progress through our day. A few neighbors got serenaded with “City of New Orleans” as we headed toward Pretty Valley this morning. You and Miles both wrote verses to “I’m a Little Airplane,” which hopefully will turn into solos for you at the concert. We’ve been practicing, as the timing is a bit tricky.
Photo by Beth Clarke
You continue to be a good helper, especially in the cooking and gardening arenas. When we were in Ames recently, you helped Skittergramps with popcorn harvesting and some light opossum trapping. You are always ready to help with dinner, and I try to let you as often as is reasonable. Your other current favorites: beef and broccoli (minus the beef), hot chocolate with whipped cream, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys and videos, riding your Strider bike, playing with friends, and generally being a wild man.
We’ve been having a rough time at bedtime lately. You’ve been having a hard time settling down and completing your bedtime tasks. We’ve done everything we can think of–no sugary snacks after dinner, a calming routine, stories and cuddles. And yet, you’d rather run around with a metal hanger in your hand. Maybe we need to sign you up for a few more soccer teams to help you burn off your energy.
I think once you learn to harness your massive enthusiasm for life, you’re going to be unstoppable. In the meantime, I’m going to improve my parenting to the degree that you still have teeth when you’re ten. Let’s both work on it, okay?
Photo by Denny