My dear Tobin,
Fifty months, huh? That sounds momentous. You’ve been momentous lately, too. Earlier today, you were being so helpful. You kept an eye on Callum and played with him while I worked on dinner. You made a special spot for him on the bed (“with a blanket feature,” you added, as if to entice him) and snuggled him and made him laugh. Then, not two hours later, you were being an absolute jerk to Miles and fairly unpleasant to me too. Such is life with a four-year-old.
It’s nice that it’s no longer my first time parenting a four-year-old, because I remember when your brother went through the same stage. I was afraid he was going to be a terrible person forever, that he’d never have any friends, that he’d never find love, that he’d have to work in finance or something. But he’s turned things around and is actually pretty cool most of the time now. I have faith that the same will become of you.
Photo by Denny
Look at that little face. How could you be anything but perfect?
You completed your first season of soccer headed in mostly the right direction. You had fun and may have learned a little bit about soccer. You were very proud to have a team shirt and get a medal at the end. A friend of mine recently wrote a very convincing diatribe in favor of participation trophies, and I have to agree. One thing I dislike about sports culture is the focus on winning above all else; even teamwork is only valued insofar as it facilitates triumph. The “participation trophy” as a symbol recognizes the inherent importance of being a member of a team, of making friends, of working toward a common goal (occasionally kicking it into one’s own team’s goal). I like your medal and I’m glad you’re proud to have it.
Photo by Gary Clarke
We’ve been doing some fun fall adventuring around town and beyond. The annual Oktoberfest has a kids’ version called Sodafest, and they really did a stellar job this year of organizing fun, free activities. You decorated a pumpkin, rode about a thousand laps on the obstacle course, went down the big slide many, many times, and didn’t actually consume any soda. You’re not into carbonation.
You’ve gotten the hang of being a member of Family Folk Machine, too. I’ll be honest—when you agreed to do a solo in our concert, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. In fact, for most of the rehearsals, you were pretty timid. Our director even had to assign you a solo buddy to support you vocally. But now I doubt you really need the buddy. You’ve gotten the rhythm and the words down perfectly, and while you do a bit more shouting than singing, you really rock the mic.
Miles is deeply invested in the Black Bot Boys, a band he has formed and recruited you to join. It’s mostly a Halloween thing for him, though he did record the song and we hope to put a video together. You’re a backing vocalist, and he wants you to dress up as a fellow rock star for trick-or-treating. You’re not sure you want to indulge him. You have a pretty awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume we’ve been working on, and as of right now you plan to use that for all your Halloween events. I hope you change your mind and agree to be a Black Bot Boy for trick-or-treating, because you guys would be pretty cute together.
The fall days are waning, and the end of our walks is surely near. That’s a bummer. We’ve had some really sweet walks to school together through Pretty Valley, and I’ll also miss our afternoon adventures to the park or other parts of the neighborhood. This must happen every year, and every winter we figure out a way to survive. One thing we have to look forward to is our spring break trip to the Florida Keys. Tonight at dinner you suggested a pie and cake party (with cocktails) while we’re there. I like that idea. In fact, I like it so much we might just have to make a winter day of it.
I love you, sweet Tobes. Have a good fiftieth month, and we’ll see if the Black Bot Boys become a YouTube sensation.