My sweet Tobin,
This morning, the first Monday of winter break, I woke up and went in to check on you and Miles. I had a brief moment of panic when I looked in your bed and couldn’t find you. Had you gotten up without making any noise? Were you lonely or scared? Then I looked a bit higher, and there you were, cuddled up with Miles in the top bunk (twin sized, by the way). You just don’t like to sleep alone. I suggested that once Callum is bigger, maybe he could sleep in the bottom bunk with you. You liked that idea.
You and Miles and I have been reading the Harry Potter series together before bed at night, and I’m afraid you’re missing half of it because you often fall asleep before we finish the chapter. You’re an all-or-nothing guy at bedtime. You get so hyper and wild and drive your dad and me crazy when we’re trying to get you to put on pajamas and brush your teeth, but as soon as you’re cozy in bed, you’re out cold. I guess it takes a lot of energy to be a nut-ball.
You are so, so excited for Christmas. I haven’t put any presents under the tree, because I’m afraid Callum would destroy them, but you’re still pretty tortured. You helped me pick out the tree, and you’ve helped me wrap some gifts. You’ve been begging every day for a week for me to tell you what your presents are, but I haven’t budged. We’re having our family Christmas morning tomorrow before we head out to Paul and Jackie’s for the day and Mubby and Skitter’s later that night. I went rather light on the toys when shopping for you, knowing between all the grandparents and other generous relatives, you’d probably get plenty. I hope you remember that and don’t get grumpy when you unwrap books and clothes.
Though we haven’t decided 100%, we’re (by which I mean “I’m”) leaning strongly toward holding off on kindergarten. I know you’d be academically ready, but you’re still a little guy, one of the smaller ones in your preschool class. Because it seems like you’ve attended every other preschool in town, I think we might send you to Kinderfarm. It’s one of those that people often mention when we chat with other parents, and I think you’d get a kick out of the animal care and gardening in combination with traditional preschool activities. We’ll have to go visit it and maybe sign you up for a summer program. It’s still a ways off, but time has a way of passing without my permission.
The truth is that I really like having lunch dates with you and spending time together in the afternoons. I like going to grocery shopping with you and playing in your room with you and Callum. All day at kindergarten seems like such a big load for a little kid. Also, I try to take the long view on things like this. I remember one time in the relatively recent past I was invited but not required to go to some event at my grandparents’ house. My dad (you know him as Skitter) emphasized that I didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to. I told him, “I doubt I’m going to look back on my life and think, ‘I’m sure glad I didn’t go see Grammy and Pop-Pop that time.'” That’s how I’m thinking of this decision for you. I doubt I’m going to look back on my life and think, “I’m sure glad I pushed Tobin off to kindergarten when I wasn’t sure he was ready and missed all those afternoons of sharing bagels and making forts and playing puppies in bed.”
Honestly, you’d be fine either way. One thing your dad has pointed out is that if you go to kindergarten next year, you’ll overlap with Miles for a year in high school. True, that might be kind of cool, but if you wait a year, you’ll overlap with Callum. All these things seem so important right now, but I suppose they’ll work out one way or another. I remember being pregnant with each of you boys and everything being so mysterious. We didn’t know your names yet or what you’d look like or what your personalities would be. I thought, “How funny that a year from now, we’ll be calling this baby by his name and it will seem totally normal.” That’s how all fraught decisions are, I guess. You stew and fret (or rather, I stew and fret)—hey, are the words fret and fraught related?—and then it ends up working out no matter which way you go.
You’re spunky and funny and good at making friends. You told me that one of your teachers, Ms. Maria, said you’re a smart cookie. You certainly are. Our annual holiday letter was mostly funny things you said over the year. The best one was about a black mamba in a lunch bag.
Keep up the high spirits, Tobes. You just might find a toy or two under the tree tomorrow morning.