My little Tobes,
You’re four-and-a-half, little guy! We celebrated with brownies for everyone at home and a special lunch date for you, Callum and me after school yesterday. Our lunch dates are one of the biggest reasons I’m glad we’re holding off for another year before you start kindergarten. We’ll still have lunch together during weekends and breaks, but I’m not quite ready for you to be a lunch-box kid yet. Yesterday we went to Panda Express, where you got your favorite broccoli beef. You used to be a big broccoli eater, but lately you’ve been ever-so-kindly sharing most of your broccoli with me and focusing on the beef and rice. It’s okay. You still like lots of other healthy and interesting things.
You’re funny and witty and curious. The other day, your dad and I were urging you to get ready for school. We’d gotten you over to the area where your coat and shoes were, but instead of putting them on, you whined, “But I want to do more math.” It reminded me of a fond memory from long before your birth, at the wedding reception in Norway of our friends Kaspar and Sabine. Reminiscing about Kaspar’s youth, his gruff, sea-faring Norwegian father said, “Ah we raising a nehrd?” Nerds rule, though, and Kaspar turned out fine. If you’re going to be a nerd, you’ll be one of the very best kind: the sparkly-eyed, quick-to-smile type. Think Neil deGrasse Tyson, not Urkel.
You were “Star of the Week” at your school, and that was pretty cool for you. You got to decorate a poster just like Miles did when he was Star of the Week for his class. You said your favorite foods are pasta and bagels (though you seem to see bagels as more of a cream cheese vehicle than an actual foodstuff) and your hobbies are Minecraft, cooking, computers, and snuggling Callum. You also did a lot of hard work making hand-made Valentines for each of your classmates and teachers. Of your three teachers, there are two whom you like a lot, and one you’re not so crazy about. We doled out the work of making Valentines over several days so as not to overwhelm you, and on the last day, you’d finished all the cards except one. “Okay,” I said. “You just have to make Ms. [redacted]’s card now and you’ll be all done.”
“I need to take a break,” you said.
I convinced you to press on, and you got the cards done. You did a good job writing everyone’s names (with help, but you did it) and signing your own. You haven’t quite embraced the left-to-right requirements of English. Sometimes if you can’t fit a whole word on a line, you just write the remaining letters where ever there’s room. It makes perfect sense to you, but it can be a little hard to follow. You’re working on it.
You’re high-energy and irrepressible. You can be a little on the wild side sometimes, especially at night. I don’t know why you get a surge every evening before bed, but for some reason, that’s the moment you pick to run laps up and down the hallway. You also like to curl your toes around the boards under the top bunk and dangle, or turn around so your head is at the foot of the bed and you can kick Miles while I attempt to read Harry Potter out loud. I think Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a little boring to you, but Miles would never let us quit now. I’m hoping you don’t pay too close of attention so the deaths in the upcoming books aren’t too traumatic.
Your parent-teacher conference is tomorrow, and I’ve promised you boys that we can have dinner at Noodles & Company if your teachers have good things to say about your progress. You warned me that you’re “kind of good, kind of bad” at school. That’s the same thing you said last time, and when I asked you what you do that’s bad, you said you sometimes get out more than one toy. Fortunately your teacher didn’t seem to think this was the first sign of a descent into delinquency. If so, and she looked around our house, she’d be sure you were doomed.
Your current favorites: vanilla ice cream cones, Wild Kratts, Minecraft, Berenstain Bears books at bedtime, coming in to see Callum the moment he wakes up in the morning or from a nap, writing words, and pepperoni pizza. You also seem to enjoy haircuts, though I’m glad to report that you never let the hairstylist take all your curls.
I’m so happy you’re mine, sweet Tobin. We’re counting down the days until our Florida Keys trip, and I hope you’ll take more early morning walks on the beach with me. I can’t wait to see the sunshine bouncing of your hair and the water reflecting in your eyes.
Photo by Denny