It’s your last month as a four-year-old, and you’ve been doing some cool stuff. You started at KinderFarm last week, which you seem to be enjoying so far. You’re just going two mornings a week this summer, and the plan is to increase you to three mornings per week in the fall. I don’t think you’ve done a lot of actual farming yet, but you enjoyed playing musical chairs and having snack. That’s about all I’ve gotten out of you in terms of details. Two of your Hoover friends are also there this summer, though they’ll both be going to kindergarten in the fall. I hope you get to know other kids to make the transition a little easier once Gavin and Olive leave.
You were hoping for a picnic with takeout from Panera to celebrate your first day, but there was rain headed our way and Panera was out of your favorite kind of bagel, so you opted for Jimmy Jack’s instead. It was fun having a lunch date with you, and I’m glad I have a whole year of lunches with you to look forward to.
It’s a little strange having you at a school outside our neighborhood. The other day, your dad and I were both a little dazed from having been up most of the night with a sick kid (it was Miles that time, though all three of you have had the vomits and beyond). He was getting ready to take you out to KinderFarm, and he asked if it was okay if he just went straight to work from there, rather than coming back home to get on the bus. I thought about it: we didn’t need groceries, Miles was going to skip his piano lesson due to illness, so I told him to go ahead.
11:15 rolled around, and I was getting Callum’s shoes on and telling Miles to finish up what he was doing so we could go get you. I opened the door to the garage—and there was no car. Your dad and I both completely blanked on the fact that I would need the Subaru to go get you. Unless the weather was bad or I needed to combine it with another errand, I always walked to pick you up from Hoover and Willowwind, and the fact that KinderFarm is five miles out of town just didn’t make it into my sleep-deprived brain.
It’s not ideal to use the other car, because 1) it needs a new battery and doesn’t start reliably, and 2) there are only two car seats in it. I made a little plan in my mind: Callum could sit in your seat (he’s pretty much big enough anyway), Miles could sit in the middle with just a seatbelt, which is probably illegal but I was going to drive really carefully, and you could sit in Miles’s seat. I also considered letting Miles stay home alone, which I don’t think is illegal, but we haven’t gotten a track phone yet for him to have in case of emergency. It was moot in any case, because the car didn’t start. I was cycling between texting your dad, calling his cell phone, and calling his office phone, but he wasn’t picking up. I was freaking out a little, worried that the KinderFarm people would think I was a screw-up, that you’d be scared or angry, that I was losing my mind and was an unfit mother.
Finally your dad picked up (it was actually like two minutes after I started trying to reach him, but it felt like forever). He was able to drop what he was doing and go get you, and he was just about on time. I don’t think you were worried at all. Still, I felt like a real ding-dong.
Photo by Denny
You’ve had a variety of special events and situations lately, the first of which was a special date night with Callum and me. Miles’s Fathers Day gift to your dad was a just-the-two-of-them trip to a Cedar Rapids Kernels game, so we made a special night of it back home. We went to Arby’s (your choice), out for frozen yogurt, and then we watched a movie at home. It was way more fun than a baseball game, if you ask me.
You and Miles spent most of a week at Mubby and Skittergramps’s house a couple of weeks ago, and that trip involved a baseball game as well. I thought you might be bored, because you were pretty bored when we went to the initial Kernels game that got Miles so excited about the Fathers Day gift. Mubby tells me you had a good time, though. Apparently the fireworks display at the end was pretty spectacular.
You guys did all kinds of exciting things, like camping all night in the back yard. I still can’t believe Mubby did that. She must really love you guys. You also went fishing (you caught a bluegill), went to Perfect Games, went swimming, went to the movies, ate at HuHot, and probably a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. I missed you a lot, though you didn’t seem to care a bit. The house was relatively quiet without you. I also understand that you and Miles got along well almost the whole time, which is pretty amazing. You made it back in time for your tee-ball game. Nana and Papa came to a tee-ball game too, but unfortunately that one wasn’t much fun because you threw up in the first inning. You snuggled on Papa’s lap for a while, then you rallied and managed to bat twice before the end of the game.
Photo by Gary Clarke
It hasn’t all been perfect. You and your dad and yelling at each other downstairs right now. I think you had too much screen time today and it’s making you unreasonable. That’s partly my fault—I should have worked harder to find non-screen things for you to do. It’s so hot out right now, our options are limited, and with everyone having been sick I’m reluctant to stray too far from home. Next week is supposed to be cooler, and hopefully the bugs will have worked themselves out of everyone and we can do more enriching activities.
Next month brings your birthday, the big oh-five. You have a big birthday wish list started, most of which is plastic junk I hope you’ve forgotten about. You probably haven’t. You have a big imagination, and you often spin tales that you swear are true but couldn’t possibly be. You still say all kinds of funny things. Last night you were trying to talk me into letting you sleep in your dad’s and my bed, and you said, “You know, my bed just isn’t working for me.”
Photo by Gary Clarke
Sometimes a lot of things don’t seem like they’re working: having the right vehicular situation for taking you to school, keeping you healthy, keeping you pleasant. A lot of things are working just fine, though. You’re smart and mostly cheerful and adaptable, and I miss you so much when you’re not around. You keep things exciting, little Tobes, and I love you even when you drive me crazy.