It’s fall for real now, which means less outside playtime and more running around in circles in the basement. I’ve been doing that because we’re waiting for my treadmill to be repaired, and you’re doing it because you think it’s fun. We’ve smacked into each other more than once as we dodge the rocking horse and Exersaucer. I think you’re figuring out how to time your movements so as not to interfere with mine as I come around a corner. It will all be safer once the treadmill gets repaired. I wonder if you’ll keep running around while I run in place. That would be pretty good entertainment for me.
Your typically cheerful disposition has remained so, despite a general feeling of bummed-out from the adults in the house. We’ve been going through a rough time in terms of national politics. We try to strike a balance between honesty about our concerns and not freaking you out. I know I’ve been stressed out and short-tempered more than usual, and I’m sorry for that. You’re so kind and empathetic, you know just when I need a little extra love. I know it’s not your job to take care of me, so I don’t depend on you for my happiness, but I do like it when you come say some sweet words to me and give me extra cuddles. You’re my joy as well as a primary source of my exhaustion.
We had your parent-teacher conference at preschool last week. I was a little nervous going in, because we weren’t completely happy with how things had been going. I think part of the problem is that you truly would have been academically ready for kindergarten. I hope it wasn’t a mistake holding you back. I think it’s sometimes frustrating for you to be in a class with littler kids who aren’t ready to do the things you’re doing. Combined with your naturally competitive nature (which isn’t helped by how hard you work to keep up with Miles), you can sometimes clash with others in your preschool environment. You often want to talk about Pokémon Go or go collect chicken feathers while your teacher wants you to be doing some other task. She isn’t happy about you doing your own thing, which isn’t my favorite approach to teaching—I’d rather she sought out resources to help you explore your interests instead of getting frustrated with you for not caring about the same activities as the younger kids. But you have gotten more and more settled into your current school, including making some good friends, so I think we’ll keep you there. We’ll work on challenging you at home and working on your social skills as well. This won’t be the last time in your life when you’ll not be interested in what’s happening in school, and it’s important to learn how to handle those feelings respectfully.
You’ve gotten super excited about math lately. You found a set of addition worksheets that your dad printed out for Miles when he was in first grade, and with just a little help to get you going, you completed them all and demanded more. You call it your homework and spend all kinds of time counting and figuring. You haven’t been pursuing reading as strongly as you did last month, but you definitely know all your letters and sounds. You have gotten to that stage where you want to write all by yourself, but you need almost every word spelled out for you. That can be pretty time-consuming, but it’s good letter practice, and I love seeing you commit your ideas to paper.
I got frustrated with you this morning, because I had gone downstairs for just a couple of minutes to put laundry in the washer in preparation for our Thanksgiving travels. You ran to the basement door and yelled, “MOM! Callum’s playing in the toilet water and he’s getting it everywhere!” I yelled back, “Well, stop him!” I quietly hoped that at least it was a flushed toilet (sometimes you and Miles forget to do that), finished up the laundry as quickly as I could, and dashed upstairs. I found Callum splashing around in the toilet (yes, flushed, thank goodness) with you standing there saying, “Stop! Stop!”
Apparently I needed to be more specific.
I got mad at Miles, too, because he had just been sitting in his bed reading, oblivious to the whole debacle. Sometimes I forget that you guys are just little kids, but other times I think: shouldn’t you, little though you may be, have a bit more sense?
We’re all works in progress, I guess. You work on having more sense and I’ll work on keeping myself under control when things get outrageous.
Your current favorites: Pokémon Go and Yo-Kai (both of which are Japanese shows/toys/concepts about little creatures with various powers, though you assure me they’re very different), pepperoni pizza, rearranging furniture into tenuous “houses” for yourself and Callum, putting a blanket over the entrance to your bed to make a fort and reading bedtime stories in there by flashlight, setting goals (usually attainable, e.g., “My goal is to wear my pajamas all day”), and trying to one-up Miles.
You wear me out, Tobin, but you build me up too. I hope I can do the same for you. I’ll work on giving you what you need and trying to form you into a reasonable person. You keep telling me you love me a million trillion quadrillion and I think we’ll be okay, because that’s how much I love you too.