My special Tobin,
I was looking at your brother’s Monthly Miles Memos from around this time, and I saw that I had written something about being mistaken about the Terrible Twos not affecting him. Well, maybe it’s a trait in our family that the onset is a bit delayed, because you too have had a recent upswing in defiance. It’s hard not to laugh when you stomp your feet and demand that your dad get out of the chair RIGHT NOW. At least it’s hard not to laugh for the first couple of minutes. It can get a bit wearing as it goes on.
But really, that’s not how you are most of the time. You are usually sweet and friendly and enthusiastic. You love dogs, especially our neighbors’ new fluffy little puppy, Stella. You loving playing outside, throwing balls and running. I got you some new sneakers recently, and you can run like a little maniac in those. Sometimes you just run back and forth through the hallway and living room until you’re a curly-headed, sweaty little thing. You tell me you’re exercising just like me.
You’re so observant and concerned with other people’s feelings. When your dad got out of bed the other day, you asked, “You have good sleep, Daddy?” When I finished eating, you asked, “You enjoy your lunch?” When Miles swallowed some food weirdly and hurt his throat and was upset about it and eventually got over it, you asked, “You feel much better now?” When we looked at National Geographic together and you saw a man who had been climbing at a high altitude, with ice all over his face and bandages on his cheeks, you asked, “How that guy feeling?” As I got Miles dressed for school this morning, you looked at him and said, “You look handsome in that shirt.” When your brother gets an injury, you ask him, “You need some ibuprofen?” I love how engaged you are with the world.
You’ve been a champ about adjusting your schedule to accommodate Miles’s new school day. I can usually get you down for nap by 12:30, because I am always optimistic that you’ll sleep a full two hours and wake up in time to go pick Miles up at 2:45. Your naps have been getting shorter, though. Usually an hour and a half is all you’ll do, and sometimes less. You’re usually pretty tired by bedtime, but you’ve also been waking up around 6:00 or 6:30 most days. That’s okay. You’re fun in the morning. You’re good at helping me make coffee.
Last week your dad went out of town for a few days, and you sure missed him. We went to eat at Noodles and Company, which is in the same building as his office, and you couldn’t believe that he wasn’t coming down to meet us. You really wanted to go up and find him. At bedtime, our usual pattern is for you, Miles and me to gather in Miles’s bed. We read two stories (your current favorites are The Fire Station, Show and Tell, and Jonathan Cleaned Up, Then He Heard a Sound, all by Robert Munsch). After that, your dad puts you to bed while I spend some more time with Miles. The first night he was gone, we finished our stories, and you hopped out of bed and went looking for him. You were so disappointed when you couldn’t find him.
I always knew your dad was a valuable part of the family, but being without him for a short time certainly made me appreciate him. It’s a lot of work taking care of a toddler and a five-year-old. At least Miles was in school most of the day. You guys definitely got more junk food and screen time than normal, but you survived. I survived. And when your dad came home, you squealed with happiness and ran right into his arms. You patted his chest and said, “That’s a great sweater, Daddy.”
You are becoming more independent all the time. When we walk to school to get Miles, you love to ride in the big kid seat on the double stroller. Once we get there, you want to stand on the number line like the big kids. I used to be able to distract you fairly easily while Miles got established on the big kid seat, but you’ve caught onto that now. Now, as soon as you spot Miles, you race back to the stroller and occupy the big kid seat before he can poach it. Sometimes it’s a struggle getting you into the little kid seat, but we manage.
You are crazy about Curious George videos, John Deere tractors (and all the related memorabilia you’ve acquired), digging in the garden, and generally being reckless. Today you were descending the stairs on your feet, not on your butt like you’re supposed to. I was at the bottom and started up to meet you, and when there were still at least four stairs between us, you leaped at me. I caught you, thank goodness. Fortunately, you’re more responsive to scolding than you used to be. You seemed to notice at least a little that I was quite displeased with that maneuver. I’m happy to hold you, sweetheart, but let’s do it with a reasonable approach.
Speaking of sweetheart, you’ve told me a few times now that you’re not a little Chub-Chub anymore. Now you tell me that I can call you either Tobin or sweetheart. That’s okay, I guess. I miss your plump little tummy and thighs, but I also think you’re turning into a pretty fun little guy. One of my favorite things you do is relate different concepts. We went out for doughnuts this morning. Your brother got his favorite, plain glazed. You chose a white cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and dinosaur sprinkles. You ate off all the frosting and sprinkles, exposing the white doughnut. You looked at it and said, “It’s plain glazed, just like Bubby’s.”
You also seem to be good at connecting smells. You opened a container of my vitamin C pills (you’re getting really good at opening things, which also resulted in a large quantity of my fancy face lotion dumped all over my bathroom rug), sniffed inside, and said, “It smells like marshmallows.” I took a sniff too, and by gum, it did. You also got into some cherry throat lozenges, and you said, “It smells like Icee.” Again, it was eerily accurate.
I need to put things on higher shelves. One of these days you’re going to turn into an evil genius, and people are going to blame me. Actually, I don’t think someone as empathetic as you is capable of being evil. Maybe you’re more likely to be a mischievous genius. That’s pretty cool.
You are, mostly, a little ray of blondie-boy sunshine in my life. Thanks for keeping things interesting/terrifying/hilarious.