My not-so-little Chub-Chub,
We measured you and your brother the other night, and you have grown over four inches since last January. You’re almost to the three-feet mark. I have nearly a yard of Tobin. It’s probably because you do such a good job eating healthy food. Last night we had black bean soup for dinner, and you requested (and finished) three bowls full. You’re also big on broccoli, asparagus, and salads from the Hy-Vee salad bar. I hope you hold onto these preferences, though it seems like a lot of kids fall into a picky stage in late toddlerhood. For the time being, I’ll keep filling you with fruits and vegetables and hope the vitamins accumulate in case of future deficiencies.
You’re in a big “I can do it” stage, whether it’s putting on your coat or making coffee. I always have to budget extra time for everything, because nothing takes the amount of time it would take if you let me help you. Your favorite thing ever is to go into your brother’s kindergarten classroom and act like one of the big kids. You love the drinking fountains and tables and toys they have there. These cold days have been tough on you, because you really love playing outside. After school, you and your brother love to scramble around on the snow pile outside. I let you as long as I can stand it, which hasn’t been very long lately. We’re in what the media are calling an “Arctic Vortex,” the second of the month. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but we’ve had some really cold days.
You’re also probably about ready to give up naps. I am not ready for you to give up naps. In fact, you’re napping right now as I write this, and without my mid-day break, I’m not sure when I’ll get things like this done. But napping doesn’t last forever, and the upside of dropping naps is easier bedtime.
Our current bedtime routine involves you, your dad, and your brother all crowded into Miles’s bed. Your dad reads you guys stories, but I don’t know if you’ve ever lay quietly through the whole set. You’re always standing on the bed, running out of the room to go find me, messing around with the lamp, or fiddling with the curtains. Once the stories are over, I take your dad’s place in Miles’s bed and cuddle with you guys until you fall asleep. On the days you skip your nap, it happens pretty fast. Other days…who knew lying in a bed could be such a frustrating experience? I swear, that curtain rod is going to come crashing down on our heads one of these days.
Photo by Denny
We’ve made it through the holiday insanity now, which extends into your brother’s birthday. I ordered you an un-birthday present, but due to the Polar Vortex gumming up the UPS delivery schedule, it didn’t arrive until several days after Miles’s birthday. Fortunately, you’re more interested in the opening process than the contents, and Miles was generous about letting you help him rip off wrapping paper. I’ve saved the present for another time—perhaps an upcoming trip.
Your favorite thing right now are your Jake and the Neverland (or Wonderland, as you say) Pirates toys. You have a sword that you wave around a lot, and little characters and a map you like to play with. I even got you some Jake underpants, which you were initially excited about (and had a little bit of success and a couple of accidents in). You sort of lost enthusiasm for those, and it’s been so cold I don’t want you running around pantsless, so I’m biding my time on that. We’ll keep working on it.
Your other major hobby is dragging the bathroom stool around and using it to reach things you’re not supposed to get. We even caught you trying to haul it down the basement stairs, which fortunately didn’t turn out as badly as it could have. I have to admire your problem-solving skills.
You’re still full of funny expressions and surprising words. Yesterday I put you on the changing table to change your diaper, and you said, very matter-of-fact-ly, “A baby goat is called a kid.” Today, also on the changing table (the changing table seems to be where you do your best conversing), you said, “Excellent shot, I say so myself.” You were holding your brother’s suction-cup dart gun at the time. It wasn’t loaded.
The concept of family has really been on your radar lately. There’s this game on my phone you like to watch me play that involves rescuing a butterfly from a spider. You named the butterfly Orangey. When the butterfly gets too close to the spider, it trembles, and when you saw it do that, you said, “Is Orangey scared? Does he want to be with his family?”
You’ve been really into puzzles lately, and your preferred way of doing them is for your dad or me to crouch on all fours, then you climb under the person’s torso and do the puzzle from there. You call it Daddy (or Mommy) Cave. I guess, like poor Orangey, you just want to be protected by your family. It’s not too bad on the carpet downstairs, but the other day you wanted to do four puzzles on the hardwood floor upstairs. Nobody told me being your mom would require kneepads. When we finished a puzzle with a picture of a lion with a fluffy mane, you said, “That lion has unusual hair.”
Your hair is a bit unusual too. It could probably use a trim, but I can’t bring myself to cut off your little blond curls just yet. Earlier today, you ate an ice cream sandwich and made a mid-level mess on yourself. You came up to me, sticky hands outstretched, and said, “I look awful.” You didn’t look awful, sweetheart. You often look unorthodox, but you’ve never looked awful to me. Sometimes I have to pluck you up from your nap without taking the time to put you in fresh clothes or wash your face in order to get to school on time to pick up Miles. Now and then I half-heartedly wonder if the other parents thing I’m raising a little urchin. But I don’t wonder it hard enough to make much effort to change you. Anybody who squats down by you and hears what you have to say will know that there’s more to you than grubby cheeks and weird hair.
I love you, my special Tobin. Have a good month.