My dearest Tobin,
You’re almost three. You wear me out.
Your life lately has been all about excavators. You and a friend (Ben, the Family Folk Machine director’s son) played with diggers and other construction toys together, and you absolutely had to have an excavator like his. Since Miles had recently gotten a pretty big present, your dad and I decided it would be okay for you to have something special too. Amazingly, your enthusiasm for it has barely waned since the first day you got it. You love to dig dirt in the front yard with it and take it to the playground to scoop wood chips. When you’re not outside, you’re begging to videos about excavators. I let you sometimes, but man, those things are boring. One exception is a cool stop-motion photography construction toy dance choreographed by Debbie Allen.
Photo by Denny
Miles is taking summer classes at Willowwind now, and you really enjoy going downstairs to the preschool area to see where you’ll be going. I’m guessing you won’t be ready right away in the fall. After all, you turn three right as school is starting, and while you’d probably love it, I’m not sure you’d be quite ready. Plus there’s the ever-looming potty-training requirement. You haven’t made any progress in that arena. I’m not forcing it, hoping it will work like it did with Miles and you’ll just decide one day that you’re ready. If you haven’t had a few more successes by the end of summer, though, I may have to start encouraging you a little more strongly. Miles found the DVD Potty Power today, which was a key element in his transition. Maybe it will be useful for you too.
Photo by Denny
I bet you’d take to the idea of peeing outside. You love the outdoors. We spent a lot of time playing outside yesterday, and you got so filthy the bathtub was caked with dirt after the water drained. You and your dad and Miles are out at the park right now. You brought your excavator.
Water has been a big part of your life lately too. You love helping me water the garden, and the sprinkler has been popular as well. You have no trepidation about sticking your face right into the spray. The same thing happens when we go to the fountain downtown. I hope we have some nice days coming up soon so we can do that again.
You love trips downtown, especially when they involve the library, the playground near the library, frozen yogurt, and the fountain. The nice thing about summer is that we can rotate among those destinations easily. We’ll probably need to include the Natural History Museum some time soon, too.
You were in rare form last night. Up at the beginning of this letter, when I wrote “You wear me out,” it was mostly referring to times like that. Yesterday was a no-nap day, which is always borderline disastrous. You’re in a tough stage regarding naps. A lot of times you’re not sleepy at a reasonable nap time. Later in the afternoon, when you get tired, I can get you down. The problem is that then you sleep until far too late, and once it’s bedtime, you’re ready to party. I think you and your dad have a whole secret life together downstairs that you enjoy while I’m putting Miles to bed and you want nothing to do with sleeping. So anyway, some days we just skip nap, and that comes at the cost of your personality.
You were truly outrageous last night, Tobin. Everything was a tragedy in your eyes. The major source of trauma was the fact that you picked an old scab, and it didn’t bleed. Can you imagine the horror? “I WANT TO BLEED!” you howled. You wigged out about that on and off for much of the evening.
It’s been a bloody summer so far. You and your brother have both had some scrapes. You seem not to mind (and sometimes revel in) minor injuries. You wipe out, stand up, and keep going. Only later, when I’ve finally gotten you inside, do I realize that you actually scraped your knees and palms. This has happened more than once. You’ve gotten well-acquainted with Band-Aids, between all the tumbles and knocking off scabs from previous injuries.
You’ve had a couple of big head thunks lately, which of course worries us. You haven’t shown any signs of concussion, fortunately. After a few minutes of crying, you’re on your way. Your forehead is multi-colored.
Another pastime you enjoy lately is playing with the Imaginext castle and accoutrements, like the ogre and dragon. You can spend a long time carrying the dragon around and flapping its wings, and hiding the guys in the castle crevices. You have a great imagination and really have fun playing pretend.
Photo by Gary Clarke
Current favorites: Curious George, both books and videos; excavators and other construction toys; broccoli (still); cheese pizza from Hy-Vee; pretty much the entire staff of First Avenue Hy-Vee; your Rooster t-shirt; playing outside and in the water; eating strawberries straight from the garden.
I love you, my little Tobin. I love being around you when we’re both well-rested. And even when you’re being a jerk, I’d still take a head thunk for you.