Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas gift for you

I don't have Christmas video of Tobin to share with everyone yet, but I wanted to share something to tide you over. Aunt Ashley shot this video when T's mom and dad were out on a date a few weeks ago. I won't try to describe it beyond what you see below. Merry Christmas to everybody. Love, laps, and kisses from Tobin and his family.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tell me about it

Tobin chats. A lot. Allison and I talked yesterday about how much fun it's going to be when Tobin can verbalize all of his thoughts in English. I look forward to that, but part of me will miss his current form of talking. The video below is pretty representative of dinner at our table every night. You can see in his face that what he's saying is very important. His serious tone and face through most of it remind me of his Mama. It's probably my influence near the end when it occurs to him that there is playing to be done.

Download the Windows Media version.
Download the Video iPod version

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More Tobin Talk

Yesterday's post was so much fun that we did more today. Tobin is feeling well again and had a great day. There is some repetition in the video's content, but I doubt you'll mind. There are about 30-40 words we try to get him to repeat regularly. We try a couple of new words each day and repeat the old ones to stay fresh. It's fun when we realize the lessons have stuck, for instance: Tobin and I walked past a car full of barking dogs in the grocery store parking lot this evening and he said "Goodog" (Good dog). He has even begun to construct simple sentences: "Buh-bye wa-wa" when we drain the tub and "Buh-bye Daddy" when I grab my keys. He'll be telling us all stories soon. Enjoy the video.

Download the Windows Media version.
Download the Video iPod version.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Less than 100%

Tobin is a little under the weather this weekend. He has a stomach bug that has reversed the normal course of food's progression through his digestive system. It's not pretty, but Allison was able to stay with him Friday and he seems to be feeling better today. My job is to do laundry and clean up "spills" when I can. In between his difficult digestive episodes, Tobin is still Tobin: high energy, hilarious, busy, and chatty. He's in a phase verbally where he likes to talk all the time. He also likes to try to repeat what we say. You'll see him at work (during a break from digestive adventures) in the video below.

We're fortunate that this is the first serious illness he has had in a while. Until yesterday, he was on quite a roll storming the world as an 18-month old. He was in great heath and spirits in Kentucky for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful watching Tobin with his Granddad and great-Grandmother and other family. Thanksgiving was a very good time for all of us. We've posted a few pictures from our time in Louisville on our flickr page. We'll probably put more up soon. As always, Tobin was a hit. I realize that part of me hasn't felt much like posting on the Toblog lately, but since I know Tobin's Grandma and Granddad in Louisville have reliable internet access, I'll be making a special effort to post more regularly. He is a delight, which helps me when I'm feeling down. I hope he does the same for you.

Here he is chatting with me Friday night. As you can tell, he picks and chooses when to repeat and when to say what he wants to. The video is a little dark, but I think it's the sound you'll like best anyway. Enjoy.
Download the Windows Media version.
Download the Video iPod version.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random news and notes

So I've uploaded some photos at Flickr, some of which are out of chronological order. They include photos from T's trip to visit my mom's family in Louisiana in July. (Um, it was fun, but it was HOT.)

There are also some photos from our visits to Florida and Kentucky in October.
swimming in october

And finally, a few shots from this past weekend when Aunt Ashley and Ellie visited.

Tobin is almost 18 months and had a good check-up at the doctor earlier this week. He's settled into a 50th percentile curve for length (32.25 inches) and 60th percentile curve for weight (26 lb. 3 oz.), and REMAINS in the 95th percentile for head circumference (19.75 inches). Except for the inevitable runny nose that ALL the kids at his school seem to have right now, Tobin is in fine health. (Hey, we're glad that it's "good" snot--if there is such a thing: thin and clear.) We're thankful that despite his finicky eating and continued refusal to drink cow's milk, he is growing well. Oh, and Tobin appears to be cutting is seventh and eighth teeth: his top molars. We hope for more enthusiastic chewing now that he has some teeth that can really grind up his food. He DID eat almost a whole Chick-fil-a chicken nugget the other day. He has previously shown disdain for most things meat-like in texture. In the meantime, we continue to believe in the sustaining power of Cheerios, bananas, and breastmilk, the three foods T will eat on a consistent basis. :)

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Our son is proving to be a remarkable traveler. In the last two weeks, we have traveled to see both sets of granparents. It takes us about 11 hours to get to my folks in Florida and about 10 hours to get to Matt's parents in Kentucky. I don't want to take anything for granted or jinx anything, but Tobin does so well. He's always been good at entertaining himself in general. He'll often leave Matt or me when we're playing with something like the blocks and go find something he considers more entertaining, like pushing a laundry basket full of clean, unfolded clothes and pausing to climb into and out of the basket a few times. The same is pretty true in the car. We don't have anything fancy like a DVD player. Only CDs, the iPod (on which Dad has created a Tobin playlist), Sirius radio (okay, maybe that's kinda fancy, but it's more for us than Tobin), and books. And Tobin is entertained by the most ordinary things. On our most recent trip home from Kentucky, T amused himself for quite a while with an empty water bottle, a plastic spoon, and a straw. He would insert the spoon and straw into the bottle and them dump them out. Occasionally I would be called upon to hold the water bottle steady or to pick up a fallen spoon and/or straw (cued by an "uh oh"). Here's a picture I took with my cell phone during said activity:

happy traveler

I tend to think Tobin does best when I'm driving and Matt sits in the back with him. We've been able to drive rather long stretches, especially when I'm driving: sometimes as many as 4 hours without stopping. For one thing, Matt is more entertaining than me in general. :) And I think Tobin is more likely to want me to hold him when I'm just sitting there right beside him. It's not that he doesn't want Matt to pick him up, but more about the relationships we've developed with him as parents. Mama is the primary nurturer. Dad is the primary playmate and, I would contend, teacher.

Tobin was also pretty much perfect when I had to fly alone with him to Kentucky (Matt had driven up a couple of days before with Hannah). He slept for the entire flight and only displayed a little crankiness when I had to wake him to get off the plane.

Tobin's good-natured traveling is really so symbolic of his general attitude towards life. He's a happy kid, who takes most things in stride. And we're so thankful for him.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You'd better watch your mouth from now on.

Tobin's vocabulary so far has been developed, at least in part, by our encouragements. "Gentle," "Daddy," "Hannah," and others have become parts of his repertoire after repeated prompting from Mom and Dad. The drill usually goes like this:
Parent: Say "Mama."
Tobin: Drutch?
Parent: Say "Mama."
Tobin: Drutch!
Parent: Tobin, say "Ma-ma."
Tobin: Bom-ma
Parent: He said it! Woohoo! Say it again.
Tobin: Dretch?
Today was a different story, though. I took Tobin outside with me to allow Hannah her, ahem, business time. As Hannah completed said business, I praised her for it and Tobin said "Poop."

I said "Did you say 'Poop?'"

"Poop," said Tobin, at which I laughed so hard I almost forgot to scoop Hannah's. We went inside and called Allison (who was visiting Danielle, Mattison, and Riley at the time). On command, Tobin said his newest word into the phone. Mom laughed. Shortly after, we called my mom. Tobin obliged again with "Poop!"

I don't know if Tobin's dad or his Grandma was laughing harder, but a couple of things are certain: 1) T clearly has a sense of the giggle-inducing power of his new word and 2) Any word spoken near Tobin is fair game for his interpretation and repetition.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

If we'd only known.

Apparently, Tobin would be just fine with us dropping him off at the local Petco during the work week instead of us spending all this money and effort on finding the perfect daycare. Saturday evening, we went out to eat and then Matt suggested that we take Tobin by the Petco in the same shopping center because it was really funny to watch Tobin's reaction to the rats at the store.

Not that I'm one to quibble about precision in language (What, do you think ALL lawyers are like that?), but Matt's statement was a bit inaccurate. First, it was the rabbits, not the rats, that really excited T. Second, um, I think that when Matt said "funny" he meant "HILARIOUS." I almost cried.

So we walk into the pet store and Matt walks Tobin up to this huge hexagonal glass cage with about six rabbits. He points them out to Tobin, who then begins squealing with laughter and pointing and RUNNING AROUND the cage while still giggling. We all stand there laughing for a while and then Matt picks him up and shows him the nearby rats, mice, and gerbils, who were also very amusing. But then T starts squirming to get out of Matt's arms and runs back over to the rabbits. And there was more of the same: running and laughing and squealing and pointing. So we stay for a while, all very entertained, and then Matt and I suggest we go see the fish and birds. Tobin is polite and sweet and giggles a little and makes his fishy face, but then again runs AWAY FROM US back to the rabbits.

And seriously, when Matt and I decided that we probably should go because we weren't planning to buy anything in the store and maybe not everyone was amused by our very adorable and entertaining son, I think that the two of us could have walked out without T even batting an eye. He wanted to stay with the rabbits. Forever. And this is the same little boy who cries sometimes when Mama has to, you know, close the bathroom door. Or who clings to my legs when we walk into any new surrounding. But the pet store . . . apparently that's where he'd be just fine hanging out without us.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Playing Hooky

Tobin has a cold. On Thursday afternoon, we got a call from his preschool reporting a low-grade fever. That isn't quite the cause for panic it used to be, but I hurried to pick him up and take him home. His activity level was normal, he never registered another fever, and the only sign of illness was a steady stream from his runny nose. Still, the rule at school is 24 hours without fever before returning. I called in sick myself and spent the day with Tobin Friday. We had a nice day.

We had such a nice day that I'm a little suspicious of his fever. Truth told, I feel like we played hooky. It was a nice day outside, so we spent a good part of the morning on our deck. Part of that is in the video below. Tobin has taken a few good naps this weekend and is tearing around the place like normal, so I think -- barring a Ferris Bueller-like turn by Tobin -- we'll both have to go back to our respective schools Monday.

Just to warn you: the video below is a little gratuitous. It clocks in a little over 8 minutes. I didn't cut it down much because it's a good indication of a regular stretch of activity at our house and T shows off his myriad verbal and motor skills. If you want to skip parts in the middle, you won't hurt my feelings, but be sure to watch the last 30-35 seconds when T blows kisses and waves goodbye.

If you'd like to download copies of this video to keep on your computer, here are links: iPod format and Windows Media format.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

In case you were wondering . . .

Tobin went to the doctor today for a weight check, an interim follow-up appointment scheduled after his less-than-stellar weigh-in at his 15-month check-up. He weighed in at 25 pounds, 10 ounces & is back on normal curve according to the growth charts.

Whew. Matt & I were quite happy & relieved. Feeding T remains somewhat of a challenge, because both his appetite for & interest in certain foods seem inconsistent. And we've both worked really hard to get those calories in him--without fighting him to do it.

In a way, all this worry seems rather funny, considering what a plump little boy he is. But it's definitely nice that the doctor is no longer "concerned."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bumps and bruises

This is one of the few posts for which I'm glad not to have photos to share with you. Tobin has been collecting bruises and scratches for the last couple of weeks. The effect is somewhere closer to cute, tough-looking kid than anything negative, but I feel likes it's a preview of what we're in for the next few years. At the time of this writing, Tobin has a big red scratch/scab on his nose, a fading shiner under his left eye, a light bruise on his left cheek, scratches on both of his knees and a collection of scratches and scrapes on his left arm. He routinely challenges inanimate objects in the house. His weapon of choice is the broad part of his forehead. Wielded like a battering ram, his forehead has taken on the following [parenthetical notes indicate T's win-loss against his opponents so far]: Bookshelves (0-1), Doors (0-2), Stacks of books (1-2), Fridge (1-3), Hannah (2-3) and, in a lopsided loss for Tobin, Coffee table (2-4). His running style, while not polished, is able to generate pretty amazing force. If you'd like to calculate the physics of impact, use the following: Tobin's weight (m) = 12.02kg. I think his maximum speed (v) is about 6.44 km/h over short distances. Do the math and you'll see what I mean.

You might be concerned about his losing record the last few weeks, but remember he was nearly undefeated all summer against CD jewel cases and DVDs. In fact, his mastery of CD/DVD domination necessitated the purchase of a new media cabinet before all of his opponents were scratched beyond use. He also is nearing a tie with Hannah in their lifelong headbutt battle.

My mom and dad might see this as a kind of poetic justice, since the story goes that I was rarely without a visible bruise on my head between the ages of 12 months and 3 years. We'll keep you updated. Until then, prepare your house for blunt impact, delivered and received by the most charming battering ram you've ever seen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Popular Kid

My reaction to Tobin's return to his original preschool is a paradox. On one hand I'm thrilled to be back in an environment that he seems to be extremely comfortable in. On the other hand, I feel like his independence and comfort level there somehow reduce my more recent role as comforter and refuge. There was a brief stretch when Tobin would cry and rush toward me as soon as I walked into his classroom, then cling to my legs all the way to the car. While I was sad for him, I also felt like I filled a definite role. My role now? I feel a bit like the parent of the most popular kid in school.

Tuesday was an excellent example. When I arrived, T's class was finishing afternoon snack time. When I walked into the room, Tobin acknowledged my presence, but made it clear that his sippy cup and collection of crackers and cookies were priority #1. He continued to eat calmly for five or ten more minutes while I chatted with his teachers. When snack was over and he finally came to see me, one of the little girls in his class gave him a hug goodbye. He walked over to the poster of pictures of his family and started to point things out to two of the girls in his class. Script as follows:

(Points to pictures of Hannah): "HA-nnah!"
(Points to picture of Dad and Tobin): "Dah-DEE!"
(Points to picture of Mom): "Dah-Duh."
(Points to picture of Tobin): "Dah-DEE."

At this point, one of his teachers reached down to say goodbye and gave him a kiss on the forehead. Finally, with goodbyes said and skills appropriately demonstrated, he lo
oked up to me as if to say "I guess you could take me home now." I said "Who are we going to see?"

He said "Halnah" while heading toward the door. In the hallway, he paused and looked up at each classroom door. His other classroom teacher came out of the kitchen, saw him and said "Tobin! Are you leaving us?" whereupon she scooped him up and gave him a half dozen kisses on his cheeks and forehead. He giggled until she put him down. We kept walking to the front door when one of his former infant room teachers walked into the hall. She saw T's new teacher as she was opening to door to go back to class and said "Didn't I tell you he was the sweetest?" Then she kissed him.

Finally, we made it to the front door. The director of the center got up from the desk in her office to say goodbye and Tobin casually blew her a kiss. Outside, we had almost made it to the car when the big kids' playground caught his eye. He took one last detour to the fence where the big kids were playing. As he surveyed it, a group of them came up to say hi. He waited silently, not moving much, then looked deliberately from his left to right at those who had come. He blew two quick kisses to them all, did an about-face, looked up at me, then said "Tuck," indicating the car that was waiting to take him home. I obliged, then called his mom as we pulled out of the parking lot, awestruck and proud of my little BMOC.

Friday, September 21, 2007

16-month high- & lowlights

I don't mean the title of this post to imply that anything really bad has happened lately. Mostly, ours is a very happy household because of a certain hilarious toddler. However, August & September are months of transition with Matt going back to work, Tobin returning to school, & me facing the busier part of my work cycle. So the last couple of months have included their challenges. Here's the scoop...

School: I will make every effort to make this long saga very short & speed up to the happy ending. About 3 weeks before Matt returned to work, we got the bad news that Tobin's preschool could not guarantee him a spot for the fall (after taking a summer break) because (& this is where I'm cutting out a lot of stuff) the school had to unexpectedly reduce class size. We were pretty much heartbroken. We loved Tobin's old school & the people there. Most importantly, we felt completely confident that Tobin was getting good, quality care there. It is so hard for us to be away from Tobin during our work hours, but it is bearable knowing that he is in competent, caring hands. So we suddenly were faced with the prospect of (1) finding a space (2) in a good daycare. It took some scrambling & lots of interviews & visits, but we found a comparable school in a comparable location. I say "comparable" because it wasn't the same as our old school. The only advantage the new place had was a newer building. We had some concerns about the staff turnover at the school, which is fairly common in daycare but not something we had to deal with at the old school, which had staff who had been there for years. The teachers were very nice there, but seemed young & a little immature. I felt good about leaving T there but not great. And there's a huge distinction between the two in this context. Tobin spent a total of 5 weeks there when we got a call from the director of the old school that a spot had suddenly opened up. Without hesitating, we accepted the opening & enrolled Tobin in his old school the following week, which was last week. I was able to work half days last week so that I could spend some time with T in the morning at his school, allowing him to have shorter days & for both of us to familiarize ourselves with his class & teachers. Although Tobin hadn't been in the toddler class before we took him out for the summer, the teachers in that class knew him & have been really great with him. He's an adaptable little guy & seems to be handling the transition well. He even takes naps (sometimes 2 hours long) after lunch on his little cot. I think Matt was pleasantly surprised to hear this after a summer of trying to trick Tobin into napping midday--usually by taking him for a ride in the car. Anyway, the good news is we're back where we want to be & exceedingly grateful.

Food: At Tobin's last doctor's appointment, his percentiles for height & weight continued to fall a bit. He's hovering around 50%, which is understandable considering Matt's & my sizes. However, the doctor was concerned that he hadn't gained any weight since his 12-month appointment. We were pretty surprised. We knew Tobin was a rather finicky eater. He won't drink cow's milk (we keep trying) & doesn't like certain textures, like meats & certain veggies. But everything we read made us think this was par for the course for toddler eating. We compensate for the milk mainly with yogurt, one of T's favorites, & some cheese. And Cheerios are our fail-safe. Since the doctor's appointment, we've made a more concerted effort to encourage grazing. We feed T every couple of hours, even if we're just playing on the living room floor. For example, he likes sharing a banana & a cup of yogurt with Dad every afternoon. So hopefully the next weigh-in will show progress. I think Matt & I are only moderately concerned about Tobin's eating, because he does seem to be eating more & a better variety lately &, the fact is, he is still our pleasantly plump little boy (note the belly, legs, & cheeks). This was just another thing that popped up in these last couple of relatively challenging months.

Shoes: T is very into shoes these days. In a previous post I noted his love for his sandals. His summer/early fall sneakers have been a pair of white low-top Converse (of which Dad has a matching pair). Most mornings Tobin will find his shoes & say "dutch," which as best we understand means "I want this!" or "Can you help me?" or "I like this!" He laughs & smiles as I put on the shoes & then walks around happily watching his feet. In the afternoon, his dad has a ritual of sitting down on the porch steps with Tobin to take off his socks & shoes because there is a lot of sand on the playground at school. The only reason removing T's sneakers is acceptable to him is because he thinks it's hilarious to hear the sand hitting the brick stairs. And because he gets to put on his beloved sandals (by far, his favorites). Taking the sandals off for bath & bed nearly always brings some tears. I admit that last night I skipped the bath & waited until T was sleeping to take them off just to avoid this emotional routine of parting with his sandals. Yesterday morning, we had a new shoe drama. I dared put on a different pair of shoes in the morning: T's (awesome) navy Pumas. After all, it's officially fall, right? Anyway, after I put one on, Tobin looked at his foot & cried. And then struggled to get away before I could put on the other one. We made up &, with a milder whimpering, he allowed me to put on the other shoe. And then he smiled & said "dutch?" ("Can we go to the car now?").

Hannah: Matt & I often talk as though we have two kids. We consider Hannah our first baby, but we acknowledge the obvious difference between loving a canine child & loving a human child. :) But, seriously, lately, I've felt more like I am a parent to two siblings. Tobin LOVES Hannah. He even says her name very clearly now, except that he has trouble with the "n" & so it sounds like he's saying something like "holla!" or the Jewish bread "challah." However, his sister can also cause him consternation. For example, she always wins tug-a-war with her chew toy. Sometimes this little game is funny; other times Tobin tries to keep Hannah away from the toy by holding it away from & uttering a gutteral "nuh nuuuuuuh." (I've seen him use similar tactics with other kids at school. Part of me worries he'll never learn to share. But the other part of me is glad he can fend for himself...because it's kinda crazy in there with 11 other toddlers. And some of them bite!) Today, I gave Hannah my empty yogurt container to lick, which displeased T because apparently HE wanted it. So I closed Hannah in the bathroom with the yogurt cup so she could lick in peace. Oh goodness. T followed me to the kitchen crying & then pointed at the bathroom & went back & banged on the door. A few minutes later, I let Hannah out. Tobin was on it. He took the cup from her & then she took it back & ran under the table. He cried & followed her. And I finally just took the cup away from both of them. The whole exchange exhausted me...& was hilarious.

Oh, & there's so much more to tell...but I will save that for another post. Tobin's Aunt Sarah is visiting this weekend, so we're excited about that.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tobin in high school

Through a quirk in our schedules today, T came to my school for a visit at the end of the day. Allison thought she would be in Raleigh late tonight (which didn't happen in the end anyway), so she dropped him off during the last few minutes of my last class, a nice group of AP Language and Composition kids.

I was a little worried about him because his separation anxiety has been pretty high lately. I have a sofa in my classroom, so I took him there while my students were finishing peer-editing some essays. I had a pop-up book for him and he just read on the couch for a minute. He didn't react at all to his mom leaving, which is remarkable for the stage he's in right now. At the end of class he was clingy, but he never cried. After the students left, he finally got comfortable enough to walk around school with me. He walked to the front office, then walked around on the practice soccer field, then walked on the grass of the baseball infield. I was a lot more popular than usual in the halls with him on my hip or walking next to me. He still likes to hold onto my hand, but he's gotten much more confident walking.

As much fun as we had, the real treat was that Mom got to come home at her normal time. Since we were expecting her to be late (maybe even post-Tobin-bedtime-late), it felt like a holiday when she called to say she was coming home.

I didn't have a camera at school to take a picture in my classroom, but I can give you a sense of environment. The first picture is one that was taken last week in my classroom for the school system's website, the second is T helping me grade some quizzes on Sunday. Merge the two in your mind and you'll have a good idea of the scene. Mondays at work don't get much

Monday, September 03, 2007

A family first

After our Labor Day dinner of veggie burgers and roasted potatoes (our attempt at healthy french fries, which were quite yummy with olive oil & rosemary), we took Hannah out for an evening walk. Usually, there are only three of us walking because Tobin rides in the stroller. But we decided to take a very short walk due to the heat, so tonight Tobin walked with us to the end of our little street and back (maybe 100 yards).

Tobin was very enthusiastic even before we stepped out the door because he was wearing NEW SANDALS. We had tried the same pair on him earlier in the summer but he did not like them because they felt funny on his toes (picture flip flops with a heel strap). Tonight was quite different. He LOVED them. He would walk around giggling and just looking at his feet. Then we went outside, and there was more laughing as he walked down the street with us, sometimes holding my hand or Matt's hand or both of our hands or no one's hands. He made Matt and me both a little nervous because he fell a couple of times. While we're used to the falling that comes with new walking (Matt likes to exclaim, "Sniper!" when Tobin falls seemingly randomly and, especially, sideways.), it's totally different when he's falling on asphalt. Tobin, however, was undaunted by any stumble. He just loved being outside and looking at fascinating things close up like parked cars, trash cans, recycling bins, and grass! He loved to walk up to the curb onto the grass and kneel down and pat the grass. We also let Tobin hold Hannah's leash but she pulled it out of his hands rather easily, which was startling to her (it's retractable and would fly back towards her) and hilarious to him.

The walk ended with Tobin walking up all nine of our front steps with some help from Dad. Once inside, we took his sandals off. He protested until he realized that he could hold the sandals and shake them while almost-running around the house. And squealing with laughter.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

So long, Summer.

We are certainly sad to see the summer go, but what a lovely summer it was...

At the end of June/beginning of July, Tobin took his first-ever trip to Louisiana. We drove, which in hindsight (and for most people, in foresight) was not the best option. But Hannah hurt her back a few weeks before the big trip and we weren't comfortable boarding her. Plus, we had a fabulous new road-trip-ready car, Sirius radio, the iPod, and two able drivers. It's all kind of a blur now, but we actually drove from here to Louisiana in one day on the way there. I don't like to remember how long it took, except that Mapquest estimated 16 hours and it took longer than that. Again, not our best decision as parents. But Tobin did remarkably well, considering. And he's a pro at sub-10-hour trips in the car because of it now. We had a great time in Louisiana while we were there, spending the first few days at a state park in the northwestern part of the state and then traveling down to Lake Charles for the remainder. Tobin got to meet his Lantrip family: great-grandparents, two great-uncles and their families, and three great-aunts and their families. That means lots and lots of cousins, most of whom are my first cousins, which I think makes them T's second cousins? It was wonderful to share him with everyone although he was just getting into his more intense separation anxiety period and usually wanted Matt or me nearby--he wouldn't let just anyone pick him up without a little protest. Our time went too quickly, but we have next summer to look forward to...when we will almost certainly fly. :)

Our other big trip of the summer was at the beginning of August when we drove to Kentucky for a few days. There were far fewer people to visit during this trip but that made it very nice. Just us and the grandparents. Matt and I snuck away for TWO dates while we were there. And there was lots of playing with and watching Tobin do his new tricks, which included almost walking at that point.

Right before his 15-month birthday, Tobin started walking. I remember playing with him one Saturday, and he just stood up unassisted and took about seven steps toward me. It was if he had decided he was ready to really give this biped thing a go. Ever since, he's been practicing a lot. There are still lots of stumbles and some crawling, but he's walking for the most part. It's really odd in a way, because walking makes him look so grown-up yet when he's standing, he looks so small. The best thing about Tobin walking is that when I come home from work, I am greeted by an almost-running, smiley little boy who stumbles into my arms for a big hug. It's simply wonderful.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ready, Steady . . .

Just your average, run-of-the-mill video of Tobin walking.

Download Windows Media format here. Download iPod format here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

An illustrated version . . .

You should re-read Allison's post, "First words."

Be sure to read all the way to the end.
ps - We like to read your comments.


I'm playing with a new way to put videos up. Let me know which way you like best. Here's Tobin organizing my CDs in a way only he could.

Summertime is Playtime

Click the above picture for a video depicting how we spend
a lot of our day during the summer.

If you'd like to download it to your hard drive to keep (or put on your iPod), use the following links:
Windows format
iPod format

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On the Run

I was looking at the difference between the Toblog this year and last year's and I have a pretty simple explanation: mobility. Last summer I happily typed away, relating nuggets of neophyte parent observations while watching Tobin sleep or rock back and forth in his bouncy chair, somewhat aware of the world around him. This summer, the world is wide and needs to be explored. Naps have been foregone in the name of toppling, scooting, and playing. It's pretty rare lately to get a spare moment during the day to reflect and type. After T's bedtime, I usually like to sit and enjoy a few still moments before going off to bed myself.

That isn't meant at all to be a complaint. This summer has been even more fun than last one; the only downside is I'm not recording as much of it for everybody else. A part of constant movement that has been really good this summer is running with T. We run pretty much every morning with the jogging stroller. A lot of times, he yells encouragement to me and to other people out running. Other times, he drifts off around the time we hit the first mile mark and snoozes all the way home. I tried to figure how many miles we've put on the stroller since Tobin got it for his birthday, and my best guess is 50 or 60 miles.

The next step in Tobin's movement is walking. Allison and I have decided that T has all the tools necessary to walk. He cruises well and stands up without holding on for as long as 30 seconds. It really seems to be a matter or comfort. There was a brief period when he would make a strange, whining noise when he would let go of the coffee table or whatever he was holding onto. He's really careful and tentative. Plus, he's such a fast crawler that he might just not see the benefit in walking yet.

I've tried to film him standing, but his interest in the camera outweighs his will to walk. I'll keep trying, and I'm sure we'll get the word out quickly when he's embraced the biped lifestyle.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

First words

Tobin has been talking for quite some time now. Only recently have Matt and I been able to understand him better.

"Dah" and "duh" have been used for months now. Of course, we thought that "dah" was "Dad" or maybe "dog," but one couldn't be sure. Then sometime shortly after his 13-month birthday (as best I can pinpoint, it was 6/20 or 6/27--feel like a bad mom that I didn't write it down, but I did spend the last 20 minutes looking at cell phone records to try to figure it out!), Tobin said his first, unmistakable word: "gentle." As Matt tells it, he crawled over to his sister Hannah and started petting her, saying "gentle." Matt called me to tell me as it was happening and I even got to hear Tobin say it a couple of times over the phone. It was crystal clear and adorable. You see, we've been trying to teach Tobin to be "gentle" with Hannah and pet her gently rather than pull her ears or bop her on the head. (We're successful in communicating this message 3.5 out of 10 times and possibly improving. Hannah is really a good sport.) So it's really sweet that his first word was "gentle." He has a very gentle spirit himself, so we think it's appropriate. Now, we've since come to realize that he may use the word as a noun as opposed to an adjective--i.e., Hannah is a "gentle" and also a "dah" as well as "Hah"--but at least he's associating the right words with her. Matt will teach him about parts of speech next summer. :)

In addition to gentle, Tobin also regularly says "Daddy," light ("dight"), Hannah ("Hah"), and, most recently, "dratch." We're still trying to figure that last one out. Oh, and he says Cheerios (his next favorite food to breastmilk) with a very efficient "chuh" and open and closes his fist--sounds and signs he also uses to tell me he wants to nurse.

We're enjoying our communicative little household very much these days.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Father's Day II

What a difference 364 days makes.

I read my post from
last Father's Day to try to remember exactly what my first one as a dad felt like. I was trying to think of some way to link the two together, but what strikes me most is the difference in Tobin. Instead of laying around all day with Tobin this year I spent a significant part of the day chasing him around the house. As a special surprise to me, he skipped his afternoon nap (which I actually could have used). The U.S. Open was on again, but Tobin's days are no longer punctuated only by diaper changes and feedings. His average day is one filled with pulling up, falling over, testing limits, laughing, playing hard, chasing Hannah, eating a little, and burning more energy and putting in more miles than I would have imagined a pre-walking toddler possibly could. He is a wonder. And a delight. It feels like every day is Father's Day since we have so much time together this summer, but Sunday was a great day to reflect on Tobin's development through the year.

He can't possibly have another year of such rapid development and change, can he? If he does, I'm not sure I can keep up.

Exercise is tiring

Tobin and I took our first trip with the jogging stroller on Tuesday. It was hot, even at 9 in the morning. T giggled through the first quarter-mile or so once we started moving. Then he was silent. I was a little worried, so I stopped for a second to make sure he was OK. He drifted off to sleep and slept all the way back to our house. Any concerns I had about his comfort in the jogging stroller have been allayed. See for yourself:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Summer Project

As most of you know, Hannah hurt her back a couple of weeks ago. One of the projects that Tobin and I have taken on this summer is making sure she rests and recuperates. She's doing much better. The trouble we're having the most right now is keeping her from running and jumping. She's excited to be able to move semi-normally again and would definitely take on stairs by herself if we let her. She's got another 10 days or so before she can go on full walks around the neighborhood with Tobin and the whole family, but if she continues to improve at this rate, she'll be almost as good as new pretty soon.

Since this is the Toblog and not the Hannah-blog, you might be wondering why I would talk so much about her here. I was really worried about how she would react to Tobin's playing when she was hobbled. Since there were a few days where she couldn't just trot away from him, I was afraid that we would see signs of defensiveness--and maybe even aggression. Instead, she has been just as patient and gentle with him as ever. He slaps her on the snout every once in a while and (gasp!) smacked her back a few times, but she never reacts with anything but submission. Now that she can walk away again, she'll just move out of his way and find another spot to lie down. I like to think that Tobin is trying to help with her rehabilitation by going to see her when we have to confine her in her crate. He takes every opportunity to let her out when his parents turn their backs. He even brings toys to her in bed sometimes (see pictures). It's not exactly the beginning of summer break that I had planned on, but it's good to see her improving and it's great to see how much Tobin loves her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer Starts

Today was my first day as a full-time dad. It went pretty well. Tobin is feeling a bit under the weather, so we didn't tackle anything too difficult. Feedings went well; napping went not as well, but all things considered it was a good start to our summer. For those of you with Gmail, I'll have a chat window up most of the time when we're at home, so feel free to say hi. If I'm not up to my elbows in puree or playing an important game on the floor, I'll try to say hi back.

Look for more regular Toblog posts as we find our routine.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Twelve-month check-up

Tobin had his 12-month doctor's visit earlier this week. It seems that his "off the charts" numbers continue to come down to more realistic ranges--especially his length, which is closer to where Matt and I probably fall on the growth charts. :) Oh, and I guess his head size is still way up there. Everything looks good overall. We've been fortunate to have had a relatively illness-free late winter/early spring.
Weight = 24 lbs. 10 oz. (75th percentile)
Length = 29.5 inches (40th percentile)
Head = 19 inches (95th percentile)
In other news, we're getting ready for summer. Tobin's preschool has graciously allowed us to take him out for the summer while holding his place for the fall, so T will spend the summer at home with his dad. The school has also allowed Tobin to stay in the infant room until we take him out for the summer. Ordinarily, he would have been promoted to the young toddler class room by his first birthday. He'll start his new class in the fall, not unlike regular school, I guess. We feel like that will be a better time for him to make the transition; we're all a little sad that he has to leave his "baby" class. The only drawback to Tobin staying home with Matt is that I will, admittedly, be envious. But, I've been promised weekly trips to Raleigh so the boys can have lunch with me, and I really don't have it too bad at work as the summer months at the Court tend to be kind of slow and relaxed. I don't feel too guilty leaving early every once in a while.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tobin's First Birthday

Tobin had his first birthday one week ago today. I have a few things to share about his big day--actually his big weekend. On Thursday the 17th, the Walsh side of the family showed up: Al and Amy from Florida, Bethany and Louise from Louisiana, and Ashley from Atlanta. On Friday, the Smith side of the family made it in: Tobin's Great-Grandma Yardley from Missouri (by way of every state in between, it seems) and Larry and Tricia (my parents) from Kentucky.

We were a little worried about Tobin being overwhelmed with all of the attention, but he was great. There was a time or two that he seemed a little concerned about all the commotion, but for the most part he just ate it up . . which brings me to the most entertaining part of the weekend.

On Saturday, the family and some close friends had lunch together and shared Tobin's first birthday cake. He had a Spider-Man cake with a blue web of icing on it.
first birthday cake
I guess it was the first time that Tobin has ever been sung to by a large group of people, but his reaction was really funny. He wasn't sure what to make of the singing or the cake at first. You should watch the video and see for yourself. Click the picture of Tobin below to launch the file. If you're on a Mac or you want to download the video in iPod friendly format, use this link.

The video above has music added. Tobin likes to watch the video and bob his head to the beat. If you would rather watch the video without music, you can use this link (or this one for iPod format). It's the same video as the one above; it just doesn't have the additional music. If you like the music, bob your head like Tobin while you watch it.

Allison said it well below, but we really are thankful for all of you that wished Tobin a happy birthday, either by joining us or being with us in spirit. We had a great time with our family, the Wards, and the Dickinsons. If you haven't already, be sure to look at a few of the pictures we've posted from the weekend on our flickr page.
and these "birthdays" happen how often?
I only have a couple of weeks more at school, so I hope to keep you more regularly updated about Tobin during the summer. I think he's about ready to start walking. He pulls up nimbly and has finally mastered sitting gracefully. He still uses one hand to steady himself, but I think we're nearing takeoff. I'll be sure to have my camera running when it happens.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thank you thank you thank you.

We just had a wonderful weekend celebrating Tobin's birthday. Pictures and a more detailed account will follow, but for now I just want to thank everyone--near and far--who helped us celebrate, whether by your presence with us or your well wishes from a distance. Our blessings are truly too numerous to count . . .

Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tobin!

At 5:32 P.M. today, Tobin turned one year old. Tomorrow is the official celebration, so a full report will follow, I'm sure. Today was spent with all of us at home, hanging out with family, welcoming more family in town, and buying groceries and other party necessities. Tobin was delightful, entertaining his guests with lots of smiles and by showing off his new tricks. He even waited up an hour and a half past his bedtime to welcome his Great Grandma Yardley. Of course, it doesn't take much to impress this crowd; they're all huge fans.

In keeping with Matt's reflections on what was happening a year ago, I think this would be a good time to write Tobin's birth story. . .

I woke up around 4 A.M. with contractions. This wasn't alarming because this was the third consecutive night that I had been wakened by them. Earlier in the week the contractions would come regularly for a while and then taper off, so I half expected these to do the same. But they didn't. By 5:30, we were timing them and they were only about 3-4 minutes apart. I went and took a shower, which was tough to do with the frequency and duration of my contractions. We decided it was probably time to go to the hospital, so Matt called work to let them know he needed a sub and called our friend Caleb to tell him that we probably needed him to come pick up Hannah after school that day. We headed out to the hospital around 7 A.M. with my contractions continuing to come strongly every few minutes.

At the labor and delivery triage, they checked my dilation. I was at 4 cm, so they told us they would admit me because I was definitely "in labor." (We had had a false run to the hospital nearly a week before, so it was kind of a relief to know we had read the signs correctly.) The next few hours are kind of a blur. We waited a while for a room. Once we were in the room, they hooked me up to the monitors, which I remember being really uncomfortable. I had the thought that since the contractions would only get worse, maybe I should try to eat something. I took one bite of a granola bar and decided I didn't really want to eat. Almost immediately after, I had a really intense contraction and vomited. I remember this kind of freaked me out. A doctor came in (I saw many doctors, residents, interns, etc. through the course of the day because we were at a teaching hospital) and asked if I would like to speed things along by breaking my water. Then he said they could do that before or after I had my epidural. I had previously been undecided about an epidural. My plan had been to go as long as I could without it, but I never was completely opposed to it. I remember feeling a little panicked because I was so uncomfortable and the thought of breaking my water was scary, so I said let's go ahead and do the epidural.

The doctor came in and did the epidural. I don't remember the insertion or whatever of the epidural being too bad. What I remember more distinctly is how relieved and relaxed I felt when it started to work. There was such a release of tension in my lower body. My labor did slow down, but other than that my epidural was perfect. During this lull in my contractions, I sat back and relaxed. Matt and I watched an entire Braves-Rockies baseball game. Looking back, I appreciated this time of relative rest. My best guess as to the timeframe was that the epidural was administered around 12-1 P.M. Then we waited a while for someone to come back and break my water.

I'm not sure when they broke my water but I guess it was about 2 hours after the epidural. My contractions picked up again, and gradually intensified (through the course of the Braves game as I recall). Of course, because of the epidural, I didn't feel much for a while, but would just watch the monitor. After the Braves game finished, we watched Oprah. I remember my contractions intensifying during this time such that I started to get really uncomfortable again. By around 4:30, I told the nurse that I thought I was ready to push. The nurse started to prepare the birth kit at what seemed like a leisurely pace. At some point, she was actually talking to the TV (still on Oprah), saying how if she was in that woman's position, she would have left her husband a long time ago. I was extremely annoyed by this and asked Matt to turn off the television. The nurse finally checked my cervix. I was fully dilated and could start pushing. It was around 4:45.

Pushing seemed to go on forever and was largely a frustrating experience. I was definitely in pain again and felt my nurse was not terribly helpful. For example, I told her I wanted to lay on my side and push. She asked why would I want to do that. I don't know if I explained that I had read it was a more comfortable position. I just remember being perturbed that she even asked that question. So I tried pushing on my side for a few minutes, but it was really awkward, so I returned to my back when the nurse suggested it.

When the O.B. (unfortunately, my doctor wasn't on call) arrived, she said something like, I'm sorry I didn't get here until the very end. I didn't care that she was late in getting there. I was just thrilled to hear that she thought I was nearly done. Throughout all of this, Matt was so great, telling me how good I was doing, helping me count and breathe. I pushed about 5-10 minutes more. When he crowned, the doctor asked me if I wanted to feel the top of his head. For some reason, I didn't; I just wanted to push some more. Tobin was born at 5:32 P.M., after about 45 minutes of pushing.

The first thing I remember is one of the nurses saying, that's a big baby. Then they handed him to me. He was kind of gray and slimy and beautiful, looking at me with his already big, wide eyes. He was so peaceful but also alert. I was overcome with happiness. Absolutely giddy. My first words to Tobin were something like, we're so glad to meet you, little guy. I didn't shed a tear; I couldn't stop smiling. Matt was crying and telling me how wonderful we both were. When they called out his weight--9 lbs., 2.5 oz.--I think I laughed a little.

For some reason, we didn't get around to calling our parents (and then others) until after 8 P.M. We were enjoying our time with Tobin, and I was undergoing the obligatory stitching (3rd degree tear) and post-delivery care. We were both starving, so Matt picked up food from the Wendy's in the hospital. (I honestly don't remember if I ate before or after we made the first call.) We moved rooms to the post-partum unit. I had planned on Tobin staying with us all night, but realized how exhausted I was and that if he was in the room with us we would both be checking to see if he was breathing every 5 minutes. I had already attempted an unsuccessful breastfeeding, so once I was ready to try to sleep, I just asked the nurse to bring him back in two hours. I spent the night waking every two to three hours to try to feed him and catching some surprisingly good sleep in between. When morning came, it was great to have him in the room with us continuously. Breastfeeding was a team effort, as I worked on getting Tobin to latch on while Matt tried to keep him awake to feed a little. Matt has been absolutely the best partner and father I could have hoped for, and I remember fondly how helpful he was during labor and the precious first hours caring for our son. It was actually Matt who changed Tobin's first diaper. I like to joke that he took advantage of me being laid up in bed to beat me to it.

So that's my memory of a year ago today when we welcomed Tobin Lee.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mother's Day (two days after)

Two days ago I celebrated what I count as my second Mother's Day. Even though Tobin was born four days after Mother's Day last year, I already felt like his mama and he was making his presence known in my pre-labor contractions. As Matt noted, Mother's Day fell on my law school graduation day, so in many ways celebrating that accomplishment eclipsed reflecting on the beginning of my motherhood experience. If I were comparing the two, I would say that this Mother's Day was way better simply because I know Tobin much better and got to hang out with him.

I kind of made a weekend out of Mother's Day. On Saturday, I got a pedicure, bought Tobin an adorable first birthday party outfit at a too-pricey children's boutique, did some much needed housecleaning while the boys went shopping (doing housework actually was enjoyable for me since it helps reduce my stress/anxiety about the level of cleanliness in our home, which by my measure is always lower than I'd like), and finished the night by going to an early dinner with Tobin and Matt (steak followed by a delicious chocolate cake and strong coffee). And I haven't even gotten to Sunday when...I opened two sweet cards and some gifts from my boys (Microplane grater/zester, Silpat baking mat, Norah Jones CD--all perfect for me), we all went to church, I took a 2-hour nap with Tobin, and Tobin and I went grocery shopping. Perhaps grocery shopping seems a bit of a chore to do on Mother's Day, but if you know me well, you know that I really like grocery shopping and it was fun to take Tobin along and talk to him while I shopped. Plus, as usual, he was remarkably cute. I gave him a bag of baby carrots to "hold" and then a box of penne pasta. He seemed to enjoy having the bag on one side of him and the box on the other; he would pat them and smile as we rolled along.

This past weekend was truly wonderful, reminding me of how incredibly blessed I am. Blessed to have such a supportive, giving husband who is also a loving dad. Blessed to have a happy, healthy, sweet son. My heart swells when I watch them together. This past year has been so special.

Monday, May 14, 2007

One year ago today

One year ago today was Mother's Day and Allison's graduation day. We had asked Tobin to hold off a couple of days since we had company in town for graduation. I had a state playoff baseball game looming on Tuesday the 16th. Allison was having more frequent contractions by Monday. I won't speak for Allison about how she was feeling this time last year. I can just speak for myself. I was really nervous. I was excited, too, but nervous was my state most often.

My pulse rate would jump anytime my phone would ring or Allison would ask for something. Even if she just wanted a drink of water, by the time she had finished her question I had run through a number of scenarios up to and including the helpful tips for emergency home delivery that we had learned at childbirthing classes. While my lips were saying that I would be glad to get water, my brain was trying to figure out which towels it would be okay to use in delivering Tobin if he decided to rush out before we could get to the hospital. Would Allison care if I used certain towels--and would it be best to use the nicer towels to welcome him or the not-so-nice ones so we could throw them out with no reservation? Now that I think of it, that was about the time I began to hone my ability to worry and fret at warp speed. Now I can hear Tobin cry from the next room and in less than three seconds have two routes in mind [allowing for traffic] to the nearest Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center, depending on my personal triage assessment.

I'll probably be awash in reflection and memories this week, but May 14th was a big day in my mind last year, and was the first day of the week that Tobin was born. He's asleep now. We spent the afternoon at the dog park with Hannah then crawling around the house toppling things until Mom got home. I had no idea how much I would love being a dad, but I'm trying to soak up every moment of it I can now.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It's been a while, we know.

Our apologies for the dearth of posts and/or pictures of late. Things are going well--just quite busy.

After Tobin's Easter/spring break from school when he was home with his dad, grandparents, aunt, and uncle for a week, we had a couple of weeks of a slightly tough transition back to school. Tobin got a bad cold, which always seems to happen when he returns to school after a break. The good news was that it was just a cold because our one trip to the doctor revealed that his ears were fine. We're ever vigilant about ear infections since he had two over the winter. With the cold came a suppressed appetite, so for a couple of weeks Tobin wanted very little to do with solid food and suddenly preferred his bottles (and, of course, he wanted to nurse frequently when we were together).

Things took a turn for the better this past week. Tobin's appetite for solid foods was back; he ate great all week. His separation anxiety seemed less intense as most mornings this week I just put him down at school and he was off playing in no time, hardly noticing when I left. All of this was very good after the rough couple of weeks we had. "Rough" for us is all relative. Things have never been difficult with Tobin--it's just a little tougher when he's sick.

We're certainly counting the days (13) until Tobin's first birthday when we're planning to have family in town for a party. There's a part of me that gets a little sad to think of how quickly he's growing up. But mostly, it's so much fun getting to know him as a little boy. For example, we were in the church service last week, and Tobin was sitting in my lap swaying to the music as the choir sang. Then he started "singing," which is this softer, higher-pitched, sustained babbling he does. Matt leaned over to me and said, "He's on pitch." It was terribly sweet, and maybe we interpreted to be more than it was, but it was still wonderful to watch him interacting with and appreciating his world in that small way. It seems that each day is filled with small, poignant moments like that.

So there's a little update from our little family. Hopefully, more will follow more frequently as we approach the milestone of Tobin turning one year old.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Tobin is enjoying his first Easter weekend. We have friends and family in town, with more on the way. Ashley, Al, and Kelli came in at the end of last week. Tobin's grandparents from Florida are on their way as I type this. Tobin was great in church, sleeping through most of the service. As you can see below (and on our Flickr page) he's a handsome little guy. I'm on Spring Break this week, and have been looking forward to lots of Tobin time for a while now. Hopefully that will include shooting lots of pictures and some video to share with you.
easter sunday heartbreaker

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Tobin has achieved full mobility. Below is the evidence.

You may know that one of the few things I keep constantly organized is our CD collection. All of our music is arranged alphabetically by artist, then by original release date. I find it very pleasing to know that I can find any album at a moment's notice. Tobin likes CDs too. The nearest CD tower was Tobin's first destination once he mastered crawling. One of his favorite activities now is pulling CDs off the shelf and spreading them around:

music lover

they were in the wrong order anyway

While it has been a little more work to keep up with Tobin since he learned how to mosey around, it's also been a lot of fun. You need look no further than the video below. Click the picture of Tobin to launch the video. It's about 16MB in size, so it may load slowly. The soundtrack is part of a song that Tobin likes to dance to.

T's Crawling Video from matt smith on Vimeo.

Here's your special treat: For those of you with Video iPods, here is a link to the same video in an iPod friendly format. Right-click on the link, then add the video to your iTunes video folder and you've got mobile Tobin in a mobile format. I'll make a copy of all future videos in this format. When I have time I'll convert all of the old Toblog videos so you can add all of them to your iPod. I have Tobin videos loaded on mine and love to spring them on people who make the mistake of saying "Do you have any pictures of your son?"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Work shmork, it's Toblog time.

I've hit a bit of a lull at work today, so this post is technically brought to you in part by taxpayer support. I've been intending to upload a video of Tobin's remarkable crawling skills and I've heard from a few sources that such a video would be appreciated. The three of us have taken turns being a little under the weather, but it is my intent to get a video posted this weekend. I even have a special treat planned . . .

That said, there is other fun news to share: Tobin is about to cut teeth. We noticed a light clinking sound the other night when letting Tobin drink from a "big-person glass." This could help explain some of the hilarious squinty faces he's been making lately--and maybe explain some of his recent reluctance to eat. Personally, I don't remember what it was like to cut teeth, but I can imagine that having bone break through previously smooth skin would be pretty painful. Because my brain does such things, I tried to imagine what it would feel like. The best I could come up with was the feeling of a nail cut just a little too close to the quick--not so close that it bled, but close enough that it hurts when I touch it or move certain ways. I asked Tobin to explain what it felt like and he said "Da da da ba buhhhhhhh. Unhh!"

I haven't been able to pick up his language despite honest effort on my part. Hopefully he has more luck learning my language so we can communicate more effectively.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

9 months

Tobin turned 9 months old a week ago today. At his doctor's appointment this past week, his measurements were:
Weight: 23 lbs. 7 oz. (85th percentile)
Length: 28.5 inches (60th percentile)
Head circumference: 18.75 inches (95th percentile)
Physically, Tobin is doing so well. By the way, the percentiles are more of the interesting-but-not-terribly-important variety of information. In the past 2-3 weeks, he's started crawling in a coordinated, increasingly efficient manner. I get a kick out of him crawling from the living room to find me in the kitchen, with his dad proudly following behind him. Crawling was such a gradual sort of thing. I guess if we were to pinpoint when he made his successful, purposeful propulsion forward, it was Super Bowl Sunday & was very ungraceful but adorable--looked a lot like the movement of an inchworm. But before that, he was moving well on the floor, rolling and scooting backwards & sideways. Now, he is crawling in the classical sense. It's truly amazing for us to see. Such are the wonders of parenthood.

Other exciting developments have come in the eating department. Tobin eats fruit (apples, bananas, pears, peaches, raspberries, apricots, plums/prunes) & vegetable (sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, squash, corn) purees, yogurt (whole milk plain), lentils, rice, oatmeal, Cheerios, & Gerber Puffs. We're working on introducing more proteins & varied textures this month. We try to feed him organic food whenever possible. And we're trying to hold off on added sugars as long as we can--hence the plain yogurt, which we usually mix with his fruits or veggies but he will eat plain as well. I'm still breastfeeding him & plan to do so until he's at least a year. In the last month, it's been a struggle to get him to take his bottles at school during the day, but he still nurses well with me in the evenings & on the weekends, so we're not too concerned. We've introduced a couple of ounces of fruit juice in a sippy cup in an effort to make sure he's getting enough fluids while he's away from me. Most of his solid food feeding is still accomplished with us feeding him with a spoon, but he's able to pick up small pieces of dry cereal & get most of the pieces to his mouth & actually eat them--although he'd just as soon drop them on the floor for Hannah. He giggles when she eats them, of course.

Although he exhibits some stranger & separation anxiety now & then, Tobin remains very laid back and happy. He enjoys crawling & playing on the floor with his friends at school. Most days, he hardly pays attention to me when I leave to go to work because he is already engaged in playing with another child or a toy. This weekend, we took Tobin to his first high school baseball game (a Riverside scrimmage) & he sat in his stroller or in his dad's arms, taking it all in & smiling for strangers. Then tonight, we were at some friends' baby shower & he did wonderfully, even when we kept him out a little past his bedtime. These are just a couple of examples of how incredibly flexible & friendly he is.

So that's the latest on our big boy. We'll try to do a better job of posting more regularly than we did this month. But life is busy busy for us. Busy and wonderful.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snow Day [the illustrated version]

Allison's post below describes today well. I'll attempt to do it with pictures. It started with pancakes and coffee.Even Hannah got a pancake.Then everybody headed outside to see the snow. All of us were excited.Well, almost all of us.Tobin got to walk around with Mom. . .
happy snow day!
and with Dad. . .
boys braving the elements . . .
then went back inside to get warm again: rosy cheeks, Dad's hat, and all.
wearing dad's hat
Finally, punctuated with a nap.
Although it wasn't the heaviest snow ever, it's officially my favorite snow day ever.

Snow day

We're enjoying a nice morning at home because it's snowing right now. It's the best kind of snow day because Matt & I both found out we didn't have to go into work today yesterday afternoon, even though the snow didn't start until almost 8 this morning. So we slept in (?) until 6:30. I made pancakes & an extra large pot of coffee. Tobin & Matt are watching the Discovery Channel (something about cars), & I think we're about to go take some pictures in the snow. We'll post some of those photos later.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


We had a dusting of snow this week. It wasn't enough to get really excited about, but it meant that Allison was able to spend all day Thursday with Tobin. There's a slight possibility of snow Sunday night, which I would enjoy. It's been a couple of years since we've had anything that I could call snow without making little quotation mark gestures with my hands. I've got the battery on the video camera charged up in case we can let Tobin play in the snow for the first time.

This morning feels like the first "normal" Saturday we've had in a while. We slept in (til almost 7:00!), had breakfast (pancakes for the big people, rice cereal and apples for the little one), and are just enjoying a nice morning together.

Sometimes I feel like I should save Toblog posts for really special events, but I realize that I cherish mornings like this as much as anything else we do. I hope this finds you well wherever you are. T is about to go down for a nap. I might just join him.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ready, set . . .

Today Tobin is eight months old. He weighs about 22.5 pounds. He is delightful, bright, curious, and beautiful (I mean handsome, Tobin, in case you read this some day). And--look out world--he's almost independently mobile. This is my current favorite photo of him:
i'll just do it myself
Tobin has achieved all fours. He was close over the holidays but never could stay up consistently. It's now commonplace for us to find him after a nap in his crib rocking back and forth on his knees. He hasn't put it together yet that this will ultimately provide him a means of propulsion. I say that because instead of moving his knees to crawl, he attempts to move by diving forward with both hands, collapsing two of the legs of what is known in yoga as "table position." The visual effect of this is a non-moving kind of headfirst slide into an imaginary base. Imagine if you had to do "Pete Rose" in charades and you'll get the idea.

Despite his inability to crawl, he moves around much more than ever before. I can leave him on a pallet on the floor for as little as 10 seconds to grab something, and when I return he will have scooted, rolled, or levitated [hey, if I'm not there to see it, who knows?] to the other side of the pallet or to plant his cherubic face in the abrasive pile of our dingy carpet.

His all-fours position also seems to have further convinced Hannah that he is in fact a strange looking and sadly uncoordinated dog. She treats him nicely and tries to get him to play, but I wonder if she's frustrated with the rate of his development (after all, most puppies are nearly house-trained by eight months). One thing that we've had to look out for is her attempts to, erm, "dominate" him. If you've owned a dog, you can probably guess what I mean. There is a thing that dogs do to other dogs to establish their supremacy . . . and I'll stop there. Besides that, she is great with him. She makes him laugh more consistently than either of his parents. He lights up when she sprints from room to room or chews on her stuffed rabbit. I'm really excited to see him crawl around after her. But I'm excited to see him do pretty much anything he does every day.