Tobin is five and three-quarters today. When I told him he was 69 months old, he was amused. And then immediately asked, "How many months will Evan be on the 28th?" Doing the math aloud, I responded, "He'll be 24 plus 8 . . ." and then paused for Tobin to say "32!" This boy of ours has a thing for numbers. Or at least it seems so to his more humanities oriented parents.
Lest I sound like just a boastful mama--which I shamelessly am--I'll note that Tobin's Kindergarten teacher has noticed his affinity for math too. Ms. Alana enlisted his help over the last two weeks for a special counting project at school. The school asked students to donate white children's socks to send to a school in Haiti. The goal for the sock drive was 200 pairs. Alana took Tobin around to each class with her to tally up the socks. She kindly showed me the piece of paper on which she wrote down the numbers as they added them up. He was adding three-digit and two-digit numbers up in his head. She was particularly impressed when she gave him the number 149 and then asked him to add 99, he came up with the answer of 248 before she could even started to write it down. The school ended up collecting 496 pairs of socks and because Tobin had helped her count them, Alana had him announce the number to the entire school! I wasn't able to be there for that assembly but he told me about it, smiling ear to ear. He's often a reserved, understated little guy, so I loved seeing him totally beaming with pride. The following day at chapel, which I did attend, the school director Ms. Nicolette announced that a few more pairs of socks had come in and the grand total was 511 socks. She then asked, "If we have that many socks, how many kids will get socks?" Misunderstanding the question but not missing a beat, Tobin raised his hand and said, "1022!" Nicolette kindly noted, yes, that was how many individual socks they had. I was sitting near Alana, who shook her head and whispered, "I can't believe he doubled 511 that fast!"
I've mentioned before how much we love Tobin's school. He has totally thrived there. The few chances I've gotten to see him in his classroom have been delightful. I noticed especially on my most recent how confidently he moves among his friends and how he doesn't play favorites, getting along well with everyone. He can get silly and wound up like any five year old, but his teachers have talked about what a polite and pleasant kid he is.
At home, Tobin is a good big brother. He is especially sweet with Lauren, always trying to entertain or hug her. His relationship with Evan is a little more complicated and antagonistic. The antagonism goes both ways, but Evan understandably may dole out an extra portion. I try to help but I know they have to work some of this out on their own. I figure Tobin is learning patience, and Evan is learning how to stand up for himself. But Tobin often does sweet things, like asking Evan to play basketball with him and teaching Evan, with some success, to play Wii bowling and table tennis. Evan couldn't be more thrilled to be side by side with his big brother.
Tobin is also helpful to me. In addition to being able to get himself ready in the mornings, he's learning to do small chores like putting his clothes away and taking his dishes to the kitchen counter. He even sits and plays with Lauren when I need just a few minutes out of her sight, like when I put Evan down for his nap. And he's just good company. When the babies are napping, he's sweet about entertaining himself when I need to do other things, but it's also delightful to have him nearby chatting me up, or giving me updates on the latest imaginary basketball game taking place on our living room basketball court, or asking me to look up "the top 11 teams in the AFC and NFC . . . Wow, I can't believe the Panthers finished worse than the Seahawks!," or reading a recipe as he helps me make a Valentine's treat for Matt. Yes, he's reading up a storm, and we love having him read to us. Although, having a little reader around may be a tad overrated. Tobin looked at the laptop the other day, read my Gmail tasks list and whined: "Mom, why are you going to cancel Netflix?" He does keep us on our toes, but we are loving most every minute of it.