September 30, 2005
Whew! I could write a whole book just on Tobin! Let's see...where to start...well, he is just about 3 1/2 years old exactly and looks like a mini-Ted. He definitely has his father's sense of humor and makes silly jokes and statements all the time. Of course, I forget what they are when I am talking with other people! I really need to keep a notepad on the kitchen counter to record some of the funny happenings and sayings from all our children. Anyway, Tobin makes me laugh, and that's a good thing...because just as often he makes me want to scream!
I do try to focus on his good qualities, his strengths and gifts, so I don't get bogged down in the daily muck of dealing with his tantrums, whining, hitting, stealing, lying...oops, here I go again! Time to change direction!
God has blessed Tobin with a how-does-it-work mind--again, just like his father. He loves to take things apart and (sometimes) put them back together (and other times leave them strewn about the floor for me to step on). He finds heroes in everyday situations and is currently obsessed with George, the dishwasher repair man who has visited our house twice and needs to come back at least one more time, to Tobin's delight. Yesterday Tobin strutted around most of the day with his play tools stuffed into his pockets and waistband. He informed me that he was George, and he was here to fix my dishwasher (and later my desk, the sink, the table, the wall, and just about any other surface he felt he could bang on or poke). "George" ate lunch with us, painted a couple of pictures, and then proceeded to pull as much as he could out of the hole the plumber made in the outside wall. I can't leave this boy alone for a minute, it seems!
He does have an active imagination, and he loves to be read to. He takes the facts from the daily Bible stories we read and personalizes or embellishes them to suit his fancy. He has played "Jacob" and "Joseph" (both of whom were dogs). Today we read about Balaam's donkey and the angel, and Tobin decided that if anyone tried to do anything bad to him, his angel would be there with a sword to stop him. At least that idea is biblical!
Tobin has shown much interest in "school time," but I'm still trying to work out exactly what it is he wants and is ready for. He loves playing with the Math-U-See blocks when Charis is doing her math lessons, and he begs to do pages in his Handwriting Without Tears pre-K workbook. I've been excited to see him develop more control with his writing in just the couple of weeks we've been doing pages. The workbook is mostly coloring with big, broad-stroked capital letters throughout. It seems perfect for him, and I have to try to slow him down or else he'd do the whole book in one day! As for math, I think he'll be ready to start something soon--whenever he seems inclined to use a workbook, we'll do something semi-official. He seems to enjoy it, but I don't want to push him by any means. I just want him to have fun learning and exploring, and if he wants to "do math," which he has actually been asking for, then hey, we'll "do math!"
He also listens in on Charis' school stories, currently from the Family Treasury of Little Golden Books, the Real Mother Goose, and the Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book. In fact, he'll sit still for just about any kind of story!
In Maryland we had all but given up on getting him to nap, because it seemed that when he did sleep in the afternoon, he'd be awake until 11 p.m. and up at 6 a.m. With the boys sharing a room in our Las Vegas house, they do tend to keep each other awake later than we might like, but it has definitely gotten more reasonable--more like 9 or 9:30 p.m. rather than 11 or 11:30. Yesterday I tried to see what would happen if I allowed Tobin to play quietly during the afternoon rather than try a nap, since he had napped well on Tuesday and Wednesday both, plus woke up at 8 a.m. Thursday instead of the usual time (6:30 a.m.). Well, I guess I should have known he wouldn't be able to do anything QUIETLY, nor would he be content with one activity/play area for long! So, back to naps we go. Overall he has done fairly well--we put a sleeping bag on our bed, and he curls up with his "Ellie" (the elephant) and blanket that Grandma Keist made. More often than not he does fall asleep, but the days he doesn't, it is a real battle to keep him quiet and still! My stamp room is in the sitting area just off our bedroom, so I usually try to work in there so I can keep an eye on him. I guess I should just be happy that he is napping fairly consistently--I don't know that that ever really happened the whole year we were in Maryland. Sleep issues have abounded with this child, and I'm sure that is much of what contributes to his difficult behavior. He does need a predictable routine, so I have decided that, nap or no, he will at least lie quietly in bed for a rest time. We will not be trying afternoon quiet play time for QUITE awhile!
Tobin is definitely the child who will probably cause me to grow the most spiritually! I pray every day that I will be conformed to Christ, because I cannot be the mother He wants me to be on my own. It is a humbling experience, parenting a strong-willed child, because I see myself in him so often. It makes me realize what a patient and loving Father I have, to put up with my tendency to push for my own agenda instead of His all too often.
Well, nap time approacheth, so it is time to quit here and get ready for naptime stories...