A few words

Taking Tollie out attracts attention.  Because he’s cute and because he has bright red hair and because sometimes it sticks up a little.  But more often because he’s loud.  Andy and I are certain that Tuck did not draw stares from strangers the way his little brother does.  It occurs to us, though, that we may not have taken Tuck out in public as often at this age.  When Tuck was one, Celie was sick, and we felt fairly homebound.
At almost a year and a half, Tollie’s coming into his own.  Andy will freely admit that he considers Tollie more keepable than he did up until a few weeks ago, when the idea of a return policy might have been pretty tempting.  Tollie is presumably a very normal toddler, and we're remembering that even when things are normal they can also feel pretty hard.
Tollie's learning how to stay connected to us while he becomes himself, beginning to understand his capabilities, discovering that he is competent, and sometimes even in control.  This independence, combined with an increased ability to communicate, has made life a little easier for all of us. 
A few words can go a long way.  Tollie strung some together at his grandparents' house over the weekend, where I love you RoRo came to mean multiple things, including I'd like another scoop of ice cream in my bowl, please.


Sunday in the Swamp


His attachment grows less to me and more to the world.

And also lots of weeds grow in our grass.


Fun things to do

I mentioned in the previous post that Tuck collected a few grubs from the yard.  He corralled them in a special spot yesterday, surrounded by a rock fence and labeled with the chalk letters G-R-O-B.  He included ivy leaves propped like umbrellas for shade, with graham crackers and nice juicy roots to eat.  And also, a comparably enormous softball nearby, in case they wanted to play.  At one point I found myself sitting cross-legged on the front porch, reading aloud from a library book with a lap full of grubs.  Because they're growing into chafers and they need food and water and naps and fun things to do.

It rained today, so we spent the morning inside at COSI.  Tucker picked circuits from the menu at the Gadget Cafe and he became borderline obsessed with an ancient recording device in the Progress exhibit appliance store.
He can spend an hour with a bucket of paper clips and a big bar magnet, or an afternoon making sounds with metal and glass and plastic and wood.
Tuck reminded us, more than once this afternoon, that worms come out when it's wet, so I'm trying to gear up for rain boots and shovels and earthworm storytime tomorrow.

If you shop at Kroger, please consider renewing your rewards card for BDSRA's benefit.
(BDSRA is #83592.  See the Current Fundraisers tab for more info.)



This weekend saw what was, hopefully, the last act of winter.  And there are plenty of things I could say about spring, about the way Tuck describes the pear blossoms with "it looks like there's popcorn up in those trees" and how he became best friends forever with the colony of grubs he curated, except for the one "with grumpy eyes, know why his eyes are grumpy? Because he's hungry so I gave him some moss to chew on."  Or the way Tols, after having his own cheeks slathered, carefully coated rocks and leaves with sunscreen and how he, after watching us work to spread mulch, found all manner of places we'd missed -- inside tulip blossoms and inside the hose nozzle and inside the tire pump.  Like nature in springtime, there's no doubt these boys are in the business of being alive.
And there are plenty of things to say about that, but right now, the thing about spring I keep coming back to is this: Parenting feels so much easier outside.


Little Shadow

In the bath tub, between teaching Tollie how to make "little splashes" and practicing back floats, Tucker uses the flexible shower nozzle as a microphone, belting out more Book of Mormon lyrics than I know.  Tollie is not yet repeating questionable showtunes, but when he limits his splashing to near the little range, Tuck stops mid-song to take full credit. 

Tolliver is at a stage wherein he mimics everything Tucker does.  Everything.  Tuck claims the good things -- Oh look, I taught Tollie to catch the ball/pat the bug gently/kiss the baby doll!  But he takes no responsibility for less desirable actions like throwing something in anger, jumping off the basement steps, or spitting out food.  For the most part though, Tucker's behavior is copy worthy.  And not only are Tolliver's parodies pretty charming, all this parroting seems to have strengthened his bond with his brother. 
If we’re around when the mail slips through the slot, Tuck runs toward the door to peek out and say Fank you. Tollie does it now, too.

I've admitted that the who-is-raising-whom-in-this-house lines can be a little blurry.  And I may have said it a million times but I just want to go on record again with: I'm so glad they have each other.


a month in moments

trying to eliminate morning naps
swinging at the park
eating ice cream on the patio
blowing bubbles in the backyard
stealing the snowman's nose #springinohioisconfusing

sharing sunshine at the back door
hugging it out
watching "worm-aids" at the zoo
sliding down the ottoman
strolling through the 'nabe
watching spring sprout
resting benext to each other in bed

discussing "even higher-cinths"
hunting eggs
smoking with the big green egg, and smiling
april-showering after school
meeting baby Thatch #excitedface


Erf could probably use a hug.

This photograph doesn't quite capture it, the way he spreads his arms out to show how big the insect was or how much he likes vanilla ice cream cones, as if he were trying to hug the whole planet.  When he stretches wide, that space from fingertip to fingertip looks like it could hold the world.


let there be

There are no fewer than five flashlights lined up on Tuck's desk.  They've been stationed there long enough that I've had to dust around them.  And there are at least two flashlights in his underwear drawer. 
Several days ago a small toy rolled under the piano.  Tucker collected flashlights from all over the house - from under the kitchen sink and from his bedroom and from the back part of the basement - and angled them so they all pointed at the object under the piano.  He was still unable to reach it, but he could sure see it.

Some of Tucker's flashlights have clear plastic discs that fit over the beam, with black shapes that cast shadows, silhouettes of cars and dinosaurs and insects.  He has a book that he likes to read at bedtime, when his room is very dark, that has similar black shapes on clear pages meant to shine light through.  That book usually leads to making a few shadows of our own, splayed hands become birds and folded fingers make wolves.  There's something mysterious and magical about shadows, something primitive, like a cave painting.  There are secret worlds on the walls, not just dark spots with shapes.
Let his adventures begin with the click of a switch, the flash of a bulb.  In order for a shadow to appear, light and darkness must coexist.  Let there be flashlights all over the place.  Let there be light in this house.


Want some?

As an aside: We've updated the Current Fundraisers tab at the top of the page -- if you're local, please consider saving May 31st for the Greater Atlanta Girls' Choir Batten Disease Benefit Concert at Broad Street Presbyterian Church.