I get such a charge out of him.

Tolliver is so plugged into the world.  I feel like I'm always following him around jiggling my own cord, trying to create a connection that's as strong as his.

He is a fearless tour guide, leading me through little boyhood, choosing routes different than the ones his older brother took, but still stopping at all the best parts: Oh, what kind of truck is that be? and You see that yellow flower? That a daffodil!  
He pauses to process the environment and points out confusing parts: Big, big loud thunder scare meem, and Why ant not moving any more?
Of course there are some sights I'd rather not revisit, places he invariably puddles into a two year old supernova: I not want take nap, I want nuffing, and Why Tucker get he turn right now? 
But most of time he’s a few feet ahead of me admiring some sort of overlooked loveliness, and by the time I catch up, really put myself into his moment, he’s on to the next.

When we're close, though, when he can grasp my sleeve at the sudden unfairness, when I can hold his hand through the commonplace chaos, I think to myself: he's going to grow up to be one of those people who multiplies the energy in a room.



His voice traveled from the backseat to my brain, and I tried to process his words at high speed.  He'd interrupted the soundtrack to say: "Ninja Turtles are for boys, and Frozen is for girls.  I used to like Frozen and then somebody told me that and then I didn't like Frozen anymore, but now I do again."
In the next breath he resumed his sing along.  My next breath was deep.

The conversation during our commute went back and forth for awhile, Make one wrong move and everyone will know straining in the background.  And then the talk was over, ending with my final thought: "It's okay to like what you like."
I did my best to explain that it's okay to like something your friends don't like.  That nothing is for girls.  That nothing is for boys.
We talked about Tuck's pink skinny jeans and his tool belt, his craft supplies and science kits.  We talked about working hard not to overlook or condemn the possibility of other ways of being human.
I gave, as best I could, all my efforts to leave something permanent pressed into the soft tissue between the two small ears apprehending it, all my efforts to help him understand that he is always allowed to like what he likes.  What I worry, though, is that just because I may be able to help him make one old thought go quiet doesn't mean he's gotten rid of it.
One of Tucker's favorite down-time things to do is "plus problems."  He spends afternoons filling pages with numbers, always using the same pointy red Pilot pen.  Eager to tell his cousin how he can multiply by ten, I told him, "You know, she's good at math, too.  She might even be able to teach you some first grade math."
And he replied, "No thanks, I already have a lot of teach in my head.  I just wanna tell her about tens."

I know he has a lot of teach in his head.  I learn from him every single day.
What I do not know, in any given moment, is how to be anything so complicated as his mother.


Andy argues it may be a bull

I sense that his spirit animal may be a bouncy ball.  Is that a thing?


lingering descant

Mom, I gotta tell ya something. There’s three kinds of Os. One in the ABCs, one in the numbers, and one in the shapes.

I hear I gotta tell ya something at least ninety two times a day.  He wants to learn how to tie his shoes and how to ride a bike, and he wants to teach me EVERYTHING HE KNOWS.

Last summer, after he schooled her on tree frogs, a neighbor nicknamed Tuck The Professor.

Yesterday in the car, having seen a minor accident pulled off the side of the highway, he gave us a lesson on fixing flat tires and how the police can help and why it's good to have auto insurance.  Passion trumps accuracy at his age, doesn't it?

He tends to create a sense of hyperbole whenever possible -- his narratives always include elements of the biggest, most amazing, fastest and more dangerous than ever.
After preschool this morning he told us about chasing girls in the rumpus room and about creating a business called Bandaid Solutions with his partner Augie and about planting nasturtium seeds for Earth Day.

His stories are always elaborate and sustained, including pertinent facts as well as minute details, and even more minute ones.

Walking around the block before dinner tonight, pointing at laurel sprouts and peering in wet drain holes, he left a trail of words as long as a country mile.  One foot in front of the other on the cement, he was talking about… WAIT, what was he talking about?

His eyes shone bright and I got distracted, wondering whether he might be a genius or whether he could be nuts.  I think he was lecturing on batteries, which led to an aside about fruit trees and then bumble bees and stop signs...

I realigned my listening posture, asked leading questions in a cheerful tone, grateful for all his words.  He finished speaking and walked quietly the rest of the way home.  Even when he's not talking, I can almost hear his thoughts traveling upward.


Easter makes me

feel all the feelings.


how fast the days

Children are time incarnate, a daily confrontation with impermanence.
I had no real marker for time before becoming a mother, no way to truly grasp how fine its sand, how fast the days.


...I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky

Tolliver loves his fast orange plane.  We ate outside this evening and a plane flew overhead.  Tollie was quick to explain, with a mouth full of Grandpa Rod's leftover donut cake, that he'd flown his fast orange plane to the airport after dinner and then came back quick for dessert.  He goes everywhere in that thing, and it goes everywhere with him.

*lyrics from Disney's Brave


a lot can happen in a month

birthday cheesecake #swiper
River City Leather #galliafirst
frozen fractals all around
goodnight four
truck stop
new club

#COSI #Homage
powering through two courses #notenoughcoffee 
nut butter for grandpa
OSU vet school open house #insideahorse
brown Es (and brownies) #aprilfirst
at the GHPL
at Local Cantina
five year old artwork is the best
sun on his shoulders

 playgrounds wear me out, too
baby Jacob in the grass
post nap snuggle
a good reminder to do more good
sidewalk chalk and rainbow footprints


Too bad love is not a cure.

Andy sat down to dinner one night last week with ace bandages wrapped around both knees.  Tolliver had been taking care of him.  As soon an he walked in the door, Tollie asked for his badge and stethoscope and got to work.
I doctor.  I hard working in here.  I need listen to your tummy.  Your tummy have beans in it.  Your tummy hurt?  You need take medicine.  Here you go.  You feel better now?  Oh, your knee hurts?  I also fix it.
There are two small, clear medicine cups in the boys' medical kit.  After he hands Andy one, Tols always takes the other one for himself and says Doctor need medicine, too.

Tollie wasn't around when the house was full of caregivers, of women who weighed Celia and took her temperature, he did not see us work around the clock to crush pills and measure medicine.  Now there are empty vials and syringes on the coffee table and compression wraps snaking across the hardwood, but they're all just for play.

There were a few times that Celia got very sick and recovered, but we knew all along she would run out of rallies.  Tollie wasn't around for much of that.  This afternoon though, loading rocks into his dump truck outside, and out of nowhere, he asked Andy what happened to Celia's body.  We try never to speak in euphemisms, don’t step around words like dead.  Even at two Tollie seems able to sift linguistic grain from chaff, and so we try to share simple truths, help him grip the hard, unfair concept that some things leave us without our permission.  People die, we tell him, and their bodies decompose.  It's the way of things.

Uncertainty is uncomfortable and missing a sibling hurts.  It's no fun not to feel good, but moving forward through the clumsiness and the aching is important.  We acknowledge Tollie's curiosity and his concern, and remind him that his body is healthy, that his lifetime may be long.  I know, he says, a smile of understanding crossing his face, I eat carrots, I grow big! 
Above, from last fall, but new to the blog.  We were trying to compare Tols to Poppy at this age(ish) in the late 40s, below.


half-dressed and hiding

One likes to build structures, the other likes to knock them down.  One likes to eat watermelon, the other likes to spit the seeds.  One likes to wear clothes, the other, not so much.
They are as different as January and July.
As the seasons change, so do the boys.  They are asserting themselves, the way crooked sprouts are pushing through layers of wet soil.  The one who liked green best now likes blue better.  The one who used to sleep in gets up early.  The one who has always gotten up early STILL GETS UP EARLY.  The one who preferred to be inside under a blanket wants to be outside under an umbrella.
I have boys so I will get out of bed in the morning, so I will not go back to sleep, so I will not stay under the covers half-dressed and hiding.  With them, color seeps into the world.  They repeatedly bring me back to life, water all my wilting parts.
I have them, and they have each other.
They began calling one another "Bro" this week.
Tucker, who fancies himself a gymnast, was tumbling and twirling and teetering on top of the couch while Tolliver and I watched.  Tollie started to giggle and said: That looks awesomesauce, Bro. And that made Tucker collapse into hysterics.  The two of them laughed at each other and with each other, and that almost made me cry.

Together they are a delight to watch.  And a near impossibility to photograph.
And they are both so, so loved.