He's quick. He's witty. He can crack my hard shell of frustration with one well-placed reply. Toby is the Eby household's new Comeback King.
He has heard me frequently advise the girls that their loud, repetitive noises or their overly boisterous songs are "annoying." Then, one day in the car I turned the radio on to my favorite music and I heard him yell from behind me, "No, Mommy! That's annoying!" Just yesterday I greeted the girls with a good-morning song and Toby interrupted me again, "Stop it, Mommy! That's annoying!"
He hates when I tell him to stay out of my way, so when I insisted that he turn the wooden spoon back over to Mommy while we were making pancakes together he protested, "No! No, Mommy! Bad, Mommy!" I sighed, "Toby, just let me stir my pancakes." To which he snapped, "Just let me stir my pancakes, Mommy!" Then, seeing that I wasn't giving in, he sat down in his chair, folded his arms over his chest, stuck out his bottom lip, and pouted, "Bad Mommy. Makes my sad!"
Toby's quick to tell us when the conversation is over his head. Hannah looked at the calendar yesterday and remarked that July was almost over. He scowled disapprovingly at her, "July? Don't know what that means!" We giggled at him, but no one offered an explanation, so he sat and mulled it over. An hour or so later, when we were discussing the day's plans he confidently inserted, "Tomorrow we gonna go to the July!"
Last night, while Matt was putting the girls in bed, Toby came downstairs to use the potty then found me working to organize some stored food in the basement. It was a dirty job and his insistent attempts to stack the canned goods five-high then knock them over, were wearing down my patience. When he stole my broom and attempted to sweep the walls I grabbed at the broom angrily and ordered him, "Upstairs! Enough, Toby! You need to go back upstairs to bed right now!" He looked at me as if he was annoyed, but pitied me and remarked on his way back up the stairs, "You have too many kids."
Five minutes later, as I came up the stairs, I saw Toby was waiting for me in the kitchen. His cheery nature had revived and he happily greeted me with, "Hey, I recognize you!"
I was still chuckling when I tucked him in bed late last night. Toby wasn't tired. He and Naomi and Hannah stayed up gabbing away with each other about complete nonsense for far too long. Finally, I put my head in the door and warned them that it was late and they needed to quiet down. Toby protested, "But we're talking!"
"You've been talking all day, Toby," I answered, "and you'll talk all day tomorrow, I'm sure. Let's give it a short rest."
He is back at it today, greeting my vacuum cleaner with, "Hi, Mrs. Vacuum, do you need a haircut?" and chasing Hannah and Emma around the house yelling, "I'm a slave trader!" To which Hannah is screaming, "Run, Lucy! Run! Isn't it dreadful? We must run for Narnia!" A short rest it was.