Toby and Anton

This Sunday, the boys and I were on a little walk, minding our own business, when we turned a corner and bumped into… THE REAL SANTA!!!! There he was, hanging out on a brownstone stoop in Carroll Gardens, with a long white beard and pockets full of candy canes.

The boys couldn’t stop staring shyly, and when Santa pulled them up to sit on his lap, they mustered up the courage to ask a few questions. “Do you like cookies?” (Oatmeal.) “Where is your sleigh?” (On the roof.) “Do you remember the boy with the bell?!” (Yes.)

Back at home, we told Alex all about meeting Santa. Alex asked if Santa was nice, and Anton looked at him with wide eyes: “Santa is not rude!”

Toby and Anton

Toby and Anton

These days, Toby and Anton are really coming into their own, and hanging out with them feels like chilling with two hilarious and slightly unpredictable sidekicks.

They are the great joys of my life. Even their smells are delicious (Toby = a little sweet, like sweat and honey; Anton = warm and somehow dusty, like he just climbed off a horse). One of my favorite things in the world is cuddling up with them at night, putting them to bed and hearing their little voices ask for one more glass of water.

Toby and Anton

Toby and Anton

And the boys are so different, yin and yang. Toby is an outgoing song-and-dance man, who loves chatting with passersby. He remembers everyone’s name, and when I’m blanking on a mom’s name at school, he’ll quickly whisper it to me, like Andy in The Devil Wears Prada. Anton, meanwhile, is shy and gentle, with a mischievous look in his eyes. He can climb up into his own high chair and basically pole-vaults out of his crib. He loves animals and reading, and he talks so much at home, we laugh that he’s like Stewie from Family Guy.

During a recent battle over a toy, Toby turned to Anton, furious, and snapped, “I’m not going to be your brother! Just your friend!” Since then, I keep laughing about how sweet that was, because a) a friend is still a really nice thing to be, and b) it shows how important he thinks brothers are. To be demoted from a brother to a friend would be a terrible thing.

Toby and Anton

The funny thing is, I used to worry that I’d need a daughter in order to have the kind of relationship I had with my mom — a you-can-tell-me-anything closeness, which I cherish so much. But the other day, I realized with a start: I have that with these boys.

I cannot wait to soak up these little lunatics over the holidays. xoxo

(Bottom photo by Nicki Sebastian)