Annie parrots back absolutely everything you say now, mimicking the sounds of 10x as many words as she can actually understand and use. It’s entertaining. My favorite today is melange. As in, “Oh, ew, that’s quite a melange of soggy cracker and tomato you’ve got in your car seat, there, Annie.” And Annie says, “Melange.”
To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 months old.
At 6:03am, your dad picks you up, and you start your breakfast. You’d been coughing—we’ve all been coughing for about three weeks now—but made it past 6am before firmly waking up, thank goodness. Mornings have been a little dicey lately. You lie beside me and munch in determined fashion, then settle in to eat the Sunday paper.
When you grow bored with the news, you begin your calisthenics: kicking, followed by more kicking, then grabbing things and pulling them into your mouth, then finish with kicking. We tote you around for various morning chores, and you join the three of us for breakfast around the table. I feed you morsels of smoked salmon off my fingertips, and you help yourself to half a cherry tomato.
A few minutes before 8, it’s time for your nap. You go right to sleep, snooze until 9:40 or so, and then wake up for second breakfast. We pop you in your car seat and drive up to IKEA to buy you your very own crib. Happy birthday! What you really wanted was something to chew on.
You spend the car ride and shopping trip gazing at things quietly while Annie does the talking, but you spice things up at the end by moving your bowels in a significant way. We impulse-buy a dish towel in the checkout line so Dad can soak up some of your exploded poo before it works its way into every pore of the baby bjorn. We maneuver our multiple carts and children to the car, and I mop you down in the hatch.
We drive through In N Out Burger for lunch, and you eat a french fry on the way home. It’s half an hour past your nap time, so Dad races you inside to put you to bed before you slide into over-exhaustion.
We let you sleep for three hours. At 3:30, Dad gets you up and into a clean diaper, and I feed you. We join Dad and Annie in your room, where they’re hard at work building your crib. Well, Dad’s building; Annie’s playing with the hardware and occasionally handing him the screwdriver. You writhe around on the floor, sweep things into your mouth, and watch the action.
Once your crib is completed, Annie takes over entertaining you, presenting you with toys and blowing her lips for your amusement. At 5:30, you go down for another nap while the rest of the family eats dinner, and you’re up for a final round at 6:45. Dad plays with you while I give Annie a quick bath, and then you and I adjourn for a final meal. You prefer to nurse on your hands and knees, like a pig at a trough, and when you’re not doing that, you’re grabbing hard fistfuls of my face with your strong little hands. I don’t think I’m going to be all that wistful about the end of the breastfeeding, let’s just say.
In our last hour, you squirm around the bed, sucking on a toothpaste tube, a hair clip, dental floss, and some actual toys. Because it’s your birthday, I give you tiny drops of ice cream. You grab the spoon and slowly draw it to your mouth, then grimace but look at me for more. I bounce you on my legs and hold your hands so you can stand up and practice taking steps. You love this. At 8, Dad changes your diaper, reads you a story, and lullabies you into your brand-new bed.
To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 22 months old.
At 7:40, the whole family parades into your room: Dad, Sous, and Mom holding Baby Paul. “Hi Da, morning,” you say, then, “Mom, up!” Paul settles in to chew on some toys, and I lift you out of your crib and head to the dresser for a “fresh bopper.” We get you changed and dressed in no time; then it’s off to the “baffroom,” where you chew on your toothbrush and watch me attentively as I put on makeup.
Dad’s taking you to school, and it’s a cheerful, “Bye-bye Mom, bye-bye Sous, bye-bye Baby Paul, bye-bye dryer,” as he carries you out. Then, “bye-bye home, bye-bye Mom home, bye-bye Paul home” as you head for the car.
You’re relatively quiet on the drive, but you and Dad do a little circle-spotting. Your favorite is the yellow circle in the Howdy Donut sign on South Congress, but a Do Not Enter sign is a good find this morning. At school, you’re happy to dismiss Dad for a breakfast bowl of canned peaches.
It’s a typical day at school. 75 degrees outside, so lots of romping on the playground—later, we’ll pour sand out of your shoes—circle time with your classmates, lunch, nap, and more playing. Dad arrives to pick you up around 4:45. You spot him and smile, then return to listening to the book being read aloud.
On the way home, you chant your usual encouragement to the driver, “Dad GOOOO,” but for the first time correct yourself and/or bow to reality: “Red light.” Dad roles down all the windows (“more wind?”), so you can enjoy the warm breeze and the chirping birds (“TEE TEE!”).
With “Hi Mom! Hi Mom! Hi Mom!” you enter the house. I’m upstairs feeding Paul, and you eventually find us. Presented with the choice to stay upstairs with Mom or help Dad cook dinner, you choose, “Hop Da? Bye-bye Mom.” You stand in your tower while Dad sautes kale and microwaves everything else, occasionally demanding things and shrieking when they are denied you.
A little before 6, you sit down to a dinner of mac and cheese, shreds of pot roast, kale, and brown rice. You eat the mac and cheese. Thank goodness for chewable vitamins.
After dinner, you walk me back and forth across the house a few times, holding my fingers in one hand and shaking my car keys in the other. You dangle the keys in front of Paul to amuse him. He fusses when we walk away and watches, rapt, as we approach.
We adjourn upstairs. I administer your bath (though feel compelled to record that Dad does this nine days out of ten). You are in good spirits. You scrub your legs with a sponge while I wash your hair, twist around into some swimming-like postures, and play with your various cups and boats and floating items.
We get you out of the tub, reasonably dry, diapered, and dressed. Aunt Camei calls, and you recognize her voice and pick up the phone to listen. “Cah-may!” You are reluctant to go to bed, but we move in that direction. I read you a few pages of The Cat in the Hat, pick you up, and start your lullaby. After a verse or two, you consent to your “seep sack,” and I lay you down in your crib. “Bye-bye Mom,” you dismiss me, so I sing my way to the door, turn off the light, and say goodnight.