To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 17 months old.
You went to bed last night with a fever of 102 and the saddest sick eyes, so we’re happy to see you sleep in this morning, all the way until 9. We check the monitor every 10 minutes or so to make sure you’re still breathing. This is your fourth illness of the last month, after an ear infection, a cold, and a stomach virus. The hidden cost of sending you to childcare, I suppose.
Dad greets you when you finally wake up, takes your temperature (now 100.6), and brings you into our room to visit me and Baby Paul, who is finishing his breakfast. We all head downstairs to the table, where you eat yogurt and a few bites of banana and bread. Then we buckle you in your stroller, lash Paul to my chest, leash up Sous, and head to the taco truck. It’s Dad’s longest walk since his hip-screw-removal surgery on Tuesday (it’s Saturday). You are cheerful in your stroller, with your hat, your cup, and your baby doll—everything a little girl could want.
It doesn’t even occur to us to check the weather forecast, so we’re outside waiting for tacos when a storm front blows through. The wind and rain are briefly dramatic, but everyone except Dad stays mostly dry under a picnic umbrella. The front passes quickly, leaving something almost like a chill in the air.
You eat the tortilla from your taco, poop, and say hello to your grandparents while Dad discusses wireless internet logistics with your Granddad. Then it’s 10 minutes of cuddles in my lap, and nap time.
Your typical midday nap lasts 90 minutes. Today, you stay in bed from 11:30 until nearly 3. When you finally decide to get up, you have a temperature of 103. Still no other symptoms, though, and your spirits are good though your energy is low, so we give you a dose of Tylenol and welcome you to the bed where we are all hanging out. Paul is nursing, and our friend Megan has come to visit. Her kids are 6 and 4, so she still speaks Toddler well enough to understand your important words.
You have a snack of banana (“buh”) and cheese (“cheeee”) in bed with us—we break all the rules when you’re sick—and move into my lap as soon as Paul gets out of it. We visit with Megan and read several of your current favorite books: Ollie the Stomper, 100 Animals, Hoot, In My Tree, and The Watermelon Seed.
When our friend says goodbye, you and I head downstairs. You decide you’d like another stroller ride, so I push you around downstairs, occasionally pausing to check on the short ribs that are braising for dinner. For a few laps, I try on some clothes I’ve ordered online (one item per lap). You enjoy this game and decide you need to try one of them yourself.
At 5:30, your dad is upstairs with Paul, rocking him in his bassinet to encourage a nap, and it’s time to start cooking a vegetable for dinner. You help me tear up kale leaves and put them in a bowl, then, perched on my hip, watch as we fill it with water to wash the leaves and melt butter in a skillet. We’ve just gotten the kale in the pan when Dad comes down and takes over, so you and I serve up some short rib, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, and you start your meal while we plate our own.
Halfway through our meal, Paul starts crying (“beebee?” you say), so I take my plate upstairs and leave you and Dad to finish dinner and start your bath. You eat lots of bread and ignore your meat and vegetables, then take a jolly bath. “Ka Ka!” you yell at your pink rubber duck. Because that’s what a duck says. I rejoin you shortly after toweling and diapering (current temperature: 100.0) to read Goodnight Moon. At 7:10, Dad and I sing your lullaby together, and turn out the light.