a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 2 years old.

2 year Annie

At 7:30, the family parades into your room. I throw open the window shades and set Paul down by your crib, where he clutches the railing and squeals. You smile and thrash with glee, then request “Missa Paul Annie bed?” Thus invited, he sits in your crib and squeals at you in closer range.

We remind you it’s your birthday and sing the song. “Maybe have cake?” you say. Maybe, indeed! Who knows what the day will bring! Not even us. We’re improvising.

“Annie have bite-en,” you say and stand up.
“Yes, Annie will have a vitamin.” (They’re chewy and sweet—you request one first thing every morning.)
“NO fresh diaper.”
“Yeah, you do need a fresh diaper.”
“NO FRESH DIAPER!” you shriek, collapsing with despair.

You take a few minutes to recover, then Dad helps you execute a couple of front-rolls and scoops you out of the crib while you’re still giggling. We plop Paul on the changing table to keep you cheerful while we change that diaper, give you a toothbrush to chew on, and put on your shoes and socks. Dressed, you head downstairs for your vitamin, then out the door with Dad.

At school, Dad asks Ms. Shanna if she’d mind taking a few mental notes about what you do today to tell us about. She goes above and beyond, and gives us this illustrated record:

Annie paints

Anne started her morning off with a little nature painting. We made trees using our arms and hands then found leaves outside to use to paint grass at the bottom of our tree. After painting Anne decided to join her friends, Byron, Gavin, and Harper, for a little breakfast.

Annie races

Outside Anne challenged her buddies June and Byron to a friendly race… she left them eating dust!

After her race Anne helped water the beans the toddler classes have been tending to in their garden. In the beginning of spring we planted them along with some basil and Anne has enjoyed helping water them and watching them grow. When we came inside we thought it would be fun to paint with bugs since we saw a bunch crawling around outside! Anne picked a lady bug to paint with and we had fun talking about the colors she dipped the lady bug in. All of that hard work in the morning definitely worked up her appetite, so we all sat down to enjoy bbq sandwiches for lunch!

After her race Anne helped water the beans the toddler classes have been tending to in their garden. In the beginning of spring we planted them along with some basil and Anne has enjoyed helping water them and watching them grow. When we came inside we thought it would be fun to paint with bugs since we saw a bunch crawling around outside! Anne picked a lady bug to paint with and we had fun talking about the colors she dipped the lady bug in. All of that hard work in the morning definitely worked up her appetite, so we all sat down to enjoy bbq sandwiches for lunch!

 

Anne loved being the center of attention while we sang “Happy Birthday” to her and enjoyed our afternoon snack. Happy second birthday, Anne!! Your teachers, Ms. Shanna and Ms. Maricela, love you very much and enjoy spending time with you and watching you grow and learn. You are a very creative and adventurous little lady and we are so blessed to have you in our class! You will do many great things in your life and we are happy we get to be a chapter on your adventure.

Anne loved being the center of attention while we sang “Happy Birthday” to her and enjoyed our afternoon snack. Happy second birthday, Anne!! Your teachers, Ms. Shanna and Ms. Maricela, love you very much and enjoy spending time with you and watching you grow and learn. You are a very creative and adventurous little lady and we are so blessed to have you in our class! You will do many great things in your life and we are happy we get to be a chapter on your adventure.

Um, amazing, right? Unbelievably, you let Dad pick you up and take you away from this incredible, loving place, at 4:45, as Ms. Maricela reads a book to your small group. He drives you home, and I come out to greet you in the car, where you want to stay and play for a while. You decide to call Granddad and Susu from the backseat, so they send you birthday wishes as you wave the phone around to show them various features of the car, mainly the ceiling.

You eat none of this.

You eat none of this.

We go inside and say hello to Gobka and Gamma, who have stayed with you all weekend and now join us for your birthday dinner. We set the table with scratch-made macaroni and cheese and carefully diced green beans, all of which you decline to eat. But you’re cheerful, and drink probably 12 ounces of milk while we chat. When you declare you’re all done, we persuade you to stay at the table for cake. “Cake, yeah!” you agree. I bring it out with a bright birthday candle, and help you blow it out.

You do eat the cake.

You do eat the cake.

Paul wakes up, and we give him a bottle while you finish your cake, then tromp outside for a family photo in the evening light. Then it’s back inside to open presents. Gamma and Gobka have thoughtfully wrapped theirs in an easy-to-open garbage bag. It’s a giant longhorn. You love it. We have gotten you a bright green scoot bike. You are skeptical.

I think you'll grow into it.

I think you’ll grow into it.

You read books with Gobka and look at pictures on Gamma’s phone. You bounce on the cow and pass out curly ribbons to everyone, but mostly to Paul. The two of you scamper and scoot around on the floor, chasing a balloon. You commandeer an umbrella and swan around the house, bumping into things and playing a clumsy peekaboo game. You adjourn for some private time behind the couch and announce that you’ve pooped. You request that Gamma change your diaper, and I make no argument.

feels like a party

feels like a party

We segue into a quick bath, which you scream through. We say goodbye to Gamma and Gobka as you dry off, and then we have a few quiet minutes with the four of us, reading and romping in your room, before it’s time for a last book (Sesame Street’s ABC Storytime—a favorite) and lullaby. I put Paul in his sleep sack while Dad helps you into yours, and we sing about all the family who will go to sleep.

Night night, birthday girl.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 23 months old.

You wake up at 7:15, and the family parades into your room. You start telling us about your sleep sack (“seep sack! seep sack!”), which you have managed to remove in the night. I set Paul on the floor, and he grips the bars of your crib and smiles at you. You squeal with delight and hug his head through the bars. I lift you out of the crib, and you tear around the room, bring Paul assorted toys, and hide in the corner as Dad tries to coax you onto the changing table for a “fresh dopper, tiger dopper.” (Your diapers have tigers on them. Fitting.)

Out of patience, Dad hoists you onto the table and endures your screams as you get changed and dressed. Then it’s “Annie see Mommy?” for a farewell hug, and you’re headed downstairs for a “bah-in” (vitamin, but let’s be real—it’s chewy candy). You leave for school. Dad sings to entertain you in the car, and you say, “Dad STAW-AWP.” When you get to school, “Yay school!”

Ms. Shanna and your classmate Byron are taking down the Egypt decorations from yesterday’s multicultural festival, an elaborate production that we heartlessly skipped. You pitch in and then eat breakfast. The sand on the playground is wet today, and you reportedly get filthy. Back inside for lunch, you relish your mac and cheese and smear it all over your face. You get mopped up and zonk out at nap time once your head hits the pillow.

Ms. Maricela and the book she read to you today

Ms. Maricela, source of my intel about your day, with the book she read to you

After nap, you’re back on the playground. At 4, it’s circle time again, and Ms. Maricela introduces the class to a new book about pirates. You pay attention and chant at all the right parts.

IMG_20170310_170224

I see you again at 5. You’re squatting on the floor and putting big plastic coins in a piggy bank, a task so absorbing you barely register my presence, and when you do, instruct me to insert a coin. Coins banked, we head out. Due to a horrific backup in my parking garage, I have walked over to pick you up, so we’ve got a 20-minute journey to the car, at Annie pace. “Ah have Mom purse-y. Ah helping Mom.”—you insist on wearing my backpack, which in no way fits you and is too heavy in any case, so I hold it up behind your back as you walk along. It makes a pretty decent leash, too, as we cross campus.

IMG_20170310_170951

We stop on the bridge to check out Waller Creek. “Wadder!” Yes, water.

You say hi to some undergrads and stop to admire the creek and the students playing frisbee. You tackle a tall flight of stairs all by yourself, and we hold hands as we approach the garage. Safely stowed in the car, we begin the second leg of our journey home. I let you keep my bag, and you amuse yourself unzipping pockets, pulling out the contents, and muttering to yourself.

At home, you start to fray as Dad cooks kale and I run to the store for some missing dinner ingredients. You ask for things you already have and come unglued when not immediately presented with more.

You enjoy 8 crackers and a quarter-cup of hummus for dinner. When Paul makes his appearance, you share. We call Granddad and Susu, and you try to hand them crackers through the phone. You get a huge kick out of talking to the t-rex. You offer him a cracker.

After dinner, you make a lap around the living room and then join the family parade up to your room for a bath. We’ve taken to cajoling you into the tub by asking you to help wash Paul. You are not thrilled to find yourself in the tub, but Dad gives you an efficient scrub, and you cheer up when you’re put to work sponging Paul’s head. You move onto playing with a plastic bowl and end up having such a good time you stay until the water is gone. You insist on the tiny baby bunny towel to dry off. I get you into a fresh diaper, and we say goodnight to Dad and Paul.

We play peekaboo in your tent-house. You get dressed. We let you pick pretty much any clothes you want to sleep in, partly to keep you happy and partly for our own amusement. Tonight it’s a dress with black polka dots paired with pink flower pants. You select six finalists for a bedtime story, and once in my lap identify the winner: Pete the Cat. We read it. I pick you up and start the lullaby. You instruct me to put on your sleep sack. I do. “Bye, Mom,” you say from your crib, looking up at me with a smile. “Bye, Annie.”

a day in your life

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.

Your ponytail is getting longer but still leaves plenty of hair free for you to twirl.

Your ponytail is getting longer but still leaves plenty of hair free for you to twirl.

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.

Dinner rarely comes soon enough.

Dinner rarely comes soon enough.

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.

Friend Heather gave you some magnets, which you enjoy. But it turns out our bar stools are the only magnetic thing in the house.

Friend Heather gave you some magnets, which you enjoy. But it turns out our bar stools are the only magnetic thing in the house.

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.

"swimming"

“swimming”

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.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 21 months old.

You obligingly linger in bed until 7:45 while your dad and I frantically bop around, getting ourselves and Paul ready for the day. When I hear you let out a little yelp, I open your door and turn up the light. “Good morning, Annie!” I singsong. You’re happy to see me but prefer to linger in your crib for a few minutes, contemplating the day in child’s pose. Baby noises from the other room motivate you to get up. “Baby? Da? Baby! Da!” You stand up, and I lift you out of your crib.

Baby and Dad obligingly make their appearance. You less-obligingly allow me to change your diaper, huffing a bit, and I slide on your pants and shoes before you can work up a strong protest. We say bye-bye to the family and whiz out the door at 8.

We spend a lot of our together-time today with you in this car seat.

We spend a lot of our together-time today with you in this car seat.

We get to your daycare (“school”) pretty quickly, and you squirm to get down and then point to the door. “Bye-bye Mom,” you instruct, and seat yourself at the table for your oatmeal. Well, okay!

Because I pick you up too late to talk you your normal teachers—you move to another room and caretaker at 5—your day remains a mystery to me. I find you more or less how I left you: seated at a tiny table, eating a snack out of a styrofoam bowl. You smile up at me. “Hi Mom. Mo agua?” I take your cup and fill it from the water fountain. You have me well trained.

I join you in a tiny chair while you finish your Cheerios snack.

I join you in a tiny chair while you eat your Cheerios.

You finish your snack and bus the table, then, “Mom, up? Ow-shy.” I lift you up, and we go outside. You decide you’d rather walk, and scurry to the exit, scrupulously closing all the doors behind us.

You make a quick detour to your favorite sidewalk vent. It blows warm air.

You make a quick detour to your favorite sidewalk vent. It blows warm air.

We’re driving later than usual, and traffic is bad. We commiserate.

“Mom, go!”

“I’ll go when it’s my turn. See how all the cars around us are stopped?”

“All done car.”

“I hear you, I am ready to be all done with the car, too!”

“Annie up?”

“I wish I could pick you up. I will pick you up as soon as we get home.”

We also have long discussions about trucks (“hi shruck!”), a blue bus (“boo bus?”), birds sitting on street signs, and how we’d really prefer to be in an airplane so we could fly home. (I may be generously interpreting some of your phrases.)

At last, we ARE all done car, and find Dad and Sous waiting for us on the front porch. You’re excited to see Dad, and I put you down once we’re inside the gate so you can scamper up the walkway, climb the stairs valiantly while Sous almost knocks you down, and give him a hug. Dinner is ready, so we sit down to eat.

It's lasagna. You approve.

It’s lasagna. You approve.

After dinner we adjourn to the living room. “Mom, couch?” You retrieve your wheel of animal noises, and we spend a pleasant 15 minutes listening to them. The sheep makes you laugh, and you’re working hard on your turkey gobble. After a while, you determine that it’s Dad’s turn and head over to his lap. He does an excellent horse.

Niow, says the cat.

Niow, says the cat.

At 6:30, we hear your brother wake up, and you’re excited to go see him. We all troop upstairs to the room you now share. You’re delighted with your brother until I show signs of picking him up, at which point you stage a protest and demand that YOU be the one picked up. Fortunately, you have two parents. Dad attends to Paul while I get you undressed for your bath, and we trade the two of you back and forth until you are clean and re-diapered.

I clip your toenails and we play cards. Then Dad takes you back to your room, and you pick out a bedtime book. Tonight it’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. You curl up on the floor while Dad reads to you, then tell him how to get you ready for bed. “Seep sack? Banket? Dad bed.” And it’s a wrap.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 20 months old. You’ve been prone to lounging in bed in the mornings lately, and today is Saturday, so we just let it happen. Not until 8:20 do you summon us, and Sous and I parade in with baby Paul, and sit down next to your crib to talk to you through the slats. You smile at your brother and inquire about breakfast (“breesus”). You stand up and request that Mom pick you up, so I hand Paul off to Dad and lift you out. After a little squirming on the changing table, you consent to a new diaper (“roar,” you say, because your diapers have tigers on them) and clothes. It’s 40 degrees this morning, so you dress warm. Then it’s downstairs for breakfast: a slice of wheat bread, cheese, and raspberries, which you eat off your fingers. We look at catalogs, and you point out pieces of clothing and food. Your vocabulary is exploding.

I bundle you into your fluffy pink coat and crocheted owl hat, and buckle you into the stroller. Dad leashes up Sous, and the three of you set out for a long walk in the wintery day. You speedwalk down to the lake, then back up for tacos. Your hands get cold, so Dad lets you wear his big gloves. You love this. Back home, you eat a little taco (“taco! taco!”) and begin your usual marauding around the house. You find a rubber band and request that I put a tail in your hair (“toe?”). You find a blinking Rudolf nose and request help putting it on (“halp? aw-w?”). You find your crayons and request paper for drawing (“bahper?”). All requests are obliged. Later, you cirle the living, room, distributing books and crayons to all members of the family, including Sous.

It was impossible to take just one photo of this.

It was impossible to take just one photo of this.

At 11:30, we put Paul down for his nap and feed you more taco for lunch. Then you watch Dad raking leaves in the front yard through the window, and we go say hello before putting you down for your nap. At 1:30, you’re up again and get a quick wardrobe change before descending the stairs, which you can do by yourself now. We bake ginger cookies, or rather, you stand in your tower and stick your fingers in things. You eat candied ginger and a handful of dark brown sugar, and then we let you lick one of the egg beaters. We have to call Granddad and Susu to distract you enough that we can get it out of your hand.

Paul goes to sleep downstairs, so you and Dad play in your room, building a massive Duplo tower and banging away on your activity tables. At 4, we head out to Aunt Lisa and Uncle Eric’s. I tell you where we’re going and who we’ll see, and you say, “Ryra?” Yep. After 5 minutes or so in my arms, warming back up to things, you’re off running with the kid pack, walking the Trail of Lights that they’ve set up in Lyla’s room.

Next you pick up the rake and get to work.

We eat delicious gumbo for dinner—you mostly want the chicken (“chk’n”)—and then Aunt Lisa shows you how to lure kitties to you with treats. You do a lot of meowing (“NIOW”). At 6:30, we begin to pack up and head home. We have something almost like a conversation in the car about what’s just happened. (“NIOW. Ah-shy.” “Yes, the cats were outside!” “Ryra?” “Yes, you played with Lyla and Miles!”)

It’s past your bedtime when we get home, so we skip a bath, put on pajamas, and you pick out a book for us to read. When Peedie the gosling has found his favorite red hat, I sing you your lullaby, lay you in your crib, and say goodnight.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 19 months old.

At 7:40, you notify us that you are ready for pick-up. I find you standing in your crib in the tie-dye shirt we’ve termed “pajamas” since you graduated from your sleep sack last weekend. We head downstairs to breakfast, and you tuck in to some banana chunks. I pour myself another cup of coffee and delicately set aside the front page of the paper (headline: TRUMP’S AMERICA) so we can look for hats, cars, and shoes in safer sections. You burble about various topics, pet Sous with your feet, and pass out strawberry chunks for Dad and I to either eat or feed you.

When you finish breakfast, we head upstairs. You sit on the bathroom counter, eating a little toothpaste and splashing around in the sink, while I blow-dry my hair, then romp around the bedrooms as I finish getting ready.

You make the bugs dance for the amusement of Baby Paul (Baw Paw).

You make the bugs dance for the amusement of Baby Paul (Baw Paw).

I encourage you to pick out your outfit for the day to preclude the grand mal tantrums you have been throwing this week when we get you dressed, but you are more interested in toys. I get a shirt on you without incident, but you collapse in a screaming heap when it comes time to pant you. Limp is vastly preferable to thrashing, though, and your dad and I manage to slide all the rest of your clothes on you with only our eardrums damaged.

Then it’s off to school! I strap you into your car seat, and you roar at the little toy lion that lives in your cup holder. We point at cars and trees, and you suck your thumb while I listen to the news on the radio. A dozen chubby faces smile up at us when we walk into your class, and I drop you in the play kitchen, where some of your classmates are busily pretending. I wave bye-bye and slip out.

A few minutes later, you line up and head to the playground, where it’s a beautiful, cool fall day after a week of dreary rain. You talk shapes and colors during circle time, eat lunch, and nap. The afternoon is more books and playtime outside.

At 5, you are sitting at a table, eating pretzels with your friends, when Dad arrives to take you home. Instead of your usual mad dash to a parent’s embrace, you leisurely finish your pretzel and saunter over. You’re very mature and sophisticated now. Traffic is terrible on the way home, and you pass the time babbling and trading words with Dad. (“Burr?” “Bird.” “Burr?” “Bird.”) At home, you say hello to Charly and romp around while Dad holds Baby Paul.

Uncle Doug and Aunt Kalia arrive. It’s Thursday, when the grown-ups go out and do grown-up things. You raid Charly’s wallet and pass the contents out to everyone in the house. Uncle Doug plays a game with you where he pretends his hand is a spider. You’re a fan.

The grown-ups need to leave and placate you with half a banana. You flirt with a tantrum but think better of it when you see that Eleanor is taking the transition like a pro. You settle at the table for dinner with Charly, Eleanor, and Paul on his pillow.

You eat dinner (the noodles out of some delicious beef stew, but no stew, and 15 tiny, toast-shaped crackers) by placing each bite in the pocket of your bib and then fishing it out with your face. Always innovating, you. By the time you finish this production, it’s bedtime. Charly cleans you up, puts you in your Supergirl tank top, reads you a book, sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and says goodnight.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 18 months old.

You wake up at 7:30 and head downstairs for a typical breakfast of wheat bread, a banana, and a small wheel of cheese. Dad and I sit with you and chat over coffee and the paper, then Dad helps you dress while I get Paul up. You spot your cape from the Child Development Center’s open house a couple of weeks ago and decide to put it on.

You move fast these days.

You move fast these days.

You climb onto the little stool at my feet and cuddle up to the baby and I while he nurses. While the rest of us get dressed, you romp around on our bed and then tear around the upstairs with your toothbrush in one hand, a tube from my breast pump in the other, and your cape flying behind you.

We buckle Paul in his carseat (he is headed to the pediatrician this morning for his 2-month check up after we drop you off at school), and you squat down beside him and pet his head while you suck your thumb. Then we load up in two cars; you ride with me.

holder

You do this all the time. You also enjoy pressing your forehead or cheek to his and kissing him on the mouth.

Your drop-off is more harrowing than usual. I’m not usually the one to take you to school, and I think the change upsets you. I leave you wailing in sweet Ms. Maricela’s arms. She loves that you’ve worn your cape, which I suspect she made.

You play on the playground in the beautiful cool weather and come inside for lunch and circle time, where you’ve been learning names for parts of the body, animals and the noises they make, and colors, which you’re not so good at yet. The afternoon is more playing, indoors and out, and Charly picks you up at 4:30. We’ve been sliding this later into the afternoon as she begins to help out more with Paul, and you are not a fan of the change. You used to be the first one picked up every day, and you’re distressed each time another kid leaves before you.

You like to run underneath the spray and get a little wet.

You like to run underneath the spray and get a little wet.

You and I hang out while Charly keeps an eye on Paul. In the backyard, you pick up the hose and suggest we water the bushes; then you swing in the hammock and play the wind chimes. Back inside, you remove both of my shoes and run around with them triumphantly.

You play these boisterously. The neighbors might hate us.

You play these boisterously. The neighbors might hate us.

Dad gets home, and I head out for a meeting. You watch dinner prep from your new stool, fire-engine red, that boosts you to counter-height, and tease Dad and Charly by putting the ends of markers into your mouth and then laughing about it. You think this is hilarious. Dinner is mushroom and goat cheese quesadilla, black beans, and vegetables; you eat all but the vegetables. At 6:30, Paul wakes up, and Charly gives him a bottle while Dad takes you up for your bath. You insist on staying in the tub now until all the water is drained, so you can smear the last bit around the bottom of the tub.

Clean and sleepy at 7, you accept a reading of Goodnight Moon. This selection has been problematic lately, probably because you associate it so strongly with bedtime, so I often read you something else—but Dad’s a purist. Then your lullaby, and goodnight.

P.S. This was one year ago:

celebrating 6 months with barbecue

I can’t believe this is real.

a day in your life

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.

the scene in your crib, circa 8am

the scene in your crib, circa 8am

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.

a quick video chat with Granddad

a quick hello to Granddad as the storm front starts to blow through

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.

You signal your interest in reading books by picking up and paging through Game of Thrones in a very convincing fashion.

You signal your interest in reading books by picking up and paging through Game of Thrones in a very convincing fashion. You also insist on wearing this hat. After months of ripping them off, you love wearing hats these days.

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.

You will refuse to take this off, so I'll cinch the neck up with a rubber band for the rest of the evening, to keep it short enough that you don't trip on it.

You will refuse to take this off, so I’ll cinch the neck up with a rubber band for the rest of the evening, to keep it short enough that you don’t trip on it.

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.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 16 months old.

You wake up early, before 7. (We hope it’s a good sign of your returning health—you’ve been on antibiotics for a week now to clear up a double ear infection, and then caught a follow-up cold for good measure. It’s been a snotty, fussy week.) Your dad scoops you up and installs you in your high chair for a breakfast of toast, cheese, and blueberries. You nibble at the first two but reject most of the berries, historically one of your top 3 favorite foods. I join you at the table, and we peruse the newspaper, looking for people wearing hats. You’ve gotten quite good at identifying them now, even such unconventional ones as helmets and swim caps (the Sports section is usually the most fruitful for us). “HAAA? HAAA? HAAA?” you say as you point.

Dad gets you dressed for the day and lets you chew on your toothbrush with a tiny smear of paste. Then it’s off to school, where you’re the first of the Sea Turtles class to arrive. Hello to Ms. Shanna and Ms. Maricela, bye-bye to Dad. You pursue your usual scheduled activities (an hour on the playground, circle time, lunch, nap, snack), and Charly is there to pick you up at 3.

Turning into quite the daddy's girl, you wait for him while he uses the bathroom.

Turning into quite the daddy’s girl, you wait for him while he uses the bathroom.

You come home feeling a little crabby. The empty tissue box Charly has brought you to play with reminds you of the FULL box now on the top shelf, and no amount of putting things into the empty box can distract you from your wish to pull all of the tissues out of the one you can’t have. I join you; you sit in my lap and suck your thumb for comfort while I read you books until you’ve reconciled yourself to the box situation. Soon you’re back to romping around the house with Charly, and I sneak off to fold laundry.

You build block towers and push your elephant around and demonstrate your hair-trigger crying. Dad and I put together a simple dinner, and we sit down to eat together at 5:30. “Bye-bye Charly!” You reject your cherry tomatoes, another consistent favorite, but manage some brown rice and black beans, fried in sausage drippings. The sausage you also decline. Soon you are up again, and we read more books in the living room until you remember your current favorite, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (“Ba-boom!“). It’s upstairs, so you head in that direction, and I waddle after you.

you, me, your 12-days-overdue brother fetus (not pictured)

you, me, your 12-days-overdue brother fetus (not pictured)

In your room, I read you the books you pick from the shelf and deliver to me, and we do a little stacking of colored rings. Then Dad runs your bath, gets you clean, and lets you play in the water for 20 minutes or so. I rejoin you as you’re getting a new diaper and making silly noises at each other.

You resume wandering around your room, delivering books and games to Mom and Dad and sidling carefully into our laps so we may entertain you. It’s become our standard evening, and it may be the last time we do it with you quite like this, as my contracting uterus reminds me. You are immune to our ennui. At 6:55, with you in my lap, I put down our card game and pick up Goodnight Moon. You listen to it quietly. Dad lifts you up and sings your lullaby as he zips you into your sleep sack, and I haul myself off the ground. Your eyes are blinking closed before we’re even out the door.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 15 months old.

It’s Sunday. You wake up leisurely and are out of bed at 7:45. After a cheerful diaper change, I set you in your highchair and present you with a breakfast of banana, cheddar cheese, and a little scoop of refried beans. The banana is gone before I manage to sit down myself, and you enjoy placing handfuls of bean mush on the top of your water cup and eating them from that surface—you’ve been entertaining yourself with this trick for a week or so and are very impressed with your cleverness. Yesterday I watched you use a small plate as a giant spoon-shovel to lift crumbles of feta cheese to your mouth. Eating utensils are a big area of experimentation these days. You also enjoy waving forks around in a cavalier manner than causes your father dismay, and clutching a spoon in one hand while you eat messy foods with the fingers of your other.

We get you dressed in your blue polka dot dress and your current favorite wardrobe item and word: SHOES! You can’t get enough of them. We never realized how many shoes we had around the house until you started naming all of them.

The whole family heads out for a walk. I pull you in your new-ish red wagon; Dad and Sous walk beside us. We head to the park and throw the ball for Sous while you crow with delight every time she runs after it, and make a lap around the field. You’re really quite a walker now.

Stacy Park

at Stacy Park

Back home, you carry a computer keyboard around the house and check out the look of it in different spots: on a step, on the coffee table, in the dishwasher. Sometimes I think 80% of your young childhood will be spent trying out every possible combination of putting things together and taking them apart, looking for that 1-in-1000 time there’s a fit like a key in a lock, and something magical happens.

Around 10, I head off to a prenatal yoga class (this is almost certainly your last “10th of the month” as an only child, btw), and your Hall grandparents swing by for a short visit before they head back to Dallas. You flirt with Granddad and play chase around the house, then settle in for a lunch of barbecue leftovers and cherry tomatoes.

You nap from 11:30-1:15, then pop up for more playtime. We read Pete the Cat for the 40th-44th time (you’ve had it for 2 days—thanks, Auntie Peanut).

from left to right: Annie, Flipper, Pete the Cat and shoes

from left to right: Annie, Flipper, shoes

You romp around the bed while Dad and I fold laundry, and insist on putting on your pink dress when it shows up in the clean pile. While trying to get you to start a chorus of “shoe, shoe, shoe,” I inadvertently capture a tender hug series with your dad.

A few minutes before 2, Charly arrives. She has grand ambitions to take you to the zoo, and prepares you with sunscreen and a snack of yogurt and banana. Then you’re off! You ride in her backseat, which we’ve equipped with a carseat sunshade and portable fan to fight the summer afternoons’ heat. At the zoo, you love riding the train but are not very impressed with all the sleeping animals, who are not dogs.

Here you are with a lethargic lizard.

Here you are with a lethargic lizard.

You two get home at 5, with a stuffed cougar cub Charly has bought for you and which we name, at risk of confusing you, “Shoe.” You cool off and then march around the house on various toddler errands while Dad and I cook dinner.

At 6, dinner’s in the oven, and I take over from Charly. We hang out upstairs, dabble a little more in Pete the Cat, and spend about 15 minutes opening and closing the bedroom door. Jealous of Dad, I ask for some hugs, and you generously oblige. Dad and Sous join us, and when we all lay down on the floor of your bedroom, you do, too. You do a little cruising around and exploring the contents of your drawers. (Clothes, mainly. Also, well, you know. Shoes.)

Squash gratin is a big hit.

Squash gratin is a big hit.

We sit down for dinner at 6:30 or so. It’s a casserole with squash, bell pepper, rice, and cheese, and you devour it, occasionally leading us in a round of head tilts. Dad takes you up for bath time—still one of your favorite activities—while I tidy up. You play with the tap, as usual, and put up with Dad’s removal of a hardened booger with admirable stoicism.

I swoop back in just in time for Goodnight Moon, an extra challenge now that I have no lap to speak of. You sit in a divot in my crossed legs while I stretch my arms out full-length to hold the book in front of you. I start your lullaby, but Dad has to take over to lay you in your crib since my belly precludes that, too. It’s 7:15 when we close your door; you fuss gently for a minute or two, then wiggle your way to sleep.

(One year ago. My how things have changed.)