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.)

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 14 months old.

You wake up with a little cry at 7:30. I come in and scoop you up. Instead of your usual first stop at the changing table, we head for our bed to say ‘good morning’ to Dad, who is waking up slowly after his 2:30am arrival from his latest week of work in California. After small snuggles and a few skeptical looks, we proceed with your change and head down for breakfast. As we descend, we wave hello to Aunt Camei and SuSu, here helping your poor pregnant mother manage her single-parent week.

You settle in for a breakfast of yogurt with peanut butter and mashed banana. Dad joins us and admires the new skills and maturity you’ve developed in his absence. SuSu and Aunt Camei distract you from your meal with their smiles and attention. I’m afraid sharing the spotlight in a couple of months really will be a rude shock for you.

you and SuSu in fox shirts

you and SuSu in fox shirts

You romp around the living room a bit; then we grease you up with sunscreen in preparation for SPLASH DAY at daycare. During playground time, you shall splash. We are taking a towel, an old t-shirt, and a package of swim diapers in preparation for this major new event. You get dressed; I get dressed; and we load up in the car.

At 8:45, I drop you off at daycare. You started last week and reportedly love it although you still cry plaintively every time I hand you off to Ms. Shanna and Ms. Maricela. Today, two other girls are there already, wandering happily around the classroom in t-shirts, swim diapers, and water shoes. I suspect they may orchestrate Splash Days just because it’s so darn cute.

I understand you have a great day and enjoy the splashing in particular. I often wish for a spy camera to see what you get up to, but at least we get this report:

You've felt "happy" every day so far, according to these reports.

You’ve felt “happy” every day so far, say these reports.

According to the schedule, you spend 9-10 splashing outside, 10-11 getting cleaned up, changed, and doing small group activities and “circle time,” during which you discuss with your peers important matters such as shapes and colors. Lunch is served at 11; today it’s chicken patties, whole wheat bread, cucumbers, and mandarin orange. You eat everything, and drink milk.

You nap on a mat in your own little corner, on a sheet and in a sleep sack with your name written on them in sharpie. After a snack of tortilla and cheese (two of your favorites), Charly picks you up and brings you home. You play with her and Dad for an hour or so, mostly romping on your own around the house, carrying things from place to place, and narrating your actions with a constant stream of babble. You find Sous’ tennis ball and throw it for her. You swat her in the face, and when Dad tells you that’s not nice, you give her a tender MMMMMAH kiss on her back.

Charly takes you to the hot playground around 5, and you come home 45 minutes later red and sweaty, your fine baby hair all stuck to your scalp. We sit down for a dinner of random leftovers, and you enjoy a second night of beef stew with noodles and the cherry tomatoes out of my salad. Your lightening-fast mood changes signal how tired you are.

This mood swing takes approximately 1 second.

This mood swing takes approximately 1 second.

Dad takes you upstairs for a quick bath, paying particular attention to your ears, into which you have rubbed stew. You come back down, clean and diapered, and stagger sleepily around the living room for another 10 minutes. At 6:45 it’s back upstairs with Dad for bedtime. Until tomorrow, Tiny One!

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 13 months old.

You start chattering in your crib around 7, and at 7:15 are sitting up and ready for the day. Your dad unzips your sleep sack, lifts you out, and gets you a fresh diaper. Then it’s downstairs for your now-usual breakfast: a bowl of plain yogurt with a little pureed fruit and three tablespoons of powdered cereal. “Pink yogurt,” I call it. You love it. We buckle you into your high chair and start spooning it into you. You’re working on feeding yourself with a spoon but are usually too impatient for breakfast to put up with experimentation. This morning Dad spoons, and I read us an article about Uber and Lyft ditching Austin after they lost a battle over city regulations.

When you’re finished, we swab the yogurt off your face, free you from the high chair, and you grab my fingers for a romp around the house. You love this so much that I’m afraid it’s stunted your solo-walking progress. You will take some steps on your own but vastly prefer to march around with a parent in tow (preferably me—apparently my fingers are better grips). So, we march.

I seize a break in your stride to sit on the couch for a second—I’m pretty darn pregnant now, after all. You join me and start playing one of your favorite games: pulling individual eye drop capsules out of a box, spreading them around, putting them back in, putting them in my mouth, letting me put them in your mouth, repeat. The notion of games and toys for babies has never struck me as so silly. You’ll make a game out of anything.

I take a shower, and you play in your room with Dad. Then you join us for family tooth brushing and sit on the counter (Dad’s got a hand on you) while I put on my make-up and dry my hair. You stand up, lean forward, and kiss your reflection. Nanny Charly is on vacation this week, so at 8:30 our back-up arrives: a nice grandmother from South Africa named Petra. She’s with you all week. You’re not thrilled to be handed off, but she starts strolling around to distract you from your sense of abandonment, and we all survive.

a log of your day from Petra the back-up nanny

a log of your day from Petra the back-up nanny

You spend the rest of the morning with her at home, reading and playing. Your favorite book right now is from your Aunt Johanna; it’s called Doggies and requires a great deal of barking. My favorite page is “six quiet dogs,” with no barking at all. Your dad and now Petra are teaching you to say “shhhhhhhh” for this one. She draws pictures on the wall for you.

From 10-11:30, you nap, then you’re up for a lunch of frittata with mint and peas, more yogurt, and half a banana. You do some important self-spoon-feeding practice. I’m told you have an excellent bowel movement.

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You head to the playground for some swinging and a bit of solo walking after your second nap. This is the last week you’ll get them—next week we’ll start to transition to a single mid-day nap in preparation for your daycare schedule.

I get home at 5 and find you playing happily. You demand a tangerine immediately, and I oblige, get a report on your day, and say goodbye to Petra. We march around the house, explore the contents of the pantry’s bottom shelves, and then look at cards from a game our friends Emily and Tony have given you for your birthday. You roll a big fuzzy die and pick a card with a matching color that instructs you to do such things as pinch your nose, clap three times, or do a funny dance. It’s too advanced for you right now, but you enjoy the pictures, and listening to Mom quack like a duck. “Quack quack quack. Quack quack quack,” I say. “Quack quack quack.” You watch me carefully, and finally offer, “DAA DA.” You babble all kinds of nonsense sounds, but when you really mean to say something, all your words begin with “d”.

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Your dad gets home at 6 and plays with you while I make us goat cheese sandwiches with tomatoes and olives for dinner. You have some strawberries, too, and drink big gulps of water. We sit and eat at the table for 20 minutes, and then you wave your little hands in the air to tell us you’re all done. Fortunately, we are too. You and I play with teabags and tablespoons in the kitchen while your dad cleans up. (And then, whoops, you spilled some oil on the counter, and hey! you’ve got both hands in the salt bowl.)

At 6:45, he takes you upstairs for some quiet time and a fresh diaper. Then it’s finding the mouse on every page of Goodnight Moon, lullaby, and, goodnight!

(But wait—then I watch you on the monitor, rolling around your crib for another hour before you sleep. Yeah, we can probably let go of that second nap already.)

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 1 year old.

You wake up at 7:30, just in time to eat the banana and blueberry pancakes I’ve made in honor of your birthday, and as consolation prize since today’s the first you’re not starting with a bottle. (We read somewhere that you’re supposed to be done with bottles by a year, and since we’re slaves to rules and milestones, done you are.) You spend a happy half hour eating pancakes and yogurt with us at the dining room table.

mom birthday breakfast

I set you in the bathroom sink to wash the sticky mess off your hands, face, chest, and out of your hair, while you have fun splashing water around. You and your dad go and have some quality time reading books and playing in your room while I tidy up the house for your birthday party. We all reunite for assisted walking, stair climbs, and explorations of the upstairs drawers and cabinets.

dad on birthday

At 10, you are tired and ready for your first nap. Your dad and I do party prep while you sleep, at at 11:40, you’re up and things are ready. We do more strolling and messing with things while guests begin to arrive.

cooler baby

I suppose next year you’re likely to have a party with your own friends, but for now it’s still mostly about grown-ups, so we enjoy chatting while you crawl and walk and snack on pinto beans and pulled pork that your dad smoked. Then we hand you a cupcake, and a dozen adults + one dog circle around you and wait for the action.

birthday cupcake

You follow up your cake with the better part of a lemon wedge out of my iced tea, rind and all. It’s a flexible palete you’ve got.

By 2:30, you’re exhausted with new people and experiences and possibly a blood sugar crash. Guests go home, and you go to bed.

At 4, you’re up again. We hang out in your room for a bit, and for the first time you figure out that the chalk is for drawing rather than eating, and execute a ragged line on the wall. We thrill with pride, then buckle you in your stroller and head to the park. Dad throws the ball for Sous so she can burn off some of her scavenged calories, and you grab my fingers and insist on tromping after her, barefoot through the field. It’s cool, cloudy, and humid, sort of a foggy lid pulled over the day, making it peaceful.

We head back for more assisted walking around the house, and some playing in the cooler ice with Dad. You’re honing your tantrum skills and practice a few when Dad instead of Mom tries to make the 75th lap of the house with you. Your strategy is to collapse on the floor, in a seated position but bent at the waist, arms over your head, so your whole torso and face are pressed against the ground in despair. There’s no consoling you, so in our better moments we just sort of laugh ruefully and try to distract you.

A piggy back ride is NOT what you want.

A piggy back ride is NOT what you want.

You cheer up for a minute, so we try to measure your 1-year height against the wall. This displeases you, so you launch another meltdown. We figure you’re hungry and feed you. It works.

After dinner, more walking practice! At 6:45 we head upstairs, sponge you off and read some new books from kind friends and family. You take great delight in one called Doggies, complete with 10 kinds of barks. It’s a little hard on the vocal cords, but your joy makes it worth it.

Dad wraps up the day with a fresh diaper, Goodnight Moon, and goodnight to you, our one-year-old girl!

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 11 months old.

At 7:15, we see on the monitor that you’re awake, sucking your thumb and humming, so I go lift you out of your crib, to your great excitement. On the changing table, you squeal and thrash—you’ve really lost patience with this diaper-changing nonsense—and say “ma!” which of course I interpret as my name, and may even be.

In our bedroom, your warm bottle is waiting. (Is that the last time I’ll write this? You’re supposed to be on all solid food by 1 year, but boy do you count on that morning bottle. I presented you with a spoonful of yogurt the other day, and you were not impressed.) I hand you the bottle and lower you onto your back, so you can hold it for yourself. Your dad and I agree that once again, you are longer than when you went to bed.

You are pretty sure you're old enough now to have a cell phone.

You are pretty sure you’re old enough now to have a cell phone.

You romp around the bed while your dad and I divide our attention between scanning the newspaper and responding earnestly to your sentence-long babbles. Dad swoops you off for a bath, and I shower, too. We reunite, clean, and you walk your plastic elephant around the room, push wooden shapes through wooden holes, and generally enjoy your massive toy stockpile.

At 8:30, Charly takes over, and you enjoy your usual day of music, blocks, toys, books, picking things up and putting them down, climbing the stairs, crowing, and snuggling. When I get home at 4:45, you’re listening to popular country music and reading “Where’s Spot?” Your dad is right behind me, and we hang out with you and Charly in your room for half an hour or so.

You start to get cranky-hungry, so I scramble you a couple of eggs and portion out some kale, blueberries, and yogurt for your dinner. Your dad and I head out for our date night (fancy sushi at a new place down the street) while Charly hangs out with you for dinner and bedtime.

Apparently you ate all the kale, yogurt, and blueberry, and none of the egg.

You eat all the kale, yogurt, and blueberries, and none of the egg.

Charly sings you off to bed—she can actually sing, unlike your parents—at 7, and you roll around your crib with your pink teddy bear and your rabbit blanket for another half hour until you fall asleep at last.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 10 months old.

You wake up at 7:10. Your wake time has been creeping earlier with the sunrise. On the changing table, your usual morning sneezes—which always delight you—produce some significant snot. It appears you have your first little cold. No more bragging that you’ve never been sick!

We proceed to the big bed, where you lie on your back and feed yourself a bottle. You lounge around with Mom, Dad, Lovebug and Sheep. I hold your hands as still as I can and trim your talons despite vigorous protest. Dad pulls clothes out of the dryer, and we fold them on the bed. (Well, WE fold; you unfold.) I brush my teeth while you gnaw on a toothbrush of your own.

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It’s Wednesday, so Dad is working from home. He takes over record-keeping while I head to the office and then a Board meeting, so don’t see you again until tomorrow!

Charly arrives at 8:30, and you play happily with her while Dad heads to yoga. When he gets home at 11, you’re just beginning to fuss your way out of your first nap. You head to the park with Charly and Sous, where you stroll around, swing, and screech at the top of your lungs. Back home, you crawl into Dad’s office and try to join a work meeting.

You and Charly read books, sing songs, and listen to music on your fancy new wall-mounted speakers. You’re a little hard to please today, maybe because of your cold, but you have a ball with your mirrored tambourine and offer to share all your toys and food. (THANK you!) Your second nap is a long one, from 2:30 until 4:45.

You and Dad spend the late afternoon on the front porch in the beautiful weather, pulling the eyes and nose off Mr. Potato Head and grabbing handfuls of dirt out of the potted plants. For dinner, you eat Spanish tortilla and kale in your little red chair at the bar while you watch Dad do kitchen work. Salty snot on your upper lip makes a tasty dessert.

After a little more playtime in your room, you take a bath and experiment with putting your face in the water (mixed results—further testing required). After a story and song at 7, you go straight to sleep, snuggled up with your friend bear. A peaceful end to a fussy day.

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a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 9 months old.

It’s 34 degrees, sunny, and finally still after a windy night. You wake at 7:30, your new normal. Over Christmas, we eased you from three naps to two, and you voluntarily tacked an extra hour onto your nights. You drink 8 ounces of formula from a bottle I hold while you lean back against me. Then Dad and I read the paper and work on the crossword while you crawl around the bed, climb us like mountains, stand against the headboard, grab pages from the paper and sling them around, visit the puppy dog and pull out some of her hair, and let us kiss your belly as you wallow on your back. This goes on for some hours.

climbing me

climbing me

At 10, I change your diaper and put you down for a nap with a song, and you sleep until 11:30. Then it’s time for another bottle and a first adventure. Dad bundles you up and loads you in the car for a trip to the Farmers Market. He walks you around in the bjorn while our kitchen knives get sharpened.

The bear suit remains a hit with the general public.

The bear suit remains a hit with the general public.

Back home at 1, you play with blocks at my feet as I paint picture frames for your latest wall art: space-themed prints in keeping with our running joke that you’ll grow up to be an astronaut. (No pressure.) When you tire of eating blocks, you tour around the space, admiring (slapping) your reflection in the piano base, visiting (slapping) the dog where she’s napping, playing with (slapping) your dad’s shoes at the foot of the stairs. We’re big admirers of your self-sufficiency.

Right now your favorite thing to do with blocks is still to eat them. You take a break from that to see if you can pull a piece of wet-painted wood down onto your head.

You take a break from eating blocks to try pulling a piece of wet-painted wood down onto your head.

You nap again at 2:30 and are back up at 4:15. We tuck you back in your bear suit, strap you into the stroller, and go for a walk in the last hour of sunshine, through the park and the elementary school grounds, then back through a neighborhood street and alley. Back home, you spend some time banging on the stairs, which you can’t climb yet but badly want to. Then you sit in my lap at the bar and watch Dad cook green beans and plate leftovers for dinner. You snack on some bread, drink one more bottle, and then Dad reads you a story, sings you a song, and says goodnight. 7:00pm.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 8 months old. I lift you out of bed this morning and change your diaper. This is usually your dad’s job, but today is his last in California on his latest work visit, so it’s just you and me and Sous. I bring you to our bedroom, where our tray of breakfast beverages now includes a bottle for you. You drink with vigor, still groggy and leaning back against me, while I read the Statesman headlines. The Supreme Court is considering UT’s affirmative action policy, and Congress approved a massive new education bill.

When you finish breakfast, I place a constellation of toys around the bed for you to pursue: a Santa rattle, Happy Apple, and a metrocard, folded in half, from our New York trip, which has been your favorite toy now for weeks. I eat a granola bar and give you the wrapper, which you find delightful.

You lurch around the bed using your combination crawl-roll-drag technique to good effect. I catch you by an ankle as you try to launch off the edge. You pound on the newspaper, practice standing up against the headboard, and make your pilgrimage to torment Sous. We play your latest game, where you put things—your trash toys, well slobbered-on—in my mouth.

I tried to take a picture of you, but you just wanted to eat the phone.

I try to take a picture of you, but you just want to eat the phone.

There’s this noise you make, sort of a quiet screech of delight, that just fills me with joy. Getting you to produce this—usually by sort of munching on you like a corn cob—is one of the high points of my life. Pure happiness, like having the hysterical giggles with friends at age 12. So we do that, too, for 5 or 10 minutes.

You nap, and when you wake, Charly is on duty. You have a bottle and play downstairs, bouncing in your jumper and listening to Christmas carols. You poop, copiously, something that’s still rare enough to note and celebrate. Charly takes you upstairs and reads you stories. Sous wanders by occasionally to check on the scene and whether any food is involved. You play with blocks to the tune of the Little Mermaid soundtrack.

After your mid-day nap, you and Charly head out for a walk down Congress, and you spend an hour strolling in the beautiful weather—75 and sunny on this December day. Back home you play in your room while Charly sings along to pop songs. Then naptime again.

I lift you out of your crib at 5:30 and give you a bottle; then we amble around the neighborhood as the sun sets, looking at Christmas lights and naming things (“flower,” “truck,” “church bells”). Next we hang out in the living room. You hold onto the edge of the coffee table and put everything you can reach into your mouth. And chirp. Like this:

Soon it’s time for the end-of-day routine. I change your diaper and wash your hands and face, then gather you up into my lap for Goodnight Moon, and sing you off to sleep.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 7 months old.

You’re up early today! Chirping and rolling around your crib at 6:15, ready to start your day. We do the usual morning thing, and then your dad trots off for a swim while you and I hang out. You wallow and squirm across the bed, SO CLOSE to crawling. We keep putting enticing things just out of reach—a stuffed sheep, Happy Apple, the dog—hoping that this time, you’ll put together the sequence of actions that gets you crawling. You’ve got them all individually: rocking back and forth on your hands and knees, pulling your knees forward, pushing with your toes. I can’t explain why we’re cheering for you to go mobile. It will certainly put an end to another degree of fun and freedom for us. Perhaps we are imagining how happy it will make you to get where you want to go.

You look A LOT like your dad.

You look A LOT like your dad.

Around 7:20 we head downstairs to experiment with your new toy: a jumper that hooks to the doorframe. You found it alarming last night, so we play with it for a few minutes while it sits harmless on the ground. You investigate it as you do everything: with your mouth. (Your dad describes your approach as “French-kissing life in the face.”) When you seem satisfied with it, I hang it up and thread your legs in. In half an hour, you go from semi-panicked wobbling to competent twirls and modest bounces. Your proud parents crowd around and comment on your physical genius.

Maybe the bouncer will jostle some poop out of you? Because it's been another 5 days.

Maybe this will jostle some poop out of you? Because it’s been another 5 days.

Your first nap begins at 8, and when you wake, the parents-to-nanny handoff has occurred. Charly tells us that you bounce like a champ and get very excited when Sous slips through the doorway underneath you. The three of you go on a quick walk cut short by a rain shower, and then hang out in your room, chewing on things, listening to nursery rhymes, and reading the entirety of Yertle the Turtle And Other Stories.

That’s where I find you when I come home: lounging on your blanket and watching Sous chew on a rawhide bone. You seem to be jealous, so Charly gives you a little wooden teething toy, and you both gnaw happily. You occasionally reach out and finger Sous’ ears and face.

I put you back in your bouncer to check out your new skills, and sure enough, you’re an expert. There’s time for a few minutes of banging on piano keys, and then you’re in bed for a nap, which you begin after 20 minutes of lurching around your crib and cooing. (I’m writing this as you’re doing it, and keep having to revise that number upward.)

Maybe it's my fault for not putting you in the sleep sack. But it felt warm, and you kept trying to chew on it.

Maybe it’s my fault for not putting you in the sleep sack. But it felt too warm, and you kept trying to chew on it.

Your dad is doing a workout with his old running group tonight, so we have the evening to ourselves. I turn on Google’s “Classical for Kids” radio station and we listen to the Nutcracker Suite while you gum various toys. We hit the jumper for another few minutes of bouncing. I buckle you into your high chair and bring out some delicious mashed sweet potatoes so you can fling them around the dining room and smear them into your hair.

At 7:15 we start the nightly wind-down. I get two wash cloths wet, give you one to suck on and soap up the other to scrub mashed potatoes off your hands, face, and feet. We read Goodnight Moon, and you turn the pages for me—a new trick of yours just a few days old. Then your lullaby, and goodnight.