a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 4 years and 11 months old.

You pop out of bed in your new race car PJs, motivated to get downstairs but unwilling to shed your awesome new outfit. We compromise by letting you keep the shirt on. This breakthrough allows us to get downstairs and begin arguing about breakfast. Chocolate pancakes, no, but mini-waffles with one chocolate chip melted between them? Okay, fine.
We pack a hodgepodge lunch of tortellini and goldfish crackers and a banana and cherries and a little dried fruit bar and—shoot we need some fat and protein—okay, a wheel of cheese. Then it’s vitamins, and you’re off to the car. Annie brings you a puppy lovey, which thrills you. Dad takes you to school, by way of our library branch, to return an overdue book. Annie’s unicorn pushes the book through the return slot.

At Colibri, you tromp out of the car and into your school. We hear stories of your day that include various alliances and assaults (Shae and Archer are on your team, not Annie’s. Eleanor—who’s been in California for a week, for the record—hit you in the face with a suitcase.) Dad picks you up again at 5. You’re in your shark swimsuit, with your shirt backwards, and tearing around through the sprinklers, having a blast. It’s pulling teeth to get you to bring your stuff out from school, but he nets a pile of shoes and gear. You and Annie both refuse to carry any of your things into the house. Your dad is not pleased.

You scarf down apples and sausage slices for dinner, then join your dad for half an hour of Ratchet and Clank before bed. We head upstairs, where you elect to take a bath. You and Annie have a surge of renewed interest in bath toys, probably because I just put them all away, so we get them back out, and you play a long game of making and serving happy meals. Fish stew in a bucket, with breadsticks made of bath crayons. The toy is a spitting cat. Dad and I pretend to slurp it down.

Costco has delivered some basics this evening, and Dad impulse-bought a new Dog Man book. I read you the cast of characters, then pass it to him for the main action line. You sit in his lap and do your best not to interrupt. Time to get in bed, and he asks you sternly whether there is ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED because GETTING OUT OF BED IS NOT OKAY. You both decide there certainly IS more you need and pack up some drawing supplies and lovies for a long night. When you’re securely in bed, he reads a few pages of Harry Potter 3. The chapter books are beginning to engage you more; you listen more attentively and do less solo play and interrupting during the readings than a few months ago.

There’s a little post bedtime drama when Annie has to poop but is too afraid to use the bathroom by herself, so you summon us with yelling, and Dad yells right back. Hoo. Monday.

I forgot to take any pictures today, but here you are the next morning, inked up and ready for action.
I forgot to take any pictures today, but here you are the next morning, inked up and ready for action.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years and 3 months old.

We hear you and Paul pop up, and find you in our spots in the bed. You dress, brush, and head downstairs for a light breakfast of frozen mango chunks before we all head to the grocery store. You two tear through Central Market, collecting favorites like yogurt, a selection from the bulk candy section, and—crucially—sausage and cheese kolaches. We run into your friend Olive from Colibri. You pronouce her name like the teachers do, with a perfect Spanish accent.

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On the way home, KUTX is playing in the car, and you sing along in your wee sweet voice to Shungudzo’s “It’s a good day (to fight the system).” (“Mom, what does ‘fight the system’ mean?”) Dad and I unload the groceries while you and Paul get busily back to work on coloring pages for Shae’s birthday present, which we’ll give him today. You’ve been on a creative roll lately, and we’ve just purchased a 40-pack of new markers. You color up a storm.

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Dad takes you and Paul to Austin Bouldering Project, where you meet up with the Geralds (Shae’s family) for an hour or so of climbing. You head back, eat a bit of lunch, and talk with me about how the year is like a circle. You and Paul snuggle on the couch and watch Dad solve video game puzzles with Ratchet and Clank. Then it’s a little more coloring and creating before we head back to Shae’s and hang out for the afternoon and evening.

You swim lengths of the wading pool and dig through Shae’s toy box. A couple other boys come over, and the 9-year-old directs you all in imaginitive play. You hang with the pack of boys with no trouble at all.

When everyone starts getting cranky, we put on a movie and deliver a stream of toasted waffles with cream cheese to all the kids on the couch (dinner? close enough) while the grown-ups keep chatting in the kitchen. At 7, we pack it in and head home. You want to take a bath, so do, and then climb up to your bed to listen to Dad read some Harry Potter 3. Paul calls for us after bed, so I visit, and find that you’ve slipped into your too-large black shirt with the sleeves sewn shut—our latest idea to help you stop sucking your thumb at night. You’ve arranged your bed tidily in hopes I will come lie down with you after Paul falls asleep. I do not. You do fine.

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 4 years and 10 months old.

It’s officially the time when I start referring to you as “almost five.” We have a big, awesome day to report today. Dan and Peanut are here for the first time since The Pandemic, and it’s a Saturday, so we have lots of plans.

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You wake up with a project to show off, an “American plane” in red, white, and blue. I spell the word at your request so you can label it appropriately. After a quick breakfast, you launch off before 8am with ambitions to walk around the whole trail loop, over 10 miles in the June heat. On the way, you hunt for and find our family brick on the trail.

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Celebrating the Stroller Years
Celebrating the Stroller Years

The recently-reopened library is about at the halfway point, and your parade makes a pitstop for a gigantic poop and three books to support your spirits through the last miles. You do plenty of walking, too, and at the end, we celebrate with 3-D printed medals to commemorate your achievement.

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We eat a giant pile of tacos for lunch. I give all the boys haircuts, starting with you. (Just a trim around the edges—your summer buzz cut needs no improvement.) You captain a Central Market trip with Annie, Peanut and I, stocking up on fruit and yogurt. You travel by clinging to the side of the cart. We buy $15 of apricots.

After a little down time watching Dad and Dan play Gran Turismo, you head for the swings. We do a little swing/hose-spray/bubbles combo, and then fill up the wading pool for major splashing. You and Annie pretend to dig through the water, splashing the grown-ups. No one minds much in the high-90s heat.

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For dinner, you inhale half a hot dog, capped with lego-shaped candy for dessert. We decide the wading pool was basically a bath (there was bubble soap) and skip straight to an episode of Nature Cat to wind down. I read you a few pages of Harry Potter 2, which you mostly ignore. Sleep comes quickly. Goodnight, buddy.