a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 2 years and 11 months old.

You and Annie giggle your way into our room at 7:05. No early rising today—you were wide awake in your beds until almost 9 last night. You set up temporary camp in your pillow, wearing your baggy Ninja Turtles underwear and announcing you are a baby pony today. Once Annie is off and running, you consent to take my hand and begin the morning drill, and we go pretty quickly after that.

You’re happy to see a bowl of cold oatmeal with sliced banana for breakfast, eat it all and spend a few minutes with your toy cars before we head for the real one. You conduct your usual traffic inventory on the way to school, spotting police cars, taxis, school buses, and trucks of all sorts.

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You cruise into class with a confident stride, and then, oh my goodness, if it isn’t another line up of cars and trucks. Ms. Natalie has a different cool activity to start every day. You and Annie both admire it as your bagel breakfast gets set up. When I pop back into your class to find my lost car key 10 minutes later, you’re still there.

Thank goodness it’s splash day, because it’s been too hot to go to the playground all week, and you like to MOVE. Your teachers report you have lots of fun. Dad picks you up at 5 and ferries you and Annie to Home Slice for a pizza dinner. (I have decamped to California to celebrate my friend Debbie’s 40th birthday.) You peel off each piece of pepperoni and hold them up for Dad to blow on before you eat them. Then you salt your slice, declare it’s too spicy, and eat no more.


Back home, bed preparation is accelerated to allow 15 minutes of Cars 2 (Holly Shiftwell! Finn McMissile!). Dad reads you two books (trolls, buses), and wraps up the evening with a story about a chocolate earthquake. Goodnight, goober.

a day in your life

To Annie: This is how you spent the day you turned 4 years and 3 months old.

You wake up at 6:15, probably when Sous clatters down the stairs, and I hear Paul tell you, “Dad’s back home!” Which is true, as of five hours ago. Further sleep is out of the question, but you stay in bed for a while, playing, and at 10 till 7 start building a little fort cubby in the nook between your beds. You tumble out the door of your room when the light turns green and report gleefully that you’ve been bunking together on the floor.

You get ready pretty much by yourself, hooray. I clip on your unicorn jewelry, and you bring me a sparkly hair pin to administer. You pull on the new strappy sandals you picked out at Target last weekend because you think they look like “up shoes,” your word for high heels. You and Paul wait for each other like good teammates, and we all go downstairs together.

Breakfast begins with a jelly bean, back-pay for Paul’s potty-poop last night, and I toast waffles while you break in the new giant box in the living room as a playhouse. You eat, briefly, and trade blueberries. Then it’s back to the box, and shortly out to the car. Dad drives you to school, and you merge into the great 4-year-old mass.

I hear the following stories of your day: at nap, Ms. Jolene takes away your unicorn lovey because you’re playing with it disruptively, but Ms. Felicia gives it back later. You learn something at circle time, but you can’t remember what. You eat a popsicle to celebrate Analeeah’s last day, and you make it last by sucking the juice out of it and leaving the white ice. (You are really good at savoring food you love.) At the end of the day, you are having a dance party with the few kids left and pitch a small fit when asked to put on your shoes because THEY ARE NOT DANCING SHOES.


I pick up Paul first for a change, and find you playing with a gauzy scarf. You are excited to see us and express this by sprinting off down the hall, with scarf, sans shoes. I coax you back into the class and put your shoes on for you. You love them, but they frustrate you. OH, life. Paul and I head out, and you lie on the ground in protest. No, it does not make sense. The helper in your classroom bribes you with a banana in exchange for following us. I do not let you eat it unless you agree to share it with Paul; you decline.

In the car, some indie band is singing about dying, so you ask me for a story about when Elsa died, “and it’s a long one.” So I tell a story about Elsa dying peacefully on her couch at the end of a long and happy life, and all of her friends giving her a nice funeral on her mountain and telling stories about her every year so they never forget her. It is not our first such story. You are rapt.

As we near home, your crankiness emerges and you experiment to achieve the most grating possible whine. I distract you semi-successfully with a discussion of how highways work. We notice the wildflowers on the west side have finally been mowed down for the year, and miss them.


At home, you help me thaw some bread to add to the delicious braised chicken Dad has made. You eat a whole peach and your hunk of bread, and reject everything else. We linger over dinner and make a quick visit to your new playhouse box before I carry you upstairs to get ready for bed. We reach the end of your daily compliance, and you fight us all the way through bedtime prep. “I don’t know HOW to wash my hands! I don’t know how to do ANY OF IT.” I wish I could put into writing the sound of the drama-sobs, but then again I don’t. Dad finally sets a sand timer to indicate how long you have before we run out of time for a book, and you lose it completely.

Finally we are in bed. You did miss the book, but you’re down for a Mom-original story about all your favorite characters working late in their tower office and watching the fireworks. They all agreed on what to eat for dinner, and Mater went out to get pizza and peas. Elsa froze hers because she likes them cold.

Dad wraps it up with the song about the hole in the ground. The green grass grows all around and around, and the green grass grows all around.

tell me a story

I’m starting a log of the hilarious (?) story requests I receive from Annie and Paul (but mostly Annie), for their entertainment and sensemaking, and you tell me when to call the child psychologist.

  • Tell me a story about when Dory got stung by jellyfish.
  • Tell me a story about when Elsa killed a pig and cooked it for her family.
  • Tell me a story about Bambi, when the hunters shot his mother and she died.
  • Tell me a BRAND NEW story, and it has to be a LONG story. You can decide what it’s about.
  • Tell me a story about Elsa when Elsa was a gnat and a spider got her.
  • Tell me a story about when Elsa put her monster truck in the bath.
  • Tell me a story about when Holly Shiftwell DIED.