At Isaac’s first birthday, a couple weeks ago.
On Monday morning, Annie greeted me in her crib with a cheerful request to extricate her finger from a thicket she’d twirled into her hair. It had gotten stuck. Things deteriorated from there. After trimming off two dreadlocks this afternoon, I decided it was time to give her a proper haircut. She’s now sporting a more-or-less even bob with bangs, or, as she prefers to think of it, hair like Dora’s. Dora herself gets at least a producer credit for this, for keeping Annie absorbed and still for the duration.
To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 14 months old.
You and Annie gradually escalate your volume until Dad decides to liberate you from your crib at 7:10. He gets you swaddled in a fresh diaper and carries you downstairs to your standard breakfast: banana and some nibbles of toast. You eat fast and are ready to get up and ride around on his hip while we finish getting ready for the day.
I drive you to school. You listen as Annie tests her knowledge about what is and is not the highway, and when and why we put on our blinkers, occasionally chiming in with a query of your own. “Daaaaaahh????”
At school, we open the door to your classroom, and your teachers, Leah, Susan, and Jennifer, smile at us from a room littered with babies, and remark on how grown-up you look in your shirt and pants. I leave you in Jennifer’s arms.
You tuck into a second breakfast and move your bowels. You take particular delight in reading a version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear with a little peekaboo window to see what animal comes next. Lunch is turkey tacos, carrots, and pears, and produces another poop. You take a healthy nap from noon until 1:30.
Your daily report indicates that you enjoyed the following: blocks, listening to stories, looking at books, outside play, and balls. Sounds about right. Dad picks you up at 4:45; you all survive some terrible traffic driving home.
After dinner, you make a few laps around the house pushing your elephant, and then we proceed upstairs. You and Annie romp around, playing with pill bottles and slamming doors with finger-severing strength. #goodparenting
(The next morning we will find that bottle in the washing machine.)
Dad scrubs you down in the bathtub, and you stick around to play with your stacking cups and duckies. Then it’s up, out, dry, dressed, and onto Duplo construction.
You build towers, and cars, and towers on cars, then back your way into Dad’s lap for a last book or three. A few minutes after 7, well, it’s dark outside and it’s time to go to sleep. We zip you into your sack, give you a pat, and say goodnight. We love you, Paul.
Annie and I were looking at the birds on my dress at dinner. “Wanna count them??” she asked, and started, “Wo-on. Too-oo. Three-ee. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Four. Five. Six!”
To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 2 1/2.
Everyone wakes in a scream-y mood, and Dad is in California. I get Paul changed while you protest that you don’t want to get up.
I set Paul down (to scream) while I lift you out of the crib and onto the changing table, discard your squishy diaper and help you into a dress AND…UNDIES! That’s right, it’s day 2 of undies at school. Success has been mixed. More on that later.
I pick up poor screaming Paul and about six other things to take downstairs, and you walk by yourself. Despair overcomes you as I outpace you; I press on and get Paul in his high chair while you execute a screaming meltdown at the top of the stairs. Apparently one of you will be screaming at all times this morning. I retrieve you and set you in your chair for a breakfast of “baby cereal”—a quarter of a banana mashed up in plain yogurt.
“I want hot buttered toast!” you wail. Prompted, you revise your request to, “Can I have hot buttered toast PLEASE.” I make you some. During the three minutes of toasting time, both of you start crying again.
After breakfast, Sous must be fed (by you), and milk must be spilled (by Paul) and mopped up (by me). Finally, we set off for school, toting toast to-go and a bag full of extra undies.
In the car, we sing the song we made up last night. To the tune of “Five Little Monkeys,” it goes:
One little car was driving on the street.
He was going home to have dinner to eat.
He had his kids in his backseat.
No more cars are driving on the street!
The mood is cheerful at last. You haul the bag of undies and Paul’s diapers all the way into school and tell me you will give the diapers to a Bumblebees teacher. You execute on that commitment, and we walk down the stairs to your class. I leave you in line to use the small, in-room potty, with teacher Mary.
I do not see you again this day, but receive the following reports:
From Mary: Today we read the book, “Fall Leaves Fall” and discussed the color of fall leaves and how in the book the children raked the leaves and jumped in them. We jumped in leaves too!
(I notice you are in a different dress in this photo.)
From Shanna: The girls said Annie had 4 potty accidents in an hour and 5 total for the day. They think she kept having them because she knew it meant she got a new pair of panties each time.
Your ability to game any system terrifies me.
Shanna brings you home and feeds you tortillas with peanut butter for dinner. You and Paul romp happily downstairs, reading books, climbing on the furniture, and pushing around the toy lawnmower. At 6:30, it’s time for a bath. You need to poop, so Shanna scoops you out and onto the potty. You poop in it for the first time. Kudos!
You get dressed in your pink horsey shirt and read one last book. Shanna zips you into your sleep sack and covers you up with your blanket. Night night, my terrible 2-year-old.
My children are going to live in a world I can barely imagine.