To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 15 months old.
We are surprised to find you sound asleep when we enter your room at 7:30, so liberate Annie but leave you to snooze for another 45 minutes. Dad retrieves you when you do wake up, endures your screams while he gets you in a new diaper, and brings you downstairs for breakfast.
You amaze us again by pounding three sippy-cupfuls of milk. It’s a wonder you have any room in your belly for hot buttered toast, but you manage some of that, too, and then Dad buckles you into the stroller for a jog up to St. Edwards with Doug.
Back home, we play together in the front yard as Aunt Peanut rolls up with her luggage—she and Dan have spent the weekend with us but leave today. You help the lawn flamingos get a better view of passing traffic.
Back inside, you stand in your tower in the kitchen and eat Cheerios for a morning snack, then push your toys across the house. You poop, twice. Dad notices an abundance of dog hair and brings out the brooms; you help.
Lunch is apple slices (you chew the apple off of the peel) and chicken nugget-y things (you ignore them until I let you nibble them out of my fingers, one tiny bite at a time). Also more milk.
You take a great nap, sleeping through quite a bit of caterwauling from your sister, and straight through her extraction. Noon to 2:15 is the final tally—very solid.
About half an hour later, Charly arrives to find you snacking at the table. Dad and I say goodbye (we’re going to see art at EAST), and you hang out in your room, listening to kids songs and trying to take apart the humidifier.
You enjoy a walk around the neighborhood in the wagon and work up an appetite. On your way to the dinner table, you face-plant into the chair leg and raise a goose egg on your forehead that will be fun to explain to the doctor at your well-child check-up tomorrow. Undeterred, you eat a pile of ravioli. Then it’s bathtime, books, and bedtime. Night night, Mister Paul!
To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 2 years 7 months old.
You start coughing off and on at about 5 but raise no alarms. At 7:10, though, we see you standing up in your crib and peeking past the window shade, so head up to get you. I do a little slapstick for both of you while we wait for Dad to arrive; then he picks up Paul, and I pick up you. You’re coughing. It doesn’t sound great, but you don’t feel hot. So, onward we go, into undies, socks, and shoes.
At the breakfast table, you have little enthusiasm for your usual favorites: “baby cereal” (plain yogurt with a quarter of a banana and some fortified oat dust) and hot buttered toast. You do eat the yogurt when Dad starts making moves toward the door. You all head off for school at 8.
You drop Paul off in the Bumblebee class and walk carefully downstairs to the Peacocks. You head to the potty first thing, the routine for all the potty-trained kids, then wash your hands at the sink and sit down for second breakfast. It’s a normal morning—playground, lunch, and nap—in perfect fall weather.
You take a good nap but wake up in bad shape. Ms. Carina calls me at 2:45 to report you have a high fever. You are relegated to a mat upstairs with another sick kiddo waiting for pick-up, and I retrieve you in short order. “Let’s go home, and snuggle up in bed, and watch A Snowy Day,” I suggest as I buckle you in the carseat. “No,” you say, “We’ll go to the doctor first, and then we’ll go home.”
Smart answer, kiddo, but things aren’t quite that bad. We make good time on a quiet drive home, and execute the plan as stated. You drink my special sick-kid cocktail of one part milk, one part chocolate milk, and absorb quite a bit of television.
About 20 minutes into our Dora marathon, we get a special treat: Aunt Peanut and Uncle Dan arrive, visiting from California for the weekend. Peanut joins us in the sick bed while Dan takes Sous for a long walk, and we do a little catching up in low voices while you do your best to tune us out.
You and I keep lounging while Dad picks up Paul and Peanut and Dan pick up tacos for dinner. You take a very short nap, then tell me you need to go to the doctor. Concerned but not entirely trusting your judgement in the matter, I administer some ibuprofen.
Dad and Paul arrive home, and he swaps in with you while I head downstairs. “I need something,” you tell him. “A snack would be nice.”
Now you are eating goldfish crackers and drinking chocolate milk in our bed. Who wouldn’t want to be sick?
You join us downstairs briefly, sit at the table, and decline dinner. You are charmed when I pretend to turn the electric candles on and off by magic; I can’t stand the deception, though, and reveal the remote. You commandeer it.
When Mr. Paul makes a play for your baggy of goldfish, you smack him in the chest, provoking stern words and a retreat upstairs. You ask to sleep in our bed tonight. When I decline, you negotiate: “How bout I sleep in your bed for a minute, then I sleep in my bed.”
Okay, sure. It’s 6:40. We lay down in Mom and Dad’s bed for a minute. Quiet, we hear sounds of play downstairs, and you suggest we join in. “We have a little time to play before bed,” you inform me. It’s true. You help Peanut figure out what objects will fit into the packing tube she’s playing with, and turn the candles off and on.
It’s really time for bed now, so we go up, change dresses and diapers, and read A Greyhound, a Groundhog—one of my favorites. We turn on the humidifier and the noise machine, sing the song, and lower you into your crib. “I want a sleep sack,” you say. “You don’t fit into sleep sacks anymore.” “Because I got bigger?” That’s right.
“I want my blanket,” you tell me as you flip onto your stomach, and I tuck it around you, rub your back, and tell you I love you. “Oh, it’s so dark!!” you exclaim as I’m leaving, and I keep the lights on just one click so you don’t get scared. Good night, Annie. Feel better.
Tonight Bryan was throwing Annie and Paul into the air, making them shriek with delight. During Paul’s turn, Annie appealed to me: “Mom, can you throw me?” I told her sorry, I wasn’t as strong as Dad. She said, “Your muscles are just very tiny?”
News to us: she knows the word muscles; she knows they are related to strength; she knows strength is what it takes to throw her into the air; she is able to integrate all of this knowledge into an insult.