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.
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.
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.