To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 23 months old.
You wake up at 7:15, and the family parades into your room. You start telling us about your sleep sack (“seep sack! seep sack!”), which you have managed to remove in the night. I set Paul on the floor, and he grips the bars of your crib and smiles at you. You squeal with delight and hug his head through the bars. I lift you out of the crib, and you tear around the room, bring Paul assorted toys, and hide in the corner as Dad tries to coax you onto the changing table for a “fresh dopper, tiger dopper.” (Your diapers have tigers on them. Fitting.)
Out of patience, Dad hoists you onto the table and endures your screams as you get changed and dressed. Then it’s “Annie see Mommy?” for a farewell hug, and you’re headed downstairs for a “bah-in” (vitamin, but let’s be real—it’s chewy candy). You leave for school. Dad sings to entertain you in the car, and you say, “Dad STAW-AWP.” When you get to school, “Yay school!”
Ms. Shanna and your classmate Byron are taking down the Egypt decorations from yesterday’s multicultural festival, an elaborate production that we heartlessly skipped. You pitch in and then eat breakfast. The sand on the playground is wet today, and you reportedly get filthy. Back inside for lunch, you relish your mac and cheese and smear it all over your face. You get mopped up and zonk out at nap time once your head hits the pillow.
After nap, you’re back on the playground. At 4, it’s circle time again, and Ms. Maricela introduces the class to a new book about pirates. You pay attention and chant at all the right parts.
I see you again at 5. You’re squatting on the floor and putting big plastic coins in a piggy bank, a task so absorbing you barely register my presence, and when you do, instruct me to insert a coin. Coins banked, we head out. Due to a horrific backup in my parking garage, I have walked over to pick you up, so we’ve got a 20-minute journey to the car, at Annie pace. “Ah have Mom purse-y. Ah helping Mom.”—you insist on wearing my backpack, which in no way fits you and is too heavy in any case, so I hold it up behind your back as you walk along. It makes a pretty decent leash, too, as we cross campus.
You say hi to some undergrads and stop to admire the creek and the students playing frisbee. You tackle a tall flight of stairs all by yourself, and we hold hands as we approach the garage. Safely stowed in the car, we begin the second leg of our journey home. I let you keep my bag, and you amuse yourself unzipping pockets, pulling out the contents, and muttering to yourself.
At home, you start to fray as Dad cooks kale and I run to the store for some missing dinner ingredients. You ask for things you already have and come unglued when not immediately presented with more.
You enjoy 8 crackers and a quarter-cup of hummus for dinner. When Paul makes his appearance, you share. We call Granddad and Susu, and you try to hand them crackers through the phone. You get a huge kick out of talking to the t-rex. You offer him a cracker.
After dinner, you make a lap around the living room and then join the family parade up to your room for a bath. We’ve taken to cajoling you into the tub by asking you to help wash Paul. You are not thrilled to find yourself in the tub, but Dad gives you an efficient scrub, and you cheer up when you’re put to work sponging Paul’s head. You move onto playing with a plastic bowl and end up having such a good time you stay until the water is gone. You insist on the tiny baby bunny towel to dry off. I get you into a fresh diaper, and we say goodnight to Dad and Paul.
We play peekaboo in your tent-house. You get dressed. We let you pick pretty much any clothes you want to sleep in, partly to keep you happy and partly for our own amusement. Tonight it’s a dress with black polka dots paired with pink flower pants. You select six finalists for a bedtime story, and once in my lap identify the winner: Pete the Cat. We read it. I pick you up and start the lullaby. You instruct me to put on your sleep sack. I do. “Bye, Mom,” you say from your crib, looking up at me with a smile. “Bye, Annie.”