a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 16 months old.


I hear from you at 6:45, a plaintive keen, but I’m still working on breakfast so let you sit. You seize the opportunity for another sleep cycle, and when I come in at 7:15 to retrieve a singing Annie, you sleep through the whole production. I pick you up at 7:30 when she’s already tucking into breakfast. We discuss your new socks for the day—frogs, ribbit—and get you into some pants for the cold weather.


You eat all your grapes and covet Annie’s, reaching toward her and squawking angrily. You are perfectly capable of signing “more” and “please,” but I have no luck prompting you, so I wash another handful of grapes and engage in what feels exactly like a dog-training exercise. “Please,” I help you sign, and then hand you a grape. You eat it and grin. “Please,” we sign again, and you get another one. It does the trick.

You have a small meltdown when I can’t fit your sweater over your head—you want it, badly, but either it’s shrunk in the wash or your 95th-percentile head has grown even larger. You have a thing for all adornments right now, even if socks and shoes still come first in your heart. We persevere, however, and head out. A backhoe digging a hole in the neighbor’s yard provides unanticipated entertainment, and we all watch wide-eyed while it demolishes part of the sidewalk. Then it’s into the car with our cups full of toast, and off to school.

Outside the Bumblebees class, I set you in a chair, and Annie takes off your shoes and puts them in the drawer. We walk you into class and leave you with Ms. Leah on the mat. She helps you take off the hard-won sweater as we say goodbye.

You unfortunately have a very rough morning at school. Leah calls me at 9 to ask about the state of your ear infection (you’re on Day 8 of a second course of antibiotics) because you are crying inconsolably, thrashing too hard for a temperature reading, and tugging at your ears. I talk with Jennifer at 10, who says you’ve had ups and downs but only really calmed down when she walked around with you outside the class. Poor fellow. I authorize ibuprofen and ask to stay in touch.

You cheer up substantially; enjoy a full lunch of sloppy joe, oranges, and broccoli; poop; and nap for two hours. Perhaps this combination turns around your mood—your afternoon is normal and happy.

Ms. Shanna picks you up and brings you home for dinner, playtime, and a bath. When I arrive at 6:30, you run to me and back your butt up into my lap for a cuddle. I sit on the mat by the front door while you bring me tubs of play-doh and ask me to roll it between my hand to make balls. This causes you to chuckle in delight.

You abscond with some of Annie's markers and try to eat them.
You abscond with some of Annie’s markers and try to eat them.

At 7:15, we mosey upstairs, where you immediately apply yourself to some legos but are lured into my lap again by the promise of books. We name all the pictures in 100 First Animals and speed-read Pete the Cat and his Cool, Blue, Magic Sunglasses. I thread your arms into your sleep sack, sing the song, lay you in your crib, and tell you I love you. Night night, Mr. Paul!

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