To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 21 months old.
You signal your readiness for pick-up, so we hoist you out of your crib, help you into your outfit, and head downstairs for banana, yogurt, and toast. You eat with purpose, then turn to me: “ALL DONE!” After a quick napkin swipe of your sticky banana hands, you head to the couch to look out the window and do a little light bouncing.
We make our way into the stroller and head out for a walk. It’s 75 degrees at 8am, and 90% humidity. Summer is coming. We do our usual Saturday circuit: risk our lives jaywalking across Riverside (though today we see them cutting the curb for our new crosswalk!), about a mile on the boardwalk and trail, a little off-leash time for Sous, and then a stroll through the park for y’all.
You feed toast crusts to the turtles and lie on your tummy to watch them eat. It’s a busy day on the pond. The sun is bright, the birds are chirping, and the grass and leaves are brightest green, in their full glory. You and Annie range around the park, and you only check in once or twice for some emotional support when you take a tumble or have your will denied.
We head up to El Mercado to meet our friends for brunch. You play hard on the playground, scoop a half-teaspoon of medium-spicy salsa into your mouth without flinching, and put away your weight in pancakes, bacon, and refried beans.
While Annie and I go to take in some theater, you head home with Dad and Doug, plus Riley in the second stroller seat. You play together with toys and boss Riley around until the families reunite and you go down for a late nap at 1.
Back up at 3ish, you get some solo parent attention as Annie naps on. You bring half a dozen books to read in my lap, then graduate to throwing the bouncy ball.
We get Sous to fetch the tennis ball when you throw it a few times, which delights you. You decide to go outside. “OWSHY! SHOES ON!” Yes, shoes, also, pants, also, hey, new diaper. For the record, you have two real, solid, human turds come out of you today, a major triumph after 21 months of sludge. Keep it up, kiddo.
Annie wakes at last, and she and Dad head to the grocery store while you and I stay at home. Your grief for the two of them—you wander around the yard, calling their names balefully—makes it clear I am third place in your heart, but you console yourself with an apple and milk on the front porch, and then by ringing the doorbell 40 times. Sous doesn’t mind so much, but our home automation system buzzes Dad’s phone every time, so eventually he calls us from the dairy aisle to make sure everything’s okay.
Headed back in, you finally realize our fears and close your hand in the front door, as I’m lunging toward it, yelling to be careful. The damage is minor, but boy it hurts. You fall into my arms, and I hold you and sing and pat your back until you’ve recovered enough to request some music to feel better. Kind of Blue chills us out. A few minutes of Totoro are also called for.
Annie and Dad arrive home, and you dive into dinner. Actually, I’m not sure what you eat other than dried cranberries picked out of a salad, and blueberry yogurt, but anyway, you do it with gusto. You and Annie maraud around a bit while Dad and I finish eating, and then we drag everyone through a shower because we. are. filthy.
You finish up the movie with Annie while I put away laundry and do a heavy audit of the clothes in your drawer, and Dad talks to his parents, looping you into the conversation now and then. At 7:20, we’re back in your room, dressed for bed and reading Mercy Pig. You require that we linger on the pictures of the cars, which you play at counting (“Wo-on, two-oo. Two!”), and on the firetruck (“Wee-oh-wee-oh!”)
Fan button pushed, stuffed dog secured, and police-car socks on, you’re a happy camper and ready to go to sleep. Just as soon as you and Annie finish kicking the wall.