To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 3 years and 5 months old.
You wake up slowly, and I find you still lounging peacefully when I open your bedroom door a few minutes past 7:30. You let out a few “wah wahs” to indicate that Baby Annie is in residence—a favorite pretend character these days. Paul pipes up, “Baby Annie!” and we navigate the potential pitfalls of the morning through an elaborate game of pretend-baby. Ten minutes later, you’re in the car, happily mining a breakfast cup filled with toast, grapes, a chewable vitamin, and a small slice of the banana bread we baked together yesterday.
By the time we’re getting off the highway, you’re 3 again and back to experimenting with language and social norms. You spar with Paul over who tooted (“I tooted! No, I tooted!” Actual fact: no one tooted), then segue into jokes:
“The airplane tooted on the tree.” (Pause for laughter.)
“The airplane tooted on the car.” (Pause for laughter.)
“I put the potty in the toilet with a cockroach.” (Pause for laughter.)
Paul is a generous audience. You ask me if your jokes are funny, and I tell you that the test is whether people laugh at them, so therefore they must be.
At school, you run all the way down the hallway to the Pandas class, and wait patiently through Paul’s drop-off process. Then it’s off to the Owls, where your classmates are already in full swing. We unload your spare clothes and clean sheets, and you head off to wash your hands for a second-breakfast of canned pears and Cheerios.
When I pick you up at 5:15, you run for a hug and sing “mooo-oom.” We grab your sandals and put them on at the stairs—you are barefoot at school most of the time now. I don’t mind philosophically, but it means your feet are always filthy.
You hug Paul at pick up and run full-tilt back down the hall. Outside the building, you walk on the limestone wall like a balance beam before heading to the car. I feel compelled to reprimand you for dallying, as you crawl in through the drivers’ side and take the scenic route to your seat.
In the car, we discuss interrupting, and how we need to practice not doing it as a family. It’s a tricky one, though. I may have just taught you to interrupt politely: “Excuse me, Mom…(pay attention to ME now).” Better than nothing I guess.
You ask a series of why questions about car windows, and exhaust, and air quality. At home, you ring the front doorbell and summon Dad, who talks to us from California. You suggest “turtle-ini” for diner, and you and Paul romp happily while I make it. We sit at the table for a good spell, then you go wash your hands and face under your own power.
We play upstairs. You are very into Paul’s new baby doll and set up an elaborate scene where you two are its parents, and I’m the doctor. We follow up with a classic game of Hall-Klingner hide-and-seek, which bears only passing resemblance to real hide-and-seek. We talk to Dad on the phone, then play some more. You and Paul make me pretend coffee in your kitchen.
I lure you into fresh clothes with the promise of “being the monster,” and you hop to it. We do a raucous few minutes of mom-monster eating two pink princesses, who line up to be devoured. Staying on theme, we read every word of Beast. You trot off to do the lights by yourself, and I scoop Paul into his crib, then you. Socks, hand-holding, tummy pet, and a brief series of stalling questions—“what happens if we have the tummy troubles on our dog?”—finish off the night. Sleep well, kiddo.