To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 3 and a half.
I walk into your room at 7:30 and find you standing in your crib, smiling. You throw your leg over the side, threatening to learn that you actually can easily climb out of that thing. I intercept you before you obtain dangerous knowledge, and leave you curled on the floor, pretending to be Baby Annie. Dad curls up next to you, and you have a discussion that ends in a piggyback ride down the stairs.
You are a BIG fan of the overnight oatmeal I’ve made, a new breakfast experiment. When we finish, you request more for tomorrow, and watch me make it in the kitchen. I give you a few inches of foil to play with, and you wrap it around your baby bottle and tell me it’s a taco. We start to head outside, and you declare loudly that you do NOT want to put on your shoes. Then: “Actually, I DO want to put on my shoes.” It’s hard to keep up with you.
We frisk around a bit in one of our first cool mornings, then head to the car. On the way to school, you’re full of your usual questions about why everything in the world is the way it is. You spot the golden clouds and tell me you see a sunset.
You escort Paul and I to the Pandas class, bottle-taco in hand, and then we head down to the Owls. You stash your treasure in your cubby for Show and Share on Friday, and cling to me, as you have all week, when I say goodbye. We have a long and thorough hug. I leave you with Ms. Jolene, trying to psych you up for the next activity.
A few minutes before five, Paul and I stroll onto the playground and find you barefoot on a tire swing, with Ms. Noemi pushing. We fail to find your sandals, and you tell Ms. Stephanie all about it as Paul obtains some crackers on the way out. Halfway into the car, Ms. Noemi comes running, sandals in hand and full of apologies.
“Mom, can you please roll my windows down?” YEAH I can, cuz it’s gorgeous. You wave to a horde of nursing students in scrubs as they walk down the sidewalk. We discuss the air quality on the highway on our way home, and when it’s okay again to roll down the windows.
At home, you climb out of the backseat and ogle our across-the-street neighbor as he does yardwork. Dad smears bug repellent on you, and we load up into the wagon for a picnic dinner.
We find a nice spot on a hill overlooking the playground and unpack our meal. You don’t eat much, but ask questions about what’s happening on the tennis court until your understanding of the game matches my own. You slide and climb and rampage around the playground, visit the blanket for some grapes, and ask if I’ll push you on the swing. I do.
You desperately have to pee, and we make a brave excursion to the extremely off-putting bathrooms on site. You can’t quite muster the courage to enter, and clench up ever tighter. I resist the temptation to let you squat in the grass. We play some more and make it home dry. You decline help in the bathroom and do it all yourself.
We play a bit downstairs. I follow your directions and Paul’s through a game of pretend, cycling quickly between firefighter rescuing you, a doctor, and your mom while you’re a baby. I tuck you into your pretend bed on the couch and bring you your “bottle.”
7:00 rolls around, and it’s time to wash the Deet off you. You hop happily into the shower (“I want it cold.”) but throw a fit when Dad tries to wash your body. Eventually we get you clean.
You pretend to be a baby all through our bedtime ritual, which we all enjoy. Maneuvering your body through all the tasks is at least twice as easy as persuading you to do it yourself, and we’re brushing your teeth thoroughly for perhaps the first time in your life. Two thumbs up to the Baby-Annie game from all players.
We read some of Fox in Socks for our bedtime book, which really highlights the absurdity of all your why questions. (“Why is he sewing his nose?”) I carry you to the light switch, and you execute your duties. In bed, it’s socks, questions, a pet, and hand-hold, more questions, last-minute demands for your pet and hand-hold because “I didn’t feel them!!”, more questions, an I-love-you, and goodnight. Phew. Three-and-a-half.