a day in your life

To Annie: This is how you spent the day you turned 4 years and 3 months old.

You wake up at 6:15, probably when Sous clatters down the stairs, and I hear Paul tell you, “Dad’s back home!” Which is true, as of five hours ago. Further sleep is out of the question, but you stay in bed for a while, playing, and at 10 till 7 start building a little fort cubby in the nook between your beds. You tumble out the door of your room when the light turns green and report gleefully that you’ve been bunking together on the floor.

You get ready pretty much by yourself, hooray. I clip on your unicorn jewelry, and you bring me a sparkly hair pin to administer. You pull on the new strappy sandals you picked out at Target last weekend because you think they look like “up shoes,” your word for high heels. You and Paul wait for each other like good teammates, and we all go downstairs together.

Breakfast begins with a jelly bean, back-pay for Paul’s potty-poop last night, and I toast waffles while you break in the new giant box in the living room as a playhouse. You eat, briefly, and trade blueberries. Then it’s back to the box, and shortly out to the car. Dad drives you to school, and you merge into the great 4-year-old mass.

I hear the following stories of your day: at nap, Ms. Jolene takes away your unicorn lovey because you’re playing with it disruptively, but Ms. Felicia gives it back later. You learn something at circle time, but you can’t remember what. You eat a popsicle to celebrate Analeeah’s last day, and you make it last by sucking the juice out of it and leaving the white ice. (You are really good at savoring food you love.) At the end of the day, you are having a dance party with the few kids left and pitch a small fit when asked to put on your shoes because THEY ARE NOT DANCING SHOES.

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I pick up Paul first for a change, and find you playing with a gauzy scarf. You are excited to see us and express this by sprinting off down the hall, with scarf, sans shoes. I coax you back into the class and put your shoes on for you. You love them, but they frustrate you. OH, life. Paul and I head out, and you lie on the ground in protest. No, it does not make sense. The helper in your classroom bribes you with a banana in exchange for following us. I do not let you eat it unless you agree to share it with Paul; you decline.

In the car, some indie band is singing about dying, so you ask me for a story about when Elsa died, “and it’s a long one.” So I tell a story about Elsa dying peacefully on her couch at the end of a long and happy life, and all of her friends giving her a nice funeral on her mountain and telling stories about her every year so they never forget her. It is not our first such story. You are rapt.

As we near home, your crankiness emerges and you experiment to achieve the most grating possible whine. I distract you semi-successfully with a discussion of how highways work. We notice the wildflowers on the west side have finally been mowed down for the year, and miss them.

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At home, you help me thaw some bread to add to the delicious braised chicken Dad has made. You eat a whole peach and your hunk of bread, and reject everything else. We linger over dinner and make a quick visit to your new playhouse box before I carry you upstairs to get ready for bed. We reach the end of your daily compliance, and you fight us all the way through bedtime prep. “I don’t know HOW to wash my hands! I don’t know how to do ANY OF IT.” I wish I could put into writing the sound of the drama-sobs, but then again I don’t. Dad finally sets a sand timer to indicate how long you have before we run out of time for a book, and you lose it completely.

Finally we are in bed. You did miss the book, but you’re down for a Mom-original story about all your favorite characters working late in their tower office and watching the fireworks. They all agreed on what to eat for dinner, and Mater went out to get pizza and peas. Elsa froze hers because she likes them cold.

Dad wraps it up with the song about the hole in the ground. The green grass grows all around and around, and the green grass grows all around.

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