a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 3 years and 9 months old.

You and Annie both sleep in, until 7:30. Then you bustle out to tell us the light turned green. Sure enough. Dad finds you in bed and pretends you’re a baby turtle, asking you which part is your shell. Your undies, on your butt, you tell him. Also, you tell him, his skin is his shell, and when he attempts to put on a black shirt as an improvement, you correct him: it must be green. He ends up in his flamingo tank top. Nice work.

He gives you a few airplane rides and offers to fly you to the potty. You consent, and bladders are emptied and hands washed without strife. Expert dadding. He continues to play you through your morning list, and you end up downstairs with a mouth full of mango chewies in no time at all.

You ask if we can call Granddad and Susu. Of course! We do, and find them also still waking up at 8am. We show off your haircut, and you glow at Granddad’s compliments and reminders that he, too, has short hair.

You finish breakfast and head out to swing on the new little swing we’ve rigged up on the carport. Then it’s time to load up, so you do, still in cooperative mode. We listen to a story during our 7-minute commute to Spanish camp—just enough time for the first half. You ask me to carry you inside and are a bit clingy for a minute. I sing you a made-up song and enjoy your littleness in my arms. Ms. Patricia greets you, “Buenos dias, Paul. Vamos afuera!” The other kids are outside. We walk up to the door, and you tell me I can stay inside. I do while Patricia helps you all see a monarch butterfly. You’re good to go. I back out.


About your day, I know this: thunderstorms rolled in, and you all watched the rain pool in the backyard and called it a river. You celebrated a pretend birthday for Ms. Patricia. She spoke in Spanish to you, and all the children spoke English to each other.

Dad picks you up at 4:30. All four of you descend on him speaking of plans for a sleepover (we had our first a few days ago—a big hit). You have drawn a map related to this plan. He pulls the plug. “You have to make these plans with grown-ups.” True, true. You head home.


We offer you some tablet time while I finish cooking dinner. You spend time in a Spanish vocabulary app. Good on you. At some point, you sneak away to the toilet to poop solo—we find the evidence, and your pants, much later.

Dinner is salmon, noodles, and tomatoes. You eat it all and ask for an apple. Actually, you get up and say in a tiny voice, “May I be excused to get an apple?” and what are we going to say? Yes, of course. I have to pry it out of your hand to wash it. You dip pieces of your food into your milk; ew.

"Paul, stop rocking Annie's chair."
“Paul, stop rocking Annie’s chair.”

A bath is in order. Dad heads upstairs with you and gets you thoroughly cleaned in a rainbow bath with bubbles. Then it’s an episode and a half of Octonauts, our latest (not exactly educational but at least very wholesome) television show. You watch while I make a big calendar for us on foam board, which you’re both very interested in now so we may always know whether it’s a day we can have dessert.


I read Annie’s book first, an offense you do not forgive. You turn into a broken car (pretend) and require towing to your bed. I lay there with you while Dad finishes reading another chapter to Annie, then vamoose for his bedtime storytime. You do not go quietly, making an occasional fuss and getting out of bed (though not as much as your sister) to ask us questions and call our attention to things important to small children. It winds down by, let’s say 8, optimistically. (Posted at 7:50.)

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