To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 5 years and 2 months old.
You sleep in a bit after our wild vacation weekend, and follow Paul quietly into our room at 7:15, accepting the wordless invitation to come snuggle in our bed for a bit. You’re quickly off and running, though, plowing through your now two-item morning list. Clothes and teeth—everything else seems optional for a 5-year-old who spends her days at a friend’s house. We breakfast on mini-pancakes and our quarter-bushel of Hill Country peaches.
You linger over breakfast and ask to bring lovies to “Spanish Camp,” stretching out the minutes before departure. Soon enough, though, you’re loaded up and headed for the Crowders’ with Dad. There, you blend right into the kid crowd, reunited with Eleanor after 22 hours of deprivation.
At “camp,” you play play play, and sing your favorite songs (we hear a lot of “La Arana eensy weensy” these days), and hunt for snail shells in the yard, some of which still have resident snails. Los caracoles, you tell me. At nap time—ha!—you also play. Apparently, you and Riley are the good kids, and Paul and Eleanor the troublemakers. Checks out.
I find you at 5, playing in the outdoor sink Doug built, which you and Eleanor have declared is a river. You tell me quite firmly that you are never leaving. Oh boy, one of those nights. Kalia helps us out by herding all of the kids outside, and I lure you into the car with a short from Thomas the Tank Engine. I have no shame anymore.
Once you’re in the car with the show on my phone, you enter a TV trance state, and I buckle you in and make the traffic-free, 7-minute drive home. Some things about our lives are just purely better now.
At home, you hop right out of the car and head in to inquire about dessert. Dad puts you off, and we manage to eat a peaceful dinner together before your helping of the summer berry pudding we made together yesterday as a new-recipe experiment. That you eat on the deck, and lick the plate.
We scrub face and hands and get in our pajamas in time for an episode of Octonauts (“Kwazi! Activate: Creature Report!”). Today we learn about long-armed squid and sperm whales. It’s time for bed. You head upstairs willingly, but struggle with brushing your teeth. “Mom! My tummy hurts when I hear the toothbrush, and when I smell the toothpaste, and when it’s near my mouth.” I brush your teeth for you. You want to play with the train set that’s sprawled across the room instead of reading books, and enter a battle of wills with your father. You lose but leave marks. Finally, you consent to being read to, and enjoy the story of the Country Mouse from a Richard Scary compilation circa 1980. It’s bedtime. I tell an inane story with frequent interruptions. But after I say goodnight, that’s the end. Not bad.