a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 5 years and 11 months old.

You and Paul are up a few minutes before 7, busy with your business, and we speculate that you might dress yourselves this morning. Sure enough, at ten after you emerge in typically creative get-up, wearing striped tights and “Christmas shirts.” Your shirt is a hand-me-down nightgown from Lyla,¬†which you’ve tucked into your tights. You quickly decide this does not meet your standard, and retreat to your room to revise. We give you a few minutes before Dad comes in to try and help select a new top. You reject all proposals.

I tag in and find you in the fetal position. “I pinky-promised Paul we’d both wear Christmas clothes, and I don’t HAVE ANY,” you complain/confide. It is, to be clear, March. I suggest and you reject probably all the same options Dad presented, plus some¬†ideas for Christmas accessories. It’s clear you want to wear another Lyla-sourced item: a lovely dark red sweater with embroidered detail. But the sleeves are too long. Unacceptable. It’s 7:45 and no sign of another exit, so I do some on-the-fly tailoring to bring up the sleeves and attach some additional bling. Finally, we descend.

"No pictures!" you literally say.
“No pictures!” you say as I take this. Sorry, sweetie, you owe me.

Your spirits dramatically improve with a little breakfast. We manage some kindergarten work, sorting coins, while you eat mini-pancakes and dried apple and blow bubbles in your milk. We discuss Thomas Jefferson while you circle nickles. I stick to the basics.


Dad takes you to school, where you pull on your mask and head for the playground. You’re doing a lot of outdoor play these days after a positive covid case closed the 3-year-old class and spooked all the teachers. Thank goodness most of them are now at least partially vaccinated.

In a surprise to no one, you come home in different clothes. Yours and Paul’s were both soaked while “helping clean up.” Your lovely, hand-tailored sweater with embroidered detail is wadded up in a plastic bag, and also splattered with dark blue paint. Let it go…

Dinner is hot dogs and raw cabbage, which you’ve enjoyed before, but not so much tonight. It’s a dessert night, so we enjoy the pleasure of your company while you carve up an ice cup. We reminesce about splash days at the CDC, and you propose we institute a new Splash Day tradition, at home, on Saturdays. Great plan, we’re in.

back to business
back to business

We clean up from dinner and get back to what matters most: playing the “robot game.” It’s the tutorial for the PS5, and also the first video game either of you have managed to play yourselves. You are obsessed. Paul is allowed a turn to get started, and after that it’s a family affair, with you primarily in the drivers seat. You tag Dad and I in for help as needed. “DAD, I need your help! You know how I feel about gooey things.” This consumes the rest of the evening.

Dad sort of casually defeats the game for the 5th time. He is real tired of it. At seven, we head up for bed. Pretending to be a kitty cat motivates you up the stairs. In your room, you and Paul commence a game of rasperry-blowing, with the primary target of my knees. Oh, it tickles. My insistence on “clean berries” gets you to brush your teeth. You are beginning to settle in for books as Dad arrives, but then the need for a cup of milk has you downstairs again. Dad carries you both back up on his hips—amazing this is still possible—and I pass out toothbrushes again. It’s in bed for a couple chapters of Dogman, and some additional chivvying to stay there. Goodnight, you little goobers. Goodnight.

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