a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 21 months old.

You signal your readiness for pick-up, so we hoist you out of your crib, help you into your outfit, and head downstairs for banana, yogurt, and toast. You eat with purpose, then turn to me: “ALL DONE!” After a quick napkin swipe of your sticky banana hands, you head to the couch to look out the window and do a little light bouncing.

We make our way into the stroller and head out for a walk. It’s 75 degrees at 8am, and 90% humidity. Summer is coming. We do our usual Saturday circuit: risk our lives jaywalking across Riverside (though today we see them cutting the curb for our new crosswalk!), about a mile on the boardwalk and trail, a little off-leash time for Sous, and then a stroll through the park for y’all.

Sous cools off with a swim.
Sous cools off with a swim.
I am a huge pushover for the hand-holding.
The hand-holding!
At some point you said, "Mom hand!" so I just barged on in.
At some point you say, “Mom hand!” so I barge on in. “Okay!!”

You feed toast crusts to the turtles and lie on your tummy to watch them eat. It’s a busy day on the pond. The sun is bright, the birds are chirping, and the grass and leaves are brightest green, in their full glory. You and Annie range around the park, and you only check in once or twice for some emotional support when you take a tumble or have your will denied.

We head up to El Mercado to meet our friends for brunch. You play hard on the playground, scoop a half-teaspoon of medium-spicy salsa into your mouth without flinching, and put away your weight in pancakes, bacon, and refried beans.


While Annie and I go to take in some theater, you head home with Dad and Doug, plus Riley in the second stroller seat. You play together with toys and boss Riley around until the families reunite and you go down for a late nap at 1.

Back up at 3ish, you get some solo parent attention as Annie naps on. You bring half a dozen books to read in my lap, then graduate to throwing the bouncy ball.

We get Sous to fetch the tennis ball when you throw it a few times, which delights you. You decide to go outside. “OWSHY! SHOES ON!” Yes, shoes, also, pants, also, hey, new diaper. For the record, you have two real, solid, human turds come out of you today, a major triumph after 21 months of sludge. Keep it up, kiddo.

Annie wakes at last, and she and Dad head to the grocery store while you and I stay at home. Your grief for the two of them—you wander around the yard, calling their names balefully—makes it clear I am third place in your heart, but you console yourself with an apple and milk on the front porch, and then by ringing the doorbell 40 times. Sous doesn’t mind so much, but our home automation system buzzes Dad’s phone every time, so eventually he calls us from the dairy aisle to make sure everything’s okay.

Headed back in, you finally realize our fears and close your hand in the front door, as I’m lunging toward it, yelling to be careful. The damage is minor, but boy it hurts. You fall into my arms, and I hold you and sing and pat your back until you’ve recovered enough to request some music to feel better. Kind of Blue chills us out. A few minutes of Totoro are also called for.

Annie and Dad arrive home, and you dive into dinner. Actually, I’m not sure what you eat other than dried cranberries picked out of a salad, and blueberry yogurt, but anyway, you do it with gusto. You and Annie maraud around a bit while Dad and I finish eating, and then we drag everyone through a shower because we. are. filthy.

clean Paul
clean Paul

You finish up the movie with Annie while I put away laundry and do a heavy audit of the clothes in your drawer, and Dad talks to his parents, looping you into the conversation now and then. At 7:20, we’re back in your room, dressed for bed and reading Mercy Pig. You require that we linger on the pictures of the cars, which you play at counting (“Wo-on, two-oo. Two!”), and on the firetruck (“Wee-oh-wee-oh!”)


Fan button pushed, stuffed dog secured, and police-car socks on, you’re a happy camper and ready to go to sleep. Just as soon as you and Annie finish kicking the wall.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 3 years and 1 month old.

You wake up at 7, but we’re not quite ready for you in the grown-up world. You hang out with Paul for half an hour, chatting about this and that, maybe playing with the window shades or throwing your toys out of your cribs—who knows? It’s your time.

Good morning to you!
Good morning to you!

I find you smiling and lift you out of your crib. You unfasten your diaper and let it drop on the floor. Your undies selection is elaborate. You pull all of your Paw Patrol pairs out of the drawer, line them up meticulously, and select your favorite. Watching for the tag in the back, you pull them on more-or-less by yourself.

Downstairs we go, to “breksis.” You peer into the fridge and pick out lemon yogurt, and chat with Granddad and Susu while you eat. They’re here for most of the week while your poor dad is on his third work trip in as many weeks. You request an album. (We have just bowed to hipster culture and procured a turntable—I know). “The one with the white stripes, side D,” you specify. We’re Going To Be Friends.

Breksis complete, you and Paul make a lap or two with the push toys, then it’s shoes on and out to the car.

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En route to school, you inquire about the panhandler. “What is he doing?” I try to be honest with you about this stuff while not offering you more information than you ask for. “He’s asking for money.” “Why does he want money?” “So he can buy things.”


Hey! We’re on the highway. You tell me you can see a circle moon, and I realize you’re looking at the sun behind the clouds. “Oh, Annie, that’s the sun, don’t look right at it.” “Why-y?” “Because your eyes might burn.” “Will it make me sick?” Well, no, it might just, um, damage your vision forever.

It’s hard conversations we have in the car. The other day I may have accidentally taught you about death when trying to keep you from putting a plastic bag in your mouth.

We arrive at school, and I leave you waiting in line for the potty. Bye bye, sweetie. I assume you have a normal day, and I actually don’t see you again. Shanna picks you up from the playground at 4:30. You ride home in her car to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus.” Stuck at a light downtown for 15 minutes, you and Paul name vehicles of different types, and you speculate on causes of the delay. “Are there firetrucks helping people?” Could be.


At home, you play outside until the mosquitos find you. (I confess this photo is from last week with Shanna, but I assume it’s a similar scene. CHEEEEESE.)

It’s pasta for dinner, and then a bath. You are too tired for life. “I can’t read a book, I have my bracelet on!” Shanna comforts you: “It’s okay, honey, we can take off the bracelet.”

At 7:25, you’ve completed the ritual and are tucked into bed. Ten minutes later, I get home, and you are fast asleep.

Annie’s recipe for chocolate vanilla apple cupcakes

Fill a tub with water. Add some leaves, and grass. Some rocks to taste. “Pump it” with a wiffle bat.

Pour some more water for the big rock. You need a lot of rocks because you’re making a cupcake, okay? Get some water for those rocks, too.

Now you put it in the oven and you cook it, and cook it, and cook it, and cook it, and then it’s ready!

Makes 4 cupcakes, for Annie, Paul, mom, and Dad, and one dog cupcake, for Sous.