a day in your life

To Annie, this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years and 7 months old.

Still adjusting to the time change, you and Paul are awake by 6 and playing happily. I get ready for our day, listening to you in the background, until 6:40. You’re working on a lego village, and I help build a rainforest for the green Hatchimals while gently inserting tooth brushing and dressing into the game. You keep playing while I make breakfast, and come down when I call you at 7.

PXL_20211110_130203245

You dig into your mango smoothie, toast, and math homework, counting by fives to total up nickels, and submit quietly to hair brushing. I have decided to do your hair brushing as long as you’ll let me—I love our gorilla grooming time. You and Paul get shoes, masks, and backpacks with relatively little prodding, and we’re off to school.

PXL_20211110_131555920

Six-and-a-half year old Annie is a delight, and I would happily press pause here for a while. You keep on growing up, though, observing the world around you and developing new interests in things like human evolution. You’ve declared your intention to become a librarian when you grow up.

At school, it’s your third day with a substitute teacher, Miss H, whom you tolerate. She gives you worksheets, it sounds like, which you think are harder than whan Mrs. Nuncio usually has you work on. It’s a music class day, though, and you have a good time playing instruments and a game to the tune of…some song about an apple tree. Paul has the same class, and you sing together and teach me the game after dinner. Creative Action after school is the BEST, with rainbow scratch paper on which you make several solar-system-themed drawings.

Pluto and Saturn, wearing winter hats because they're cold. In another drawing, Jupiter "has a look on his face" because the sun is so much bigger than him.
Pluto and Saturn, wearing winter hats because they’re cold. In another drawing, Jupiter “has a look on his face” because the sun is so much bigger than him.

I arrive at 5:15 with a baggie of blueberries and dragging feet thanks to my headcold. You and Paul take it pretty easy on me, putting us in a line to march home with all the important roles: line leader, door-holder, and line monitor who assesses and reports on the line quality with a thumbs up, sideways, or down. We get home. I have prepared nothing for dinner, and you announce your devestating hunger. I ask you to choose between corn dogs, dumplings, or a peanut butter sandwich. You select a corn dog as the “least bad” and eat it with ketchup and giant apple slices.

You and Paul do a little swinging in the dark with our backyard lanterns for extra flare, then move it to a “night bath” with lanterns perched above the tub. You declare it a peaceful space, and we all stay quiet and listen to the water.

I need a little time to clean up the house and write this post—Dad’s on a work trip—so I turn on a show. Paul selects Donkey Hodie (get it?), the latest muppet venture from the studio of Mr. Rodgers. Wholesome lessons flow. You climb up into Paul’s bed for a few pages of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which you talked Dad into starting a few nights ago. Mrs. Weasley is upset with your favorites Fred and George for throwing their lives away on dreams of a joke shop. You take it in quietly, and go to sleep quickly. Goodnight, 1st grader.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 and a half years old.

You sleep in until seven, then head downstairs to request and then reject Dad’s made-to-order breakfast tacos. I return from a jog to a display just inside the front door: you have wrapped up a package delivered to me like a present, and arranged fall decorations and a welcoming committee around it.

"It was Pinky's idea to wrap the present," you tell me.
“It was Pinky’s idea,” you tell me.

PXL_20211010_133504245

You I find driving laps in your latest favorite video game. “Annie, stay in the lane, now, stay in the lane,” you coach yourself.

Interested in a project and some Mom-time, you jump at the suggestion to work on invitations for the Halloween party we just decided to throw. You draw tiny versions of every Halloween-y thing we can think of: pumpkins, bats, spiders, zombies, witches hats, candy, a skeleton…then you look to literature for greater inspiration. Something magic like in Harry Potter? No, Dog Man is the place for scary stuff. An evil tadpole who can fly and and move things with her mind joins the illustration mix. The book becomes too compelling to put down, so we read the whole thing.

PXL_20211010_144530146

Paul and Dad return from Costco, laden with groceries and ten giant pumpkins. We pack up and head for a very exciting destination: Lost Pines resort, where Lisa and Lyla have invited us to hang out with them for an afternoon of swimming and cousin fun.

We do a Lazy River lap, and then Paul discovers the water slide and attempts to set the world record (grand total slides = 47). You, Lyla, and I order lunch, and then you girls do a few more laps yourself. You have a blast. Lisa joins us after a therapy session, and we build sand castles. You do another river lap with Lyla and Lisa, and a final one with me. You pretend to fight your way through the fallen pecan leaves in the water: “Punch! Punch! Punch punch!”

PXL_20211010_193220244

IMG_1894

PXL_20211010_214033381

We rinse the sand off our feet and make a final stop on our way out at the little arcade room, where dear Lyla spends $7 in quarters trying to grab you a ball.

Back home, you and Paul decompress with half an hour of Harry Potter while I make dinner; then you eat a strange meal of dumplings, corn bread, and tomatoes, with candy vampire teeth for dessert.

It’s bath time, with your weekly hair wash and conditioner slick. I finish up The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, and Dad starts in on Going Solo. We’re scraping the bottom of the Roald Dahl collection. Dad issues his usual threats about sending Paul back to his own bed if you two can’t quiet down and go to sleep. By ten till eight, you do.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years and 5 months old.

You wake up with Paul in his bed and get to playing, and are jovially bopping around your room when Dad enters at 6:35. You climb the side of your bed all the way to the bathroom counter to brush your teeth, then grab your dress and head downstairs.

"So is this what Dementors look like with their hoods off?"
“So is this what Dementors look like with their hoods off?”

PXL_20210910_115250544

The sight of apple slices on your breakfast plate prompts a now-uncharacteristic shriek lifted straight from age 4: you don’t WANT this for breakfast. Dad and I bark back at you. We make peace over mini-pancakes, and you’re ready to ask nicely to keep reading Harry Potter 3. We’re in the last chapter, having read 50 pages last night of the dramatic conclusion, and you’re anxious to hear the resolution. I read to you at the table while you brush your hair and, lo and behold, eat your apple slices. We also take a page out of your yellow school folder, and you show me how you can read syllables in Spanish. “Ah, ma, sa, la, ta, da, rra…” You are proud and I am too.

It’s 7:10 and time to head out. You select a mask and a hat, because it’s Spirit Week, and today is “thinking cap” day. We head off for our magical daily walk to school. It’s 68 degrees and beautiful.

Susu made you this cap.
Susu made you this cap.
You carry our masks under your hat, proud of the innovation.
You carry our masks under your hat, proud of the innovation.
Paul puts his arms out for a "hug stop." You humor him.
Paul puts his arms out for a “hug stop.” You humor him.

You and Paul break into a run across the bridge to the school, and we have a “family hug” at Paul’s request before Dad hangs back with Sous and I walk you the rest of the way to the cafeteria door. Mrs. Dunbar, your former and Paul’s current kindergarten teacher, is manning the door today, and she greets you both with big smiles and cheer and Buenos Dias!! You disappear into the cafeteria. As I walk back through the park, I hear the 7:35 bell ring and imagine you walking in a line into your classroom.

Here’s what else I know: breakfast is delivered to you there, and today’s it’s a turkey sausage kolache you’re looking forward to. Lunch is pizza. (These are the important things.) Your teacher Mrs. Nuncio thinks you are working hard and doing well. You visit the library, where you sit by number at tables, next to your friend Jade, and you check out a book for a week and bring it home.

And your first library book IS...
And your first school library book IS…

At 3:10, school is dismissed, and you head to Creative Action with another kid from your class named Norman. There’s a girl there named Charlie you like. You and Paul are in the same class and eat your snack (goldfish and a dried fruit bar today), play on the playground, and do art projects until we pick you up. Dad comes today, a little before 5. You and Paul run all the way home, and he trails after you on tired legs that have already done 11 miles today.

The first order of business when you get home is to FINISH HARRY POTTER, so Dad reads you the end of the last chapter, and at long last, you start the movie. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, here we go. Half an hour in, we pause for dinner. You eat basically nothing. Back to the movie. I snuggle next to you, and you scooch in for the part where the dementors come onto the train. “This isn’t going to scare me,” you murmur to yourself.

PXL_20210910_231244178 (1)

We get about halfway through by 7:00, then head upstairs, where you and Paul climb laps around the room again as we get ready for bed. (“ONE ‘taking off clothes’ lap, and then one ‘putting clothes on’ lap, and then a FREE lap, and then a toothbrush lap, and then a lap into bed, no TWO laps into bed.”) Phew. Properly calmed, we all climb up into Paul’s bed and read your horrifying Barbie Mermaid library book. It takes about 4 minutes, so we have time for all of Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, a permanent favorite. That Goldbug, you never know where he’ll show up.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is what happened the day you turned 6 years and 4 months old.

It is the middle of our second week of California vacation. You and Paul wake up in a king-sized bed in a cheerful room of our midcentury Berkeley Hills wreck. We have a light breakfast of whatever’s left from our last rental house-fridge that we trucked up here in a garbage bag full of ice, plus half of an enormous peach from the Mountain View farmers market. You build robots, rocket ships, and houses with a bag of mega-blocks while Dad goes for a nostalgia run through the campus and our old haunts.

PXL_20210810_163031496

When it’s time for second-breakfast, we head to Fat Apples. You demolish an apple turnover while we tell you about walking puppy-Sous here on Sunday mornings. We pop up to Codornices Park for the hillside slide. You decline to try it, so we stroll around admiring the poodles and tall trees. “That’s a teenager redwood,” you tell me with the confidence of a Muir Woods Junior Ranger. We walk through a tunnel to the Rose Garden, and you ask me to read you all the graffiti, which I do with light edits. When we get to the entrance, you see the sign requiring masks to enter, so refuse to do so without one. We decide to walk back to the rental by ourselves.

You play some tablet games while I dash to the grocery store, and we have bagel bites for lunch. At 1:30, we meet a grad-school friend of mine (Ashley) and her two kids who are about your ages (Gemma and Everett) in Tilden Park to ride the little steam train through the redwoods. You and Paul squeeze into the seat next to me.

PXL_20210810_205429087

PXL_20210810_222915552

Next up is the little farm, where we visit cows and chickens and enormous pigs, and you look for fish in the creek. We decide to ride the merry-go-round before we leave, and you pick out the perfect pony with a long tail of real-fake hair. You lose your nerve when mounted, though, and try a few different animals before settling into a motionless bench and persuading Paul to join you. We spin slowly in circles for three minutes.

You are pretty sure you deserve some junk from the snack bar when we’re done. I refuse, and we enter a stand-off. You crouch on the sidewalk, sucking your thumb, while I head to the car and tell you to join me when you’re ready. About ten minutes later, you come along.

PXL_20210810_232756014

We pick up Dad and head to downtown Berkeley for an early dinner at Jupiter. We sit on the back patio and order you cheese pizza, which you eat happily while Dad and I talk about all the things that haven’t changed.

Back at the pad, we coast in for the finish with a movie (Smallfoot) and another chapter of Harry Potter. Goodnight, kiddo.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years and 3 months old.

We hear you and Paul pop up, and find you in our spots in the bed. You dress, brush, and head downstairs for a light breakfast of frozen mango chunks before we all head to the grocery store. You two tear through Central Market, collecting favorites like yogurt, a selection from the bulk candy section, and—crucially—sausage and cheese kolaches. We run into your friend Olive from Colibri. You pronouce her name like the teachers do, with a perfect Spanish accent.

PXL_20210710_141840855

On the way home, KUTX is playing in the car, and you sing along in your wee sweet voice to Shungudzo’s “It’s a good day (to fight the system).” (“Mom, what does ‘fight the system’ mean?”) Dad and I unload the groceries while you and Paul get busily back to work on coloring pages for Shae’s birthday present, which we’ll give him today. You’ve been on a creative roll lately, and we’ve just purchased a 40-pack of new markers. You color up a storm.

PXL_20210710_194449008

wp-1626013407191.jpg

PXL_20210710_171108495

PXL_20210710_183259921

Dad takes you and Paul to Austin Bouldering Project, where you meet up with the Geralds (Shae’s family) for an hour or so of climbing. You head back, eat a bit of lunch, and talk with me about how the year is like a circle. You and Paul snuggle on the couch and watch Dad solve video game puzzles with Ratchet and Clank. Then it’s a little more coloring and creating before we head back to Shae’s and hang out for the afternoon and evening.

You swim lengths of the wading pool and dig through Shae’s toy box. A couple other boys come over, and the 9-year-old directs you all in imaginitive play. You hang with the pack of boys with no trouble at all.

When everyone starts getting cranky, we put on a movie and deliver a stream of toasted waffles with cream cheese to all the kids on the couch (dinner? close enough) while the grown-ups keep chatting in the kitchen. At 7, we pack it in and head home. You want to take a bath, so do, and then climb up to your bed to listen to Dad read some Harry Potter 3. Paul calls for us after bed, so I visit, and find that you’ve slipped into your too-large black shirt with the sleeves sewn shut—our latest idea to help you stop sucking your thumb at night. You’ve arranged your bed tidily in hopes I will come lie down with you after Paul falls asleep. I do not. You do fine.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years and 2 months old.

You and Paul are on the move first thing, constructing something big in your room. We listen until about 7:20, when you invite us to the ribbon cutting for your new library. You’ve got blankets and pillows on the floor, books distributed in piles, and big ambitions to move your beds to locate lost items. The tension between furniture moving and maintaining perfectly tidy floor coverings is nearly unbearable, but you persist and eventually make it down to breakfast.

No Kindergarten lesson this morning. The school year is over, and I confess I sort of miss a little brain stretching first thing. Bryan drops you off on his way to the climbing gym, and you and Paul sail into Colibri, queen and king of the yard.

There’s water play every day now instead of the Montessori time, and I hear later about Paul sneaking around with a squirt gun, and some sort of water explosion machine. Face painting is also a regular occurence, today no exception. The volume of clothing and towels you go through now is…high.

A wonderful surprise at pick-up: Dan is in the car with Dad! By the time you arrive home, you’re over your shyness already, and excited to read books with Peanut and give her your latest updates. You remember every present she has given you, and display your butterfly dress with rainbow sleeves to show her it still fits, and you still love it, and one of your friends has it, too!

PXL_20210610_222657565

PXL_20210610_223042358

You hunt for unicorns during and through dinner, then retrieve the memory card game Peanut and Dan made for us years ago and play a round with me. We all work together on a tower with the building kit that’s their latest piece of generosity. It becomes a double tower, and then a unicorn/dragon/race car, and you pilot it around the house.

PXL_20210610_233712781

We inch our way up the stairs with books, and make it to bed at last. Peanut sticks around for the latest installment Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We say goodnight, and only have to herd you two back to bed a time or three before you fall asleep.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years and 1 month old.

You roll in right on time, in a silly mood all day after your weekend cold. It’s blueberry waffles and pineapple for breakfast, with a side of mango yogurt pouch. Hello, fruit flavors. You consent to a hair-brushing and goof your way through a kindergarten lesson where you sort letters into spanish words.

PXL_20210510_124344617

At school, you and a fire-line of tiny children help carry in the 30 bananas, 16 pounds of strawberries, and the rest of the trunkful of snacks for the week of school. When you realize you’ve left your backpack full of sunglasses in the car, you drop your bunch of bananas on the ground and head back for it directly. Gotta admire your single-mindedness.

PXL_20210510_222710089

You won’t tell us much about the school day, but Paul comes home covered head-to-toe in blue paint, so must have been fun. You bound in at 5 hungry for dinner and still full of sillyness. When Dad claims to know a few words of French, you ask him how to say ten, and then notice its similarity to ten in Spanish, and we have a pretty interesting conversation about the relationship between the languages. Paul keeps it rolling with such thought-provokers as, “What if I tried to gargle the Earth?”

PXL_20210510_224854113

You ask to be excused and for permission to get a cup of milk and a bowl, which you take outside so you can pretend to be a cat drinking it. We join you there in a few, and you assist with emptying the wading pool. When Paul’s blue-painted skin begins melting into the deck, we decide its bathtime, and you two have a good soak.

It’s early yet! We finish up with an episode of the new PBS show “Donkey Hodie” (get it?). It includes wholesome lessons and songs (“Step One: Practice. Step Two: Practice some more! Step Three: Practice.”) There’s also a purple panda. You seem to like it.

PXL_20210510_232149548

PXL_20210511_000501846 (2)

As sometimes happens at night, your energy level escalates, and you opt for wrestling and sommersaults over book-reading. When it’s time for the last story, you hop into bed agreeable enough, looking forward to your current-favorite Harry Potter. Paul’s riled up, too, though, and can’t stay quiet for the story, so I bow out with regrets and a little light finger-wagging.

You go off the deep end, screaming and wailing for, let’s see, 20 minutes now…30…50—it’s hard to count, or think actually. Remembering Paul’s recent reprimand for spilling water and leaving it to soak into the floor for hours, you start pouring water randomly around the room. Dad sops it up. You continue to wail. It’s a stand-off. We will not be moved.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 years old.

You sleep well and wake up on time, happy it’s your birthday and eager to understand the present-opening schedule. We take care of the basics and head downstairs. You select your first gift: an electric toothbrush with built-in cup and timer, and a unicorn cap. You’re thrilled, having reminded me just yesterday that you wanted an electric toothbrush for your birthday.

PXL_20210410_123815226

We measure your height against the wall, and you and Paul nibble on breakfast and use your new appliances as tools for all sorts of experiments. At 8, I have a specific gift for you to open: analog wrist watches! Even MORE thrilling! Yours comes with a map of specific places and times at which we have scheduled suprises for the morning. (“I know what surprises mean: you can’t tell me.”) The first is coming up, and at 8:15 you charge into the front yard to find your dear cousins piling out of their car with breakfast tacos for all.

PXL_20210410_131442292

You spend a joyful 45 minutes playing and showing off your new items and receiving a hand-me-down teddy bear in roller skates from Lyla, who’s excited to bestow it. At 9, we say goodbye and load up for our next stop. Wildflowers? A pond with fishes? Must be the wildflower center! Or, as you recall it, the place you had your 4-year-old birthday party.

PXL_20210410_144519590

PXL_20210410_145034552

It’s a hopping scene, but we check right in with our reservations and our masks, and meet friends Sage and Silas at the fish pond. You all set off at a run, checking off items on the scavenger hunt and acquiescing to photo ops on the way. We haven’t been here in a year and a half, and the ghosts of younger you and Paul haunt our trip, toddling tediously through terrain you race through now.

At 11, we’re loading up again. You’re enthusiastically dismantling the sea monkey kit our friends gifted you, and we’re headed to the turtle pond by the UT Tower for our next surprise. “I think we’re meeting more friends,” you guess, “because all the other surprises have been people.” Well-reasoned, my child. We reach the turtle pond and spot another mother-daughter pair on a blanket. It’s June. Your best friend and love of your life ages 2-4, who you have not seen in nearly a year or played with since school was abruptly cancelled last March.

It takes 20 minutes for you to warm up, both clinging to our laps and whispering in our ears about how the other has changed, and how the other must be feeling shy, and whether it might be okay to give her a gift. Finally, she begins hunting acorns, and you volunteer to help. Soon enough, you’re skipping through the grass, running back to me only to confide, “June’s not actually feeling too shy.” Her mother and I enjoy catching up and get a little misty watching you.

We head home. Paul and Dad have had their own special time, and the two of you take turns at video games for a bit. Gobka and Gamma call, and you show off your presents. A teacher at school has gifted you your first eye shadow and two kinds of lip gloss. “Median, I have never had such beautiful things! Thank you!” you call to the sky.

PXL_20210410_203016630.MP

You do some playing and take Sous for a short walk (your idea). You and Paul start bickering, so we decide it’s movie time, and that you’re ready for the first Harry Potter. You are into it. We watch half, eat dinner, and you start playing again, happily this time, scrubbing the banisters with your new toothbrushes. Sure.

PXL_20210411_000148383

We head upstairs at 7, and you turn those toothbrushes to their intended use. The timer on the set has you brushing for 10x as long as normal, and you enjoy it so much you do it twice, suds running down your chin. You arrange all your new toys and cosmetics on your bed and paint your whole face and the soles of your feet with lip gloss while I read a chapter of Beezus and Ramona. I say goodnight, and Dad runs interference until you’re asleep. SIX. You’re SIX now.

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.

PXL_20210310_141451928

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.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 5 years and 10 months old.

Paul bursts out of the door when your light turns green, but you stay snuggled in bed. I visit you there, and you toss the blanket over your head. I ask if I can come into your bed fortress, and you wiggle in assent. We play the game where you pretend to sleep while I brush your teeth and pull on your clothes. You roll out of bed and give me a little assist to pick you up (45 pounds now), and I carry your “sleeping” body downstairs for breakfast.

(the clock is wrong)
(the clock is wrong)

Two strawberry muffins later, you’re ready for what kindergarten looks like these days. Your teacher Mrs. Dunbar calls you at 7:45 for a solo chat. We’ve done it before, periodically, and restarted this week after you submitted a heartbreaking answer to a short assignment on Monday, asking you to describe how you feel. “I’m scared to do kindergarten work,” you dictated. So now, private lessons. You are thrilled. I like listening to you talk with your teacher and telling her what’s on your mind.

After some chitchat, she directs you to a video about Ruby Bridges, which you keep watching as she begins letting the other children into the virtual classroom. By 8:15, we’re helping you shimmy into some tights on top of the stretch pants you’re already wearing—it’s a cold day, and getting colder—and loading up in the car.

Dad drops you off, without major incident. The cold keeps you inside all day, which makes you happy about pick-up. Dad mesmerizes you on the way home with a video of…a dad…building something. At home, you sit down to reject a dinner of tomatoes, yogurt, farro (plain), goat cheese, and a mandarin orange. Your mind is on dessert, because it is a dessert day, and you have already decided on a cherry ice cup. Because we have poor boundaries about when exactly dessert starts, you take one bite of everything and then head to the freezer. On the upside, these particular desserts keep you seated at the table, carving away at the ice, for about 20 minutes. We enjoy the time with you.

When you’re finally finished, you and Paul work together to help Dad load the next item for his new toy, a 3-D printer. You two are the primary beneficiaries of this hobby: to add to your collection of tiny trucks that nest in eggs, spinning helicopters, unicorns, robots, and rocketships, he is now making you glow-in-the-dark butterflies.

PXL_20210211_000751321.jpg

It’s bath time. You hop right in and sing to yourself. Black History Month continues at school, clearly: you have watched another video about Martin Luther King Jr. and are desparately curious about the person who killed him. You want to know his name, and see his picture, and want to know HOW he killed him, and how old was Martin Luther King (39!!), and do people really go to jail for their whole lives? and what do you eat in jail? Paul tries desparately to change the subject. Bath ends.

PXL_20210211_003823408.jpg

We’ve promised you the Pinkalicious Valentines Day Special, which is what you are watching as I type this. It lacks the sneaky STEM lessons we count on PBS to provide, but it’s darn wholesome. At 7, we head bedward, and I close the night with a reread of Jack and Annie Book 1. Magic Treehouse time travel to the time of the dinosaurs sends you to sleep.