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.


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.





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!



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.


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.


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.


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?”


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_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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

a day in your life

To Anne: this is how you spent the day you turned 5 years and 8 months old.

A good day. You bustle in first thing with news that the ladybug who had been crawling on the ceiling above you last night (and causing some consternation) was STILL THERE. You now seem quite fond of her. Buoyed by the arrival of your new shiny purple cowboy boots, purchased in part with toothfairy funds from your first two lost teeth, you select an outfit, dress quickly, and head downstairs.

Kindergarten today involves recording yourself reading the numbers in Spanish as you connect 22 dots to trace the shape of a gingerbread person. Check, done. You and Paul are extremely excited that Dad has agreed to a long-time request: today you will ride your bike and scooter to school. Oh, the anticipation. We load up the stroller with your large volume of supplies and take off down the street.


It is extremely important to you that you be in front. Paul allows it. We make it all the way there, with only a few minutes of terror as the cars whiz past us on South 1st street. You glow with pride, and Ms. Patricia is full of praise for your accomplishment on arrival. After the usual safety drill, you disappear into the school and your day. Eleanor is there to play with, and the 2-year-old you have taken under your wing presents you with, as you will tell me later, “The most AMAZING THING EVER.” It’s a Lisa Frank trapper keeper. I have no words.


After dinner, you invite me upstairs to see if your ladybug friend is still there, and are thrilled to discover she is still roaming your ceiling! You move a plant closer to her in case it provides her some aphids to snack on. Her comfort attended to, you set me to work coloring one of the most beautiful pages in your new coloring pad. “You do it however you want, Mom. It will be better than mine.” Yeah, we’re still working on practice and persistence. You go to take a bath, but I am not reprieved until the picture is finished.


Afterward, we work on a puzzle with puppies and penguins and polar bear cubs. It’s nice working with you. We talk about getting a gift for Olivia in return, and you decide to pass down your very most precious light-up Elsa shoes. Wow.

Dad reads a chapter of Stuart Little, which you are quite enjoying, and says goodnight. Twenty minutes later, we see you a final time. It’s important. “Mom, I changed my mind. I want to give her my NOT light-up Frozen shoes.” Well, okay then. That’s just fine.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is what happened the day you turned 5 years and 7 months old.

You wake me out of a dead sleep at 6:23, standing at the bedside to tell me, “My tummy hurts and I think I have to throw up and there’s a hair in my throat.” Paul is on your heels with a, “Me TOO!” I look at you, clearly in the prime of youth and health. I send you back to your room with the suggestion to have a drink of water, and you and Paul start building train tracks.

Ten minutes later you’re back. “Paul made me hit my face on his bed!” you say, and point to your forehead. I retrieve an ice pack for you. Back in your room, it is clear the source of the drama is a conflict between the expansion of the railroad and your elaborate “Pinky Store” industrial complex that covers 100% of the floor space with a meticulous and continually evolving arrangement of pillows, blankets, stools, pathways, nurseries for animal babies, books, and suppplies of various sorts. New train tracks have disrupted your horse’s stable and grazing territory. Story of America. I leave you to broker a peace deal with the offer to come divide the room in half if necessary.

The Pinky Store is a significant factor in all of our lives right now.
The Pinky Store is a significant factor in all of our lives right now.

Ten minutes later, it’s Paul. You have broken his train track, and it’s pretty clear your relationship is over forever. After a great deal of silent contemplation, you agree to relocate several Pinky Store components to make way for the railroad, and Paul returns to the scene with the stipulation that I help him with construction. It is 6:55.

Dad returns from his run and tags in. Plenty of playtime already under your belts, you get dressed and brush teeth quickly, and head downstairs for cereal and to watch me pack your school snacks with great interest. You decline your kindergarten work, and since you’ve been reliably joining your teacher for a lunchtime call and work session, we don’t push it. I help you into some tights, and we load up in the car. Dad drives you to Colibri, and you head through the health checkpoint for a day of enriching activity.

At school, you tell me, you play in the sandbox, log into Kindergarten at nap to learn about farm animals with Mrs. Dunbar in Spanish and English (gavra, burro), and then join virtual art class with Ms. Isolene. Did you do any art? I ask. No. But, “I learned that art is beautiful, even if you mess up.” Excellent.

Dad picks you up and you trot up to the house at 5 or so, finding me sitting on the front porch. You crawl into my lap for a quick cuddle, then ask why I didn’t take your picture—because now you know about the 10th of the month. You give me a quick download of info from school, then pursue your interests inside. “Can I have some apple chips as an appetite?” Appetizer, I help you say, and yes, you may have three. While dinner finishes cooking, you watch an episode of Let’s Go, Luna, learning about pasta and Rome. It’s a good lead-in to our lasagna dinner, which you relish. Paul is having none of it, though, so you do your best to coax him back to the table, telling him it’s made with Snoopy’s secret ingredient. Magic poop.

“I don’t LIKE magic poop.”

“Well, what DO you like?”


You lost two teeth in the last month.

We straggle through the end of dinner, and play a game together that involves sending pings through a coordinate plane. Muy educational. It’s 7pm. We head upstairs, and you change clothes, brush your teeth, and bustle around Pinky Shop for a spell. You decline to read a picture book, but we review what happened last night in our chapter of Charlotte’s Web. (Fern and Avery eat blueberry pie, we remember together, and Avery has a frog in his pocket, and they swing on the swing for an hour, and then Fern goes to visit Wilbur, and Avery tries to knock Charlotte out of her web, but he accidentally breaks the rotten goose egg, and it smells so bad that they run away, and then that night Charlotte tears out a big part of her web and starts WORKING ON SOMETHING. And we don’t find out what it is until Dad reads us the chapter tonight, so, Bodies in Bed!)

Dad reads the next chapter. You hang on his words. Some Pig.

a day in your life

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

A few minutes before seven, the sky begins to lighten. Crickets are singing their hearts out, and a jet roars across the sky. We are cozied up in our family tent, at McKinney Falls State Park, site 041. The thrill of this fact ensures you will not drift back to sleep once you’re awake, and you and Paul begin a joyful wrestling match. Time to get up. You put some clothes on and brush your teeth while Dad makes coffee, and then we all tumble out of the tent to breakfast around the picnic table.

We are here with our camping buddies, Silas (4), Sage (7), Amy and Eric (40ish). You and Sage, fast friends, decide to take a walk, so I tail you around the loop of campsites as you run flat out, pretending to be queens.


Next up is an excursion to the lower falls. Unlike the rest of us, you have the foresight to wear a swimsuit. Aside from a brief tussle over shoe-wearing, we have a ball. You wade with Sage and I across an expanse of slippery limestone, and we peer down at the swimmers at the falls. Back with the rest of our family, you play something make-believe with the rest of the kids until we decide it’s time for lunch.

You and Sous have many tender moments this day.
You and Sous have many tender moments this day.

We head back to the campsite and unfold the chairs into cots for some quiet time. You chill and listen to stories for an hour or so, then bounce back into action. Our camp offers plenty of playscapes for imagined adventures, so we hang out for a couple of hours before gearing up for another swim at 4. Upper falls, this time. It’s an unseasonably hot day, 95 degrees in October, so the cool water feels good. You are ecstatic to be swimming, and Dad and I swing you around in the water and pull you forward to practice your kicking. When the adults retreat to the shore, you kids find a log to serve as your boat and play an elaborate game of mermaids.


You are determined to take the hardest route back, climbing capably up some steep rocks and leaping across crevices. We buckle in for our 2-minute drive back to the site, and you execute a wardrobe change into your evening wear, handily winning Best Dressed.

Dad builds the fire, and we grill hotdogs. After that, naturally, it’s s’more time. You wave a marshmallow near the fire until the edge turns the barest gold, and then happily squash it between chocolatey graham crackers. After one more marshmallow, you inform me your tummy hurts. I do not doubt it.


We hustle to the tent for a thorough tooth-brush, and you and Paul, quite exhausted, climb into your sleeping bags in your clothes. I read one chapter of our latest book (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator) and go to rejoin the adults. You blink out like a light.

a day in your life

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

You sleep in; it’s 7:30 before we see you, and you pretend to be asleep through the whole dressing routine. It’s a shocking 57 degrees outside on this early September morning, so we opt for pants under your dress. You also insist on mittens. You are excited for banana bread for breakfast, and I carry your “sleeping” body downstairs.

You’re still chewing your sticky pieces as Dad and Paul are leaving for their bike ride, and I hustle you to the kitchen to sign into your third day of distance-Kindergarten. It is not going well. Dad and I—no technology slouches—spent 30 minutes before you woke up wrestling with multiple log-ins. Your classmates do not know how to mute themselves. Your teacher is very sweet and working very hard, and running into broken links and fumbled audio at all times. You are still in your shy phase, and prefer to sink down out of sight of the camera while the other children wave and smile. Today everyone is introducing stuffed animals to the class. You decline. “Mom, I don’t want to do this.” You mean all of it.

That's you, top left.
That’s you, top left.

We soldier on until the 8:20 dance break, and I drive you and Paul to school. Well, first you engage in a lengthy negotiation about who will carry the vitamins to the car. Talks break down. You end up working together to unscrew the lid, and each carry your own vitamin. Oh my god, children. I’m counting the minutes and calculating whether I’ll still have time for a jog in the chilly air before my work day begins.

As we back out of the driveway, you declare you are not going to school, you are going to stay at home forever. We all agree to accept this as a joke. On the way we discuss how “goo goo gah gah” is not really something baby’s say; it’s like “woof”—a word for a sound that’s sort of like what a dog says. I miss the opportunity to teach you the word ‘onomatopoeia.’ Soon. At school, you giggle and wave through the car window at Ms. Patricia, then go in cooperatively. Thank heaven.

At Colibri I think you’ve been working with the place value blocks because, well, your teachers told us so, and later this night you’ll ask me if ten tens make a million. You seem disappointed in yourself for getting it wrong. It’s not raining for the first time in a few days, so you get your usual outdoor playtime, and instead of taking a nap, you spend two hours on your school tablet. Hopefully you spend at least some of that time in class!

your math class, which you might be participating in every day at 12:30
Your math class, which you might be participating in every day at 12:30. Or might not.

Dad picks you up at 5, and you and Paul chase each other around the house for 30 minutes, mostly cheerfully. I get home with takeout at 5:30, in time to hear you announce from upstairs, “This is the funnest game in the world!!” Spirits are high. You both eat five cherry tomatoes off your dinner plates, drink a glass of milk, headbutt each other, and start running races around the kitchen. Oh, and yelling. Dad and I tell you if you’ll put on your pajamas and brush your teeth, you can watch two episodes of something from PBS Kids. You eagerly accept this deal.

Five minutes later, you’ve gotten ready for bed and tucked yourselves into ours. You sample an episode of Let’s Go Luna and then revisit an old-favorite Nature Cat. We should really donate a lot more money to PBS.


We go to the bedroom. Dad reads you a picture book that’s basically a big math problem about setting tables for a dinner party, and then you get in bed for our final story. We finished The BFG last night and are starting Charlotte’s Web. These books are perfect for you. We read the first two chapters, and Paul fusses about something. You tell me you’re going to come make him feel better. “I really need you both to be in your beds,” I say. “Mom, do you want him to stop crying? Then I need to come over.” I find this hard to argue with, and acquiesce. You kiss him and roll your back over his whole body. As promised, he is cheered. Okay, now to bed. You say the thing about ten tens making a million. Paul complains about everyone interrupting him. One of you asks me to pronounce the whole alphabet. “Aah-buc-duh-efgheej-klemnop-qrstuv-wxxxeezzzz,” I say, and I close the door.