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.

Annie’s Birthcake Menu


Purple grapes are my favorite.

Mom, take off the leaves.

Are there seeds in them?

Q: What do you think Dad made for dinner?
A: Tortewini because I WUV it.

Can I have banana yogurt? No, I want peach yogurt.

Q: Annie, are you going to eat the rest of the taco?
A: No.

CHEESE!!!   …I don’t LIKE cheese.

Can I have some goldfish crackers PWEASE.

I want CHOC-wit cupcakes.



I had my first “why” conversation with Annie on the way home from school this week—where the question to every “well, because” answer I offered was “why?” all the way back the causal chain to the very fact of her existence. In about a minute I’d gone from explaining, I don’t know, why firetrucks are red or something, to articulating our rationale for having children at all to the toddlers in the backseat. This is going to be a fun phase.



Overheard from the children’s room, 6:35am.

[train whistle]

Annie: Hey Paul, it’s a train! Hey Paul, it’s a train! Paul, it’s a train! Hey Paul, it’s a train!

Paul: Hoooo

Annie: You can’t see it, it’s too far away. But you can hear it, it says ‘chugga chugga choo choo! chugga chugga choo choo!’



Paul can name us all now, and delights in doing it. “Da! … Mama! … Nehnee!” he crows, pointing to us in turn and waiting for celebration, like we’re athletes running onto the field or actors at curtain call. And when we remind him, he’ll point to himself and announce: “Bah!”

it’s a humor joke

Annie has been exploring the terrain of humor, starting with the denial of plain reality. “Those are NOT my socks. … Hehehehehehe. I’m SO SILLY.” It progressed gradually to such jokes as, “This couch is a butt.” Hehehehehehehe.

Sunday over snack, I gave it back to her. She pointed to her grapes and asked me, full of false innocence, “What are these called?” I looked into her eyes and deadpanned, “Bananas.” She looked back at her grapes and gave them a moment to actually be bananas, and I watched her eyes widen as she realized what I’d done. She squealed, HEHEHEHEHE, and asked me for a hundred more versions. “What are these, Mom? Do it like a joke.” All of a sudden, a new game.

Unfortunately I fear this has eroded trust between us. That evening during a discussion of animals, I tried to break it to her that unicorns were just pretend.

“Hehehehehehe. Mom. You’re SO SILLY.”