a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 5 years and 4 months old.

You wake up right on schedule, in good spirits on this Monday morning. You have “Love” the dog, a year-old party favor you’ve recently rediscovered, and you are making her kiss everything she sees, and moving her stuffed legs to show us how she walks. Today will be our third day at Colibri, the new Spanish-immersion Montessori school started by your erstwhile nanny and some colleagues. It has been open a week, and you and Paul represent 1/3 of the current student body. You must appreciate the structure and challenge to some extent because your level of complaining about the change in routine has been very low.

While I pack lunch and three snacks each for you and Paul, Dad helps you get dressed in what is among your most fabulous sartorial compositions. You don’t even mind wearing shoes. Breakfast goes quickly, and you kiss and hug Paul to cheer him through a small fuss. I buckle you into the carseat and administer your vitamin, and we’re off on the 5-minute drive through quiet streets.


I pull into the circle drive, and we put on our masks. The teachers, also masked, greet us at the door, take your temperature, and give you sanitizer for your hands. You and Paul submit earnestly to the routine, and Ms. Patricia takes you around to the yard to play. Before you enter the school, they’ll sanitize your shoes.

The school routine is similar to what you had at the UT CDC, and I suspect you appreciate it. After morning playtime with Eleanor, Riley, and a couple of new friends whose names you can’t remember, you have a snack, some self-guided learning, singing, a video about germs that scares Paul, lunch, nap, and then more of the same. You wear a mask all day. Our pick-up window is 5:30-45—families are staggered to avoid crowding—and the teachers escort you outside. No other non-staff adults are allowed in the facility. Common pandemic-era practices.

Today you made this crown. The rainbow was last week's. High-quality craft station.
Clearly a high-quality craft station at Colibri.

Dad brings you home. You bustle in, curious about what’s for dinner, and eat strawberries and milk while Dad and I feast on fancy Mexican food from a favorite restaurant.


It gets briefly silly after dinner. About one second after I take this photo, Paul accidently trips you. The mood is broken; you head up for a bath. After a good soak, it’s off to snuggle into our bed for an episode of Molly of Denali. Our TV consumption has definitely escalated. Ours and the rest of the world’s.

I read you Bubble Trouble, a fun tongue-twister of a book, and Dad follows up with Tidy, about a badger who paves over a forest in a neurotic fit of cleanliness. Once you’re both in bed, I give you two chapters of your latest Jack and Annie book, a series about a time-travelling brother and sister. In this one, they help prepare the first Thanksgiving meal.

You need to find Love the Dog again for more tricks and kisses and bedtime companionship, and retreat into your bed-cave, which has been draped with one of our king-sized sheets for a few weeks now. It makes you feel safe. One more drink of water, and a few more questions, and goodnight.

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 3 years and 11 months old.

We’re at the ranch! It’s been so long that the clock in your room hasn’t been switched for daylight savings time, so you and Annie spend a bonus 45 minutes playing in the top bunk, patiently waiting for your light to turn green. I finally get curious and discover you. Liberated, you head for the kitchen to see what wonders breakfast holds. It’s Susu’s pancakes, yum.

You and Granddad scout out the Pou’s storage closet for building supplies and return with good news: the lake is equipped for sand castles. The party sets forth, and you and Annie scoop sand with all the interesting shovels. You are in your element. You have clearly been holding a mental list of all the things to do at the ranch through the time we could not be here, and have marched through them with a singleminded focus since we arrived.


Next up: a ride with Dad in the kayak. Check. Then a more leisurely float with Mom and Annie, check. Then back to the ranch for lunch. But first just a little racing cars down the slide. And burying things in the sandbox. And the playing with Annie in the hottub.


We take a load off with a few episodes of Stinky and Dirty, right up your alley, and then you’re back on Little Kermit, doing laps. By this point, you are pretty darn tired. Yesterday at this time you declared you needed a nap and went off and took one (whaaa??), but today you descend into whines until we prop you up in front of the television again.


We straggle through dinner and manage to bathe you. Cake for dessert. Dad reads you some things, administers hugs, kisses, and songs. You snuggle down in the bottom bunk, and fall asleep.

a day in your life

To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 5 years and 3 months old.

You and Paul are awake and playing in your beds at 6:15. You crawl into our room at 7:05. “Is it a baby parade?” I ask. “Yes!!” you tell me. You climb into our bed and wallow around for a minute. Then it’s off to your bedroom for your latest train video production. You aspire to be a YouTube star after watching a few too many videos of people playing with toy trains. The internet is a weird place.

Alas, something sets you off into a downward mood spiral, and you enter a cycle of “my back hurts, my tummy hurts, my legs hurt, ow, ow, OW!” and fight every step of the morning.


I lose patience and decamp, and Dad gets you downstairs. The sight of your breakfast sends you into a floor tantrum, so we run out of time to eat it, and then it’s TOO COLD anyway, and no you do NOT want to take it in a cup in the car, but you also MUST have it in the car, and hoo boy, it is a half-hour of no fun for anyone.

At the Crowders, Ms. Patricia can tell you’re upset and makes a sweet fuss over you. “Oh, panqueques, que linda, me gusta mucho, que bonita…” and you eventually stabilize enough for me to make an exit.

Your day turns out just fine. You and the crew are playing a lot of Octonauts these days, your favorite TV show. You are typically Dashi, the girliest of the crew. Your clothes are soaked during water play, so you end up in Eleanor’s—always more interesting to you than your own spares, and she’s very willing to share. When Dad arrives to pick you up, you and Paul are manta rays eggs, curled up on the couch and ready to hatch.

Here you are showing off Eleanor's outfit. "I'm going to wear shirts and pants now all the time, if the shirts are beautiful like this." Mmhmm. You've recently discovered you can stick your upper lip to your teeth and prefer to smile like this now, which is going to make posed pictures weird for a spell.
Here you are showing off Eleanor’s outfit. “I’m going to wear shirts and pants now all the time, if the shirts are beautiful like this.” You’ve recently discovered you can stick your upper lip to your teeth and prefer to smile like this now, which is going to make posed pictures weird for a spell.

You get home quickly, and are pleased to discover fresh mango on your dinner plate. It’s all you eat, plus a, well, mango popsicle for dessert. Whatever, fine. You hustle upstairs for a bath with Paul, and then into our bed for a NEW favorite show, Nature Cat. Thanks, PBS.

I brush your hair and trim your fingernails while you watch, and then it’s time for books and stories. I read you Country Mouse / City Mouse from a 1980 Richard Scary anthology that used to be mine, and then you join Dad’s lap for the end of Hilda and the Midnight Giant, a more modern graphic novel. You retire to your bed, behind the sarong you have appropriated as a bedcurtain, and he tells the last story, about a girl who was afraid of a dog, from Harper’s Magazine circa 1906. Media consumption complete! Goodnight!