a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 4 years and 10 months old.

It’s officially the time when I start referring to you as “almost five.” We have a big, awesome day to report today. Dan and Peanut are here for the first time since The Pandemic, and it’s a Saturday, so we have lots of plans.


You wake up with a project to show off, an “American plane” in red, white, and blue. I spell the word at your request so you can label it appropriately. After a quick breakfast, you launch off before 8am with ambitions to walk around the whole trail loop, over 10 miles in the June heat. On the way, you hunt for and find our family brick on the trail.


Celebrating the Stroller Years
Celebrating the Stroller Years

The recently-reopened library is about at the halfway point, and your parade makes a pitstop for a gigantic poop and three books to support your spirits through the last miles. You do plenty of walking, too, and at the end, we celebrate with 3-D printed medals to commemorate your achievement.


We eat a giant pile of tacos for lunch. I give all the boys haircuts, starting with you. (Just a trim around the edges—your summer buzz cut needs no improvement.) You captain a Central Market trip with Annie, Peanut and I, stocking up on fruit and yogurt. You travel by clinging to the side of the cart. We buy $15 of apricots.

After a little down time watching Dad and Dan play Gran Turismo, you head for the swings. We do a little swing/hose-spray/bubbles combo, and then fill up the wading pool for major splashing. You and Annie pretend to dig through the water, splashing the grown-ups. No one minds much in the high-90s heat.


For dinner, you inhale half a hot dog, capped with lego-shaped candy for dessert. We decide the wading pool was basically a bath (there was bubble soap) and skip straight to an episode of Nature Cat to wind down. I read you a few pages of Harry Potter 2, which you mostly ignore. Sleep comes quickly. Goodnight, buddy.

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 Paul, this is how you spent the day you turned 4 years and 9 months old.

You sleep hard straight through the green light, until Annie, intent on pancakes and finished with her own list, comes back to wake you up and help you with yours. You give a big yawn and allow pants and a toothbrushing. I make the pancakes, and you and Annie drop four chocolate chips on each of them in the pan. You eat and offer pointers to Annie, around a mouthful of strawberries, as she does a Kindergarten assessment.

While she finishes up, you make your own pancakes in the toy kitchen and launch a food delivery service. You bring me corn and kale, then announce, “Well, the delivery man has to go poop,” and do so. Annie joins your small business for a spell, then it’s time to go.



We load up and I drive you to school. I think you look quite dashing in your blue and lime green shirt with matching mask, and you give me a hug and tell me you love me before the teacher takes your temperature and lets you in.

Dad picks you up and announces Home Slice pizza for dinner, which you’re very excited about. Slices of cheese all around, and into the tub, with your race cars. Then everyone hops into bed—race cars too—for a couple episodes of Nature Cat, sneakily teaching you about the sources of streams and where they flow. Your cars turn into a rocket ship. We snuggle.


Bedtime. No one is interested in a picture book, just Harry Potter immediately. Dad reads for half an hour about mandrakes in Herbology class, then says goodnight. I take first watch, listening to you talking quietly and the gentle click of legos. When it’s still going on at 8, I enter to check on you. You are in bed; Annie is on the floor; and a forest of lego structures populates the space between you. You tell me calmly you have decided to use every lego in the drawer to build things for Daddy, and indeed you seem about 95% of the way there. I tell you you have two minutes to finish, and then where should you be? “In bed.” I come back two minutes later, and that’s where you both are.


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.


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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.