a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 16 months old.


I hear from you at 6:45, a plaintive keen, but I’m still working on breakfast so let you sit. You seize the opportunity for another sleep cycle, and when I come in at 7:15 to retrieve a singing Annie, you sleep through the whole production. I pick you up at 7:30 when she’s already tucking into breakfast. We discuss your new socks for the day—frogs, ribbit—and get you into some pants for the cold weather.


You eat all your grapes and covet Annie’s, reaching toward her and squawking angrily. You are perfectly capable of signing “more” and “please,” but I have no luck prompting you, so I wash another handful of grapes and engage in what feels exactly like a dog-training exercise. “Please,” I help you sign, and then hand you a grape. You eat it and grin. “Please,” we sign again, and you get another one. It does the trick.

You have a small meltdown when I can’t fit your sweater over your head—you want it, badly, but either it’s shrunk in the wash or your 95th-percentile head has grown even larger. You have a thing for all adornments right now, even if socks and shoes still come first in your heart. We persevere, however, and head out. A backhoe digging a hole in the neighbor’s yard provides unanticipated entertainment, and we all watch wide-eyed while it demolishes part of the sidewalk. Then it’s into the car with our cups full of toast, and off to school.

Outside the Bumblebees class, I set you in a chair, and Annie takes off your shoes and puts them in the drawer. We walk you into class and leave you with Ms. Leah on the mat. She helps you take off the hard-won sweater as we say goodbye.

You unfortunately have a very rough morning at school. Leah calls me at 9 to ask about the state of your ear infection (you’re on Day 8 of a second course of antibiotics) because you are crying inconsolably, thrashing too hard for a temperature reading, and tugging at your ears. I talk with Jennifer at 10, who says you’ve had ups and downs but only really calmed down when she walked around with you outside the class. Poor fellow. I authorize ibuprofen and ask to stay in touch.

You cheer up substantially; enjoy a full lunch of sloppy joe, oranges, and broccoli; poop; and nap for two hours. Perhaps this combination turns around your mood—your afternoon is normal and happy.

Ms. Shanna picks you up and brings you home for dinner, playtime, and a bath. When I arrive at 6:30, you run to me and back your butt up into my lap for a cuddle. I sit on the mat by the front door while you bring me tubs of play-doh and ask me to roll it between my hand to make balls. This causes you to chuckle in delight.

You abscond with some of Annie's markers and try to eat them.
You abscond with some of Annie’s markers and try to eat them.

At 7:15, we mosey upstairs, where you immediately apply yourself to some legos but are lured into my lap again by the promise of books. We name all the pictures in 100 First Animals and speed-read Pete the Cat and his Cool, Blue, Magic Sunglasses. I thread your arms into your sleep sack, sing the song, lay you in your crib, and tell you I love you. Night night, Mr. Paul!

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 15 months old.

We are surprised to find you sound asleep when we enter your room at 7:30, so liberate Annie but leave you to snooze for another 45 minutes. Dad retrieves you when you do wake up, endures your screams while he gets you in a new diaper, and brings you downstairs for breakfast.


You amaze us again by pounding three sippy-cupfuls of milk. It’s a wonder you have any room in your belly for hot buttered toast, but you manage some of that, too, and then Dad buckles you into the stroller for a jog up to St. Edwards with Doug.

Back home, we play together in the front yard as Aunt Peanut rolls up with her luggage—she and Dan have spent the weekend with us but leave today. You help the lawn flamingos get a better view of passing traffic.

Annie will later take this flamingo into her crib to nap with her. You have better sense.

Back inside, you stand in your tower in the kitchen and eat Cheerios for a morning snack, then push your toys across the house. You poop, twice. Dad notices an abundance of dog hair and brings out the brooms; you help.


Lunch is apple slices (you chew the apple off of the peel) and chicken nugget-y things (you ignore them until I let you nibble them out of my fingers, one tiny bite at a time). Also more milk.

You take a great nap, sleeping through quite a bit of caterwauling from your sister, and straight through her extraction. Noon to 2:15 is the final tally—very solid.

About half an hour later, Charly arrives to find you snacking at the table. Dad and I say goodbye (we’re going to see art at EAST), and you hang out in your room, listening to kids songs and trying to take apart the humidifier.

You enjoy a walk around the neighborhood in the wagon and work up an appetite. On your way to the dinner table, you face-plant into the chair leg and raise a goose egg on your forehead that will be fun to explain to the doctor at your well-child check-up tomorrow. Undeterred, you eat a pile of ravioli. Then it’s bathtime, books, and bedtime. Night night, Mister Paul!

You guys are sweet together.

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 14 months old.

You and Annie gradually escalate your volume until Dad decides to liberate you from your crib at 7:10. He gets you swaddled in a fresh diaper and carries you downstairs to your standard breakfast: banana and some nibbles of toast. You eat fast and are ready to get up and ride around on his hip while we finish getting ready for the day.


I drive you to school. You listen as Annie tests her knowledge about what is and is not the highway, and when and why we put on our blinkers, occasionally chiming in with a query of your own. “Daaaaaahh????”

At school, we open the door to your classroom, and your teachers, Leah, Susan, and Jennifer, smile at us from a room littered with babies, and remark on how grown-up you look in your shirt and pants. I leave you in Jennifer’s arms.

You tuck into a second breakfast and move your bowels. You take particular delight in reading a version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear with a little peekaboo window to see what animal comes next. Lunch is turkey tacos, carrots, and pears, and produces another poop. You take a healthy nap from noon until 1:30.

Your daily report indicates that you enjoyed the following: blocks, listening to stories, looking at books, outside play, and balls. Sounds about right. Dad picks you up at 4:45; you all survive some terrible traffic driving home.

Of this meal, you eat all the pears and 2 beans.
Of this meal, you eat all the pears and 2 beans.

After dinner, you make a few laps around the house pushing your elephant, and then we proceed upstairs. You and Annie romp around, playing with pill bottles and slamming doors with finger-severing strength. #goodparenting

(The next morning we will find that bottle in the washing machine.)


Dad scrubs you down in the bathtub, and you stick around to play with your stacking cups and duckies. Then it’s up, out, dry, dressed, and onto Duplo construction.


You build towers, and cars, and towers on cars, then back your way into Dad’s lap for a last book or three. A few minutes after 7, well, it’s dark outside and it’s time to go to sleep. We zip you into your sack, give you a pat, and say goodnight. We love you, Paul.

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 13 months old.

You sleep until 7:38. After living through your 3rd-6th month, we are still pinching ourselves that you sleep so well and late, especially since we’ve ratcheted your bedtime back to 7. But sleep you do, giving us time to prepare a magnificent breakfast of banana—your absolute favorite in the whole wide world—wheat bread, and milk. I crack open the door of your room and rub your back while Annie informs us she wants to stay asleep. I lift you up, give you a hug, and hand you over to Dad for a fresh diaper and a new outfit. Then it’s downstairs for that meal.

You tuck in cheerfully and entertain us blowing raspberries. As usual, you show Sous the food in your hand and she uses up her morning’s allotment of willpower not taking it. When you finish, we wipe down your sticky hands with a wet paper towel, pinch the worst bits of banana mush off your clothes—you continue to yank off any bib we try to put on you—and head to the car. Dad buckles you in and says goodbye, and we’re off to school by 8.


On the drive, you say things like “Doh??” and Annie and I interpret this as “dog,” and we woof. You say “Dis??” and “SSSSSSSS,” so I hiss back. Annie says, “No, he don’t wanna say SSSSS.” “What does he want to say?” “He wanna say MOOOO.” So we moo (you do too).

You and Annie keep chattering. She points out busses to you, and you laugh. We sing The Ants Go Marching. We arrive at school.

At the door to the Bumblebees, I hand you over to Ms. Susan, the former assistant teacher who is back today to substitute. You maintain equanimity and enjoy a morning snack of applesauce and Cheerios, then poop. You lunch on quiche and oranges, probably not in that order, and nap from 12-1:45. You tromp up to your teachers and present them with books to read, but only stick around for a couple of pages. Your favorite involves dogs and flowers.

You snack again (cheese crackers) and poop again. This is the life. Dad picks you up at 5. You listen to music and sing songs all the way home, where you find me cooking. I pick up Annie for a hug as she runs in, and you lean toward me, so I end up with one of you on each hip.

I swear I didn't realize I had a dimple until about a month ago.
You seem to be rethinking your choice.
Unwisely, I let you look at my phone in the doctor's office yesterday (flu shot), and now YOU WANT IT.
Unwisely, I let you look at my phone in the doctor’s office yesterday (flu shot), and now YOU WANT IT.

Back in the kitchen, I placate you with strawberries and peaches while I finish cooking, and we sit down to perfect, toddler-sized hamburgers, kale, and cherry tomatoes. You eat all the tomatoes and about two bites of beef and bun. Here you are at the table, pretending to say hello into a phone, then dancing to Annie’s nonsense song:

After the meal, I gingerly remove your tomato-and-milk-soaked onesie, and you stomp around the house in your diaper. You climb into your chair, spike your milk cup on the ground, pat Sous, throw me a ball, and generally conduct important baby business. When Dad finishes cleaning up the kitchen, he reads you the book about dinosaur pirates. It has buttons that make noises. You reward him by placing a sticker on his chest, like a merit badge.

At about 6:30, we head upstairs for a bath. You get a bit screamy going in but enjoy it once you’re there. You like drinking bathwater out of all the cup toys, and banging them on the tub.


Dad scoops you up into a towel and gets you pajama-ed. You motor around the bedroom, delivering him books to read, saying bye-bye and closing them, trying to mount Rabumpus and falling off in spectacular ways. At 7, you are dragging around your sleep sack, which in Paul means, “I’m ready for bed.” We start the lullaby. Dad zips up your sleep sack and tells you he loves you, and we turn off the lights.

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 1 year old.


You sleep in, more or less, until 7:30, and then hoot that you are ready for pick-up. Normally we give you a bottle immediately, but you are one now, and we are DONE WITH BOTTLES. So I plop you in Annie’s crib, where she tickles you to distract you from your hunger while I remove your sleep sacks, then change your diapers. Dad scoops you up, and we head downstairs for breakfast.

You devour your strawberries and cheese, then play with your tortilla with peanut butter and cup of milk. We open a birthday present from Aunt Peanut and Uncle Dan: it’s balls. You love them. “Ba! Ba! Ba!” you say, and squeal with delight when I toss one your way.

a little more breakfast for the road
a little more breakfast for the road

We roll out the stroller, and you toddle to it and request a buckle. Dad gears up and takes you out for a morning jog. You and Annie and Sous and Dad all trot down to the river and do a loop on the trail with Kalia and the Crowder kids. So many strollers.

Your interest in the phone screen is growing.
Your interest in the phone screen is growing.

Back at home, you play with Annie and I in your room while Dad takes a shower. Sous starts barking up a storm, so we make our laborious way downstairs to meet the grocery delivery.

You walk around the house and have a merry time playing catch. When Annie and I take off for a baby shower, you and Dad head back upstairs for a long game of legos. You push buttons on the talking-puppy toy and boogy along to his songs. At noon, Dad zips you into your sleep sack for a nap.

IMG_20170812_153001 (1)

Around 2:30, you’re ready for action again. You start with a snack of leftover frittata, grated cheese, and milk. Our friends Emily (mom) and Luisa (kid) come over, and you throw balls with the girls while we assemble all our gear and prep for a trip to the pool.

You have the absolute time of your life at the wading pool. It’s the first time you’ve been to this pool since you started to walk, and you delight in trying out this new skill in the water. Unfortunately, you are not calibrated for underwater walking, and your top half tends to outpace your bottom half. So after 3-4 steps, you pitch forward into the water and end up completely submerged until we fish you out, coughing and laughing. You find it hilarious. I almost have a stroke. This happens 15 times, or more.


The lifeguard orders us all out of the pool due to low chlorine levels, so we bounce to the playground. You sit in Dad’s lap and swing for a long time, then romp barefoot around the playground with Annie and Luisa. (We are not in the habit of shoeing you yet.)

You poop, and we lack new diapers, and also it’s 100 degrees, so we head home. You toddle around like mad; at one point we find you industriously scooping water out of Sous’s bowl with a cup and dumping it on the floor. At 5:30 or so, I sit you down to bean and cheese tacos and banana. Annie sings you happy birthday, sort of, rehearsing for your party tomorrow.

We all get in the shower to wash off the pool water and a layer of bean cement from your face. Then it’s into clean diapers, and we half-watch Finding Nemo while you fling yourself around the bed and lure us into general roughhousing.

You like to do a little work on your core while we watch.
You like to work in a few abdominal sets.

By 7:20, you’re pretty sleepy, sucking your thumb and holding still for a blessed minute. We move into the bedroom, and Annie reads us Dog Goes to Nursery School. We sing the goodnight song, and Dad bundles you into your crib. Good night, Paul. Happy Birthday.

a day in your life

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

You sound firmly awake at 6:45, so Dad airlifts you out and hands you to me for your bottle.

You chug it.
You chug it.

You come up for air and give me a big grin. Seven teeth now. I change your diaper, and Dad entertains you with assorted household objects while I get myself and Annie ready to go. You’re very into exploring the world now, examining objects and combining them in different ways. (You’re pretty convinced, for example, that the remote control belongs in Sous’ water bowl.)


We get the whole family downstairs by 7:30, and you and Annie sit at the counter and eat bananas.

Perhaps chewing on a toothbrush in tandem with breakfast is not the most effective strategy for dental health, but here we are.
Perhaps chewing on a toothbrush in tandem with breakfast is not the most effective strategy for dental health, but here we are.

Dad carries you to the car to load up, and you blow him kisses as he says goodbye. I drive the two of you to school while you emit occasional squeals of joy and rage. You and Annie blow kisses to each other and giggle, and she says things like, “Oh Missa Paul that’s YOU!”

You perch on my hip as we drop off Annie and furrow your brow as I hand you over to your teacher Leah.

By all reports, you have a great day at school, particularly relishing the canned pears at lunch. You finish every portion and look around expectantly for more. You have a good long mid-day nap. (At home, you still take a morning and afternoon nap, but at school we’re lucky if you get a couple of hours.)


I pick you up a few minutes before 5 while Annie waits with Shanna, her teacher and, as of a few weeks ago, your Wednesday night sitter. Shanna will start bringing you home on these evenings so is here to observe the pick-up and car-loading drill. I carry you to the car and buckle you in while Annie stands carefully in the crook of the door; then I walk her around to her side and buckle her in.

You get upset with the sun in your eyes on the way home, but Annie cheers you up by speaking to you in your language. “HA BA, DA! HA BA, DA!” Soon, you’re laughing at each other, and my sappy, Mom heart is glowing.

At home, you sit in your high chair and snack on a tortilla while Dad and Shanna install a second car seat in her car. You show off your elephant-pushing skills as Dad and I wave goodbye and go out for grown-up dinner.


You head upstairs to play with duplo trucks. You drink half a bottle and take a bath. Annie selects your tie-dyed onesie for your pajamas, and Shanna reads you a book and tucks you in with a song at 7:30. Night night, Mr. Paul.


a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 9 months old.

At 6:30, you wake. Dad scoops you up and takes you downstairs for a warm bottle, then totes you around while he makes coffee. He hands you over when I come down, warm and clean from the shower, and you and I head for the living room. I read snatches of the newspaper while you overturn your bucket of baby toys and see what you can pull off the shelves.

Upstairs, we take your 39-week picture. The sunlight is pouring through the windows, and Dad makes faces to keep you cheerful.

the first shot I take, unedited
the first shot

Annie is awake, so we march into the room you share and help her get up and dressed. You perch on the bathroom counter, gnawing thoughtfully on a toothbrush, as I finish getting myself ready; then you pull books off our shelves while I pick out clothes. I shut us in your room for the 45 minutes until Charly arrives. You are fascinated by the clock and try your hardest to break the glass in the framed family photos. You scoot your way to the toilet, pull yourself up, and flush it gleefully until I stop you. By the time she arrives, we’ve pulled every toy into the middle of the room.

You grin at her as I hand you off but follow me out onto the landing and hold the bars of the baby gate, crying, as I say goodbye.

Charly sends us this picture of you at 1.
Charly sends us this picture of you at 1.

You nap from 9-11:30 and wake to play with BFF Augie, crawling through your green tunnel together and camping out with loot. You nap again from 2:30-5, when Dad and Annie arrive home. I find the three of you with Charly in the living room when I arrive a few minutes later. You’re cruising around the edge of the table and seeing what you can fit in your mouth.

getting ideas
getting ideas

When Annie takes off with her lawnmower, you chase after her, eventually figuring out how to push the little elephant yourself. That challenge met, you climb the entire flight of stairs, with me in close pursuit. I read books with Annie while you play with the dryer door. If I were given to making predictions, I’d put my money on your bright future in the laundry industry.


Eventually, you throw all your food to Sous.
Eventually, you throw all your food to Sous.

Dinner is delicious pork chops by Dad. You put away quite a bit of kale, half a bagel, and suck on a bone until you’re covered in grease. I scrape a napkin over your face and hands and load you into the stroller with Annie for a warm evening walk through the park. You’re quiet on walks but seem to enjoy them.

Finally, some laundry action!
Finally, some laundry action!

Home at 7:10, we plop you in the bathtub. Dad gives you a scrub and gets you dry, dressed, and fed a final bottle while Annie spends 20 minutes on the little potty, flirting with a tinkle. It’s 7:35 before we manage to start on your goodnight book. Tonight it’s The Little Engine That Could, aka “the train book.” I read it, fast, and Dad and I struggle through the lullaby as you and Annie protest bedtime. We make our exit, and you two spend a few minutes hooting at each other before you drift off.

a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 8 months old.

You wake up at 6:20 or so, and Dad gives you a bottle. (We might have one more nursing session in us, but that chapter is pretty much closed.) He brings you downstairs to hang out while we do our morning chores. You grab my hair and squirm, and squeal when I toss you in the air. You clutch my fingers and practice taking steps. I read you a board book about sushi; you try to eat it. You sit in your highchair at the counter while Dad reads the paper beside you.

At 7:30, we bust into the room where Annie is just waking up, and she immediately requests that you sit in her crib. You pull yourself up on the bars and get hugged and kissed for a few minutes. While the girls get dressed, you and Dad romp around the floor and do a little playing with the big stuffed longhorn Gobka and Gamma gave Annie for her birthday.

I know---there's a lot going on here.
I know—there’s a lot going on here.

I take off, and Dad hangs out with you until it’s time for your first nap at 8:15. You sleep for two hours, as usual, and then spend the next couple with Charly, reading, playing, screeching with joy, whatnot. You nap again from 12:15-2:15. In the afternoon, you stroll down South Congress, and she reads to you from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

You're really into this table these days.
You’re really into this table these days.

At 4:30, she puts you down again, and you screech in your crib until after 5. At 6, you’re up again, and join  the family for dinner at the table. It’s a bottle of formula and tiny pieces of broccoli and pork chop.


After dinner, you tail Annie around the house, crawling after her as she races her lawnmower toy across the floor. I decide you crawl like an alligator, limbs wide and belly dragging, but lightning fast. Every time you encounter my legs, you use them to haul yourself up to standing. Safe money is on you walking by the time we’re doing your 10-month log.

Yeah, that's Annie behind you, drinking bath water out of a toy boat.
Yeah, that’s Annie behind you, drinking bath water out of a toy boat.

You enjoy bathtime as usual. Then it’s a clean diaper and time to chew on everything you can get your mitts on in your room, chiefly Duplos. You enjoy a nightcap while playing in the laundry basket.


You ignore my reading of Brown Bear, but go cheerfully to bed while your dad and I sing a clumsy lullaby duet and put both of you in your sleep sacks. You watch us quietly as we say goodnight, turn out the light, and back out of the door.


a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 7 months old.

At 12:15, you start crying. I hate to include this in your story since it is not at all representative of your nights these days, but facts are facts, the Trump administration notwithstanding. You cry for half an hour while I bury my head under a pillow and your dad watches you on the monitor, then go back to sleep.

At 5:15, you’re at it again, but wait—it’s actually 6:15 thanks to the time change. So I guess you can get up. Your dad picks you up, and you nurse for half an hour. When you’re full, you start making your new favorite noise at me, sort of a labored buzzing noise. You grin when I make it back. Pleasantries exchanged, you move onto romping.

You scuttle across the bed, and when that territory becomes too small, I lower you by the ankles onto the floor. You explore the room fully, including under the bed. When you tire of your solo adventures, I toss you into the air and we make noises at each other. I suspect your diaper is dirty and make the grave mistake of checking it with my finger. I change you. At 8, we head back into your room to say good morning to Annie, and snuggle you down for your first nap.

We see you again at 9:30. You drink a bottle of milk with Dad and then play with Annie.

We love watching you two play together, even though we have to constantly remind Annie not to step on you.
We love watching you two play together, even though we have to constantly remind Annie not to step on you.

Doug and Kalia arrive with Eleanor and Riley, who goes down for a nap while you play with the big kids. Kalia and Doug both spend some time holding you and marveling at how big and strong you are. You poop again. It’s Dad’s turn.

This picture sort of sums up our lives right now.
This picture sort of sums up our lives right now.

At 11:15, you’re down for another nap. (This is really a strange day for sleep—normally you do 3 regular naps, 8-10, 12-2, and 4-6. I’d blame the time change, but you shifted in the wrong direction.) At 1, you’re back up. You spend some time in Kalia’s lap while I grocery shop and Dad barbeques ribs. You play on the floor in the living room, and pass Annie again as she wakes up from her nap and you go down for your next one at 3. It’s a shorty: you only sleep till 4. We all load up and head to the playground.

Solid hat.
It’s an eclectic outfit, but I think it works.

Dad wears you around, and the two of you head home early to finish up dinner preparations. You poop a third time. In your highchair for dinner, you eat a whole mess of lima beans and suck on a cheese roll. We put you down for a catnap at 6 and wake you up a few minutes past 7. Dad feeds you a big bottle, and we take turns supervising as you rove around the house, sneeze, clutch the table edge to stand and step, spit up, and put everything you can find into your mouth. We finish the day with three rounds of the Curious George Pat-a-Cake book, and I lullaby you into bed. You grouse and howl off and on but finally fall asleep.



a day in your life

To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 6 months old.

At 6:03am, your dad picks you up, and you start your breakfast. You’d been coughing—we’ve all been coughing for about three weeks now—but made it past 6am before firmly waking up, thank goodness. Mornings have been a little dicey lately. You lie beside me and munch in determined fashion, then settle in to eat the Sunday paper.

delicious, delicious news
delicious, delicious news
It's a full bed these days.
It’s a full bed these days.

When you grow bored with the news, you begin your calisthenics: kicking, followed by more kicking, then grabbing things and pulling them into your mouth, then finish with kicking. We tote you around for various morning chores, and you join the three of us for breakfast around the table. I feed you morsels of smoked salmon off my fingertips, and you help yourself to half a cherry tomato.

A few minutes before 8, it’s time for your nap. You go right to sleep, snooze until 9:40 or so, and then wake up for second breakfast. We pop you in your car seat and drive up to IKEA to buy you your very own crib. Happy birthday!  What you really wanted was something to chew on.

teaching consumerism
teaching consumerism

You spend the car ride and shopping trip gazing at things quietly while Annie does the talking, but you spice things up at the end by moving your bowels in a significant way. We impulse-buy a dish towel in the checkout line so Dad can soak up some of your exploded poo before it works its way into every pore of the baby bjorn. We maneuver our multiple carts and children to the car, and I mop you down in the hatch.

You remain perfectly chill for all of this.
You remain perfectly chill for all of this.

We drive through In N Out Burger for lunch, and you eat a french fry on the way home. It’s half an hour past your nap time, so Dad races you inside to put you to bed before you slide into over-exhaustion.

We let you sleep for three hours. At 3:30, Dad gets you up and into a clean diaper, and I feed you. We join Dad and Annie in your room, where they’re hard at work building your crib. Well, Dad’s building; Annie’s playing with the hardware and occasionally handing him the screwdriver. You writhe around on the floor, sweep things into your mouth, and watch the action.

This afternoon you are sporting the Keep Calm and Carry On onesie, the emergency outfit that lives in the diaper bag in the event of blowouts.
This afternoon you are sporting the Keep Calm and Carry On onesie, the emergency outfit that lives in the diaper bag in the event of blowouts.
Annie loves you a lot.
Annie loves you a lot.

Once your crib is completed, Annie takes over entertaining you, presenting you with toys and blowing her lips for your amusement. At 5:30, you go down for another nap while the rest of the family eats dinner, and you’re up for a final round at 6:45. Dad plays with you while I give Annie a quick bath, and then you and I adjourn for a final meal. You prefer to nurse on your hands and knees, like a pig at a trough, and when you’re not doing that, you’re grabbing hard fistfuls of my face with your strong little hands. I don’t think I’m going to be all that wistful about the end of the breastfeeding, let’s just say.

In our last hour, you squirm around the bed, sucking on a toothpaste tube, a hair clip, dental floss, and some actual toys. Because it’s your birthday, I give you tiny drops of ice cream. You grab the spoon and slowly draw it to your mouth, then grimace but look at me for more. I bounce you on my legs and hold your hands so you can stand up and practice taking steps. You love this. At 8, Dad changes your diaper, reads you a story, and lullabies you into your brand-new bed.