Annie pitches a game of make-believe to Gamma: “How about, I’ll lie here and pretend I’m dead, and you’ll say something to me, and I’ll say nothing.”
To Paul: this is how you spent the day you turned 2 years and 7 months old.
You wake up, notice the light is green, and bound out of bed. Annie tries to summon you to to turn it off together, but you race over and do it yourself while she slumps in defeat. Okay, not our finest start. “Tomowoh, we’ll do it togever,” you pledge. (Note from tomorrow: pledge broken.) We regroup. You tinkle in the potty, and you and Annie complete your lists without too much dithering. The 10-minute hourglass helps. We make it downstairs for a breakfast of oatmeal and bananas.
It’s just the three of us this morning, so getting out the door with all of our boxes checked takes some time. Sous snatches your toast, and you threaten to tantrum. I take it back from her, and you help me trim off the chewed-on part, then keep eating. Your immune system is gonna be great. I carry you out to the car at your request, juggling bag and keys and toast cup and dog. When we get there, you decide you wanted to walk by yourself, and come unglued. A passing neighbor looks at me in sympathy as I try to get you into your carseat and offers, “Been there.”
You manage to collect yourself at last after spending some time in the footwell and climbing into the seat by yourself. Phew. We’re on the road. You argue with Annie about whether you’ll listen to music (your request) or hear stories (hers), and I arbitrate: we will take turns. Your request is the beginning of Moana. All is calm by the time we reach school. You administer all your hugs, and you and Annie have your usual tender moment.
On pick up at 5, the caretaker tells me you had a good day, and we launch ourselves into SXSW traffic to get home.
I heat up leftover tortellini and lasagna for dinner, surfing on the edge of your mood swings. You’re hungry. After dinner you do some sweet, solo make-believe play with your trains. I lure you upstairs and through most of your bedtime routine with promises of fresh toenail polish and a phone call to Dad, who’s in the SJC airport.
Two-and-a-half, by the way, is significantly too early for the attention span and understanding to sit still and not on top of your wet toenail polish, but we manage without too big a mess. You are delighted to talk to your dad. “I see your eyes,” you inform him.
We hang up at 7:15 and head to your room for a few pages of Cars and Trucks, and a full rendition of A Cowgirl and Her Horse. We’re just getting in bed when I realize your dog is downstairs, and of course we all have to parade down together to find him. We travel through the house in a pack when Dad isn’t home.
You do not want to go to bed, but we get there. At Annie’s request, I tell you both a story from the door about Elsa and Anna playing together all day, and not eating, and not going to bed, until they both get so tired their bodies fall asleep.
To Annie: this is how you spent the day you turned 3 years and 11 months old.
It’s daylight savings day—surprise!—so you sleep all the way until what turned out to be 8:05. You loiter in bed but allow Dad to help you get ready. Downstairs, you greet Granddad and Susu and eat a couple blueberry mini-pancakes, still frozen. We walk to the Croissant House, you alternately running and holding my hand. You nudge past a stranger’s legs to look in the display window, and whet everyone’s appetite with a wet cough.
We head home, eat some pastry, and load up in the car for a dim sum trip (more food!). You ask for a story about lava monsters the whole 20-minute way. I tell you one about several different monsters who were all angry for different reasons, and the ways Moana and Maui help them feel better.
Seated between Dad and our beloved California friends, you nibble a lot of different food like a big girl, then run around the sidewalk with Dad and Paul afterward.
At home, we play an elaborate game where you pretend to be Te Fiti in the couch, and variously assign other roles to the rest of us. When it’s time for Paul’s nap, you motivate him to settle down in bed with a promise of telling him a story from the door. He lays down lickety split, and you narrate the tale of Moana, ask him for his questions, and close the door. Thank you, Annie!!! You celebrate with a screening of the real thing, with Granddad and Susu.
You spend the afternoon on the front porch, pretending the space behind the stroller is a home, office, school, and store. You guide Susu through an elaborate game of being sick and needing to be at the office with her mom (you), staying quiet during phone calls and taking a nap in corner while you go talk with Rachelle. You play with water in the sink and lose your dress.
I convince you to let me detangle your hair and pick apart your locks with the help of some oil while you watch an episode of Daniel Tiger. I score an even greater victory when you consent to a trim, and I cut two scraggly inches off your nearly waist-length hair. We head downstairs for homemade lasagna, and then have a nice bath. Dad says goodbye and heads to California for work, and we do a quick bedtime routine more-or-less on time. It’s more lava monsters for a last story at the doorway—and then one more potty trip—and then a drink of water—and then your fuzzy unicorn socks—and then, okay, it’s 8:00, but that’s still not bad for daylight savings time. Goodnight, my girl.