Two Years Of Days
Publisher reviews 730 past editions of The Daily Kina, is reminded of how much she has forgotten; so say we all
When Kina helped me draw the very first Daily Kina, she was barely three years old, and now she is barely five—or almost five and a half, which is how five-year-olds work. One year ago, I wrote a long newsletter about what this paper meant to me at the moment of its first anniversary. I will admit that it felt like a little victory lap, since all of us were getting our vaccines and certainly the pandemic would be over soon; I remember telling Laurea that I’d either stop when Kina started kindergarten or when the pandemic was over, and while the first of those two deadlines has long passed, the second seems likely (as I suspected last year) never to come—which means I’ll be writing this newspaper for the rest of my natural, fully-boosted life. The uncertainty never quits here at The Daily Kina.
The pandemic played a slightly less prominent role in the last year of The Daily Kina than it had in 2020, which the exception of the aforementioned vaccines (including Kina’s own prompt vaccination amidst the very peak of Omicron. So, what took its place? Simple things happened. Kina started kindergarten. She turned five. Her cousin Otis turned zero. A land war broke out in Europe. Mostly, Kina grew up. Her toddler malapropisms gave way to sophisticated and often baffling interrogations about the inner workings of her big-girl mind and the universe.
Maybe the best thing about the last year (for the purposes of this publication) is that Kina learned to read. I introduced a “Young Reader’s Section” on May 28th, for two reasons: first, because I wanted Kina to spend more time reading; and second, because I was tired of coming up with four headlines every weekday (bet you didn’t notice that cost-saving measure). Every day I draw and write a newspaper entirely about Kina, and while that is in part selfish work, it is still fundamentally for her, and so it makes me happy that she can now directly consume the work that I do for her (or at least a little of it). For a long time, Kina could not be pestered to read the word of the day without my drawing a picture of it, but she eventually came around and started sounding things out—and now she is just shouting out the word of the day as she runs to the bathroom. Hooray for Ms. Chelsea and her reading lessons.
Hooray, really, for all her teachers: Ms. Ines, Ms. Jamika, Ms. Mita, Ms. Olenick, Ms. Perez, and Ms. Chelsea. You have carried Kina through the weirdest educational experiment in modern history, and she is a wonderful little person because of you. Kina is also a wonderful little person because of Hannah, who has taken care of her every day since she was nine months old (and throughout these two chaotic years); when we talk about “chosen family” in this household, we are speaking about Hannah. Kina is surrounded by women—not least, her own mother—who lift her up, and I’m glad to be in their company.
I note now, on looking back over the last year of newsletters, that I am writing less. In that long reflection after the first year, I mentioned that I spent “roughly an hour” on the newsletter every night, which avid readers know is no longer the case (except when I am so moved, as I am tonight). I can now draw the morning paper in under twenty minutes1, and ever since Kina started kindergarten, I tend to draw it after I drop her off at school, which means we don’t share the same ritual in the same way, and that’s fine, in that the ritual wasn’t usually as touching as you might think—Kina would watch a show while I drew the paper, and now I finish much faster (and we both watch less TV, because I would often have one eye on the paper and one on her show).
I think one thing I’ve come to realize is that the long newsletters aren’t really the point of this exercise. I like to let the paper speak for itself, and for you all to fill in the empty bits with your own experiences of the pandemic, of your lives as adults, as kids, as parents, and as confused small people on a relentlessly patient but turbulent planet in a marginal corner of the universe. What I love about this paper is that it holds a little daily space for you that is just about one human being: a little girl with baby teeth and only rudimentary impulse control, whose entire existence comprises five years in the long arc of immeasurable time, who wears highly-flammable superhero costumes to school on a regular basis and can run faster than most adults, whose interpretation of the english language is fascinatingly idiosyncratic, who loves her whole family so much, and the dry-cleaning guy on the corner, too. She loves pretty much everybody. She is worthy of this gift, and so are you.
She still wants to live with us forever, and that is exactly how long I will be writing this newspaper, so maybe there is some certainty in life. Check in with us next year.
Another skill Kina has gained: The art on our Parade covers this last year has become more representational. She decided to make today’s celebratory cover a remix of a much earlier Parade featuring She-Ra’s sword, which loves you very much.
One reason the paper takes less time to draw is because I’ve landed on a portrait style for Kina that doesn’t require meticulous care. The portrait you see today is less sophisticated than the ones from 2020, but it carves like five minutes off my production time. And I get to write words on her t-shirt.