Teaching time

Anya is currently trying to get a handle on time.

“What day today?” she asks, every morning. And, when I tell her, “Who going to watch me?”

That answer changes. On the weekends, it’s me. On Mondays, it’s Mimi and Poppy. The rest of the time, Daddy’s at bat. Before her father started his current job, there was a sameness to her days. Now there are dependable fluctuations – her father’s work schedule, my work schedule (okay, it has been a dependable fluctuation), her T-ball schedule – and she’s trying to get a handle on what to expect.

She’s also trying to wrap her mind around months and seasons. She keeps telling me she wants to get something (always something she wants, like a doll) “for you birthday.” I explain to her that my birthday has already passed; if she wants it sooner than next year, she’d better ask for it for her birthday.

Or she’ll ask “Why ___ take so long?” (Fill in the blank with whatever she wishes were today – her birthday, or school, or Halloween, or Christmas.) And I’ll list all of the fun things that she’d miss if that day really were today – T-ball and fireworks and drive-in movies and playing in the sprinkler, our road trip for Aunt Isabel’s 90th birthday party, her birthday, Mimi and Poppy’s anniversary, the fair, Celebrate (a local street fair), the corn maze, Zoo Boo, Mimi and Poppy’s birthdays, Thanksgiving, Zoo Lights.

I don’t just want to teach her how to tell time. The world is full of clocks and calendars that do that. I want to teach her that there is always something to look forward to. If you must measure your days, it’s always best to do so in anticipation.

So I’ve made calendar printouts for the rest of the year. I’ve shaded the days her father works and the days Mimi and Poppy will watch her, and inserted icons for birthdays, holidays, appointments, and recurring events like t-ball. It’s my hope that she will thus feel like she has a better handle on what’s going on and what she can expect.


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