Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Future and The Present

Greta is so excited for her birthday she can barely contain herself. She talks about her party. Who she is going to invite, what games they will play, what presents she would like. Every day she asks me multiple times when her birthday is.

It is in January.

Our conversations go like this:
Greta: How many days till my birthday?
Me: (rounding) Two hundred.
Greta: (disappointed) Awwww. How many months till my birthday?
Me: Seven
Greta: (perking up) Oooooooh! Seven!

So I decided to do something to bring home the message of just how far away her birthday is. We made a paper chain, one day for each day until her birthday. Each day she can tear off a loop and see how many links are left until her birthday. We numbered the days of each month so if Greta forgets a day it will be easy to catch up. Evelyn helped out by doing August.

Here it is. In her play silk and birthday chain she looks a bit like Lady Un-Liberty.

We draped it across her bedroom ceiling in arcs. It looks like a party in there. We left the June and July end hanging down to the floor, so she can tear off the days. After hanging it up we contemplated it.

Me: Each one of those links is a day. Is that a little or a lot of days?
Greta: A lot.

Maybe now, I think, we'll have some relief from the relentless pain of birthday longing. I wander away patting myself on the back. What an awesome visual representation of just how long it is until her birthday.

Two minutes later Greta taps my arm. I look down. She has a bag freshly wet with glitter glue and hearts.

"Can you put my birthday presents in here?"


Kristin said...

That was a clever idea to make the time concept real. She looks adorably hopeful in the photo. She reminds me of the Statue of Liberty.

Susan said...

I had to laugh at how completely this idea failed. And then I thought, she is only four, can she really translate all those loops into days?

A few minutes after she brought me the glittery bag Greta started tying red streamers. "I'm decorating for Christmas," she said.

"Those could be for the 4th of July," I said.

"I want them to be for Christmas!"

I walked her back to her is not that I care if she decorates the house for Christmas. I just took down some lights yesterday (scout's honor, it was yesterday). But after the decorating there will be the waiting for the presents.

So I walked her back and showed her where Christmas was in the chain calendar. And then I showed her where 4th of July was. Her eyes traveled along the chain from Christmas to 4th of July.

"Let's decorate for the 4th of July!" she cried.

Maybe, in time, it will all sink in.

Stefaneener said...

It's so hard, this time thing. And then there's the whole birthday shebang. Hey, we're doing a birthday on Monday evening. Can Greta come and have fun with someone ELSE'S birthday?

I played "birthday party" more times than I care to remember with Sarafina about this age.

And many of my great ideas end up in lead balloon land. It was a nice idea, though.

patricia said...

My favorite part of this post is when Greta thinks seven months sounds better than 200 days. "Oooooooh! Seven!"

Lily has always been like this about her birthdays. Getting older and gaining a sense of how far off her birthday was has never deterred her planning. Plus, her birthday is on Halloween, so there are also costumes involved. I've been on the listening end of so many plans, for so many years...

She's a good planner though. Throws great parties. That's the upside!

gina said...

What a great idea! My littlest 's is on the 22nd of July and she has been asking daily- what a good project for tomorrow. Although I'm not sure it will make the same impact as 200. :)

gina said...

My girls do each have their own calendar- but Mackie hasn't quite mastered how to identify what day is today. And which way to go from there...

AM said...

Wow. You are a GREAT mom!