Monday, June 9, 2008

But When Mom?

If your kids are anything like mine, you get asked approximately 4382 times before an event when exactly said event is going to take place. Kids, bless their little hearts, have little to no concept of time. It makes me a bit jealous to be completely truthful. How great would it be to not care what day of the week it was or even what time it was?

When my oldest child was three, she was (and still is) a social creature. She wanted to be on the go constantly. She was seldom content to sit around the house. If I needed to do errands, I would ask her if she wanted to go shopping though, because on the days that she didn't feel like going out it was surely a disaster if I tried to force the issue.

When she was three, her little brother was just one year old and fairly portable still. When she was a baby, she balked at sitting in the 'baby' seat of the cart. My son, now nearly four, still asks occasionally to sit in the seat that he has been too big to sit in for about 2 years.

Most days, however, my daughter wanted to go out, do something, see the world and let the world see her. Even as young as 15 months, she'd grab her coat and bring it to me indicating it was time to get our butts out of the house because she was bored being with just mommy.

So, it goes without saying probably, that when there was a big outing planned for sometime in the future, that day would never arrive soon enough for Miss M. As I was trying to navigate life with two active young children I found it extremely tiresome to field my daughter's repeated questioning about when she had preschool and when she didn't or when, exactly, we would be going to her cousin's birthday party. She never asked just once, got the answer and let it go. Because she didn't understand the concept of time, telling her that the party was in three days really meant nothing to her.

One day I had a light bulb moment (as Oprah likes to say...does she still say that all the time? I haven't seen that show in ages) and decided to make M's event calendar. The calendar ended up doing double duty for us.

I marked events on the calendar by drawing representative pictures that my daughter learned to recognize stood for certain events. For example, a book meant that she had school that day, and a party hat meant that it was a birthday party day.

About that same time, we were having trouble getting Miss M into bed without a major meltdown, so, when I introduced the event calendar, I explained that each night she went to bed like a big girl (i.e. no meltdowns) she would earn a sticker on her calendar to mark the day off. If bedtime did not go well, we'd just mark the day off with a boring X.

It was a simple solution that worked remarkably well for us. She had few meltdowns because she wanted that sticker. If she asked me when we were doing something, I'd tell her to look on her calendar and she'd count the number of sleeps before the big day.

Now we have 2 calendars gracing our fridge. We don't need the stickers anymore, and most often forget to put them on at all, but it still helps the kids know what events are coming up. M rarely even asks me when we're doing things anymore. She automatically goes to the fridge to check her calendar.


Beck said...

What a very good idea! You're a smart mama.

angi said...

i love this!

slouching mom said...

great idea!

chelle said...

I love it when ideas like that evolve into so much more than originally intended!

Damselfly said...

You're a genius@

Amanda said...

Once I unearth the front of my fridge from magnets, lists, artwork etc I am all over this!

Kirsetin said...

Excellent! And I am laughing at Amanda's comment above, because don't we all know EXACTLy what she means?!