Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breathless anticipation

It's very hard to be three years old sometimes, to have the ability to anticipate things but not have a real sense of time yet.

I made two mistakes when putting K to bed the other night. The first was to bring up the trip to visit my mother she and I are taking sometime in the next six weeks (place tickets haven't been bought yet, so the exact timing is still to be determined). The second was when K brought up the princess dress like the one a preschool classmate has that she desperately wants, I didn't put her off with something vague but instead suggested that her grandmother might buy it for her birthday.

The next morning, I went into her room to discover a duffel bag out on the floor with several shirts inside, clearly packed for our imminent trip. And the day was pretty much evenly divided between asking if it was her birthday and asking when we were going to the airport. It's very hard to deal with a preschooler who has no real concept of months yet. The best we can do for the moment is get across "Not now."

For the trip, we'll probably make up a calendar where we can cross off the days, and hopefully that will give her something more concrete to see how the time will pass. Her birthday, over four months from now, seems a bit far away for that tactic. I had actually been planning to start making her some princess dresses in the not too distant future but haven't had the time to sit down and sew, so I bought a cheap dress today and have offered it up as a potty training bribe, in exchange for dry pants for the rest of the week. We shall see how successful that tactic actually is. Bribery has never once been an effective technique for us because, heh, K isn't very good with delayed gratification. She didn't want one sticker on the sticker chart, she wanted to be able to artistically arrange multiple stickers on the page without being constrained by little boxes. It only managed to turn every potty session into a completely different power struggle than the typical one.

I'm rather thankful that the baby is still abstract enough in her mind that having to wait until June isn't too hard on her. Finding out that it's a baby brother and getting to see better pictures definitely caused her to have a big leap forward in interest, but my tactic of buying her a doll to be a practice baby brother managed to head off any disappointed about the baby not appearing right away (I had wanted to get an anatomically correct doll, but she insisted on a pink one. However, according to her it's still a boy doll, it's just a baby brother that wears pink. Way to fight gender roles, my dear). But all of her play lately has shifted from mommies and babies to big sisters and little brothers, and she's suddenly wanted to have our books on where babies come from read to her a lot. It's clearly processing through her busy little brain, but I'm just as glad that it's not real enough for her yet for her to start asking when her little brother is arriving every five minutes too.

No comments:

Post a Comment