The shortest path

My eldest son, three-year-old Logan, attended a friend’s birthday party at Jumpity Jump on Saturday. As you might glean from the name, it’s one of those event hosting places that caters to kids’ parties with huge inflatables and so forth. The kids spend an hour bouncing off the walls, get plied with sugary cake and ice cream, and then come home with you. An hour later, they crash like Joaquin Phoenix after a weekend bender and sleep for 72 hours.

Logan had a great time, and because he was reluctant to venture on any of the rides the first time alone, I got to work out muscles I’d forgotten about long ago.

He’s very focused on planning his next birthday these days. When you’re three, birthdays are a big deal, and your upcoming birthday party is like your bar mitzvah, prom, and wedding all rolled into one. He’s obsessed with the theme, who’s going to be invited, what he’s going to get, and of course where it’s going to be (Jumpity Jump now looks to be the front-runner). Anytime I try to discipline or scold him for anything he’s done, then I’m immediately crossed off the guest list…at least for the next 10 minutes or so.

Anyway, Ginny and I have been working with him lately on time concepts. We have this big picture book that explains how to read time on an analog clock, the days of the week, the seasons, and the months of the year. Before bed last night he and I were looking at the page with the months all laid out in a 3×4 grid, like this:

Months of the year

I could see he was struggling to understand the concept of months. Sensing the opportunity to tie it to something relevant, I said, “See, Logan? Here’s September…and your birthday is in February.”

“To get there, we have to go through October, November, December, January, and then there’s February,” I explained, moving my finger from one month to the next. “That’s five months from now. Understand?”

“No, daddy,” Logan replied. “Just go this way.”

Now all I need is a time machine.

– Greg

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