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Monday, July 8, 2013

Marking the Calendar

It's not that Bow can't count. He used to count strawberries and apples and cherry tomatoes. He could tell me how many there were.  And it's not that he does not know what a day is or that he has no concept of time. He understands today, yesterday and tomorrow. He is the one who reminds me when it is noon, and he does it without using a watch. He certainly does know that we eat at twelve, and he does not appreciate deviations from the schedule.

The real problem is that days are such abstract things, and it's harder to count abstractions. Humans have trouble keeping track of the days, too, without the use of a calendar.

Today, I brought in a calendar. Before bringing the calendar into the pens, I had marked all the days that had passed since Sword left, leaving the 8th --today --  for Bow to mark. Bow was happy to have the calendar to look at, but at first he was mostly interested in the pictures of the horses, and he flipped through the calendar to see all the different horse pictures.

But then I explained to him the significance of the squares, that each of them stood for a day, and I showed him how I had marked the days since Sword left, and I let him mark the 8th.

Of course, he'd much rather have scribbled all over the calendar, but he did listen to my explanation and cooperated with me in marking the right square. His self-restraint in not grabbing the pen from me before I was ready to give it is a mark of his growing maturity. And he willingly let me take the calendar back out once we were done.

Just the fact that the calendar survived intact is a big step forward for Bow and me. And now when he asks when Sword is coming back, I will show him the calendar. Only lately he hasn't been asking.

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