Sunday, March 28, 2010

40 Days Until Her Birthday: A Paper Chain Project

Sydney has been VERY excited about her birthday lately. We've already planned her party theme--Rainbows--and we'll finish the cake specs as soon as she can pin down whether she wants the icing to be blue or rainbow.

It's very amusing how many misconceptions are also involved in the big 04. Sydney has made such proclamations as:
  • she will be very tall when she is four.
  • the day after she is four, she will be five.
  • she is afraid that she will look all different when she is four.
  • she will not have to go to school on her fourth birthday, and daddy will also stay home from work to play with her.

The words most often uttered from her mouth, however, go as follows:

"HOW MANY DAYS UNTIL I AM FOUR?!?"

This is a job for the Paper Chain!!!

While Matt and Willow spent a happy morning with I Spy Fantasy - Deluxe Edition----Syd and I went to work with markers, glue sticks, and a set of paper strips that I bought from Daiso back in the summer. At the time I recognized that it was a slightly silly purchase, since of course I have perfectly serviceable paper back home, but since Syd was super-anxious to get started, it was nice not to have to get out the cutting mat and rotary cutter and ruler and cut paper into strips, and ALSO nice to therefore not have to deal with the drama of Syd painstakingly picking out all the paper. If you don't have silly paper strips of your own, make finding scrap paper and cutting it into strips its own activity some other time so that you have a stash at the ready. We have a catalogue or two that I'm actually going to do that with this week.


We also got out Sydney's coloring calendar, and she colored on it a little more, and then I showed her today's date, and her birthday, and we counted together how many days there are until then. This was totally over Sydney's head, by the way, because the fact that the numbers on the calendar dates were not the same numbers that we were counting out loud BLEW HER MIND, but that's fine. A little mind-blowing on a Sunday is not an extraordinary event.


And then, oh dear, it turns out that there are 40 days until Sydney's birthday. Forty is a lot of days. Pause everything for a temper tantrum.


When Syd was feeling better, we counted out 40 paper strips. Starting with 1, I wrote the numbers 1-40 on the inside of each strip:Then I handed the strip over, and Syd would put glue on one inside end-- --poke the strip through the last link in the chain (I got us started with the first three), and bend the strip into a circle and press it on the glue until it stuck:For a while I had Syd count the number of links in the chain every time, and then tell me which number came next so that I could write it, but it wasn't a big deal when she got bored with that. Forty is a HUGE number, as we already established.


But yay, the concluding sense of accomplishment!!!I included today in the count, so that after we hung it up near the table where we begin our days, I could show Syd right away how to tear off the last link, turn it over, and answer the question, "How many days until your birthday?"


What I did NOT count on, ahem, was Syd's broken heart that I tore a link off of her chain. So we made a new chain that I promised, swore, VOWED TO THE HEAVENS that we will not tear.


And that is how it is to be three.

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