My friend gave us an advent calendar last night. It’s nothing fancy, no hidden chocolates or anything exciting behind each window, just flaps numbered 1-24 counting down the days until Jesus’s birthday. We hung it on the closet near the front door so we would remember every morning to open a new window. And this morning we started the countdown. Except after we opened the window marked “1”, Summer wanted to open more. I gave her the option – either she can close #1 and open #24 making the countdown the same only backwards, or we could wait until tomorrow to open the next one. She chose to go for #24 simply because she wanted to open another window, because opening #1 and leaving it at that wasn’t enough. And after our countdown was officially reversed, she wanted to open #4. I told her we can’t open #4 yet, it’s only the first day.
You would have thought I shot her puppy, cancelled her birthday party, and peed in her apple juice all at the same time.
My girl cried. Hard. With tears rolling down her face, she curled up in a ball on the floor and bawled her eyes out almost to the point of me giving in and letting her open #4 because she is that good. But with the clock ticking and a 30 minute drive to daycare calling, I ended up putting my purse on one shoulder, a backpack on the other, keys and travel mug full of coffee in one arm, and a weeping 3 year old like a sack of potatoes in the other as we walked out the door and probably woke up every neighbor in the process with crying screams echoing down the hall. Window #4 stayed closed.
The whole way to daycare I thought about how I want her to know that there are rules. That there are certain things we do for a reason. That patience is a wonderful thing. But at the same time, she’s 3. She’s been in daycare since she was 16 months old. She has a pretty structured day with scheduled snack time, and naptime, and potty break time, and reading time, and plenty of important rules. Don’t hit your friends. Throw away your garbage. Don’t wipe your snot under the table (a lesson learned last week). And obviously she has rules at home that are worth enforcing. Brush your teeth. Put your toys away. Don’t hit the dogs. Bedtime at 8:30. Potty before bed. And with all these rules that we have to follow, in the grand scheme of things, does opening window #4 on day #1 on a silly paper advent calendar really matter? Is it hurting anyone? Will she even care about the calendar by day 8? Is it really a rule worthy of enforcing?
It’s really not.
So after I got home from dropping her off, I decided that while it was good that I didn’t give in while she was tantruming on the floor, maybe I should just open up window #4 for her… you know, to show her that if she wants to open the silly little paper flaps in whatever order she chooses, I’m completely fine with it.
And then I thought that maybe I should open one more since it is technically the second day of Advent and all.
And one more just to let her know that really, it’s her Advent calendar, her way.
Aaaaaaaaaand maybe just one more to really drive the message home.
I think you see where this is going…..
Shit. Luckily the only one who saw me do it was Hazy and she’s not telling.