Parenting is a tremendous amount of work. Within that work are beautiful moments of love and joy. For Tabitha and me, these moments often involve music. We had an impromptu dance party in the kitchen the other night that began with my putting on some music to do dishes by.
When Griffin was born, I began maintaining playlists. Each year, I collect songs that the kids liked, or that I was listening to, or that reminded me of them in some way. Some years I remember to burn these to CDs to share with family members. But I never delete them.
That first playlist is titled “Griffin year 1”.
Do you see the math here?
Tabitha (5 years old at the time): Are you done with my year 5 playlist yet?
Me: Yes. I finished that when you turned 5. Now I’m working on your year 6 playlist; I’m collecting a bunch of songs during the year and it will be done on your birthday.
T: Why isn’t this my year 5 playlist?
Me: Good question. Well…your first playlist I started before you turned one…
T: When I was zero years old.
Me: Right. Then when you turned one, I started your year 2 playlist. That’s what it means to be 1 year old; that your first year is over and you’re in your second year.
So when will I work on your year 10 playlist?
T: When I’m 9.
Me: How do you know that?
T: I don’t know. I just do…
So you’re working on Griffy’s year 9 playlist now? [Her brother Griffin was 8 years old at the time.]
Me: Yes. Nice. I was just about to ask you that, but you thought about it on your own. Good thinking.
T: Will you still be working on them when I’m an adult?
Me: I would gladly still work on them when you’re an adult. I don’t know if you’ll want me to at that point, but if you do, I will.
T: Oh, I will. Hey! Can you play my favorite song about the flower?
And so began the dance party.
So what do we learn?
There is an important idea about counting and measuring here. During your first year, you are zero years old. Something that measures within the first inch on a ruler is zero inches long (plus a fraction).
This is not obvious by any means. If you have ever been frustrated by the fact that the 1900s were the 20th century, or that ours is the 21st, you understand the problem.
Starting the conversation
These are fun things to talk about. Almost always, going back to the beginning is helpful for making sense of things. So ask your child about 2014 being in the 21st century, and why they think that is.
Or maybe start making an annual playlist. You won’t regret it.