Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Little (Yeah, Right) Thing That Makes Me Happy.

I wanted to share this with you because it has been making me very pleased with myself lately, and if I'm getting pleased with myself then chances are that it can help to make someone out there pleased with themselves too. And I'm all about sharing pleasure (totally didn't intend for that to sound as intimate as it came out)! Bow chicka wow wow.

A month ago, after I posted about Inara's difficulties adjusting to school, my friend told me about a neat tool that she has been using to help her kids plan for their days. It was so simple, really - and I remember wondering why I hadn't thought of it before. Basically, my friend made a humongous calendar (it's really big. In fact, we've been calling it The Big Ass Calendar - just between us mommies, of course) out of poster board. It was large enough that her kids would be able to clearly see what to expect on any given day, and it wouldn't be a huge surprise when she sprung things like doctor's appointments on them. Because hey, it isn't really a surprise if it's already on the calendar, right?

Smart lady.

I went over to her place to use her fancy-schmancy electronic cutting machine, because if I was going to make this Large Bummed Calendar (trying to keep the naughty words to a minimum here) I was going to make it look PRETTY. And even though I am not crafty in the least, I think it turned out swell. Inara and Nissa certainly thought so!

Check it out, kids. March's Big Bummed Calendar:

I have a few things to say about this:

1. Don't laugh at my lion and lamb. I warned you about my lack of craftiness and artsyness.
2. I hung the gigantic calendar at kiddie eye-level, right next to the rain gutter bookshelves, so that the kids couldn't miss it. 
3. I took my friend's idea a step further and tailored it to my kids needs (which you can do too!). I didn't want to label Inara's school days with YOU ARE GOING TO SCHOOL ON THIS DAY AND THIS DAY AND THIS DAY PLEASE DON'T FREAK OUT. So instead, I used a calming shade of violet and colored in the Monday, Wednesday and Friday columns.
4. Then I made sure to plan activities for the purple days, so that Inara would have other things to look forward to, on those days that she was feeling not so great about school.

I can't tell you how much of a difference this has made in our lives. I don't have to deal with the "Mama, do I have to go to school tomorrow?" questions anymore, because it's on the calendar. It's written down and I can't change it! And also, I know that school is not your favorite thing, but LOOK! We get to go swimming afterward! Awesome sauce!!

As soon as I put this baby up, Inara and Nissa were all over it. Nissa liked the little birdies (don't laugh at them! I tried to make them not look like blue blobs...I really did!). Inara loved the rainbows (but of course), and she touched all the little words around the edges, reading them aloud to her sister. It's her favorite song (because it's about rainbows), and I thought it was kind of inspirational too, a special touch just for her:

The coolest part was when she stood there and counted all the purple days, and then counted all the plain old white days. And she realized, with a huge grin, that there were far less purple days than white ones. ANXIETY GONE. I swear. It was that simple.

Now, I know that she is going to have to work up to five days of school, eventually. But right now, my kid is a happy little birdie. And that is all that matters to this mama. We now have lots to look forward to, and she actually says things like, "It's a purple day! I have to go to music class, but I also better not be late for school!"


As an aside, Inara (and Yousuf and I, by extension) is seeing a child psychologist. There, I said it and now you know. We absolutely love her and she has made such a difference in our lives. I think that she is going to help Inara do AMAZING things with her life, and I'm so glad that we have her. I told her about our Big Bummed Calendar at our last meeting and she showed me her notes that said, Homework: put as much information about Inara's day in writing as possible so that she knows what to expect. 

I poop you not!

If there was ever a way to be a psychological teacher's pet, then I think we found a way to do it.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts with Thumbnails