Since all our daughters were wished for (meaning planned), they’re almost evenly spaced – three and a half years between the eldest and the second, and another three and half years between the second and the youngest. But that sometimes created problems, as things that are clear to a 10-year old, may not be comprehensible to a three year old.
Yet, no matter the difference in their ages, as children, they all seem to want the same thing – even when there is only one of whatever it is that they are coveting. John, their dad, used to drive a two-door Mitsubishi Mirage, and everyone wanted the rear passenger’s window seat nearest where they got in. For safety reasons and since John drives and I don’t, that’s through the front passenger side. This meant that it won’t be easy for the other two to get into the car, as the first one to get in is blocking the way. We get a lot of arguments that pleading, cajoling and threatening could not resolve.
Obviously, we needed to set down rules, so that they would not be fighting to be the first to get in the car. Here comes Disciplinarian Mommy decreeing that they should take turns, pronouncing that the coveted seat belongs to eldest daughter Ching Ching on dates ending on one to ten; Middle daughter Kathy’s turns are from the 11th to the 20th; and youngest daughter Sacha’s are on the 28th (or 29th), 30th or 31st. When it’s Ching Ching’s turn to be at the right window seat, Kathy goes in first and takes the leftmost seat (behind the driver), Sacha takes the middle seat (the most unpopular seat) and Ching sits on the prized seat – the right window seat. They rotate, moving clockwise. But when February came, Sacha felt shortchanged and complained that the month only had 28 days. We had to tell her about leap years. I suppose she was too young to be familiar with the calendar, so we recited the nursery rhyme –
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except February alone,
Which has twenty-eight, in fine,
And each leap year twenty-nine.
I pointed out to her that while she was losing two turns in February, she actually had seven extra days spread throughout the year. Yes, you lose some, you gain some.
With that explanation, we did get to impose the rule, and peace and order returned. All they needed to know was what date it was. The bonus was that they also became aware of calendar dates and months. The rule continued for many years until Ching Ching, and later Kathy, learned to drive. And then it was a different ballgame.