Friday, May 4, 2007

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow...

My son cannot distinguish between today and tomorrow. He
thinks that every time he wakes up from a nap a new day has begun. Sleep equals tomorrow regardless of whether
it was a nap or nighttime. I’m not
quite sure how to cure him of this condition. I’ve tried explaining that another day cannot pass until the sun has set
and the moon has come up but this goes right over his head and is unfortunately
negated by the many sightings of the moon that we’ve had during daylight hours. This inability to distinguish between bedtime and naps may seem like a fairly benign condition but it does
create some conflict in our household.

I told my son, for example, this past Tuesday that we would
be getting the pool out tomorrow. He
smiled and said, “Yippee!” and did a little happy dance. A couple hours later he woke up from his nap
and began this conversation:

Son: Are we
getting the pool out today?

Me: No,
remember? We’re getting it out

Son: That was
yesterday. I just woke up.

Me: Sweetie, that
was a nap. It’s still the same day as
it was before you went to bed.

Son: What? ((((Pause while he comprehends the
situation)))) I thought we were getting

the pool
out today! (Jumping commences) You TOLD me we were getting it out
and it IS tomorrow. (tears start to

Me: It has to get
dark and light again before a new day begins. The sun is still up. We’ll
get the
pool out tomorrow. I promise.

 The crying and jumping went on for a few minutes while he
came to terms with the pool situation. I reassured him that tomorrow was not very far away and explained the
distinction between naps and bedtime again to him, grasping at straws in the
hopes that it would finally compute in that head of his. It didn’t. After his nap yesterday he wished my daughter a happy birthday because I
told him earlier in the day that her birthday was tomorrow.


  1. Back in the day....there used to be a small tavern and pizza store chain that advertised "Free Beer Tomorrow" on a big sign in the window of the store, I never did get the concept, and kept going back day after day in anticipation of the ultimate cheep drunk. I'm sorry to hear that Truman has this affliction, the good news is that the Tavern is no more, at least Grandma Mary thinks it's good news, I miss going in to see if it's tomorrow yet, and, sometimes staying well after midnight just to see if I could figure it out. You say it has to do with the Sun going down?

  2. Katherine does have the concept of tomorrow, but there is one funny thing that she does. She calls tomorrow "tomorrow" and the day after that she calls "the next tomorrow". That's another one of those things that the whole family has adopted. Michael and I frequently refer to the day after tomorrow as "the next tomorrow"---just like we say something is "ki-ki" when it is stuck and we call the stove "the cooking furniture".

  3. Garrett has some issue with it as well but he does not get upset when I tell him it is the same day. I remind him before hand he is taking a nap and that it is still day light outside and when he gets up it will still be day light. Then when he goes to bed even if it is a little light it is darker and it is usually still a little dark in the morning. Could you get a clock and help him learn the times so he would understand it is still the same day?

  4. What about doing a calendar every night at distinguish the two activities (nap and bed)? Every night before he goes to bed he could cross the day off, something that doesnt occur during naptime? You might be able to find or create a fun visual/age appropriate one for him.

  5. Wow, Papa Dale, that comment could have been written by Barney from the Simpsons!

  6. Jacquelyn-
    I find myself saying "ki ki" when my kids are stuck. I can't help myself.

  7. Melinda-
    Sometimes I think Garrett and Truman are the same kid :)

  8. Samara-
    That is a GREAT idea. Simple but genius.

  9. We get confused with Later. We tell him, "We can go outside later."
    "No," he pleads, "TODAY!"
    Maybe we ought to try that calendar trick too.