Ringing In The New Year With Childhood Ignorance

Sometimes, as an adult, you forget that your kids don’t automatically know a lot of basic day-to-day things until you tell them. All day we’d been wishing each other a Happy New Year, talking about the coming of 2010 and the fortune cookies we’d be having that evening in order to receive our fortunes…


I ran to the store for some treats just a couple hours before it would close for the night. And then, around dinner time as we were getting close to the celebration evening, Aiden (my 6-yr-old) asked if he could have some of the treats sitting in the grocery bag on the table.

“That’s for tonight,” I told him.

“Oh.” He had an ignorant look on his face, like “tonight” meant nothing special to him.

“Can we watch one of the movies Nana gave us?”

“That’s for tonight, too,” I said. I knew we were going to need something to fill up the long six-hour evening we were planning to have with the children.


Later on we were talking about how tomorrow it would be 2010 and Aiden said something about waking up in the morning and it will be a new year. That’s when I recognized the lack of party-anticipation on his face. He had no idea the evening would be any different from any other evenings when we put him to bed around 8:30.

The year before he had fallen asleep early, before the New Year’s celebration got going. He didn’t remember anything about it. I would never have guessed, though, that after experiencing six new years in his life, he was totally ignorant that we celebrated it. So it was really fun, getting to be the one to enlighten him of the coming evening and everything we would do.

Watching the excitement enter his face as I explained it was much better than the actual minute at midnight when the kids forced out a “Happy New Year,” with their half-closed eyes and mouths and then stumbled their way to their beds where they fell immediately to sleep.


This morning I walked into the kitchen and noticed a new January calendar on the fridge in place of the old December one. I wondered where we got it before I recognized my sister’s digital artwork — it was just like the 2009 calendar she gave us the year before.

“Did Lindsay add an extra January to our calendar?” I asked Trinity, who was standing next to the fridge and who had appointed herself the monthly calendar flipper.

She didn’t answer because she had no idea what I was talking about.

And then I got it. Trinity had flipped the calendar back to the beginning. To January 2009. Of course, there would be no way for her to know that you can’t just reuse the same calendar over and over again until someone explained to her that the numbers and the days change every year. And I wonder if she’ll always remember that moment as the moment she learned how calendars and days work, the same way I remember when my mom explained to me that ellamenapee is not a single letter of the alphabet but five different letters.