Defining ‘Later’

Dictionary.com defines later as:

adv
2. afterwards; subsequently

And according to Define.com:

1: happening at a time subsequent to a reference time; “he apologized subsequently”; “he’s going to the store but he’ll be back here later“;

I’m still trying to figure out how to explain this concept to a 2-year old – and I’m pretty sure using words like ‘subsequent’ won’t help.  We’ve had several instances recently where we’ve mentioned a future event and then had a very upset Chloe Mae on our hands when the exciting future event didn’t happen right away.  Sometimes it’s a small matter – we can go on a walk after dinner or we’ll read books together after I get done emptying the dishwasher.  But there have been a few big one’s lately, in a toddler’s world at least, that have really made me think about how we can help Chloe understand the idea of ‘later’ a little better.

-Chloe was going to spend the night at Nanna and Dudad’s with her cousin a few weekends ago and when it came up at breakfast (because Chloe mentioned them) she started insisting, “Chloe – Nanna, Dudad now.”  I tried explaining that Nanna and Dudad were at work and that Chloe would get to go there after she spent the day playing at MissK’s, but she wanted to go now.  We called Nanna to confirm that she was indeed at work, and that Chloe would not have anyone to play with at Nanna’s house all day, and Chloe calmed down a bit. 

-Later that weekend, I mentioned that Chloe got to spend all day Monday with Grandma.  We were in the car, just pulling into our driveway and I couldn’t get Chloe out of the car, because she wanted to drive down to Grandma and Grandpa’s right away.  I don’t even remember how I eventually got her inside, but it wasn’t pretty.  I asked if she wanted to call them and she said, “No! Go Grandma, Grandpa!”  *sigh* Then DaddyMort made a reference to her getting to go to Grandma’s on Sunday and I think I just about strangled him.  At least we were inside that time and I didn’t have to wrangle her out of the car.

-This morning, I did it again.  At breakfast, I mentioned that some of Chloe’s favorite people were coming to dinner.  Chloe Mae immediately announced she was all done with breakfast, because she wanted to go wait for them by the window so she could see when they arrived.  We had a discussion of what had to happen between now and the arrival of BDunc and her beau, but again, Chloe was pretty sure they should just show up now!!  It was a few minutes before 8, so I got a call in to BDunc before she got to work.  Chloe discussed the evening plans with her and felt a little better.  We still spent the next hour and a half discussing the logistics of when this exciting dinner event would take place…

All in all, I suppose each of these events is helping Chloe Mae figure out the concept of later.  I would guess patience doesn’t come easily to any 2-year-old, and really, wouldn’t we all like instant gratification??  Additionally, we try to use reoccuring events in Chloe’s life to help her understand time – meals, naps, snacks, sleeping.  Ya’ know, the important things 🙂 

Do any seasoned pro’s have any other ideas for us?

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