We were packing for a trip recently. I have developed a system for getting the kids packed. It is beautiful. Here’s how it works:
- Send kids to basement to get suitcases.
- Keep suitcases on first floor.
- Send kids upstairs to get one type of item at a time. E.g. Three pairs of underpants. Then three pairs of socks. Et cetera.
- Kids throw each type of item in the suitcase.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 as often as necessary.
Seriously. It’s awesome.
I made an observation with Tabitha partway through.
Me: Isn’t it strange how a pair of socks is two socks, but a pair of underpants is only one thing?
Tabitha (six years old): Yeah. It should “a pair plus one” because there are three holes.
Me: Wow. I hadn’t thought of that. So how many holes does a shirt have?
T: Three….No four!
Me: How do you figure?
T: The one you put your head through, the arms, and the head hole.
If you are like me, you may be a bit behind the curve on her language here. “The one you put your head through” is the one that ends up at your waist once your shirt is on. I had to think about this for a moment.
A few days later, I was curious to probe her thinking a bit further. She was getting dressed (a process which is always slow, and occasionally very frustrating for the parents):
Me: Do you remember how you said a pair of underpants has three holes and a shirt has four?
T: Ha! Yeah!
Me: I was thinking about that and wondering whether there are any kinds of clothing that have one hole or two holes.
T: Socks have one hole!
Me: Oh. Nice. Sometimes Daddy’s socks have two holes, though.
T: Yeah. When they’re broken.
By this time, she finally has the underpants on and her pants are being slowly pulled on.
Me: Wait. You need socks!
She goes to her dresser and proceeds to sort through the very messy sock drawer.
T: There are no matches.
I find what appears to be two socks balled up together.
T: No! Those aren’t socks! Those are for putting over tights to keep your legs warm.
We look at each other.
T: Those have two holes!