Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Time is a Slippery Concept

"Look at that sky!" Haley stares up at the clouds, thick and oppressive, promising a thunderstorm early in the afternoon. "I guess we'll be staying in after lunch." I scoop some broccoli into each bright plastic bowl as Haley flicks on the dining room lights. "My daddy come soon." Zach announces. "Well, not soon honey." Dad will be here in about four hours. In toddler-speak, that is a long time. "First we will finish lunch, then we will read some stories, then it's nap-time. After nap-time, daddy will come." We measure time by tangibles around here. Zach hears me out politely. "My daddy comin' soon!" "Nap-time first, sweets." Now Zach is puzzled. "I be at my house in my bed inna dark." "Well, yes, but night time isn't for a while yet." His puzzlement deepens, enriched by a tinge of exasperation. "Is dark NOW! My daddy come NOW!" Ahhhh! The penny drops. What does he know of the hands on the clock? It's twilight! Daddy come NOW!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P


Blogger Juggling Mother said...

ahhh, the easy life of the daycare provider;-) Us parents get to deal with this daily, but the opposite way round. "It's NOT bedtime yet. It's still sunny!" from LMB at 11pm:-)

7/26/2006 10:33:00 a.m.  
Blogger Andi said...

I decided to subscribe to a new magazine called Wondertime. In their first issue, hey had a wonderful article on children's understanding of the concept of time. The author(s) developed a clock design that is intended to help children better grasp some of the abstract principals of telling time. They put the clock face design (and an explanation of the concepts) on their website as a downloadable PDF so that parents could put the clock together and then place it where the child can see it and use it. I love the whole project but it's still a little beyond the grasp of my soon-to-be 2 year old.

7/26/2006 10:51:00 a.m.  
Blogger Sassy Student said...


That makes PERFECT sense, you know.

This has happened, so now it is time for THAT to have happened.

It's perfectly logical!

7/26/2006 11:10:00 a.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I've always told Pumpkinpie I will pick her up after nap and before dinner, too. But wow, that darkness would throw everything off! And I guess it will in winter, too, when it gets dark at 4! how confusing for a little guy. He sounds sharp, that one.

7/26/2006 11:16:00 a.m.  
Blogger Kristen said...

Haha! Quinn does that, too, as soon as the sky darkens for a storm: "It's naptime? I'm gonna go take a nap?" LOL.

7/26/2006 11:29:00 a.m.  
Blogger Angela said...

I'm really enjoying all of the Zach stories - I relate better, because K is much as the same developmental level.

And, he's not far off is he? Dark means daddy - that's something K would say. Her favourite line is "my mommy come home and you leave, mommy stay wif me!" It's been that way since mom was gone for a week and I was there 24/7!

7/26/2006 12:28:00 p.m.  
Blogger KTP said...

I love Zach!

My little guy (15 months) has been pointing and clocks and trying to say "clock" (comes out "ca!") for a few weeks now. So when I spotted a foam play clock-face at Target for $1 I snapped it up, eager to teach him about the numbers and the hands, etc. But the foam clock is more like a puzzle - so wouldn't you know the entire thing was disassembled and scattered throughout my house before the second-hand on the REAL clock went around once! Now he comes up to me offering little foam numbers at random times. This morning I stepped on "4" as I got out of the shower.

Mary, I love how parents share their stories with you when you share stories with us. Quid pro quo!

7/26/2006 12:59:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Around here, time is only understood when it evolves around the garbage truck. "Mommy, garbage truck coming today."

"Yes, it comes after lunch time."

"After lunch time, garbage truck coming."

And then he runs to the window. He has a looooong wait.

7/26/2006 02:03:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I went to the website andi provided for a clock face. Great idea. I would tweak it though, and put pictures of activities the child does at specific times of the day. For 12 I would put a picture of him eating lunch, for 7 I would put a picture of him getting dressed, etc.

7/26/2006 02:07:00 p.m.  
Blogger Jenorama said...

Awww, poor Zach!

7/26/2006 04:23:00 p.m.  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

Jeez, Mary! After reading your post, I felt like I was rewinding conversations I have been having with Baby Girl since Herr left! You have my sympathies!

7/26/2006 05:42:00 p.m.  
Blogger kimmyk said...

Sounds like he wanted some special daddy time.

Jamie fusses he can't get Adam to spend anytime with him now that he's 14 and a big kid.

Ahhh I miss those days when we as parents were the important ones.

7/26/2006 09:37:00 p.m.  
Blogger Granny said...

It makes perfect sense to me.

7/26/2006 10:34:00 p.m.  
Blogger AverageMom said...

Ah yes. That's how we measure time, too. Except for Girl Terror, who asks at every nap time "Should I sleep till 3? Or 4?". If I say "4 o'clock today, okay?" she is outraged. HOWEVER! She has no clock in her room. So, why is she asking me this?!

7/27/2006 03:00:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Oh Lordy, 'telling time' around our house is DEFINITELY measured by how bright or dark it is. Both naptime as well as bedtime are unimaginable since "it too bright" or "too early" for either! (sigh) I love summer but the fact that it doesn't get dark until well close to nine o'clock wreaks complete havoc on Jordan's bedtime. Although I'm sure that even if got dark at six he'd find another excuse not to go.

7/27/2006 06:10:00 a.m.  
Blogger lara said...

and this, my friends, is why daylight savings is just another oppression tool of The Man.

"but kari, yesterday we didn't have to go to bed until it was dark outside..."

7/27/2006 04:09:00 p.m.  

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