2:35 this afternoon. Squish wakes up from his nap, I pull him out of the crib.
“Okay, let’s get ready to go for a run!” I say.
“What time do you want to leave, Mom?” Manchild asks.
“Hmmm. How about 3:00?”
I change my clothes, get Squish’s socks and shoes on, put in contacts, pull back hair.
“Mom, 2:53, Mom.”
“Okay, we still have a few minutes. Where’s your jacket?” I get Squish into his hat and jacket.
“Mom, 2:56, Mom.”
“Okay, we still have a few minutes. Can you get your shoes on?” I’m gathering blankets, looking for keys.
“2:59, Mom, 2:59.”
“Where are your shoes? You still need to get your shoes on.”
I slide my feet into my shoes and remember the raw spot on the right foot where it’s been rubbing since I stopped wearing my toes socks last week. I pull out a band-aid and some athletic tape.
“It’s 3:00 Mom! Mom, it’s 3:00!”
“I know, it looks like we’re going to be a few minutes late, Bud, is that okay?”
“Um, I guess that’s okay.”
“Have you used the potty? You need to use the potty before we go.”
It’s 3:08 by the time we get the stroller to the door, and 3:16 when we’re buckled in, properly shielded, and ready to go. Sixteen minutes past our estimated departure time. When we pulled up to our apartment door 82 minutes later, Manchild is just waking up from a nap.
“4:38, Mom. What time do you want to get home?”
“Right now, Buddy.”
The boy has been interested in time for nearly 2 years. It started innocently enough. “What time it is?” he would ask. And we would tell him. And then he would ask again. And we would tell him. And he would ask again and we would say, “It’s the same time that it was when you asked the first time.” And then he would say, “What time is it now?” And we tried not to pull our hair out.
We put a digital clock in his room, hoping he’d learn to look at it and stop asking every 23 seconds. He could read numbers, he could tell us what it said. But he would sit and wait for the time to change. “9:23! 9:23!” An hour after bedtime and the novelty had not worn off. And then there was the issue of him being able to reach the clock and change the time. “But my clock says 5:56,” he would inform us. “Your clock is wrong. It is 8:40. Way past bedtime. You need to go to sleep.”
But there are perks. For example: He knows what time bedtime is, and he tries to get there on time. He knows when we need to leave, and he tries to be ready by then. (Except when he’s so busy watching the clock that he forgets to put his shoes on . . . .) And if we have a plan, with a schedule, he is good to go. He keeps us going, moving, getting there. Wherever “there” is.
And there are un-perks. For example: He will, on occasion, have a meltdown if we are late for something. He will, on occasion, drive me crazy with his time questions. He will, on occasion, make it difficult for other people to live their lives because he’s got a schedule to keep. All the other kids at preschool are ready for lunch at 11:20? Sorry, the schedule says lunch isn’t until 11:30. Mom’s class at the gym is 60 minutes long? Excuse him, but it’s been 64 minutes and she’s not back yet.
As far as preschool obsessions/superpowers go, I think we could have done worse. I mean, it never hurts to have a kid who is as anxious to get out the door on time as you are. Life is short. There’s not a minute to waste.
We got his watch (pictured above) from here.