Survivor: Daylight savings time
It’s amazing the tricks your mind can play. Like this morning, when Big Guy bounced into my bed at 8:30, according to the cable box. Wow. Ten hours’ sleep. No wonder I’m so refreshed!
Euphoria lasted as far as the kitchen, where it was 7:30. Then I remembered. The cable box adjusts itself for daylight savings time. Microwaves do not. Drat. I didn’t get extra sleep. Where are the coffee filters …
It’s amazing, too, that I could forget something I read a story about early onset daylight savings time.
Boon: I wouldn’t call myself a fanatical environmentalist, but I like to do my part. And if extra weeks of daylight-saving time would help, fine.
That was normal-person thinking. Soon Mommy thinking took over. "This STINKS. I’m gonna find whoever hatched this and invite him to my house for a few evenings. Better yet, I’m gonna drop Big Guy off on his doorstep and say, ‘Here. You get this to bed.’ "
Unlike many parents in the story, I wasn’t worried about mornings. I go to work early, so my two are used to getting up in the dark. I feared the other end: Trying to get the little boogers in bed during daylight.
Two summers ago was not so bad – I was on maternity leave, and bedtime didn’t matter as much. I kept Big Guy close to schedule anyway, no matter how much grief I got about the utter cruelty of making that poor child sleep.
Truth be told, I’ve had bouts of feeling scummy about it. I barely have two hours with Little Guy in the evenings. What a wretched mother I am, hustling that baby off to bed when we could play instead.
Then I realized how wretched that time would be. The longer past 6:30 Little Guy is up, the uglier it gets. By 7, he’s a toy-hurling wildebeest – kind of like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist," but without the pea soup.
And I also remembered that, not coincidentally, everyone who thinks I’m a big bad bedtime meany has never had the joy of getting a grumpy sleep-deprived pre-schooler dressed, fed and on the road on time
We had a few days like that last summer, when Big Guy was smart enough to know the routine -- dinner, bath, dark, books, bed – and stubborn enough to resist altering it. He’s like that about virtually everything. Ran around sweating bullets today rather than change his long-sleeve shirt. "Does Little Guy have on shorted sleeves?" he asked suspiciously. "Then I’m not either!"
Oh, dear. It’s going to be "game on" tonight, I thought.
At dinner, the sun remained high in the sky. I took it personally. "You JERK! You’re going to stay out later, and you’re going to be brighter and make bedtime seem even more evil."
When 6:30 rolled around, I started Little Guy’s routine – bath, dark, books … "Mommy, why are you putting him to bed," Big Guy asked. "It’s not dark."
I had no explanation that would make sense to a 3-year-old. I kept reading and hoped Little Guy wouldn’t notice Big Guy raising a stink on his behalf. Little Guy went peaceably. As long as he had his stories and his Baby, it didn’t matter.
A little after that, I forgave the solar system. About 7, the sun retreated. At 7:30, Big Guy plodded off to bed with no more than his usual gripes.
So maybe this earlier daylight-saving time can work. Instead of jumping into it in April, we can ease in in March. Come May, daylight bedtime will have crept up so slowly that Big Guy won’t notice.
Probably not. But let me dream for a while.
Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.