I remember a friend once had a shirt he would wear that read, "time is a human construct". That always stuck with me. Mostly because I have a stupid fascination with time traveling and really anything that disturbs our collective status quo on what time is and how we perceive it. But before I get all Carl Sagan on this shit let's talk about 2yr olds.
I am fascinated with my 2yr olds cognizance of time. His perception of it is intrinsic to his routine. Well, we are by nature our routines. There's an old Tibetan chant that goes (paraphrasing here):
Your thoughts become your routines, your routines become your rituals, and your rituals define you.
What he does understand is his routine and the sing-songy ness of it all. He knows on Mondays that his nanny comes. He knows on Tuesdays that the garbage trucks come. He knows that I, Dad, am home on the weekends.
But beyond that he understands the nuances of a day; the details of an hours even. He knows that in the morning he eats fruit on the counter, then has breakfast in his high-chair. He then ask for the iPad and watches his allotment of TV for the day. About an hour because we are those tech job parents that are desperately afraid of exposing our children to the world we get paid to construct.
His morning officially starts and ends rather quickly. We go to a park or the beach, sometimes his grandparents take him to the bus stop where he greets and celebrates every interesting truck, bus, car, or airplane cruising west Los Angeles' Lincoln Boulevard. Then we come home, eat lunch, and play on the living room rug. A little reading and it's off to nap.
The afternoon consist of a walk and sometimes a movie. Mostly home-base activities. For example today we put up the Christmas tree and yesterday we put new hardware on one of our skateboards. If we are going out to dinner we go out super early as his dinner is when most adults get off of work. This is the extracurricular time in his routine.
Dinner is what you expect. Then there's bath time which involves singing Bingo Name-O, his version of B-I-N-G-O. You can probably guess how it goes from it's "name-o". A little birthday suit time followed by reading and bed.
The next day we do it all over again.
His routines are turning into rituals— at only 2 years old! As a parent I now know he likes fruit first thing in the morning. Hopefully that will continue as breakfast they say is the most important meal. Also his routine helps him understand the limitation of screen time now as well. Although he never likes for it to stop, if we let it go too long he will on his own, walk away.
As you may know if you have kids or are around them a lot: they’re big sponges. This messy, goopy world is small for them but their inputs are hungry to interpret and synthesize every little bit of everything. Time is something they have forgotten in a way — really it’s something they don’t have time for.
We can learn a lot from watching our little ones interpret the world. I am learning so much. Today’s lesson is about an obsession with time, it’s ostensive control over practically everything, and our need to get back to creating strong routines.
I am going to do more guessing and less looking at clocks from here on out in hopes that I can forget time too.