September 19, 2013

What Time Is It?

So there's this thing I used to do as a kid, until my father went ballistic about it and I stopped, which was ask the time all the time. What time is it? How long will it take to get there? What time will we be back? What time is it now? What time is my TV show on? What time is lunch? Is it almost lunchtime? Which direction are we driving in? Which highway is this?

I started asking those questions when I was around 4, from what I remember. My father could not understand why I needed to know what time it was. When I was 5 or so, they bought me a watch. I also remember making the babysitter crazy asking the time all the time. Even though I had a watch, I still couldn't read the time.

Fast forward to the present, in the car with my almost 4 year old son. "What time is on the clock?" I hear from the backseat. What what wha? I never taught him how to ask for time, so I can't believe my ears. "What did you say?!"

"What does the time say?" Holy crap child!  I am in shock! "Oh, what time is it? It's 9:15am"
"How long til we get there?"
"Maybe 15-20 minutes"
"15-20 minutes?" He is processing, calculating, in that head of his...."which direction are we going?"

"We are going south on highway 15" I say, reliving my youth, partly in awe, partly hoping it does not lead to the same type of anxiety I experienced.
"What time is it now?"

And on and on, every minute he asks, as he sees the numbers on the clock change. And since then, he does it every single time we're in the car. Every minute, without fail, he asks. This makes it impossible to hold an uninterrupted adult conversation. It can get long if you're driving for 30 minutes or stuck in traffic.

But I answer patiently each time because I know if he's anything like me, it relieves the anxiety of not knowing and lack of control. If he's anything like me, he is mentally cataloging and mapping the world out by highway, without necessarily being able to remember street names or house numbers, but still being able to navigate.

Instead of seeing an amazing potential in their daughter, my parents mocked me. Why would a kid need to know such things?

I can be so different for my son and he can turn out so much better. Times have changed. Hopefully time heals old wounds.

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