Luca: “Is it a school day? AGAIN? Next year can you buy a calendar with less school days?”
It’s sweet that Luca thinks I control the calendar year. Sweeter still, he thinks that were I to make changes he’d be a net beneficiary? Like a token bank holiday would come close to compensating for my decimation of their school holidays.
But the more I thought about it, the less ridiculous an assumption it was, because their only concept of time is what I tell them, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been manipulating it to my own benefit for the last six years. Willfully bending it since the day they were born. Selfishly throwing it through wormholes in a way that would flummox greater minds than that of Brian Cox.
In my defence, they’ve only got themselves to blame. They’ve point blank refused my offers to teach them how to tell the time. Until recently you could wipe the clock face clean and replace it with, middle of the night; still the middle of the night; not morning yet; not morning yet; not morning yet; for the love of God, OK it’s morning; lunch; snack; dinner; bed.
But not only have I been twisting time to suit my needs, I’ve also turned it into a range of nouns. Nouns and downright lies…
“It’s 7 o’clock”
Bedtime. On a bad day this can be 6.30pm. On a good day when you’re playing nicely, or more likely I’ve been distracted by Twitter, as late as 8.30pm.
“It’s 8 o’clock”
I’m letting you stay up late as a treat, often for the price of me not having to read the same damn books for the twelfth night running. Can be uttered any time from 7pm onwards.
“It’s 9 o’clock!”
Time to stop talking, often shouted up from the bottom of the stairs at around 8pm, or at half-time if the football’s on.
“It’s gone 10 o’clock!”
I’d assumed you were already asleep, often said in exasperated tones at any time from 8pm onwards, dependent on my mood.
“It’s nearly 11 o’clock!”
Only ever said once. At 9pm. School boy error; way too close to midnight for it not to be seen as a challenge.
And it’s not only at night when I manipulate time. Almost every morning they’ll hear,
“It’s gone 8 o’clock!”
Which means it’s time to get dressed for school or we’ll be late, and can be heard at any time from 7.30am onwards, depending on the amount of resistance I’m anticipating.
But whilst I consciously alter time to suit my needs, when it comes to dates I genuinely do struggle.
I’m embarrassed to admit that at forty-one I still couldn’t confidently tell you how many days there are in a year? I’ve had to google it more than once, and inexplicably went with 265 not so long ago. I also couldn’t tell you how many days are in a month without first reciting the rhyme, and not always in my head. Is date dyslexia a thing?
And as a stay-at-home dad I often don’t know what day of the week it is, let alone the date. If asked how many days it is until Christmas, I can only work in weeks, and even then I’m subconsciously allowing myself a three week margin of error.
When is Easter? Erm….
Janet’s birthday? March … or is it April?
Dress down day for Children in Need? Oh c’mon, I might have read the school newsletter but I’d assumed the date given would have been the Friday! Who celebrates Children in Need on a Thursday?!
So when Luca asks if I’ll change the calendar year, it’s not that far fetched an idea. Could I alter it for him? I probably already have. Should he work to my revision? Absolutely not!
(For the record, I didn’t send them to school in their uniforms for Children in Need. Not again. This year we ran home, got changed and took the late mark.)