As my niece gets older, she’s becoming increasingly harder to lie to. But my step son believes every word i say. I’ve never told him elaborate lies — like I fought in the war or helped build rome — but I’m guilty of a little fib now and then, mostly in the name of keeping the peace. If it avoids a tantrum, I’m totally OK with saying things like “Oh, sorry, we can’t play with teddy now because he is sleeping and if we wake him he'll bite, or “We’ll look for your squeaky shoes later” or “the lizard is in heaven.” I doubt he’ll be sitting down with a therapist later, trying to sort out his anger at me for telling him that the public playground closes at 9 am.
As Paige gets older, though, she’s starting to figure things out. First she would ask the occasional follow-up question, which eventually led to hard-core interrogations. Several times in the last month, I’ve had to abandon a conversation and just tell her the truth.
But there is one area where our son still has no clue: When it comes to the of time.
He seems to have no ability to discern whether five minutes have passed or five hours. I can go to the park at 4:04 p.m., tell him it’s time to go at 4:06 p.m., and he will blindly follow me as if we spent the whole afternoon there. Other times we’ll spend an hour and he’ll act like we just got there.
This is pretty typical. We have a little timer that we occasionally use to let him know he has 10 minutes left to play before getting ready for naptime or whatever. When the little bell goes off, he doesn’t question it. It’s almost like he plays in a little vortex where time doesn’t exist.
While I suppose the inability to tell time might have some disadvantages in the long run, a big part of me is hoping that this phase lasts at least another 10 years. If nothing else, it seems to make him a happier person. How cool would it be as a teenager to think that the school day is only 12 minutes long, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is 2 days and the waiting at walmart only takes 14 seconds? Come to think of it....this might work out quite fine.