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Do You Have the Time?

Laylee does. She recently received her first real watch as a Valentine's gift and has been obsessed with time ever since. At first we were so excited. She can tell time. How cute. What a great skill! That's one of those little life-changers. Good for her.

But things have changed as we're learning that with the knowledge of time comes great power and increased parental accountability. Before, she'd ask how many minutes she needed to lay with me for her nap and I'd say, "About half an hour," and she'd say, "How long is that?" And I'd say, "About one episode of Dragon Tales."

Then we'd nap for something resembling half an hour and I'd let her get up. Now when I say half an hour, she lays in bed staring at her watch, ticking off the minutes as they go by. When 30 minutes are up, she sits bolt upright and jumps out of bed and off to more exciting pursuits.

Then there's the ticking time bomb factor. Whenever we have an appointment or an event to head out the door to, Laylee will follow me around with her watch. "MOM! It's almost time to leave for school. You said we had to leave by 8:30, right? Well it's 8:17!!! We're almost late. Oops. 8:18! Come ON!"

She'll do this the entire time until we're finally in the car and then report on the status of our punctuality or lack of it. We've actually been getting to places on time much more frequently the last few days but with much higher blood pressure.

She's also always ready to call me on my inconsistencies. "But Mom! You said you'd be ready to do story time in five minutes and it’s already been six minutes and you're still not ready."

And to this, as I frantically work to get dinner ready, I want to respond, "Yeah? Yeah? Well you didn't even know that Spider-Man was a good guy until yesterday when I told you that I did not, in fact, buy Magoo Valentine cards covered with pictures of an evil villain mastermind so I don't think you have any room to criticize. Besides, this food I'm making is for you."

But that would be immature and very un-mom-like. And by the time I spit it all out, I would probably be at least three minutes late for story time and she'd know it, and then she'd pass that knowledge on to me.

The time-telling hasn't been all bad though. Yesterday when she was doing her homework, she chose about double her normal daily amount and said she wanted to challenge herself to get it all done in 20 minutes. She looked at her watch and then started writing furiously. And she got it done, well done, with one minute to spare. She was so proud -- I believe mostly because she was the one to keep track of her own goal.

Every step she takes towards autonomy seems to give her a tiny booster shot of inner-peace. She likes the idea of being her own woman. Personally it freaks me out just a little to see my baby growing up. But being able to read a clock is not really all that troubling in the list of aging milestones. Approximately 5 minutes from now she'll be in high school and dating and then leaving me for college. Maybe I'll buy her a really nice watch as a going-away present and then cry for a few weeks.

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