So we always complain that kids don't come with handbooks on how to raise them. But equally helpful would be a handbook for kids, from us. In it, we would explain important concepts. Like time.
Here's an example: Two minutes. Two minutes can actually be much more or less than 120 seconds. You see, kids, it depends what we are doing, and if it is something we want to do or not.
So, "We can play War for another two minutes," might actually mean "One more turn each and we're done here, kiddo." Real-time: 2 minutes. Parent-time: 30 seconds.
Whereas, "Get into bed and I'll check on you in two minutes," well, that might not happen till tomorrow. Real-time: 2 minutes. Parent-time: 12 hours.
Sometimes we completely lie about time. Like when we are timing you to do something you don't want to do. "Can you clean up these toys before I get to 20?" Here's a hint: Yes, you can. Because we will stretch out counting to 20 for as long as it takes. See, we just want the toys cleaned up. And we want you to feel successful in your endeavors. So we will make sure you beat the clock. (Note: This is not a sustainable lie. In 7-10 years from now, we will not be able to say, "Let's see if you can study for that really hard chemistry exam before I get to 15!")
Parent-time also comes in handy for peeing.
"Let's see if you can pee before I get to 10!" we might say, because for some reason, children, you don't want to pee, ever; it is something you must be bribed and cajoled to do. Us parents don't understand it. And the older we get, the less we understand this whole not-wanting-to-use-the-bathroom thing. Probably because for you, peeing is taking precious time away from other, nobler pursuits, such as zooming little cars under the sofa and building a Mega-Zord. For us, peeing means disappearing into the bathroom for a few minutes alone. So you little people dread pee, while we grownups anticipate it, look forward to it, sometimes even invent pee needs just to sit in a quiet room.
What was I saying?
Oh yes. So when we count to 10, we may count ve-e-e-ery slo-o-o-o-o-owly. Because once again, the goal is the peeing, not the rapidity. It doesn't matter to us if it takes you nine seconds or 11 seconds. It just matters that you pee before it ends up on our couch.
The same is true when we time you for races, because the goal is you running and tiring yourself out. Here's how it works:
Scene: Two mommies at a playground, chatting, while you kids are running around, having a good time, entertaining yourselves bless you. Suddenly, you decide that Mommy has to be involved in your next activity. You run up to Mommy. You see she is in the middle of a conversation:
Mommies: Did you see [that thing] on Facebook? .... So and so is pregnant again ... Can you believe what my husband ... [redacted]. (Ed. note: Don't worry, dear, that doesn't apply to you. You are my knight in shining armor!)
You do not care about this conversation. Because YOU need Mommy RIGHT NOW.
You [interruping]: Mommy, Mommy! Time me how long it takes for me to run around the playground!
We are into this idea! And we even come up with a better one!
Mommy: Ooh! Even better - run around TWO TIMES!
Mommy: One, two ... [you start running]
Mommies resume conversation.
Mommies: So this morning, all the kids ended up in my bed ...
You come zooming by
Mommies: One definitely kneed me in the stomach ... SEVEN! EIGHT! ... So did you figure out what you're doing with the kids for the summer? ... FIFTEEN! SIXTEEN! ... Yeah, I also have to go to Rami Levi later. Somehow the food I bought is all gone ... NINETEEN! Wow! You did it in less than 20 seconds! Amazing! See if you can go down the slide 10 times in a row! I'll time you! ... And then, he took the permanent marker - how he found the permanent one, I have no idea ... TWENTY-THREE!
So that's how the book would work. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe we shouldn't be giving away the parenting equivalent of state secrets. We want to keep these timely (Ha! Ha!) tricks to ourselves.Never mind kids, go back to what you were doing. I'll be there in a minute.