The Time Traveler’s Son

There are few things in society that are abstract and entirely man-made, but, yet, dictate every aspect of our lives. We continue our day-to-day lives without giving a second thought to said indispensable aspects of life. One such aspect is time. Time dictates what we do when, how often, and for how long. As a teacher, even my bladder was slave to the clock; bathroom breaks occurred only during recess and lunch hour.


One crisp November afternoon, along came a beautiful baby void of all rules and routines that run our lives. He is slave to no one. He is slave to nothing. Time, the indispensable aspect of the 7 billion human lives on this planet, means absolutely nothing to him. He rises on will, sleeps on will, empties his bladder on will. And, just like that, Mom, who once lived by the clock, pays no attention to time. She now rises when baby rises and sleeps when baby sleeps, irrespective of what digits adorn that display on her bedside table. 

Slowly, as months progress, we make our little ones aware of routines. We build predictable patterns hoping to bring some level of consistency back into our lives. 

It all gets shot to hell when you jump on a plane and go from Pacific to Eastern Standard Time. 

I thought to myself, how bad could it be? (I am now learning, all horrible situations begin with this question…) After all, the baby’s 8PM bedtime will be pushed to 11PM – Perfect! He would happily be joining us for all the late night partying and family functions. And, the absolutely BEST part? Our early mornings that begin at 6AM in California will get pushed back to 9AM in Toronto. HALLELUJAH! I haven’t slept in til 9AM since long before that crisp November afternoon.

At first, my little boy basked in all the attention he was getting (I wonder who he gets that from!) and tired himself out by 11PM. Yes! My plans were falling into place. I was ecstatic about my first morning of sleeping in. Just the thought of sinking my head into a pillow til mid-morning was accompanied by a soundtrack of singing angels. Pure bliss. 

At 5:30AM, the sun rose in Toronto. At 5:30AM, a little boy bit my nose. 

There were no singing angels. 

He was ready to play, and was not going to take no for an answer. The sunlight poured through the window, and that apparently is what dictates what time babies get up. Not the number of hours they have slept. And certainly not the man-made, abstract concept of time zones.

As I carried out my morning activities in my zombie-like, sleepless state, it occurred to me that I might be looking forward to the teen years. Moms complain that their teen boys don’t get out of bed in the morning; I, for one, simply cannot wait.

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