Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Time Space Continuum

My son Mate has been two for as long as I can remember, he doesn't seem to have ever been any other age. Everything he does or has done, seem to be on the very limits of that learning year, for better or worse. This morning for example, I sat and watched him build a really complex tower of bricks. It seemed to have turrets, stairs, it even had windows. I'm sure it was all in my imagination, but even discounting my über-biased eye it was quite impressive. He then got up, spun around in a circle a couple of times, and walked smack bang into a wall.

He does that kind of thing a lot. He will spontaneously count out pieces of a jigsaw up to 20, and then eat one of them. Or put together an intricate maze of train track with bridges, tunnels and sweeping turns, then sit on the tiny train and expect it to whisk him around his creation. He will often lovingly and patiently hand feed our rabbits, then throw his teddy around the room in a temper when it fails to ingest a pencil.

Maybe it's all those reasons that make him seem like a permanent two year old, or maybe it's just that I now live and breathe in 'Parent-Time'. This should not be confused with 'Part-Time' or 'Party-Time' because, as all new parents swiftly discover, both part and party have now been banished to the annals of ancient history.

In Parent-Time there is not 24 hours in a day, there are not enough hours in a day. In Parent-Time your child's school play lasts three hours, not the advertised 45 minutes. Then to make matters worse, her two minute appearance finishes in 15 seconds. In Parent-Time the ten minute popping into the Supermarket for a quick top up shop, takes an hour. In Parent-Time every child is the same age, 'Pain-in-the-Butt' is a number right?

GMT and BST now stand for Growing Manic Toddler and Bored Sarcastic Teenager. For those on the other side of the pond, CST now becomes Childs Schizophrenic Temper, and for those in upside-down land, CDT will transport me back in time to my school days and Cruel Determined Torture lessons.

Last week I spent a whole morning researching the concept of the 'time space continuum'. This was prompted initially by my four year old daughter's relentlessly asked question "Is it the future yet?" My standard reply was "well, tomorrow is the future, yesterday is the past, and today is today, but tomorrow, tomorrow will become today, today will become yesterday, and yesterday will become the day Dad forgot to pack your PE kit." I began to feel she needed a better explanation, and the boy was having one of those ever-changing-nappy mornings. The decision to escape to the shed with the laptop and a beer was an easy and relatively guilt free one.

Between Einstein, Minkowski and Euclid, the general consensus seems to be about defining 'is' in all its four dimensions, or pinpointing a particular place and time. In practical terms this could be equated to trying to get out on one of those rare nights without the kids. You would have to combine the kids playing up
downstairs, the babysitter constantly moving back and forth between the fridge and sofa, and the Wife being left on her own to get her makeup right. All this would then have to hit the perfectly timed moment of cab arrival, the driver of which operates on Newton's lesser know theory of Buggeration. In broad strokes this means that if you are early and ready, he will turn up late. If, as is the usual, you are running both late and around like a blue arsed fly, then he will be outside honking his horn ten minutes early.

Despite my reading all this material from some of the world's most brilliant minds, not one of them managed to answer the most important question.

Why is it that whatever time your child gets up, it is always too early?

Mate will be 3 in March 2014