Thursday, April 3, 2014

Evil daystar

I don’t have anything against Daylight Saving Time, not really. I hear all the arguments about how silly and illogical it is, and I understand their underlying points, but at this point I’ve simply grown so accustomed to it that it would be far stranger, subjectively, to suddenly do away with it. It’s been going into effect every spring for my entire life, and I more or less take it for granted.

I did, at any rate, until I started having kids of my own. The main effect of DST on a childless urban professional adult would be those few occasions in the summer when an evening cookout goes on and on under pleasantly long-lasting natural light. It’s easy to forget that, when you were little, Daylight Saving Time meant there were days when your parents were calling you in from the cul-de-sac and telling you to get ready for bed even though darkness was still a ways off. Then one day you are trying to get your own one-year-old or three-year-old or five-year-old (or all of the freaking above) to get settled down for the night and the plainly visible sunny blue sky out their bedroom window is not exactly helping your case. Suddenly the longer and longer days are actually a source of not insignificant amounts of dread.

And of course, springing forward also tends to be a bit of a sucker punch for those of us who get up fairly early to head in to work, as right around the time when that time of morning goes from pitch middle-of-the-night black to a reasonable approximation of daybreak, you’re suddenly getting up one sidereal hour earlier and you are plunged back into pre-dawn dark. Frankly, it can be kind of confusing for little kids, too. Just this morning my wife and I both got up around the same time and made our way downstairs for breakfast, and the little guy woke up a few minutes later. The upper floor of the house was still disorientingly dark, and the little guy went to our room thinking it was the middle of the night and yet did not find either of his parents where he expected them, and all my wife and I could hear was a tremulous little voice in the upstairs hall saying, “Where is everybody?” And we couldn’t yell back “Down here!” because yelling might wake up the smaller children, so much commotion of movement ensued.

It is entirely possible I am scowling in the general direction of timekeeping contrivances because of a lack of sleep in general, this week. The baby hasn’t been sleeping particularly well, with at least one freakout per dead-of-night necessitating parental intervention. (I owe my wife about a million from back when the only intervention the baby wanted in the middle of the night was to be nursed, so this all rightly falls on me.) It’s not entirely clear why the baby has been freaking. A visit to the pediatrician yielded no diagnosis as he was pronounced adequately healthy. Part of it might be the neural restlessness associated with major developmental milestones (he took his first unassisted step earlier this week, which don’t get me wrong, is pretty awesome), and part of it might be simply that he senses the clockwork of the house has been off all week, with me working security detail and the evenings being accordingly compressed and hectic. Certainly the security detail has taken a mental toll on me. I actually had a stress dream/borderline nightmare one morning this week wherein I woke up (which, honestly, I thought that dreams beginning with people waking up to the mid-stream dream was something that only happened in movies and tv shows, and yet) at my desk at work, but the office was completely empty, because everyone had gone home for the night, which meant I had fallen asleep at work (bad) and I had failed to do my security rounds at the appointed time (slightly worse) and then as I raced around to do a belated security check it struck me that if it was very late I might have missed the last train home for the day (extremely the worst!) and the sitter and my kids must be losing their minds … and then I woke up, for real. And it was dark, but it was almost time to get up, anyway.

So, to sum up, I’m really looking forward to things getting back to a semi-semblance of normalcy next week. That may not actually happen, but I’m going to proceed as if it will.

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