Posts tagged Daylight saving time

Daylight Savings Time revisited

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We were sitting at the dinner table when Denny, my brother-in-law (yes, the one of Trefz Family Summer Holiday fame – follow link), announced that their 16-month-old daughter sounded the alarm Sunday morning at 5:00am, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, that nemesis of modern-day parents of young children. For those without young children who couldn’t imagine what the fuss is about, allow me to explain.

Children are wired with a no-fail biological alarm that goes off at the same time every morning. In some cultures around the world (namely those that don’t rely on clocks and watches) these circadian rhythms are honed and heeded for a lifetime. I need only think of Henry, our Ughandan housemate from years ago, to whom we vainly tried to explain the concept of Daylight Savings Time. “No, no,” he would insist. “Look at where the sun is in the sky! It is not time to go yet!”

And so it is that when that alarm goes off in our 16-month-old niece’s brain, her legs hit the mat and her lungs prepare to sound the alarm for the rest of the house. This is annoying at any time of the day, but when 6:00am becomes 5:00am as a result of the adult world setting back their clocks, it can be downright infuriating.

I know this only too well, because I blogged about it last year. (The post had been removed but has since been re-posted in light of today’s topic). It took our children months to re-calibrate their biological clocks, at which time we were ready to “spring forward” again. As a result of the daily disruption to my morning peace, I decided to take action, and have come up with the perfect solution.

The solution is quite simple really: make your children grow older by at least a year and see what happens. If that doesn’t do the trick, work at it for one more year and you’re bound to see some results. I spent all of last year diligently feeding and watering them, ensuring they receive plenty of rest at regular intervals, and I’m happy to report that they have all grown by about an inch in height, packed on a few pounds apiece, and are dealing with Daylight Savings Time like real troopers. The baby (toddler, actually) is just sleeping right to the new 7:00am, while his brothers have the maturity to just quietly turn on their reading lights and look at books until their digital clock shows 7-0-0. I’m happy to report that my brilliant plan yielded results that far exceeded anyone’s expectations. So Denny, take heart, work hard, and I’m sure next year you’ll be singing the praises of my method while drinking your morning coffee in total peace and quiet.

My next project is to find a way to ensure that children actually sleep through the night despite incessant and spasmodic dry coughing, ear infections, nightmares, severe congestion, bonking their heads on their nightstands, being uncovered, and lying the wrong way around on the bed. Dealing with these afflictions has been my nightly occupation for the last three weeks, ensuring that, between the three of them, I am up at least once every three hours, sometimes on the hour. In fact, I have started going to bed essentially fully dressed so that I don’t freeze when I leave my bed’s warm embrace. It’s called being prepared for working a night shift. Still, I’d prefer sleep to being fully dressed, so I’m determined to find a solution. Any tips?

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Daylight Savings Time

***This post originally appeared on this blog a year ago but has since been removed. In the interest of today’s post (Nov. 7, 2011) I’ve decided to re-post it. ***

It’s the most frustrating time the year!

After a lengthy hiatus from blogging (presumably because life was going too smoothly) I’m back with a brand-new muse. It’s 6:20am and our youngest has already been up for over an hour. Our second is already awake as well, and keeping those two quiet in the faint hope that they will a.) fall back asleep and b.) won’t wake up the one child (mercifully) still sleeping, is akin to a juggling act with raw eggs in the presence of a sleeping Rottweiler.

Ah yes, Daylight Savings time has ended and the world rejoiced over the coveted hour of extra sleep on the weekend. It’s the one day a year where we feel like we’re out-smarting the universal order by setting our clocks back an hour. What good old George Vernon Hudson obviously didn’t consider when he invented this thing that every adult loves him for, are the circadian rhythms of babies and toddlers. It’s like jetlag minus the hotel and daytrips. (Believe it or not, Hudson, being an entomologist, wanted that extra hour of daylight so that he could collect more bugs. Nice.) I too used to love the weekend when the clocks are set back an hour, but frankly since the kids came along, we would prefer it if everyone left well enough alone.

For crying out loud, finally it’s dark enough in the morning so that we can convincingly tell our kids that 6:00 is still night time, and the despots who control the clocks go and set them back by an hour. You couldn’t just let nature take its course and let the nights become just a teensy weensy bit longer? There’s a reason why the nights get longer in the winter, you know. In fact, Teddy explained it to us the other day: since it’s so cold in the winter, the nights are longer so that we have more time to warm up in our cozy beds. Now that kid has his facts straight. If he could only convince his younger brothers that being under the blankets (asleep) is the way to go.

Occasionally I will spend a few minutes before I fall asleep leafing through an old journal to see what I was writing about a year ago. For the last two years (at least) there are bound to be several November journal entries that are almost hot to the touch, fuming about children who had been sleeping until that magical 6:30 or 7:00am until this cursed time change, when they think 5:30 is “morning.” Oddly enough, it’s like a change of the hour hand is all babies and toddlers need to move their awake time ahead even more, which results in 5:15 mornings on a regular basis.

What baffles me is that, while a toddler can travel to Germany and somehow adjust to a 6 hour time change in two days, this bothersome one-hour difference will throw my babies off for weeks, nay, months afterwards. I remember when Sam was a toddler and Daylight Savings time ended. Without exaggeration this early rising stuck with him for at least 8 months if not more. I almost signed off on my sanity. By the time he started waking at a more normal time again I was nearing my due date with the next baby, who is now dutifully bearing the torch of the early riser.

For the last six years we’ve always had a baby or toddler in the house, and so there has been plenty of opportunity to develop great disdain for the end of Daylight Savings time. The next person who talks about how great it was to “get that extra hour of sleep on Sunday” or how wonderful it is that “it’s actually light out when I get up now!” has automatically signed up for a week-long, all-inclusive sleepover with my little guys. No, really, it’s my pleasure.

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