03 November 2009

Notes on Daylight Savings Time

One of the most interesting developments that occurred when I became a parent was the sudden reversal of my feeling on the big clock change.

Back in “the day” moving the clocks forward meant a missed hour of sleep, and that was always bad. In my grad student days it usually meant a sudden shift from 4-5 manageable hours of sleep a night to a nearly crushing 3-4 hours of sleep, plus the week’s worth of disorientation and general malaise. Come fall though, we were in the money, the sudden night of 6 hours and I was a new woman.

Now, lets readdress with kids in the picture. Kids wake up when they wake up. There is very little you can do about that. While the time they got to sleep can be altered with dedication and necessity, if you have a kid who likes to be up at 5am, sorry, you are up poo creek. Given this fact, the “spring forward” vs. “fall back” situation becomes very different. The formerly dreaded lost hour now means that when your little one rolls out of bed at 6am, the clock says 7am. Even though it is only fake 7am, you can psych yourself up that it is later in the day, and somehow it all becomes easy to take. Now in the fall, not so much. You no longer enjoy that hour of sleep, its just means that when your precious miracle come clomping into your room demanding Spongebob Squarepants, the clock now reads 5am. That is the most demoralizing sight known to the human species.

“Thankfully” this year I am not sleeping, at all, (thanks to end of pregnancy aches, pains, stress and general disgusting-ness) as we do this clock change, so the crippling fatigue will be impacted very little by this phenomenon. However, as a general concept, it sucks that as I watch the clock tick towards 6am, an entirely unsuitable time to be awake on a Sunday in civilized society, my daughter thinks it is 7am and will be up with her new and improved list of demands at any minute.

I am beginning to think that all the extra hours of TV that will be needed to bribe my child, or more specifically: me, through this transition may really negate any energy saving that the clock change is supposed to create. Better cue up an extra Yo Gabba Gabba so at least DH can sleep in a bit before he faces a fresh week in Navy Bureaucratic Hell…um…I mean at work.

Update: had to have a day of radical naps and delayed bed time to get the toddler on "new time." it was worth it since today she slept in until clock 7am, so we are back on track.