How Time Flies When You Are Five

11Sep09

I can’t really explain why I haven’t been posting here lately.  It was a busy summer, we had a lot of fun and happy times, I have been talking to my actual friends in real life about the cute things my kids do, rather than just posting here.

But I like this blog, dangit!  And some of you who like to read it live too far away for me to actually go have coffee with or whatever. So, I am going to try to start writing here again.

Today, I am thinking about how different the perceptions of kids must be about time.  As I get older, I realize that time really, truly does pass more quickly, at least for me.  It’s as if, the more time I have lived, the faster each day seems, measured against the rest of them.  I am hoping that the days at the end stretch out a bit.

So anyway, I think I have figured out that for young kids, time passes much more slowly.  Or maybe, more precisely, each moment is so full that it must feel like a lot is happening all of the time.  Because their memories are so short, a year ago can be like a lifetime ago;  a few months are like a year or more.

Of course I knew this, logically, but I really _knew_ it a few months ago, when I was talking about one of older son’s past day care teachers.  Let’s call her Lisa.  He loved her.  And she adored him.  She really was like a second mom for him.  They cuddled and cooed and played.  She gave him a soft blankie with cars on it that he still likes to cuddle with, now and then, although those sweet cuddly moments are fading even now, even though he’s only six.

So, anyway, a few months ago, when I was talking about her, I realized that he doesn’t remember her at all anymore.  He hasn’t really had much contact with her for more than a year, because she took a different job and isn’t at the center where he goes after school. And even before that, his contact with her had been very limited, since sometime before he turned 3 he went into a different room at the center, with new teachers. So, it makes perfect sense that he doesn’t remember her, right?  He basically hasn’t known her since he was three.  I don’t think I remember a thing from before I turned three.

Still, the moment when I realized that was really sad.  It’s strange to have this little being in your house and your life, that looks like a miniature version of an adult, but is actually a different creature in some ways.  He had an intense, emotional relationship of love with Lisa, but for him, it’s not even a memory.  It is just gone.  I like to think that the experience stays with him in some way, that she and her love are still in him, as part of his feelings of safety and love and security.  But it is still sad that he doesn’t know that, any more.  I don’t know whether he would recognize her now.

The other incident that made me think about this recently happened on the first day of senior kindergarten.  There were two junior kindergarten classes, bit there are three senior kindergarten ones, with some new kids mixed in.  So there is a mix of old and new friends.  He does remember the kids from last year, especially his good friends.  But the first day, he was very shy with them.  It was as if they hadn’t seen each other in years, as if they needed to get to know each other again.  I couldn’t understand it at first, especially with the boys and girls he’d had playdates with, and was so excited to see again.  For instance, Izzy.

So after school on the playground, I tried to encourage him to play, but part of the time he just wanted to sit on the grass and watch the other kids.  And Izzy’s mom actually stopped to say to me that Izzy was a little that way too, that she sat all alone at lunch and seemed nervous.   When I thought about it, it made sense.  They were really nervous and awkward around each other, because for them, the few months of summer were like years of time.  So many new experiences, so much growing and changing and learning.  They were all really different, and needed more getting to know each other time than adults would after a summer.

It’s hard to imagine what that is like.  But also very fun to imagine.  How wonderful, what a gift we have to experience and learn that way as children.

For some reason, this post has turned so heavy!  And now it’s making me think of the Moments video, have you seen it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNVPalNZD_I

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One Response to “How Time Flies When You Are Five”


  1. 1 Back to Blogging! And About Big Al, and the Very, Very No, and Shrieking for the Sheer Joy of It.. « This is Your Brain on Kids

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