The days following Daylight Savings are the longest in all of eternity.
Better parents ease their children into it. They start four nights prior and adjust bedtime by 15 minutes each night so that by the Saturday night/Sunday morning of Daylight Savings, their children are well acclimated.
Not us. Mike and I just dive headfirst right into it and try to survive it.
So this time around it was “fall back,” which means the 4 ½-year-old was up just after 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. Not too bad. I know many parents who were up at the 5 o’clock handle.
I don’t miss those days.
Anyway, since “falling back” also means the sun is out earlier, Mikey was rip-roaring and ready to go at the crack of dawn. We watched a few cartoons, ate a little breakfast, did some coloring, got dressed… and it was almost 8:30 a.m.
Wow, that’s all?
It was a beautiful day, so we went outside to Mikey’s pirate ship (that’s a story for another day) and his swing-set and played. He rode his scooter around the driveway and cul-de-sac… and it was just about 10 a.m.
Thankfully, the “mom thread” lit up on my phone and a parent of one of Mikey’s classmates texted that she was bringing her kids to the playground, if anyone wanted to join. Excellent! I told her we were in, and – after loading Mikey’s bike into the back of the SUV because he wanted to ride it around the playground – we were off.
The playground was a hopping place due to the warm, unseasonable weather, so Mikey and his friend played for what SEEMED like forever. They did the monkey bars, went up and down the slides, went on the swings and even pumped by themselves. Then we all did a little walk on the trail around the perimeter of the park.
After Mikey’s friend left, he wanted to ride his bike, so I pulled it out and we did a loop on his training wheels.
After a while I told him we needed to go home for lunch. Surely, it was way past lunch time… Nope. It was barely noon.
We got home, had lunch, and Mikey was still climbing the walls so we said forget this, we’re going to abuse the grandparents, and Mike and I drove Mikey the half-hour to my in-laws house to wear them out a bit.
Mike and I had coffee while we watched Nonna and Nonno play Transformers, play zombies, draw various Pacman, play Pokémon, shoot some hoops, and then eventually watch some TV with the child. All before 3 p.m.
After an early dinner we high-tailed it out of there because, since it was dark at 5 p.m., I was afraid Mikey would fall asleep in the car on the way home and that would really be the icing on the cake of the never-ending day.
Mikey was in the back yawning and I started giving my husband nervous glares, so he decided to initiate a little game. “Hey, Mikey, let’s see who can make the most annoying sound. I’ll go first!”
And then Mike cupped his hands over his mouth and did some sort of hardcore, metal scream, which got Mikey laughing. “Momma, now it’s your turn!” he yelled from the back.
“OK, hang on, let me think,” I said. After a minute I did a little robotic, “Beep, beep, boop, bop!” And the little guy was cracking up.
“Now me! ME!” he said, and after a minute, we heard obnoxious fart sounds coming from the back seat – and we all laughed.
“OK, Dada’s turn again!” I said. Almost immediately Mike started with a “hee-haw” donkey type sound, and we kept laughing.
“Momma, you go!” Mikey shouted.
“OK, OK!” I said. Then I did a sing-song “doodly-doodly-doooooo” chant and Mikey was practically in stitches.
Then, out of nowhere, Mikey let out a high-pitched, ear-piercing, glass-breaking scream that was so startling I still can’t believe I didn’t crash the car. “Whoa, buddy, too loud!” Mike admonished, which, of course, only spurred the child on — leading to more fart sounds, alien noises, zombie grunts and various other steams of noise.
So, here it was, 5:30 p.m. and already pitch black out, and the Crocco family was driving along Interstate-84 sounding like a runaway circus – all while I left pieces of my sanity along the highway.
However, I consciously reminded myself to make a mental snapshot and tuck this memory away.
I am guilty of spending a lot of time wishing Mikey was “just a little older,” and therefore wishing away the time we are in. When he was a baby, I couldn’t wait until he was out of that newborn phase and we weren’t so nervous being new parents. Then when he entered toddlerhood, I couldn’t wait until he was able to communicate a little better so we wouldn’t have such a hard time navigating tantrums.
Now that he’s almost 5, I find myself thinking that soon, he’ll be old enough to be a little more self-sufficient so I don’t have to be by his side every second.
And in the meantime, our baby, our toddler and even our little kid has grown up, and if I don’t make a conscious decision to record these great moments in time, they will be gone.
Even though it may seem impossible to forget the longest day in history.
Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Press/Times and mom of a 4 ½-year-old. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.