Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Five years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, we’re tick tock talking about time.
Our daughter loves her Lego watch. She adores the little purple character on the strap and listening to it ticking while she’s in bed. She’s had it since Christmas, which was 60 bedtime stories ago. She also has no an ounce of a clue what it actually is.
Tell her it’s for measuring time and she’ll stare blankly at you for eternity. Time just isn’t a thing for her. It simply isn’t a concept she can cope with yet.
She counts in twos or tens, or in how many ponies she can pick up while you’re hoovering. She views it as a hindrance when she’s waiting and a luxury while she’s playing, and it can go as quickly or as slowly as she wants it to. She can change the day just by wishing.
Bathing depends on who is taking part. Our daughter’s baths take approximately six songs from the Trolls soundtrack; mine last for three quarters of a bath bomb before she wants to get in with me; and my husband’s showers depend on the podcast he’s listening to – so anywhere between a 30-second late-for-work splash and a 45-minute science documentary. Well, that’s what he tells me he’s doing in there anyway.
Years are measured in ‘sleeps-until-she turns…’ We have a weekly request for how many bedtimes until she’s six. (About 126, in case you need to order anything.)
After birthdays we are on the countdown until Halloween and busy making costumes, which will be rejected on the day for last year’s witch dress. Last year I was so up to date no one knew who the hell I was. Apparently no one in our little neighbourhood watched Stranger Things and everyone offered me a tissue for my nosebleed. Sigh.
Then it’s Christmas and the advent calendar does the work for us for 24 blissful days.
School weeks are compressed into gymnastics then boxing then dance then a chippy tea on a Friday.
Hairstyles are slotted into a routine of PE days; hair bobbles are sourced on a Monday and Thursday by shouting, “Where the fucking fuck are all the bastard bobbles?” while looking in the bobble drawer.
Car journeys are counted in episodes of Tintin, so it takes five episodes to my in-laws and one episode to school. Minutes until bedtime go very fast for her and very slowly for us.
“She knows that there are never more than two missed bedtimes until Mummy can read the story and that Dad can easily pass seven games of Ludo while tinkering with gadgets in the garden. ”
Time expands when she’s tired or moody, and speeds up when we’re watching her perform her latest magic trick. Facebook memories shock me into seeing how she’s changed, how her hair has grown (‘Is it Rapunzel length yet or just Cinderella?’) and her height means we are always two years ahead in school tights, and don’t put them in the tumble dryer please; she’s not a member of the Backstreet Boys.
Working days are compressed into a flurry of how long can I leave it until I de-ice the car for the school run and will I have enough petrol to get to work afterwards, and oh shit I forgot to drop her off, so just do some colouring in until your dad gets here. Sorry boss.
Work is a haven of routine: people come and go and things need doing and I’m there until I can lock up and come home. Midnight finishes mean toast at 1am and getting up at seven with her in the morning. Mornings are measured in coffee and anxiety until she’s dressed and fed and safely delivered to school, where she counts the playtimes until home time.
She knows that there are never more than two missed bedtimes until Mummy can read the story and that Dad can easily pass seven games of Ludo while tinkering with gadgets in the garden. She knows that she only has 10 more swings until she needs to take off her shoes and come inside.
Ordinary will come, and her watch will make proper sense one day, but while she’s five and values 10 stolen minutes of extra stories in bed over learning how many seconds there are in a hour, we’ll count our lucky stars that it can all be so lovely in the Right Now.
Read all of Daisy’s Motherhood columns here.
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Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.