Jen Gerson: Goddamn DST
Why do we do this?
By: Jen Gerson
The alarm didn't go off, because of course it didn't. The clock next to the bed was still reading 6:50 a.m. — which would have been perfectly reasonable, except it was actually 7:50 a.m.
The kids were still asleep, because of course they were.
Before even getting up, I was resigned to the knowledge that we would be late. And to every bit of drama this would entail.
I had a few moments to make tea and get the pot of boiling water started: my six-year-old will only eat hot lunches, and there would be no time for fried rice, one of five items he will actually consume. Pasta with butter and cheese it would have to be.
He woke up by 8 a.m., and as per usual began his day by hiding in the corner of the couch, curling his Gumby limbs in upon themselves and ignoring all of my questions until he was properly awake. This was also my cue for cuddles. I rudely interrupted his reverie by snuggling next to him and marvelling at the size of his hands and feet — long and skinny, but nearly as large as my own. He would soon be taller than me, I told him. He denied it.
It was too soon to warn him that we would be late.
He consented to eat a muffin and drink a glass of milk just a touch past its expiry date. Smelled fine.
My husband was awake and we turned to each other. "Goddamn DST."
His work colleagues — many of whom will not turn over their clocks until next week — had been up and at it for an hour and he was already well behind for a Monday.
I told the six-year-old he would be late for school. He was horrified. Mortified. He stomped upstairs. "It's not fair!" he screamed.
"You're right. It's not."
It's 8 a.m.
Normally, we would be out the door right about now. My son is still in his pajamas. He couldn't find the long socks — socks long enough to cover half his calf. Nor his T-shirt and pants. They had to be fished out of the laundry basket. The screaming had awoken the other one.
The little one. The three-year-old. The darling chubby cheeked terrorist of our lot. She came into this world with a head full of red hair. God's own warning label.
Why didn't I wake her up earlier, you ask? Would you? Have you met a grumpy redheaded toddler? You would not. Trust me.
Hair tousled, the terrorist reached the top of the stairs and re-iterated her brother's highly vocalized points.
"It's not fair."
"No, it's not."
This provoked the six-year-old, who began screaming at her as he pulled his socks as high up on his leg as possible. She screamed back. He got closer; she lifted her arm as if to hit him.
"That's enough! You, finish getting dressed. You, go downstairs and eat breakfast."
"Yeah, you go downstairs and eat breakfast," the six-year-old said, tears brimming from his glistening red eyes. I told him he could bring his new Lego toy train to school. This calmed him.
I got dressed.
I packed the kids' bags — his with an empty box, toilet paper, the dregs of some glue we had long ago tried to use to make slime, and several kebab skewers with the points cut off to replace the popsicle sticks we did not have. These were mandatory for the creation of a leprechaun trap: my son had drawn up the schematics last week. His would look like a train. Of course.
There was no hope of getting both children to their respective schools on time; I would leave the terrorist with my husband — thus borking his work day just a little more — while driving my son to school. Then I would pick up the redhead and do the same trip for her.
It's 8:35 by the time we get out the door. It's -16C and the middle of March. God is punishing us for the warm winter days of January and February.
On the car ride over, my son asked how a leprechaun moved. Given his plans for the day, I thought this was a highly pertinent and clever question. "They move with legs and feet of course. They're just little people."
He seemed satisfied with this answer.
He was less so at the knowledge that the bell had rung just before we arrived at school. We would not be the first to arrive.
"Are we going to be last?"
"It's unlikely that we will be last." This offered some small comfort.
I asked if he would consent to go through the office doors — the only school doors that were unlocked. He refused. We have to go in through the side doors. We always have to go into the side doors. The side doors were locked. Of course.
We knocked on his classroom window, but nobody heard us. I tried calling the front office, but no one picked up.
Just as I was about to leave him at the side door and walk around the school, one of the Kindergarten teachers let us in with her pass.
My son insisted he was fine to get to class on his own. I didn't believe him, and walked him to his cubby. As he stripped off his snowpants and jackets, one of his classmates told me to look at the floor. Tiny green footprints could be seen on the table and through the hall, leading to the boys' bathroom. Leprechaun tracks. Excellent.
I apologized to my son's teacher for being late. DST. She knows. It's fine. Kiss goodbye. Off to get the other one.
By the time I arrive home, the terrorist is dressed and fed, though no one but I can dare brush through her hair. We don't have time for that, so I let the red flow free. She is in a good mood, thank God.
I bundle her up and take her to the car: her pre-school is in the other direction. We get there at 9 a.m. — half an hour after we were supposed to drop her off.
I apologize again. DST.
Her teacher gives me a look, exasperated.
"I know, I know, please don't talk about that." She will have a harder day than me.
I return to the car. I take a deep breath. The day can begin.
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