Don't mess with schedules

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Mom used to say, “You don’t mess with the schedules of babies or old people.” If you ask The Wife, she would say I fall into one if not both of those categories.
Watching Little One for the last nine months, I can testify truer words have never been spoken. Change Little One’s routine and there’s a good chance you’ll see Purple-Face, and trust me, a purple-faced baby is something to be avoided at all costs.

So it’s easy to understand how the recent time change has disturbed the babies at our house. Even so, I’m all for having an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. If for no other reason than it can keep you from coming home to a driveway full of police cars, especially if that driveway is located at 110 Flamingo Street.
In my defense, it really wasn’t my fault. After all, I wasn’t the one who called the police. I wasn’t the one who filed a missing person’s report. And I wasn’t the one who actually was missing.

I knew exactly where I was, and so did my brothers. They just didn’t bother to tell anyone. But with a driveway full of police cars and blue lights bouncing off the front lawn, trying to convince Mom and Dad it was really my brothers’ fault would turn out to be an impossible task, even for me.
This should come as no surprise to parents out there: the things kids do and why they do them sometimes don’t always make a whole lot of sense — to the parents, that is.
To the kids, the things they do always make sense. Such was the task of trying to topple the giant boulder resting at the cul-de-sac down at the end of Flamingo Street.

It was simple. Dig out enough dirt under the backside of the boulder in order to push it over then let it pound down the hill, crash through the forest, and finally come to rest in the center of Cripple Creek. Once there, the flow of water would be blocked and a large pool would form.

After the addition of a rope tied to the overhanging limb of a giant oak, the rest of our summer would be spent swinging, diving, and flipping into the pool. All I had to do was dig under the downhill side of a thousand-pound boulder. What could possibly go wrong?

When the boulder dig started that afternoon, all my brothers helped. Once it got dark, they were convinced only one person could finish the job — me.
With such renewed confidence, I kept digging. They went to dinner. Two hours and 10 mosquito bites later, the giant boulder did indeed crash through the woods, finally splashing down to rest in the center of Cripple Creek.

It being well past 8, my brothers never saw the giant boulder as it tore downhill that night. Back home, they were still arguing which one of them would finally go downstairs and inform Mom and Dad where their little boy was and just what he had been doing.

I didn’t see the giant boulder on its journey either. Quickly moving to swat a mosquito, bite number 11, I stumbled in the dark and tumbled headfirst down the hill, just as the giant boulder rumbled past.
If I could’ve seen how close I came to getting squished, I probably would’ve stopped all risky behavior from that point forward, always come home on time, and obeyed all of my parents’ rules. For a 9-year-old, how much fun would that be? Guess I was really lucky there wasn’t daylight savings time back then.

For those of you who’ve been away on vacation, last weekend the rest of us sprang forward an hour. The Wife and I have been walking around in a daze ever since. We’ve been trying to figure out who came up with the idea to mess with the natural tilting of the Earth.
She decided it must’ve been one of those kids from long ago who also came home to a bunch of police cars and blue lights. Before you ask, it wasn’t me.
After a week’s worth of afternoon naps, I think I’m finally coming out of my winter hibernation. This adjustment to the new time is getting a little more bearable.

And no, Little One didn’t get the memo about the change. She’s still on baby time. If baby wants to get up at midnight and play – then play you will.
As for all you sleepy parents and grandparents out there, if it makes you feel any better, midnight is really 11 on the old time.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is storiesbyrick@gmail.com. His books are available at www.RickRyckeley.com.]

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