Time Warp – A Preschooler’s Understanding Of The Hours Of The Day

We just got back from my six-week post-partum check up. Everything looks good, so I can now go back to my regular routine of exercise and activities. Most importantly, I can finally take a bath instead of a stupid shower.

We’ve got a play date scheduled for today. It’s our regular Wednesday play date, including story time at the local library and then lunch at Chic-Fil-A. Cassie is eager to go, and has only asked me a dozen times this morning if we can leave already.

Days like today have taught me that 3-year-olds have a rather distorted sense of time. In fact, I don’t think they’re even in the same universe as the rest of us, temporally speaking. For example, on Monday I had promised Cassie that we’d set up her little wading pool in the backyard after lunch. I made that promise when she got up at 6 AM. Lunch is at noon and usually ends around 1PM. So Cassie spent seven hours asking me when I would set up the pool. It went something like this:

Cassie: “Mommy, is my pool ready yet.”

Me (as I sit down to eat breakfast): “Not yet, dear. We’ll set it up after lunch.”

Cassie: I already had lunch. Daddy gave it to me.

Me: No sweetheart. Daddy gave you breakfast. Lunch won’t be until noon.

Cassie: Mommy, may I have Cheetos?

Me: No, sweetie. Cheetos are for lunch.

Cassie: But it is lunch time.

Me: No, it’s breakfast time right now.

Cassie: But I already had breakfast.

Me (getting slightly irritated): YOU had breakfast, but Mommy did not. She’s eating breakfast now.

Cassie: I’m hungry. May I have some Cheetos?

Me: No, Cheetos are a lunch food. It’s breakfast time right now. You may have some cereal or a piece of fruit if you’re hungry.

Cassie: I want cereal.

(I get up and poor her a bowl of Cheerios. She sits at the table and inhales it.)

Cassie: Now will you set up my pool?

Me (still trying to finish my breakfast): No, young lady. I already told you, we’re not setting up the pool until after lunch.

Cassie: But I just had lunch.

Me: No, you just had breakfast. I gave you cereal, remember?

Cassie: DADDY gave me breakfast. You gave me lunch.

Me (trying hard not to lose my temper): No sweetie, you had two breakfasts. Daddy gave you one breakfast, which you didn’t bother to eat, and then Mommy fed you again because you said you were hungry.

Cassie: I’m still hungry. May I have Cheetos now?

Me (starting to pull out my hair): No. Cheetos are for lunch.

Cassie: But I just HAD lunch.


(Cassie sits very quietly and pouts for a few minutes. Then she perks up.)

Cassie: Mommy, if you eat Cheetos, then it will be lunchtime.


My advice, don’t ever get into these discussions with kids unless you are prepared for some serious mind bending arguments. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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One Comment

  1. That conversation sounds so familiar! Kids can make you go bonkers before the sun is even up!!

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