Where Did the Hour Go?

March 14, 2011


As I was putting Emma and Ethan to bed on Saturday night I told them they needed to go right to sleep because we were going to lose an hour of sleep that night.  They looked confused and then started asking questions that reminded me a little of a “Who’s on First?” type of conversation:

“What do you mean we lose an hour of sleep?”  Ethan asked

“Because of Daylight Savings Time” I explained.

“What’s Daylight Savings Time?” Ethan asked. 

“It’s when we set our clocks forward one hour and so we lose an hour of sleep” I answered. 

“Wait, why are we losing an hour of sleep?” Emma asked, still confused by the concept.

“Your clock says 8:30 right now. So let’s take your clock and move it forward one hour.” I went ahead and set the clock by Emma’s bed ahead. “So you see, now it’s 9:30”

“Oh, I see. So then when I get up in the morning and my clock says 7:30 then it will really be 8:30, right?” Emma asked

“No, you don’t need to set your clock forward an hour when you wake up because we just did that. If you wake up and your clock says 7:30 then it will be 7:30”

“But I thought you said we were losing an hour.” Ethan said

“Yes, we are, but if we set your clock now then you don’t have to worry about it.” I assured him

“But, wait a minute …. Where does this hour we lose go?  Does it come back soon” Emma said with a look of concern

“It doesn’t really go anywhere … we are just changing out clocks and then in the Fall we will set them back again and get the hour back” I answered, wondering if this conversation would ever end.

“I don’t want to lose an hour. Let’s just not change our clocks” Ethan suggested. “Can’t we just keep the same time we always have?”

“No, we can’t” I said. “Everyone is changing their clocks tonight so we have to be on the same time as everyone else.”

“Do we do this every year?” Asked Emma

“Yes, we do it twice a year – we set our clocks forward in the Spring one hour and then back in the Fall one hour.” I said

“Why is this the first I’m hearing of this?”Emma asked

“Because Dad and I usually just set the clocks after you are in bed” I said, thinking that maybe that would have been the better option this year too.

“Well, that’s kinda sneaky.” Ethan said “I’m not sure how I feel about that”

I kissed them both goodnight and tucked them in and reassured them that they could stop worrying about the lost hour and just go to sleep.  “You’ll hardly even miss the hour because in a few days you’ll forget all about it”

They drifted off to sleep and didn’t really say much about the lost hour or setting the clocks forward all day Sunday.

However, this morning I was awakened by Emma gently shaking me, “Mom, mom … look at the clock.” I looked at the clock and shot upright in bed, “7:30 … how can it be 7:30? It’s still dark outside!”  I jumped out of bed frantic to get the kids ready for school and out the door. “I bet you are missing that lost hour right about now, huh mom?” Ethan asked  “Yes” I hurriedly replied to Ethan as I helped him change out of his pajamas, “I am REALLY missing that hour right now!”