November 9, 2010

A History Lesson

In the summer of 1895, an entomologist in New Zealand had an idea that would one day affect the lives of parents everywhere. The man was George Vernon Hudson. The idea was Daylight Saving Time. And the world has never been the same.

Hudson submitted his idea to authorities with the reasoning that having extra daylight hours would allow for more time to study insects. When no one was especially thrilled by the prospect of having more time to look at bugs, he changed tactics. He touted the benefits of energy savings, increased productivity, and suntanning, and people started to pay attention. Scientists in other countries picked up on the idea, and by the latter half of the 20th century, it had caught on in many areas around the world. Today, based on numerous independent studies, we know that in general, the benefits of Daylight Saving Time far outweigh its disadvantages. For parents, however, there is still much to debate.

Each year, on the first Sunday of November, we set our clocks back an hour. In theory, this should allow for an extra hour of sleep. Great, right? But we parents of young children know better. You see, kids have finely tuned internal clocks that tell them when they're tired and when it's time to get up in the morning. God installs these clocks before birth and sets them to the time zone in which the baby will be born, but for some unknown reason, he decided not to include a Daylight Saving button. This is all on page 597 of the Child Maintenance Manual you received when your child was born, by the way. Oh, you didn't get your copy? Yeah, me either.

So, for each of the last three days, each of my three kids has started their day somewhere between 5 and 5:30 AM. Brady, who's 4, simply gets out of bed, goes potty, and then climbs into bed with us. This would be fine if he were to go back to sleep, but he's a wriggler, and one can only be kicked in the stomach so many times before one is up for the day. Ellie, age 2, is still in her crib, and being so imprisoned, she sings for a while before yelling at the top of her lungs, "DAAAAAAAAAADYYY, COME IN!" until I drag myself into her room. Once I'm there, she sweetly says, "Hi daddy. My nuggle you?" Can't say no to snuggles, of course. Surprisingly, baby Riley's been the easy one. He just hangs out in his crib listening to his siblings cavort until he realizes that he's not in on the action, at which time he joins the chorus with gusto.

Now, I know my kids and yours will get used the new time eventually, but in the meantime, I thought you should know who to thank for your early morning wake-up call: Mr. George Vernon Hudson. If he were still alive, I'd shake his hand. Hard.

So here's to you, Mr. Early-Rising Bug-Lover Guy. I hope you enjoyed studying your chorus cicada and giant weta, because now the rest of us get to pay for it.


  1. You're a genius writer dude..GENIUS (they say you are who you sit 2 cubicles away from...yep, that's what i've heard i'm sure it's true)

  2. Nice! I still don't see any benefits to changing the clock unless you get up before 9am..
    Andy Menth

  3. Haha! So true indeed! Dman has been starting his days exactly like Brady; creeping into our bed and then flip flopping all over the place. *yawn*