Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's Time!

Last week, the only digital clock we had in the house for Raghav, conked suddenly after a power surge. It was a clock gifted to us by my father-in-law for some special occasion. I however, didn't see it as a gift then, as the songs it sang on the hour were just too loud for my ears.....loud enough to wake up even the dead :)....and I did not like a constant reminder to tell me how the day and time were flowing by!

But that clock proved to be a gift nevertheless. A gift for Raghav, who finally got to understand the passage and language of time in a world that we are inevitably bound to and have to live in, in many ways still. It proved to be a boon for us, as we had fewer meltdowns when we had to leave to go somewhere, or when we had to stop something suddenly, or when he had to wait. He finally started understanding and relating to the different times of day and what exactly we meant by 'two minutes' or 'ten minutes', in the language of a world outside of him.

And then, we all started loving it. When we wanted to know the time and date, we would go to this clock. It was simple, easy and convenient. For all of us. The song on the hour just blended into the other sounds of the day. It didn't bother us. It became a part of our house and our day, without us having to give much thought to it. It was only when someone visited or stayed with us or asked if the chime was the doorbell or phone ringing, that we remembered our clock :)

We have quite a few clocks in the house, but Raghav could not read the time in those. He did not want to even try. He found it too confusing, and so always went to this one. So when this clock suddenly stopped working, Raghav was the first one who felt the loss.
"What will I do now to find out the time?", he asked. "I don't have any clock now."
"Well, yes that clock seems to have conked, but you can read the time on my phone or the iPad or the computer," I said.
"It won't be the same," Raghav mumbled.
"Yes...I know...or do you want to try and read the time on this clock?", I asked quietly, pointing to the clock hanging on our bedroom wall. It was the usual one.
He thought for a few moments and said: "I don't think I can, but it's okay....let's try."

That was a huge step forward. I smiled and together we got down to figuring out what each hand of the clock was trying to show. And we realised that there were just three things he needed to know to read the time:
  • that there are two hands - one longer than the other
  • that one showed the hour, while the other showed the minutes
  • that the numbers and markings on the clock signified intervals of 5 minutes
(He already knew that there were 60 minutes in an hour and also knew his numbers and how to count in 5s.)

It took him barely two minutes to figure out how to read the time on this clock. And just through the usual conversations we had. All he had to do was to see where the shorter hand was, where the longer one was, and to count in 5s from 12 until that point. And he figured this out on his own! Soon, he was happily reading the time out for me, every few minutes, beaming from ear to ear! :)

It's time perhaps that he learned how to read this clock. He made the choice to learn what he wanted to, when he wanted to and how he wanted to. When he made this choice, the learning was effortless and complete.

And yes, it's time only when we think that it's time.....not a moment before that! :)

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