Why don’t our children get the concept of time?

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There are some great unanswered questions in life – like why do fridges have egg holders when eggs aren’t refrigerated when you buy them?

Why do Pringles have a re-sealable plastic lid if you’re going to eat them all anyway?

And why does Superman wear his briefs on the outside of his tights?

Another one of those questions is why does a child so consistently do the complete opposite of what you ask them to?

Last week after we had returned home from a trip to the park, I thought I would take the opportunity while my son was in the shower cleaning off the layer of mud he had acquired to make a quick but fairly urgent phone call.

‘Be a good boy’ I told him ‘Mummy’s just got to make an important call’.

Off I went to the next room to make my call, only to return a few moments later to discover he had turned our bathroom into a splash pool.

There was water dripping off every surface; the towels were soaking and the loo roll was a soggy lump of papier-mâché.

I was in complete and utter disbelief that such chaos could be caused in such a short space of time.

I felt my first mistake was specifically asking him to be a good boy, the second was probably hinting towards the fact that what I was doing was quite important. Like the big red button with ‘DO NOT PUSH’ written above it, he obviously couldn’t help himself.

I know sometimes he likes to play the ‘opposites’ game, but I hadn’t agreed to play it at that very moment, nor had I agreed to my bathroom being turned into a wet room. But the young just love pushing boundaries to find out what the consequences will be and in this particular case of Soggy Child VS Angry Mother, the sentence was an early bedtime and a week without TV.

Such conflict of interests aren’t exactly a rarity in my home at the moment. Generally our mornings consist of me asking him to finish his breakfast/brush his teeth/put on his shoes at least 10 times per action.

Instead of actually doing said actions, he finds countless other essential things to do at that moment, like telling me about some very important thing that so-and-so did in the playground, or his latest delaying tactic of performing headstands, handstands and roly-polys.

I’ve found myself, in the midst of despair, using some of the old classic sayings reminiscent from my own childhood – ‘If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times!’

But children just don’t seem to understand the concept of time moving forward and telling him that we’re going to be late doesn’t help either. In fact the more of a hurry we are in, the slower he seems to go. It can be a painfully infuriating start to the day.

Still, I’m holding out hope that this is just one very long phase and that the day will come when he doesn’t even need to be asked to do all of these things – though I’m starting to wonder if he may have moved out by that point.