Beginning of time

It seems that time begins when we’re born, even for other people. Perhaps we should celebrate the beginning of time with…a birthday! 😉

A conversation with my daughter yet again taught me a thing or two about the nature of time.

Daughter: “Daddy, my little sister has had 2 birthdays and I’ve had 5”

She smiled for ‘winning’ the “who’s had the most birthdays” competition. So I joined in.

Me: “Yes, and I’ve had 44”

Nailed it.

Daughter: “I don’t think so Daddy.”

Me: “Why not? Don’t you think I’m that old?”

Daughter: “No, I just that I don’t remember you having that many.”

So there we are – time begins when we’re born, even for other people. Perhaps we should celebrate the beginning of time with…a birthday! 😉


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Bed time

Children never like going to bed, so the hands of the clock spelling bed time seem like the finger of doom for them. But who really makes the decision for bed time?

When I look back to my time at primary school, I never really enjoyed it. I remember that it finished at 3:30 pm and I couldn’t wait to go home. I used to watch the clock, not necessarily knowing how to read it, but knowing where the hands needed to be to signify that the teacher was going to allow me to go back home where I could do what I wanted and when I wanted.

After a while I realised other school ‘inmates’ felt the same way, and we devised a plan: during the lunch break we set the clock to read 3:30 and pointed it out to the teacher so that she was fooled into thinking it was home time.

We couldn’t time travel; so given the inability to travel through time we tried getting time to move.

Somehow this super intelligent ruse didn’t work 🙁

Much more recently my daughter tried a similar trick but from the other side. We’d arranged that one of her friends was going to come over for a play date at 11:00 am. She could hardly wait and was brimming with excitement, her eyes alternating between the door and the clock to see when the big hand was going to point straight up and signify the arrival of her friend.

“Daddy, can you just move the big hand so it’s eleven o’clock and my friend will come?”

I could move the hand up, but sadly her friend didn’t show until the appointed time which is when, of course, chaos reigned supreme in the Time2timetavel HQ. My little girl had lots of fun though, and for her time passed quickly.

The day ended up being a long one for me though, and the sprog finally went home (her mum turned up late to pick her up *growl*). We had our family dinner and bedtime approached, 7:00 pm. I let my daughters know and we made our way upstairs.

I got round to thinking that whereas 7 pm is effectively an arbitrary time for bed, 3:30 pm or 11:00 am were absolute times for specific events – no matter what the clock said, the event will happen at it’s pre-appointed time (notice I missed out “sprog collection”…).

I wish I could say the same about the girls’ bed time. Do I make the decision when bed time is? Or Time?

Come to think of it, I think it’s my daughters – who make sure it’s usually closer to 8 pm!


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In the zone

Another conversation with my daughter lead to the revelation of the paradoxical nature when telling the time.

Living in a different world time zone than your grandparents can be very confusing for a child. Actually, it can be confusing for me too!

Another conversation with my daughter lead to the revelation of the paradoxical nature when telling the time.

The setting

It’s 8 am here in Holland, where we’re an hour ahead of England.

World time zone

The talk

“We can’t skype Granny and Grampa because they’re not out of bed yet. It’s 8 in the morning here, but it’s earlier for them in England so they’re still sleeping.

“So when can we see them on the computer?”


“But you said it was “earlier” there…”

The solution?

She’s right…but somehow there’s something amiss! We’re playing a geographical follow the leader along the time axis!


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Dancing back in time

If you’ve been following my blog (under “Timely Thoughts”) you’ll be aware that I have a couple of young daughters who spent just as much time in educating me as I try to teach them. (For example, see Direction on direction or A Picture Paints a Thousand Seconds.)

At least, this is my cover story for watching “Dora the Explorer’s Ballet Adventure” last night !;) (This post isn’t a plug by the way!)

The main ‘plot’ is that the delivery duck delivered the wrong package to Dora and her friends just before they were about to perform a dance show; he delivered scuba flippers instead of dance slippers.

Dora’s mission was to leave her friends to go to the dance school, collect the dance slippers and bring them back in time so that the dance show could go ahead.

I know that the DVD is aimed towards young children, but I must admit that I was hoping it was also aimed for their parents who might be interested in time travel!


Direction on direction

I can’t help wondering if our perspective on direction – including time’s arrow and direction of the flow of time – needs a little readjustment.

In this post I commented how we often tend to think primarily in the spatial direction before the temporal field. My daughter already tries to turn that on it’s head, and at times thinks Outside the Temporal Box.

Here’s another a conversation I had with her a few nights ago when I was reading her a bed time story. Whilst not technically related to time travel it’s perhaps an initial start to getting thinking more openly about direction:

Daughter: “Daddy, you’re reading backwards!”

Me: “No I’m not! I’m reading forwards – see?”

I fan the pages in a visual effort to explain.

Daughter: “But that’s the back over there.”

She’s pointing to the back of the book – the part where invariably in stories for 4 year old girls the princess lives happily ever after.

Me: “Yes, this is the front [pointing], and this is the back. So I’m reading in this direction.”

Daughter: “That’s what I’m saying, Daddy. You’re reading backwards to the end!”

As always, she has a point!


Outside the temporal box

When I picked up my daughter from school today, she was proudly carrying a ring binder full of drawings and things she’d done over the past week or so. She was very happy until we got home and started showing them off to me, and found that one sheet had not been hole punched.

“Daddy, can we go out and buy a hole punch now?”

“No Sweetie, the shops are closed. We can go tomorrow.”

“Can’t we go yesterday?”

I’d like to think that I’m doing a good job in raising my daughter to think outside the temporal box!

A Picture Paints a Thousand Seconds

Recently, the following question was posed in the Time Travel group:

“If you discovered a way to travel through time by using a photograph, which photo (personal or historical) would you use? Feel free to include…an explanation of why you chose it.”

I wanted to repost my response to that question here as my answer will serve as an introduction to a forthcoming post.

Here it is…

I’d use a picture that my 3 and a half year old daughter made with my wife a few months ago. It shows a picture of a watch and a clock, and shows the abstractness you could imagine from a young child.

Or is it abstract? Perhaps it’s an accurate statement of the real workings of time!

Time travel basics 101
Image credit: My daughter!

Why do I choose this picture? I think my daughter’s understanding of time and the possible ramifications for time travel is excellent given the conversations I’ve had with her about time. I’ll quote from a post in my Daddy blog about children’s understanding of time.

Me: (showing her a clock) “That fast hand goes all the way around, and that’s one minute, and then that long hand moves forwards a little bit. And when it goes all the way around, then that’s one hour and the short hand moves from number 1 to number 2.”

Daughter: “But Daddy the hands are moving all at the same time!”

If the second, minute and hour hands all move together, does this mean that seconds, minutes and hours all pass at the same time? Are seconds, minutes and hours pretty much all one and the same? Maybe they are for a three (and a half) year old. Everything happens at once, NOW…

Daughter: Can I have this now, Daddy?

Me: No, You can have it later, Sweetie.

Daughter: Is it later now, Daddy?

I’m also sure that on the day she gets married and I walk her down the aisle, I’ll be taken back in time to these childhood moments…but I don’t think I’ll need the picture then!

As for when the picture would take me…I don’t really care, as long as it would take me back again to my family. These moments in time are far too precious to lose!

This post won me a copy of “The Photo Traveler” by Arthur J. Gonzalez. I’m currently reading it, and I’ve been asked to provide a review.

So stand by!

PS: I’ve only ever won 2 things. This was one. The other was a rag doll at a tombola when I was 8. Although my daughter might disagree, the time travel novel comes out tops!