In a minute


The first phrase that my daughter mastered was "in a minute".  She'd be talking away in unrecognizable chatter on her "cell phone" when she would be chirp, "in a minute".  This phrase has taken such prominence in my language since having kids that it has come to be used by both of my kids to my disadvantage almost on an hourly basis.

"Can you move these trucks out of the kitchen?"
"In a minute."
"Time for a bath."
"In a minute."
"Get your boots on."
"In a minute."

I misused the phrase for so long, it is hardly surprising that it would be misused by them.  Looking back, I'd say it all started in the early early days of first-time parenthood when I was shocked by the transition into the present that breastfeeding demanded.  RIGHT NOW. NOT penciled in for Saturday, NOT in about an hour, NOT whenever, but, RIGHT NOW.  Preferably sooner.  Because, well, because what else is there except for now? It took me so long to be at peace and willingly succumb to these demands without feeling a kind of doom and I think my use (and abuse) of "in a minute" grew to reflect how, as they grew more independent, i.e. were able to sit in one place with a toy for 2 minutes while I rushed to the bathroom or finished a cup of coffee before it got cold, I tried to restore my version of time.  I could resist, just for a minute, these demands on me right this second. To buy me time in situations with people who have no concept of it.



The trouble is, I feel like I have corrupted my children.  I've taught them that time can be stretched and manipulated. Things can be postponed, distanced and re-arranged in a thousand different ways.  They've started to take my lead and take it to a whole new level.  Why couldn't I have been corrupted by their version of timekeeping instead?  How would everything be different if I had been?

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