5 minutes

What I have learned recently is that even though my nine year old daughter can now set the timer on the microwave if needed and can read time on a clock, her sense of internal time has not yet calcified.

More or less, I can, at this stage in my life, approximate 5 minutes.  I set the timer for my tea to steep and walk away. When something inside me tells me to, I head back to get it, and the timer dings on my way.

We wait for approximately 5 minutes at a customer service counter and my daughter is unbelieving how long it took to get served.  "It was like 40 minutes Mom!"

Partly, she was bored and when we are bored all time denatures into jelly, but partly she had no idea approximately how much time she had spent looking at brochures while we waited for them to process our return.

Ever since both kids have entered the school system, their grip on time has tightened. Our daughter corrects me on a regular basis when it comes to time, my son still relies on us to clarify if this is a Monday or a Wednesday.  What is more important to him is knowing if it is gym day or not. His metric for time is how many nights to Hallowe'en or a birthday party.

Although I have not worn a watch for years, I have been conditioned by years of school and clock watching at jobs and breastfeeding and childcare and waiting for buses and cell phones to know a 5 minutes when I feel it.  How would things be different if I didn't.

My daughter still believes a lot (anything) can happen in 5 minutes, I have parceled my time up. A 5 minute parcel is for steeping tea, enough time to eat a piece of toast and find some underware.  Now that the time has been divided up, it is nearly impossible to not know what 5 minutes feels like.