Before having children, the clocks changing twice a year barely impinged on my life. Of course I was grateful for the extra hour in bed at the end of October, and noticed how suddenly it was dark when I started my evening commute, but it wasn’t an event that I put much thought into.
When you have a baby, you notice how finely tuned their body clocks are with even small changes upsetting them. Having to keep them up an extra hour on a single day at the end of October disrupts their routine for days, with naps falling at unexpected times, feeding schedules going awry and crying at bedtime as they try to settle their overtired little brains to sleep. It doesn’t get easier as they grow into toddlers, a species that is particularly intractable and finds comfort in the familiar. Adjust their routine by just an hour, and you have tantrums and 4.30am starts on your hands. Well we did, anyway.
This year, for the first time in seven years, I did not unduly dread the clocks falling back. Aged 7, 5 and 3, our children are becoming more adaptable and more willing to listen to reason. They woke up at their usual time on Sunday morning, despite having been put to bed a little later than usual the night before, but instead of crying and demanding to get out of bed at 5.45am, they were happy to sit in their beds looking at books until the new 7 o’clock.
Now it’s Tuesday, and they seem to have adjusted to the time change, having woken at 7ish this morning. Two days for one hour. The time difference between London and Los Angeles, the first planned stop on our round the world trip is 8 hours. We will probably stay in LA for a week, or less, before flying to Hawaii, a further three hours change. Two days for one hour. Hmmm.