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December 2, 2002 - Monday
Harry and I went back down in the basement after Jeremy went up for his bath with mommy. The three of us had been down there this afternoon, too, before mommy got home, but Jeremy wasn't feeling with a mild fever and clung to me the entire time. I made a little seat right near the basement wood stove and sat with Jeremy, and that meant Harry was off doing doing his own thing, that's fine, but getting little attention, less fine.

So, I took Harry back down to the workshop again for a little one-on-one time. But, since it would soon be his bath time, I needed to establish an end point from the start. It was 7:20 by the big, black and white clock hanging on the wall. I'd pointed at the second hand this afternoon to make "the last minute" more tangible and now I pointed at the minute hand.

"Harry, when this big black hand gets over to the 8 it will be time to go upstairs. Can you see it, it's on the 4 right now, but it's going to move over to the 8 and then we'll have to go upstairs."
Harry looked a little concerned.
"It's not going to move very fast," I offered, "but it will slowly move and when it gets there, we'll have to go up."
Harry stood looking at the clock. Finally, he observed, "it isn't moving."
"It doesn't really look like it's moving, but it's moving very slowly." I pointed to the second hand and showed that it was moving and said that the minute hand was just moving slower. "In fact, it's going to catch up to the other black hand and that's right when it will be time to go up."
Harry still studied the clock. He'd look away at the pieces of wood and the tools on his little workbench, start to play, but then look back at the clock, visibly trying to make sense of a new concept.

At 7:25, I showed Harry that the hand had move from the 4 to the 5, that it was starting to "catch up" to the hour hand, and that we had fifteen more minutes before we had to go up and asked, "okay?.
"Okay," he said, almost instrinctively, but his attention was almost entirely fixed now on the clock and his turns toward his "building project" merely superficial. I felt a little guilty that this approach was having the affect of keeping him from actually playing, but his look was not at all concerned, rather inquisitive. His "okay" had a hint of a smile, perhaps a smile of understanding, or accomplishment, or comfort in a new concept, and he watched the clock work. It's one of the most fun things to see in a child: actually watching the gears turn and knowing at a given moment that another of life's mysteries is within their grasp. Right there at that moment, Harry was turning the corner on time, understand time, and, in a rudimentary way, telling time.

We went upstairs at 7:42, but mostly because I was putting away a couple of screwdrivers and less because of Harry's knee-jerk call for the "last minute." I told him we were already past the last minute, indeed two minutes after it, and he seemed to understand that well enough.

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