Our oldest is an early riser.
Much to our chagrin, he rarely sleeps past 6 AM. We got a little stoplight alarm clock, and he’s not supposed to get out of his bed until the light turns green except to go to the bathroom. That worked for a while, but now I’m convinced, evil genius that he is, that he has trained his body to require an urgent trip to the bathroom at 5:45 AM.
Every. Single. Morning.
Once he’s awake, getting him to go back to sleep is akin to trying to harness a runaway reaction in a nuclear meltdown: you can try, but it will probably kill you.
So my mornings usually begin something like this:
*THUD* – The boy jumps, not climbs, jumps, out of his bed. With gusto.
*creeeeaak* – My half awake brain registers the fact that I should really hit that door with some dubya-D 40.
*SLAM* – He is fairly hulkish, and is still apparently unaware of how strong he actually is. The funny thing is, I think he’s actually trying to be quiet. It never turns out that way.
My wife and I are both awake by this point, in the bed, but neither of us acknowledges it. It’s like a game we play, and the winner gets to lay in bed for like, 15 more minutes, which is the tired parents’ equivalent of winning the frackin’ powerball. So he creeps down the hall, opens the door, comes into our room and picks the winner. Now, I am distinctly disadvantaged in this game, in that my side of the bed happens to be the one closest to the door, so usually, I’m the chosen one. The manner of choosing varies from day to day, from the super-creepy to the super-cute.
Some days he’ll just stand there staring at me, not saying anything, but telepathically screaming at me, “Hey slacker, I know you’re faking being asleep, so howzabout you get moving so we can do this potty thing?”
Other days, he’ll pucker up and just start kissing me, and I mean honestly, at that point it’s pretty difficult to be upset that I had to wake up a few minutes before my alarm.
Regardless of how the day starts though, one thing is clear: the whole “stay in bed until your light turns green” thing just isn’t really sticking. This, however, is not a unique phenomenon. Parenting is full of these intellectual impasses, and while the conversations can be maddening when you’re in the middle of them (for the eleventy-billionth time), they’re actually pretty funny. For us, they usually follow the same pattern:
I say something.
He looks at me like that’s the craziest thing he’s ever heard in his life, which might actually be true, since his life only consists of three years so far.
But then, one day, I’ll hear him talking to one of his little friends (and adults as well), and he’ll just drop some knowledge on them like it’s no big deal. I had a friend in town not too long ago who got the full treatment on what geologists were, how vulcanologists were a subset of geologists that study volcanoes and lava and magma, and what paleontologists do as well.
So, this time of year…
–I know what you’re thinking: “Oh great. ANOTHER Christmas post.” And you’re right, but I’ve already sucked you in this far, and you’re invested, so you might as well just hang around for the punchline. Besides, the picture probably should’ve been a red flag, so you have no one to blame but yourself. :) –
So anyway, this time of year, we’re doing the hipster-Christian bourgeois thing and trying to be a little more intentional about Advent and Christmas. Now, while that might have a lot of meaning for us, I feel like the nuance might be lost on a three year old. So we stick to simple concepts: Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about Jesus, Love, Family, you know, the important stuff.
So the other day, he got to go see Santa at the mall. (I know, we’re kind of sending mixed signals here with the whole Christmas thing. We never said we were perfect!) He did what you’d expect a three year old to do: he hopped right up on Santa’s lap and told him excitedly what he was hoping to get for Christmas.
But then, the sea parted and the heavens opened. Choruses of angels began singing “Hosana!” There were earthquakes and lightning and thunder and stars falling from the sky. Because something had actually stuck.
He pulled Santa close (he has this habit of grabbing both of your cheeks when he has something really important to say) and said,
“But Santa, Christmas isn’t really about presents. It’s about Jesus.”
So maybe the whole “stay in bed until the light turns green thing” will never stick and we won’t be able to sleep in again until they’re teenagers and sleeping like 14 hours a day. I’ll probably wake up tomorrow to the same thud/creak/slam that I do every morning, and I’ll still have to poor myself a second cup of coffee by 8 AM. But I can’t complain when I see how he’s genuinely more excited about giving gifts to his teachers and babysitters than he is about getting stuff or when I hear him giving Santa the what-for on the real meaning of Christmas.
The stuff that really matters, that’s the stuff that sticks.