Pre-Dawn Warfare: On Rising & (Not) Shining

There are three days left in the school year as I type this, and thank goodness for that. While it does mean sibling-riot-chaos is no longer restricted to the evening hours, it also means the days of sandblasting three kids out of bed at 6:30 a.m. are over, and that’s a trade I’m happy to make.

My kids are not sleep-deprived. Bedtime here is 9 p.m., so everyone gets at least nine hours of sleep most nights. That’s supposed to make mornings easier, right? In theory, it should be much easier to get a well-rested kid out of bed than one who isn’t.

Nope. Nope nope nope. No one wakes up easily.

Mia and Ezra like to meet my wake-up nudges by rolling away from me and pretending neither I nor the sun are present and murmuring the revelation, “I’m tired!” To which my internal response is, “You’re tired? I had to wake up half an hour ago making coffee just to provide the energy required to get you three out of bed.”

Lorenzo is the toughest, though. You could film a Fast and the Furious chase scene in Renzo’s room and he’d sleep through it. If so inclined, you could pick him up and dress him, Weekend-at-Bernie’s style, prop him up at the breakfast table and he still wouldn’t wake up until you were manually manipulating his jaws through the third bite of Special K. The above photo was taken a couple days ago after Fernando had put a good tongue-bath on his face, after which you can see he just threw in the towel.

The Fernando technique — calling him up onto the bed and having him lick their faces — is not fully effective, mainly because he’s not fully cooperative. He’ll jump up on their beds, but he won’t lick them on command (still working on that).

And it’s also a little rough — Fernando weighs 110 pounds and tends to climb up onto their beds and just plop down on top of them. Sure, I want them to wake up, but I don’t want to have to take them straight to the ER with a cracked sternum.

Our wake-up times are staggered per kid, so I avoid the brute force technique of just blasting loud music that they can’t possibly continue sleeping through. If somebody has the foresight to bathe the previous night, then my position is that they deserve 15 minutes of extra sleep, so piping “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying” throughout the second floor at maximum volume would give that clean kid the shaft.

So I try to give each kid a gentle wake-up, but I’m low on gentleness when half-awake. Fortunately, Lorenzo is susceptible to being tickled awake, and to my further fortune, he laughs himself into consciousness. Tickling a sleeping Ezra or Mia, however, is a good way to end up with a sprained wrist and to hear all the new curse words the tweens are using these days.

It’s not all roses once everyone’s up on two feet, either. Despite living in a three-story house with three bathrooms, we have one working shower. The downstairs bathroom plumbing went to hell last summer (the house is 98 years old…I guess it’s time), and the third floor has a half bath with a toilet that never stops running no matter what we do to fix it, so the water’s off in that bathroom.

So on days where multiple kids have to shower in the morning, each is a harsh critic of the other’s showering pace. One need not be forced to wait a long time in order to be impatient; this morning, Renzo rose from bed, walked directly into the bathroom where Ezra was showering and yelled “HURRY UP EZRA, YOU SLOWPOKE!”

Still being in the shower 60 seconds after Lorenzo was wiping out his eye crust was apparently untenable.

But hey, let’s focus on the good — there are only two more mornings of this crotchety pre-dawn nonsense, and then everyone can sleep until their body wakes them up. Including, not for nothing, me.

Hey, I’m gonna need that extra rest if I’m going to be ordering ’em around all day, instead of just all evening, for the next three months. And so will they.

Happy summer, everyone…sleep well!

The Barsches

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