The kid may not always go down on time, he may not always sleep like a “yump” as my sister used to say, but he wakes up like clockwork. 6:30 every morning. It usually coincides with the alarms going off, the shower turning on, the dog jingling his collar with a shake of the head. By 6:30, Colleen is up and I am still in bed thinking four-letter words that are not appropriate for family blogging.
I’ve wondered lately about my resistance to the initial wake up. I know it’s coming. I know that eventually I will get out of bed, go into his room, see the smile on his face, and forget all about the four-letter words. But at 6:30 and zero seconds, I am convinced that somehow this could have been delayed. A quieter dog. A quicker response to the alarm. Total darkness in the house. Tip toe-ing around. Prayer. Sacrifice of small animals. Sacrifice of large animals. Something. Anything. Just to get an extra five minutes of sleep. At 6:30 and ten seconds, I am wondering why we even had a kid. Wasn’t the dog enough of an inconvenience with his morning whimpers and unreasonable dietary and digestive expectations? At 6:30 and 20 seconds, I am obsessing over the exact sounds emanating from the next bedroom over. Are they distressed? Are they playful? Are they settling noises? Is there any chance this kid will go back to sleep? At 6:30 and 30 seconds, I am in bargaining mode. Another five minutes and I’ll go get him. Another two minutes just to keep my eyes closed. Just not this instant. Please not this instant. A 6:30 and 40 seconds, I’m already feeling guilty and the dog is now on the bed so I’m petting him and lamenting the fact that it’s all over, that the day is going to start right now, whether I’m ready or not. Stupid kid. Stupid dog. Don’t they know I work late? The fact that I stayed up unnecessarily looking up random things on the internet is irrelevant. At 6:30 and 50 seconds I start plotting my day. What’s for breakfast? WIll I fight the diaper battle immediately or after a few minutes of playing? When will I fit in time to shower? Do I really need to shower? Is there a smell? Can it be covered?
Some days I delay getting out of bed for a few minutes. Other days it’s closer to 15. There’s an irrational optimism in me that thinks, one day, he’ll sleep until 7. And if he can sleep until 7, one day he’ll sleep until 7:30. And so on. And maybe that day will be tomorrow. But come tomorrow (you know, when tomorrow becomes today or this morning), those hopes will be dashed. 6:29 will turn into 6:30 and I will once again be a broken man, filled only with regret, despair, and the unsatisfying solace of a few four-letter words. It is a small miracle that, in the 20 or so steps to his room, and the 15 or so seconds it takes to turn on the light and pick him up, I turn into a decent human being again.