Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Morning Glory

"Good mornin', good mornin'!"

Y'know the scene in Singin' in the Rain when Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor realize that their evening was so late ... it's early? They've pulled an all-nighter figuring out how to transform the silent movie The Dueling Cavalier into the talkie The Dancing Cavalier. With their problem solved, they realize that the sun is already on its way up — which, this being an MGM musical, gives them yet another reason to sing and dance. It's a famous and memorable sequence in a well-loved Hollywood classic.

It's also a terrific way to torture your tween. Trust me.

You see, I am my daughter's alarm clock, among the many many (thankless, overworked, underpaid) jobs I have. Don't get me wrong; she has a clock. She has a clock that she picked out herself two years ago. She has a clock that has a brightly lit display in which every digit is a different fluorescent color. She has a clock that has an alarm so loud and so shrill that I can hear it three rooms down the hall even if I'm in the shower.

Unfortunately, my daughter, an otherwise normal and healthy young woman, is apparently deaf and blind at 6:30 in the morning. Which is why yours truly must take on the role of said clock. She sleeps right through the alarm. However ... she can't sleep through me.

When she was little, I couldn't wait to wake her up. She was a good sleeper and she was always sweet and cheerful in the mornings. She was happy to get up. She was happy to see me. We typically snuggled a few minutes before choosing an outfit (that we actually agreed about, imagine that!) and starting our day together. Since I worked full-time in a city an hour away, those minutes we had together before I dropped her off at daycare were particularly precious to me. To both of us, I think.

Well ... suffice it to say that mornings are different now. Like everyone else her age, my daughter can't seem to get enough sleep. We've tried earlier bedtimes. But, she has too much homework and too many activities (and, between you and me, too many friends with Facebook accounts) to get to bed any sooner than she already does.

Of course, the problem, she insists is that school starts too early. Not that she's staying up too late. (Nah, going to bed late and getting up early couldn't possibly be related, right? Those two factors could never turn a perfectly normal tween into a stark-raving, fire-breathing, head-spinning little monster, could they? Didn't think so.)

Here's our new routine. "Good morning, sweetie," I offer cheerfully.

She doesn't move.

I walk in and open all the blinds. Her room has seven windows on three walls; when the blinds are open, it is b-r-i-g-h-t. I adjust the bedspread and the covers and her stuffed animals (mostly horses but a few squirrels — I'm really not sure why), all of which are now on the carpet.

She doesn't move.

By now, I'm feeling some pressure. Let's see, I still need to make breakfast, pack lunch, double check that all homework is complete and in the backpack, get a sense of any after school plans, start my own day. So, I begin coaxing, then coercing, then nagging, then threatening.

And, if at any point, I really want to make her cringe, I sing ...

Good mornin', good mornin'!
We've talked the whole night through,
Good mornin', good mornin' to you.
Good mornin', good mornin'!
It's great to stay up late.
Good mornin', good mornin' to you!

I never have to sing it twice.

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