Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wake-Up Call

My daughter's going to be late to school tomorrow.

I already know this. I already know this and I am the most exacting, punctual, always-early person you will ever meet. I already know this and I'm not doing anything about it. Here's why ...

Basically, it's a new year and I've made a declaration. She must get herself up. Enough already.

I wouldn't mind waking her in the morning if she actually opened her eyes, climbed out of bed and went about her business. I used to enjoy it, as a matter of fact. She used to be sweet and cuddly, happy to see me, pleased to start a shiny new morning.

Those were the days, my friend.

On a typical morning now, I get up at 6:00 a.m. (unless I have insomnia and have already headed up to my office to work — but that's another post entirely). I shower, dress, make the bed, and arrive at her room at 6:30. Then, the tango begins.

First, I try to get her up with a gentle salutation, a soft-spoken "Good morning, sweetheart" to express my unconditional love and start her day off on a kind, supportive note. No dice. My love may be unconditional, but our dialogue quickly devolves into conditions and downright threats. After several "Pleeeeeeease, Mom. I'm sooooooooo tired. Just two more minutes," I hear myself become a shrill harpy.

"If you don't get up now ..."

"I'm warning you ..."

"This is the last time ..."

Well, if I can stick to my guns (not always my most successful objective, I confess), today really was the last time. I'm sorry, but the fact that she always manages to be out the door in the very nick of time doesn't make up for the fact that I've been through thirty minutes of combat. She may be fine by the time she meets her friend at the corner, but I've started the day watching in horror as I become my own worst self. I sit down to my work distressed and disappointed.

Part of this morning's melodrama was my cruel and unusual methodology. After my initial attempts to rouse the sleeping tween, I turned on her lights. Only halfway, I might note. "Ooooooouuuuuuwwwwwwwwww!" she howled, "It hurts!"

Is this my daughter, I wondered, or a vampire?

Eventually, she rolled out of bed, scowling and resentful. This gave me enough confidence that I could go downstairs and make breakfast and lunch. Eventually, she followed, still angry and irritated. Eventually, she left for school. Her parting gift to her devoted mother? She allowed me to hug her and shot me a look that was ... well ... let's just say less-than-affectionate.

So, tired of being the unappreciated (downright detested) human alarm clock, I've set an electronic one on her night table. My husband, who is as fed up with observing our morning ritual as I am living it, has pulled a second alarm clock out of the guest room and placed it on her desk, twelve or so feet from her bed. If she's gonna hit the "snooze" button, she's gonna have to take a hike to do so.

My daughter has been warned. She has a riding lesson this afternoon and a babysitting gig this evening. She may be more tired than usual tomorrow morning (although I doubt that's possible). But, it is her responsibility to get up. Period. End of story.

Am I protesting a bit too much? If so, it's only because I have to maintain my resolve. This is for her own good, right? I mean, she has to learn, right? I mean, what kind of career can she have someday if she can't get up in the morning? (Rock star, bartender, late night DJ, international telemarketing rep?)

My daughter has always been a deep sleeper. And, I'm glad. (Heck, I'm envious.) But, she keeps asking for more responsibility. She keeps reminding us that she's "Not a kid anymore." All right then, here's your wake-up call, my dearest darling. 6:30 a.m. I can't think of a better time to grow up.

Did I mention? My daughter is going to be late to school tomorrow.


  1. It really is the only way, Alex. Stick to your guns. Let her deal with the consequences.

  2. I'm rooting for you! (Stan's suggestion, which he has appparently used effectively, is to wake them once and then go in the second time and dump water on them. According to my husband, you only have to do this one time.)

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