Who Woke Whom?

I really miss my sleep.  I do.

I got to bed just a little bit late last night, around 11:00.  I was nicely and deeply asleep by 2:00.  I know this because I was rudely awakened by a door opening.  I glanced at our door and saw light shining through the cracks.  I lay quietly and waited for the child, whoever it was, to reveal his or her intention (and thus my obligation) by either flushing the toilet and returning to bed (I go back to sleep), making loud vomiting noises or calling out for help (I wake up my husband), or making no sounds at all (I have to get up and investigate).

The last is the worst and, of course, is what I got.  Nothing but silence and light shining under the door.  With a sigh as I felt the last vestige of heavy sleep leave my eyes, I threw off the covers and checked the time.  2:00.

As I opened our door, I was surprised to see that the lights in the hallway, boys’ bedroom, living room, and dining room were all on.  I stepped into the boys’ room and didn’t see Daryl.  I didn’t climb the bunk bed to see if Hal was buried among the stuffed animals.  I hurried down the hall, confused and agitated.

I rounded the corner to the kitchen (light also on) to find Daryl fully dressed for school, including shoes, and packing his lunch.

“What are you doing?!”  He jumped and turned his alarmed eyes my direction.  Before he could answer, I explained my question.  “It’s 2:00 in the morning!”

“Well I didn’t know that!” he exclaimed defensively.  “I woke up so I started getting ready.”

“That’s the beauty of an alarm clock,” I countered.  “You know it’s not time to get up until it goes off.”  Daryl had faithfully and successfully set and rose with his alarm clock every school day for the first couple weeks of school.  Since then, he’s been failing to set it and I’ve had to wake him each morning when I realize he’s not getting up.

I marched down the hall, gauging the state of wakefulness in my own body.  I knew it’d be a long while before I got back to sleep.  Just enough time to be deeply asleep again when my own alarm went off at 5:30.

I entered the boys’ room, tiptoed carefully through the hockey gear scattered over the floor to dry out, and quietly pulled the cord on the light to turn it back off.  Hopefully, Hal would sleep through the experience.  I stepped back out into the hallway and waited for Daryl, reminding him as he approached that he needed to turn off the lights behind him.

About then, a sleepy and angry voice called out from the top bunk.  “Mooo-ooom!  That woke me up!!”

“I’m sorry, Hal.  Your brother got up and turned on all the lights.”

“I didn’t wake up when Bubba turned on the light, Mommy.  I woke up just now because of you.”

This accusation was too much for me.  “Gee, I’m sorry, honey,” I said, not really caring if he was old enough to catch the sarcasm.  “I am so enjoying being awake at 2:00 in the morning.  I was just trying to turn the light back off so you guys could sleep.”

“Well you didn’t have to wake me up!”

I returned to bed and composed this blog post in my head until sleep finally reclaimed me.  People think the sleepless time is only while the children are infants.  At least infants have the decency to let you know that you will be sleepless every night.  You can, to some degree, plan for it.  The older, stealthier kids spring it on you when you least expect it.

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Is There A Doctor In The House?

One recent Saturday morning shortly after seven, as I lay in bed reading and delaying getting up, an eerie sound started up in the boys’ room. It sounded like some sort of special effect from a science fiction movie. Before I could identify the noise, it was punctuated by a robotic voice menacingly declaring “Exterminate! Exterminate!” The music continued and then the voice cut in again and so on.

I soon heard the rustling of sheets and sleepy voices mumbling to each other, first softly and then at a near shout when it became clear that neither wanted to get out of bed. “Turn it off!”…”You turn it off!”…”You are closer!”…”So?! I don’t know how!”…”But I’m on the bunk bed! Just do it! Hurry!”…”I don’t know how!”

Then there was the sound of someone stumbling out of bed, some bumping and exclamations, and then the Dalek and his background music desisted. Some slight rustling as the vanquisher returned to bed. And then silence.

I turned to my husband and smiled. He smiled back. “That was awesome,” he laughed quietly. And, indeed, it was.

You see, that Dalek was ours before it was taken without permission. It had sat placidly in our bedroom not threatening anyone for well over six months since we received it for Christmas. If you press on its head, it will project the time on the ceiling. Pressing its head while the alarm is going off will also act as a snooze and we both continued to smile as we could guess how the boys had likely quieted the Dalek.

Sure enough, ten minutes later, it started up again and the entire situation played out much the same. Only this time, the young bottom-bunk dweller opted to retire to our room after performing his duty so that he couldn’t be tasked with silencing it again.

The next morning, the Dalek greeted us shortly after seven. And again the next. One night, as I tucked the boys into bed, I picked it up and said, “You know, when you guys took this from our room, you fiddled with it and turned the alarm clock on. You need to figure out how to undo it.”

They shrugged me off. I, in turn, shrugged them off. They had dug themselves into this hole and we found the Dalek not merely amusing, but pretty helpful, guaranteeing that our boys would be roused shortly after seven each morning.

After a week or so of this, I went to tuck the boys in last night. Hal looked up and pleaded with me, “Mommy! Will you please, please take that Dalek out of here?!”

“No,” I said, “I rather like it being in here. It does a good job of waking you guys up at 7:15.”

“But I don’t want to wake up at 7:15!” Daryl protested. “I want to wake up at 8:15!”

“Please!” begged Hal. “It scares me. Please?!”

His tone was genuinely that of a scared little boy. I got to thinking about my reaction when I heard that alarm the first time and firmly told my husband he was to never enable the alarm. And how much I had jumped when someone had nevertheless inadvertently turned it on.

I took the Dalek out of the room.

My husband was waiting for me at the dining room table for our budget discussion. I set the Dalek down in front of him. He looked up at it and burst out laughing.

I smiled.

The Dalek had been a gift. One that we had suggested we’d enjoy – mostly because we were after the projected clock. That feature worked but not the way we had intended. The gift, however, has not gone unappreciated. This past week gave us all the enjoyment we needed.