I am writing this just after sending my teenage son off to school. It is not even 7 am but I am exhausted, after going through the morning chaos that is the feature of my household day after day…. Let me explain.
My son is not a morning person. As a morning person myself, it is very difficult to understand how someone can sleep through three loud wake-the-dead alarms, a screaming banshee (that’s me), a sterner, deeper ‘Wake up’ (from my husband) – day after day. You would think that after so many years of school, and knowing that you just have to get up, he would have figured it out, but no; we do this with unfailing regularity every day. I have to physically drag my son out of bed, and this getting difficult as he is getting bigger. I steer him into the bathroom to brush his teeth, but he has morphed into a horse, and is sleeping standing up. ‘Brush your teeth, brush your teeth,’ I nag, and I hear the water running in the sink. But he is still sleepwalking, and I have to remind him to finish up and get out of the bathroom. I have given up on breakfast – he will not have anything when he is half asleep. He sits on the sofa, blearily looking for his shoes, until I find them pushed under the chair and hand them to him. He will not tie his laces – that is too much work. I keep thinking he is going to trip and fall some day, but that hasn’t happened yet, surprisingly. The god of sleepyheads is looking out for him.
I try to make it easy for him, and wake him up at the last possible minute. Bath time is in the night, so that he can get up as late as he can. He even sleeps in his jeans, so there is no time wasted dressing up for school. I think this must be really uncomfortable, but he likes sleeping in his jeans, and I’m like, whatever works. Now that it is getting cold, sometimes socks go on too. I draw the line at wearing shoes to bed, although he tries to cajole me every now and then: “All my friends sleep with their shoes on!” “This way you won’t have to worry about untied shoelaces….”
I should look at the bright side, and be grateful for small things. My friends say their mornings often descend into screaming matches, where their sleepy kids snarl at each other and their parents. My son is a zombie, and has nothing to say, so there is no drama. And I have heard the advice: to let him figure it out instead of ‘enabling’ him, let him make mistakes and be late for school, he will learn etc etc.
But being late means that he will miss the school bus, and then I will have to drive him to school. It seems to me that this is the price I pay for having a member of my household who is not in tune with the rhythms of his world, and this must be the story for all night owls forced to work in the morning, or larks who have to work in the night. And hopefully this is a temporary thing, and he will soon grow out of his teenage need for sleep and join the rest of the world when they are rising and shining…… Now excuse me while I get myself a cup of coffee and recover from my morning!
Also Read : Life Beyond Motherhood