Our family comes from a long line of big sleepers. When our son was smaller, other parents would enviously ask, "Wow, how do you get him to sleep until 10 a.m." We'd just shrug and say, "It's in the genes."
But when Alex started school last year, those genes became a real problem. You see, waking our son is a bit more challenging than raising a zombie from the dead. In my desperation, I rather short-sightedly purchased a "howler monkey alarm clock" for his bedroom. (You can read about that episode here.) The clock disappeared suddenly last fall. No one is fessing up, but I believe my husband might have been the culprit. (And I have to say, I understand. The howler monkey scream was making him twitchy in the mornings.) Still, it wasn't a big issue because Alex attended afternoon kindergarten; sleeping in was a perk.
Fast forward to First Grade and a full day of school. As soon as I found out the bus arrives on our block at 7:45 a.m. daily, I knew we needed some wake-up help, and fast. I looked around online and then went out and purchased one of those cool alarm clocks that project a mini-star show on your kid's ceiling at night. (Very cool, if you haven't seen them!) He loved it, and was so excited to set the alarm the night before school started, "just like a big kid."
The only problem was that Alex slept right through the very loud bzzzzzz of the clock the next morning, though, ahem, the noise roused us down the hall quite well, thank you very much. (I am now certain this kid could — and would — sleep through a tornado warning siren.) There is only one explanation: We have been cursed by the howler monkey alarm clock. (It can't be that we're all just really heavy sleepers and love to stay under the warmth of the covers for as long as possible, right)
I went in and woke him up myself.
Sadly, I have had to come to terms with the fact that if my son doesn't have a feral monkey screaming in his ear, he's just not going to get out of bed.
During breakfast I casually asked Alex if he'd heard any unusual noises that morning. He just shook his head and said cheerfully, "Nope, I didn't hear anything until you woke me up."
Before he downed his last bite of cereal he said, "It's OK, Mommy. You can be my alarm clock."
About Elisabeth Wilkins
Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.