When he was six years old, my youngest son begged for an alarm clock. I figured it would be a passing fancy. What does a six year old need to get up for, except to pee, and there’s a built in alarm clock for that.
For a while, it was a novelty. He made it ring over and over, moving the alarm indicator and then the watch hands to enjoy another full minute of clatter. I asked him to close his bedroom door.
One early summer morning I even heard the distant “dingaling” of his alarm clock and climbed up the stairs to turn it off. Michael lay with eyes closed, mouth slightly open, obviously dreaming of a drawer full of silverware doing the hokey pokey.
Even when his room fell silent, he didn’t stir.
Definitely a passing fancy.
But when he turned seven, something happened. He came into my room at 3:30 am. Thinking he’d had a bad dream, I instructed him to go to the bathroom before he got in bed with his dad and me. I didn’t want to risk his internal alarm clock failing to wake him up when he reached critical bladder mass.
It was only after he finished the night with his feet in my back and his hard skull doing its best to knock me unconscious that I found out the truth.
He’d purposely set his alarm clock for 3:30 a.m. “I wanted to get up earlier than anyone,” he said.
The next night, we talked about him not setting his alarm to go off so early.
“But I still want to get up before everyone else,” he said.
“Dad goes to work at 6:00 a.m. so why not set your alarm for 5:30?”
He grinned and set his alarm.
And was up at 3:30.
This time he didn’t come into my room.
He had a bath.
And played on the computer.
And watched a movie.
He forgot to eat until I got up at 7:00 and offered him breakfast.
And he went to school happy.
That night, we all got ready to go to the high school to watch his big brother play basketball. Michael wasn’t sure he wanted to go. “I might fall asleep.”
You know, Michael, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
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