Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Oh, how I hate to get up in the morning..."

I sometimes think parenting is just an elaborate payback for all the grief we caused the adults in our lives when we were kids.

The battle around here to get three teenage boys out of bed on time--or anything even remotely in the neighborhood of on time--has been heating up lately. They all have their own rooms and their own functioning alarm clocks, but we have yet to make it through a single week when all three of them were on time to school every day. Efforts to send them to bed earlier result only in them staying awake in their respective rooms, reading or staring at the ceiling or wandering the house in the dead of night like the blood-sucking vampires I'm often convinced they are. (Deprived children that they are, their rooms aren't equipped with cable-ready TV's or kickin' stereo systems or computers so it's not the Evil Video Entertainment Purveyors that are keeping them awake.)

I wasn't what anyone would call an early, or cheerful, riser when I was a teenager. I often rolled out of bed at the very last minute, after considerable nagging on my mother's part. I can actually remember an acquaintance of mine in high school saying to me one morning, "You look like you just woke up...but then you always look like you just woke up." Yeah, it was a catty, crappy thing to say, but the thing is, it was 100% true and in her defense, it was actually closer to noon when she said it--a time by which bedhead and pillow creases should've long since worn off.

There are a lot of mornings when I stand at the bottom of the stairs shouting for each boy until I hear the grunted response letting me know he's at least semi-conscious that I think of my poor grandmother, who put up with me for weeks on end every summer. This wasn't my haunted house grandmother, but my Nan, my father's mother. I spent several weeks each summer I was in high school with her and my Pap in their teeny, tiny, unhaunted house. I slept on the sofa bed in the middle of the living room (the house was a converted hunting cabin that only had three rooms) and every morning as the clock inched past nine and then past ten, my grandmother would come into the room singing, "Oh how I hate to get up in the morning!" And then, in a deeper voice, "But you gotta get up, you gotta get up in the morning!"

Oh, Nan, wherever you are, they're getting back at me now.

Turns out, there is a scientifically proven (or at least suggested by a study or two) reason--other than laziness and the deep desire to annoy the adults in one's life--why teenagers stay up so late and hate to get out of bed so early. It's cold comfort but I'll take it.


  1. i'd try bribing them. kids respond to cold, hard cash. and staying late for detention sucks, so there are the consequences, too, yes?!

  2. I slowly raise my hand of being guilty of this too as a teenager. I so loved the summer of staying up all night and sleeping until 2-3 pm, while my Mom would call and tell me to get up that I was sleeping too late. Once she told me that you could sleep too much. Yeah, let me suffer from that now PLEASE!

    I have to say I am THRILLED to hear that you are like myself in the thought of depriving my child of all fun toys for their bedrooms. I never had a TV in my bedroom until I moved to college and boy that was such a highlight of my life. Seeing that I did not die from it, I plan on passing along the same punishment to my daughter, haha!!! I am sure she will be spoiled a million times over but not with the full media and computer set up in the bedroom. Just not gonna happen.

  3. OK. I just reserved your book of the month from my library. I was mad that it was not on tape or CD yet but, well we can't have EVERYTHING!

  4. Erm...Could someone let me know when we grow out of wanting to sleep in late? Given the chance, I regularly sleep in until 11 or 12.....or much later when alone...

    Is that still applicable in one's thirties?



  5. How interesting! I will have to read that site you linked to then and let my sister-in-law know that there's hope!

    3 boys. Wow. You are suddenly on my "moms who fill me with awe" list just for surviving THAT! LOL!

  6. Mom's Sidekick11/18/05, 2:18 AM

    I had a very witty and inciteful comment to make... it flew right out the "window" when I realized Mom said SHE stands there yelling at them... ohhhhh mannnnnn, this is war.

    It's 2:16am and I'm just now headed to bed myself. Health issues aside, is there some possible genetic tendency? Mom knows my hatred for daylight in any form : )

  7. Hey! I never said I'm the only one standing at the bottom of the stairs.

    Now that you mention the hatred of daylight thing...remember when Daughter-Only was in kindergarten and learning about animals? She came home from school and announced that Daddy was "nocturnal." So, um, might be genetic in addition to hormonal.

  8. You would think that, since we are aware of the physical reasons for the change in sleep schedule during teen years, they would just adjust the freaking school system.Not just teenagers, but parents everywhere would be rejoicing! My Mom used to send we younger children up to the 4th floor (the giant finished attic with 6 boys' beds) and pitchers of ice water, to make the 'older boys' get out of bed. Yeah, that made us popular...