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.
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