Wake up, Little Susie

8 Jun


I am not a morning person.    Not by a long shot.  

To say I’m a light sleeper doesn’t begin to pay homage to the nocturnal hypersensitivity that keeps me awake for hours on end.  The slightest pressure in my bladder implores me for relief.  The merest exhalation of breath from my dog, a nose whistle fit to announce an oncoming locomotive.  The silent thrumming of my husband’s pulse, a thunderous beat that would drown out Poe’s pathetic telltale heart…anything keeps me awake.  And once awake, I’m alert all night, rendering me utterly exhausted and aching for even just a few minutes of sleep by the time the rest of my household is stirring for the day.  

I have to admit though, (debilitating insomnia notwithstanding) that I’ve otherwise got it pretty good.  In stark contrast to me, my husband is a card-carrying Morning Person.  Up at 5 everyday (without a pressing reason) he walks the dog, makes the coffee and destroys the kitchen, employing virtually EVERY pot, pan, corn cob holder and cutting board we own to make something as simple as, say, Instant Grits.  Now the filthy kitchen part is not actually the part that makes me lucky.  Rather its the fact that my husband quietly sets a steaming cup of coffee on my nightstand and gets the boys up and running without waking me right away that makes me lucky.  As the scent of the coffee wafts over me, gently nudging me toward consciousness, I’m allowed to stay in bed until 10 minutes before the bus comes when I must pop up to perform The Morning Inspection.  

The Morning Inspection is a crucial part of the day for my family that could mean the difference between just a ‘normal day’ and a day highlighted by a CPS visit.  In the absence of The Morning Inspection, my husband would allow our boys to head off to school with mismatched shoes, rooster hair, dragon breath, and breakfast stains covering the rumpled clothes they wore to bed the night before.  (‘Morning Guy?’ Yes. ‘Detail Guy?’ No.)  You can see that if my sons arrived at school thusly, CPS would be compelled to investigate whether these boys were raising themselves in an adult-free ‘Lord of the Flies’-type colony, devoid of parental instruction in basic grooming and hygiene skills. 

Each morning as the bus approaches, I stumble out of bed and lurch bleary-eyed into the bathroom, to set about smoothing cowlicks, wiping grits morsels from cheeks, and preparing myself for the morning’s breath analysis.  In my capacity as a Human Breathalyzer, I listen impassively as each of my three sons brazenly lies about having just brushed his teeth, then brace myself as they in turn position their mouths right up under my nostrils and blast their putrid breath in my face.  Though the noxious gases burn my upper airway, singe my nose hair and cause me briefly to recoil, I am nonetheless able to instantaneously determine the ratio of foul morning breath to breakfast food to toothpaste.  

Usually the report goes something like this: “I detect an oaky overnight sourness underscored by the fermented meatloaf from last night’s dinner that must have been lodged between your molars.  There is the buttery scent of this morning’s grits with just a top note of mint from your lame attempt to lick the top of the toothpaste tube and pretend that you’ve thoroughly brushed.  Now brush your teeth for real this time and breathe on me again.”   This process is usually repeated several times with each child before we have to cut our losses or they’ll miss the bus.

But now that summer is here, we are all taking advantage of a more laid-back morning routine.  My husband still wakes early and heads to work, but the boys sleep a little later, and I try not to get up until I hear the Alarm that heralds the beginning of my day.  My Alarm consists of a small voice bleating: “SHUT UP!!” followed by some muffled sounds, followed by the unmistakeable soft yet solid THUD of a small fist smashing into a smaller set of ribs, followed by the overly dramatized wailing of the “injured” party.  Yesterday however, in a blessed reprieve, my Alarm never went off and I allowed myself to stay under the covers until nearly 8:40.  Not that this indulgence didn’t come with a price.

Though the boys are all perfectly capable of fixing themselves a bowl of cereal, when left to their own devices, they’d rather take the edge off their hunger with a half a bag of tortilla chips drizzled in pancake syrup, or some other appealing breakfast concoction.  However yesterday while trolling the fridge for the Aunt Jemima, they found the two 8-packs of Danimals Drinkable Yogurts that I’d just purchased the day before.  Now, you’d think that each of them would be content to wash down their morning ration of Tostitos with just one nutritious yogurt beverage (maybe two, tops) and call it ‘breakfast’.  But alas, my boys will never be accused of temperance and moderation.

I entered the kitchen to find that my three sons had downed not three, or six, or nine, or twelve, or even a Baker’s dozen of the pricey yogurt beverages…  They’d actually polished off all sixteen in one sitting,leaving the kitchen strewn with little plastic cartons, foil lids, and a Pollack painting worth of yogurt splatters to tell the tale.  

I trudged across the kitchen, feet sticking to the floor, blood pressure on the rise, to find the boys in a heap on the floor of the family room.   Zoned out in front of the TV.   Drunk on acidophilus.  

Who drank all the Danimals?!”  I queried.  

Thumbs shot up in every direction, and in unison they answered:  “HE DID IT!!!!”  


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