Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Waking The Boy

Although he gets a solid twelve hours a night (!), on some school mornings, TB really, really doesn't want to wake up. As the school year is winding to a close, it's getting worse.

We've had to resort to drastic measures.

Last week, when more traditional measures had failed, I resorted to the following, of which I am not proud:

“Get up or I'll start singing Anne Murray songs, and nobody wants that!”


(In my best Peter-Brady-voice-changing delivery) “SPREAD YOUR TINY WINGS AND FLY AWAY...”

(TB grunts, chuckles, and climbs out of bed.)

Adolescence is going to be sheer hell for the poor kid. I have a whole repertoire of cheesy MOR 70's hits memorized, due to some really unfortunate parental taste in music. Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Rita Coolidge, Juice Newton; you know the type. I haven't yet resorted to “Angel of the Morning” or “Space Cowboy,” but I haven't ruled them out, either. I'm saving “Horse With No Name” and “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” for emergencies.

What's the most insidious way your parents woke you up?

Well, my folks told me that if i missed the bus I had to miss school. (mom stayed home with younger sibs anyway) But that it would not be excused, so my grades would suffer. I wasn't allowed to watch TV (or play video games) if I didn't keep my grades up. So I got up.
...but DD, you're COMPLETELY neglecting the cheese of the mid- to late-80's here. If I hit my moment of utter desperation with my daughter, I'm bypassing the Greatness of Anne Murray and Karen Carpenter for something even more grating, even more jarring, something you must absolutely flee from.

That's right. I'll go for Don Johnson.


(And of course, for those who have avoided this piece of mid-80's brilliance, I have to provide a YouTube link. Click it. You know you want to.)
Great. Now I have "Horse with No Name" stuck in my head. Thanks so much.
My father used to sing reveille. Not just the tune, but words I sssume he made up...
"Its time to get up,
Its time to get up,
Its time to get up in the MORN-ING."
It was miserable to listen to. And no, he was not ex-military.

He also used to steal the covers off the bed. That stopped when I was 14 and started to sleep naked. (Partly because it was comfortable, and partly to keep him from stealing the covers.) The relentless singing continued.
When I was in the first few years of school, I was difficult to awaken, too. My parents resorted to rushing in the room, turning on all the lights, and, while one pulled the sheets off of me, the other one would swipe my face with a cold washcloth. Or else they would drop the cat on my stomach.
I don't recall if my parents had to do anything special get us up. I think it was my job to annoy my brother until he got up. "Rise and Shine!" However, for special occasions they would play something by the Chipmunks on the stereo.

Although I like the idea of you putting on your white sport coat and playing Don Johnson, the flashbacks to college created by Horse With No Name would do nothing for the TB. Why not sample the "Get Up" part of Day in the Life, or rock on with Back to the USSR? Or, for summer, go with Surfin Safari?
Lesboprof: No, those words are pretty common; my Dad used the same strategy.

The rest of the words are:

"Oh, how he hates to get up in the MOR-ning,

Oh, how he hates to get out of BED."

Repeat ad nauseam.
When my brother was a teenager, he was difficult to wake up. At one point, he gave my mother and I permission to use a water bottle if he didn't get up the second time we tried. That was the most brilliant solution -- I used it once, and then every time after that, I just had to say, "I have the water bottle", and suddenly he was up.

Oh, and Lesboprof, my Dad sang the same &%$# song. We had an intercom system in the house, so he would sing it to *all* of us at the same time.
Man, you dads must have some sort of psychic communique going! My dad used to sing "Morning has BROOOKEEENNNN" at us. As badly as he possibly could. And the man is a TERRIBLE singer to start with. It worked reasonably well on me, but nothing we did could ever quite get my little brother out of bed on some days.
Kids need a lot of sleep. If he doesn't want to wake up, you can tell him that it's fine.

Of course, he'll need to go to sleep earlier. Which, as he still needs to do his homework, may mean missing out on evening activities. Or soccer practice. Or.....
I come from another one of those families where siblings were used - If you didn't get up when called Mom or Dad would randomly select a kid to go wake you up by any means neccesary. There nothing like the dread of sibiling inventiveness to get you out of bed when the door creaks.

When DD was around eight or nine years old, he had The World's Most Annoying Alarm Clock.

The clock was about the size of a cigar box tipped on its side. The clock face was on the upper right. The rest of the clock was a plastic relief of Batman running towards the onlooker, with Robin driving the Batmobile in the background. (Batman's head and cape reached over the top of the clock; his cape "draped" over the top of the clock's body. To a young boy, this was unspeakably rad.)

Why was this The World's Most Annoying Alarm Clock? Because it talked. When it went off, you would hear:

Batmobile: Earsplitting SCREEECH!
Robin: Jumping Jehosephat Batman, we’re needed again!
Batman: That's right, Robin, we have to wake our friends!
Robin: Golly jeepers Batman, I’ll make the call!
Batman: Okay Robin, wake them all!
Robin: Time to get up and out of bed!
Batman: Good boy Robin, very well said!
Batmobile: Earsplitting SCREEECH!

The Batmobile screech is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't heard it. Suffice it to say that I never, ever want to hear that noise again.

DD, then as now, was a sound sleeper. The Batman-and-Robin alarm wasn't enough to get him up right away. So it would repeat. Again. And again. And again.


"Good boy Robin, very well said!"


Brother of Dean Dad --

My brother and I had that SAME Batman alarm clock! Of course, we never used it for actually waking up... we just thought it was a cool clock because it talked.
Singing seems to be the M.O. of parents everywhere. My mother used to come near our bedrooms and start singing (off-key and VERY loudly): "Good morning to YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!." Over and over and over. To this day (My sister and I are in our late thirties), when we are all visiting, if we hear our mother even HUM one note in the morning, we tend to go collectively insane. When she sleeps later than us, though, we do the same thing to her, simply out of ridiculous spite. So you might want to watch out: I'd be careful how much I sang to my kids to wake them up, cuz you might gt bitten in the a-- later with this one.

On another note, as the mother of two, a 3.5 year old and a 6 month old, I am heartened to think that someday I will have to WAKE UP my children. We are currently in advanced stages of sleep deprivation. Between the two of our kids, we are up usually 3-5 times per night. Thank you for this post which encourages me that this stage will not last forever.


Of course, I need to get tenure before this stage ends, so wish me luck.....
Dads who sang "Reveille?" My dad had a trumpet and PLAYED it.
My parents did one of 2 things:

1- They would flick the lights on and off several times. How they thought that would WAKE a sleeping person who has EYES CLOSED is beyond me...

Usually the rapidly *click* of the switch startled me awake. And then they'd scold me for being crabby. I asked them repeatedly not to do it, but they didn't listen. A recurring theme in my household...

2- They'd call me and lie about what time it was. If I had to be up at 7, they'd tell me it was 7 when it was really 6:30. Alternatively, they'd say it was 7:30 when it was really 7, which usually resulted in me being stressed and anxious all day because I was startled awake.

You know, thinking back on this I now know why my childhood felt so schizophrenic!

Parents, don't do this to your children. Please! ;-)
One of these might do the trick on days when your voice isn't up to a performance...
My family had two large, energetic dogs: a golden retriever and a lab. When my mother wanted to wake me up, she'd get the dogs worked up, fling open my bedroom door, and throw a tennis ball into the bed.
Oh you people! The bugle song "Oh I hate to get up in the mor-ning" is a song by Irving Berlin written in WWI. It was featured in at least one big WWII musical, which is where your parents probably know it from, but I can't find which one I'm thinking of right now.

See this site for audio:

And when I was an evil little sister (_now_ of course I am all sweetness and light) and my brother wouldn't get up, my parents would hand me his trumpet and shoo me into his room, where I'd get to jump on his bed and make horrible blatting trumpet sounds.
My dad would flip in the lights and yank off the covers. All this while singing "Turkey Trot" at the top of his lungs.

Good God.
My father used to play John Philip Sousa marches on the record player. Oy. My sibs and I still mention it quite frequently.
I had a deal with my folks, which was that I could go to sleep when I cared to so long as I consistently got myself up for school. They never once woke me; even the day I had mono, I told them what was up.
K., I believe we are long lost siblings! (so what if I have only one sister...) My mother has always been an early riser (Iowa roots, although not the farm kind), and she had 3 evil albums: one of Sousa marches [which are great in other contexts], one of "popular songs" (Danny Boy, various hymns, and show-tunes) played by a BAGPIPE ENSEMBLE, and, most aesthetically horrific, a collection of ragtime played on some sort of breathy, tinny, mechanized and amplified harpsichord.

There was no staying in bed during that....
For my dad it was 1) A warning, followed 2 minutes later by 2) Pulling the sheets down and the window going up (It was New England). Then 3) he'd go to the bathroom for a glass of water.

We seldonm got to #4. But I'll "pay it forward" to my two kids.
Well, my mom stole the covers until the morning I kicked her. After that she just turned on all the lights and told me what time it was. My dad on the other hand would drop the dog on my chest or try to squeeze me to death.
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