People who use alarms to wake up either like the “snooze” feature or they don’t. My husband loves pressing snooze on his phone in the morning. I hear that chirpy marimba beat three or four times before he gets up. I don’t mind, and in fact, I’m often already upstairs with my early-rising children. Monitors do not have the snooze feature, it turns out. Now that our son is back in school, my goal on weekday mornings is to be up around 6, so I can at least get a head start on readying myself before the little ones get up, especially our daughter.
I’ve figured out that I can press snooze once and still usually have time to begin my simple morning routine. I like being able to have those extra minutes to return to sleep, even though it’s not for long. It’s sort of like morning “victory time”, I suppose–yes, an alarm is waking me up, but I can still have a few moments of my choosing to just be still in bed or let my eyes droop shut again. This past Friday, one snooze just didn’t cut it. The alarm started jingling, and I felt the conflict: to daringly let myself have five more minutes and almost certainly not get ready before the kids needed me, or, fight the fatigue and just get up. I got greedy, and I pressed that snooze button. How much of a difference could five minutes make, anyway?
Here’s the normal school-morning routine: I get up between 6 and 6:05. I spend about fifteen minutes getting myself totally ready. By this time, I can usually hear my little girl calling for me through the monitor. Sometimes, when she sounds happy, I let her just stay in her crib a few extra minutes while I finish containing my hair or getting dressed. It’s particularly fun when my husband and I are listening to her sing or play with her stuffed animals. I’ll go upstairs and get her diaper changed, and then we’ll check on her brother. He’s great about getting up on his own and coming downstairs when he’s dressed for school, but there are times when I have to wake him up, no later than 6:30. We are usually all downstairs, ready to eat breakfast, by 6:45. Everyone knows we need to go back upstairs to brush teeth by 7:10, and then we are out the door by about 7:20. Normally, it all goes like clockwork. I have to give a few gentle pokes and prods to keep the momentum going, but it’s fairly smooth, and it’s a routine that works for all of us. In case anyone is wondering where my husband fits into this, he leaves the house between 6:30 and 7, so sometimes he gets to have breakfast with us, but sometimes he is kissing the kids goodbye just as they are getting up.
That’s the norm. By giving myself that extra snooze last week, I pridefully figured I could make up the time somewhere. I think I got through brushing my teeth and washing my face when Sweet Little Girl woke up. I would have to finish getting ready with her, which meant that suddenly putting on my makeup and brushing my hair would take at least three times longer than if I was on my own, because there are always questions, requests, demands, potentially unsafe ideas, or cries to be held. Getting ready took a backseat to breakfast. My daughter asks for breakfast almost desperately, like her body is using up its last reserve calories to put the words together. My son was having a hard time getting going, too, so he wasn’t quite ready to come downstairs, too. The staggered breakfasts always get a little tricky. While Little Girl was eating, I grabbed my makeup, a hairbrush, and a little mirror so I could keep getting ready in the kitchen. As I finished my simple beautifying and my little one finished her breakfast, the school boy came downstairs and I helped him get his breakfast together. I slipped back into my room while both kids were eating and got dressed. By 7:10, we were all still downstairs and my daughter was not dressed yet. Ooph.
For those of you with toddlers, you know that getting dressed is so much more than just getting dressed. I also knew that we had to get upstairs fast. My daughter is, like most of her 2-year old cohorts, obsessed with routine. She loves being able to walk up the stairs by herself. I follow a step or two behind, since she still has a few “oops” and “whoa” moments. I didn’t have time for her to go up by herself that day, so I whisked her up in my arms, and tried to pretend she was flying up the stairs and chasing her brother. She didn’t buy it. She started flailing and screaming to go back down the stairs so she could walk up. I felt badly denying her that privilege, but we had to hustle! She was still screaming when I pulled her pajamas off and started pulling a dress over her head. That was the other problem: this outfit did not meet her approval. She enjoys picking out a shirt and shorts; begrudgingly wearing a dress to church or a special event, but she definitely does not like her clothes to be chosen for her, especially when it’s a dress. The dress was my choice because we were planning to go to a meet-and-greet casual event at school. I think she would have been on board for dressing up a little if it hadn’t been for the stairs upsetting her already. A few times, I had to physically block her from running naked out of her room to go down the stairs so she could walk up again. Once an idea is in her head, it is nearly impossible to get her to think about something else. Somehow, I got the dress and the bloomers on. I think I succeeded only because I said something about not going to the pool later in the day if she continued to be so upset. Teeth brushed, we rushed back downstairs. 7:23. Assuming no traffic or driving incidents, we wouldn’t be late for school.
How much of a difference does five minutes make? I will never again smugly assume that “just one more snooze” is all right. I take full responsibility for the chaos that came down on my children in those ten minutes before leaving Friday morning. Had I just gotten up after that first snooze…