I am happy to report that I have cured myself of my snooze addiction. (See track 12 – Hey Soul Sister) Finally, I am no longer a slave to the almighty button. I am now up and out of bed, in an out of the bathroom within five minutes of my alarm going off. And really, this is an impressive feat considering that I usually hit the sheets between five and six hours earlier. (I think it’s impressive, anyway.)
And what is my secret you ask? How am I able to keep myself from getting an extra ten minutes slumber? The answer is quite simple. I have a child. (And I have begun taking mid-morning naps.)
I am sure that any parent reading this can relate to the difficulties involved in waking a young child up for school. (Waking them up on the weekends – well, that is a completely different story.) It isn’t easy! Actually, at times, the task seems insurmountable. And it’s not like our daughter goes to bed late. We have her in bed at 8:30 and she’s usually sleeping by about 8:45. So by the time I go in to wake her up at 6:45 she has had about ten hours sleep. (For Taiwan standards, this is a long rest!) However, despite the length of Siaya’s slumber, it is always a chore convincing her to open her eyes. Having her open them with a smile on her face, now that is a talent!
I learned quite quickly that simply turning on the light and telling her to wake up was not going to get the job done. Well not in the time frame that I was looking to achieve anyways. Nor was calling her name repeatedly. Like most children, she has already learned to tune out her parents’ voices when she hears them. I’m sure that as she snuggled up to her favorite teddy bear, my voice did nothing but put her into a deeper sleep.
Rachel and I thought that empowerment might be the key so we bought Siaya an alarm clock. She was so excited to have Hello Kitty sitting beside her bed ready to wake her up for school. Rachel taught her how to turn it on and off and even showed her how to engage the snooze button. Nevertheless the teaching was for naught and the clock is now just another cutsy decoration which clutters her room. Somehow, Siaya inherited her uncle’s ability to sleep though the tedious beeping of digital alarms. Every morning it was Rachel or I who ended up switching off its annoying bleating. Miss Kitty has since been put to sleep. Permanently.
My next move was to try whispering gently in her ear. No luck. It was still twenty to twenty five minutes before she actually got out of bed. I then began sitting beside her and talking about all the fun things that the day had in store for her. This did get her to shift position. However, her pillow was still more appealing to her than anything I could think of. It was still taking Siaya about 20 minutes to arise. This was not acceptable.
You see, by taking twenty five minutes to get out of bed Siaya was getting to school at about 7:45. Unfortunately the school wanted her there at about 7:30. (Ok, in my mind that is hella early! Why anyone should be at school at such an hour is beyond me. However, when in Rome Taiwan…). I figured if I could get her up in ten minutes and dressed in five she would have plenty of time to eat, brush her teeth and get everything else ready. I just needed to find something that would give her the motivation to get her body moving.
Tickling. Of course. Why hadn’t I thought of it earlier? Quick. Easy. Very effective. This had to be my answer. I flicked on Siaya’s light, tickled her for about thirty seconds and she was up. Yea me. Or not. Being the morning person that she isn’t this did not go well for anyone. The minutes I saved in getting her eyes open so quickly were wasted because she was quite unwilling to do anything else I asked of her for the rest of the morning. There had to be another way.
I found moderate success when I created ‘wake up’ lyrics to the tunes of songs that she already knew. However, the novelty of this soon faded and she got frustrated when I could never sing the same song twice. And then it happened. The angels above must have seen the trials I was patiently wading through and rewarded me as I was filling my i-pod with new music to which I could work out.
When I first heard the chorus to Don’t Wake Me Up, by Chris Brown I thought that the song might have been written for Siaya. (The song, however, is about much more than just waking up, so it better not have been!) Even the bridge (I don’t wanna fall, fall, fall, fall asleep…)is something straight out of our daughter’s mouth. It was amazing. I immediately downloaded the song (legally of course!) onto my phone.
The next morning I finished my tinkle (T.M.I.?), grabbed my phone and headed into Siaya’s room. (Yes, I washed my hands first!) I hit play just before sitting on the edge of her bed and placed the phone beside her head. As the intro started, I gently whispered “Wakey! Wakey!” into her ear. This of course did nothing to rouse her from the dream in which she must have been engrossed. But I was ready. I ever so gently placed my index finger on her chin and as Chris (We used to be tight, he and I. At least until he started beating women.) began to croon I helped her to lip-sync along. At first she seemed a little annoyed; however, when the beat picked up and my finger started quivering to the metallic echo in his voice I knew that I had succeeded. Although her eyes weren’t open, it was becoming more difficult to move her lips because of the smile that had enveloped her face. By the time the song faded Siaya’s brown eyes were beaming upon me. She was alert and quite ready to do it again.
This has been our morning ritual since then. I have added new moves to her repertoire and she now dances as well as sings to the rhythm. We have even had time (on a couple of occasions) to play Uno before I have had to drive her to school! Who knew? Now, if only Chris would come out with a song called, “Don’t Make Me Write My Homework”.
Don’t Wake Me Up youtube link