The Same Routine, But A Brand New Game

fictionI have two children. One falls asleep with no issue and wakes up at least a half hour before her alarm every single day. I should be happy about this, and I would be… If it were not for the fact that she still comes into my room every morning (a half hour before my alarm) and asks about breakfast, or the weather, or if I know that someone scribbled in an old library book. Every single morning.

My other child, the boy, seems to have inherited my inability to wake up without a struggle. Given my druthers, and baring any interruptions, I will happily sleep till noon. Unfortunately, I do have to wake him up, get him moving, and get him dressed with as few breakdowns as possible. Getting breakfast inside him before he is out the door is a rare and happy accident. Thankfully, they do give them a small breakfast at his school.

I could stand at the bed and shout for him to wake up, every single morning, but that grows old quickly and I do know from experience that it does not work very well.

For the first few weeks of school, the threat of having to miss all the fun stuff they would do that day was enough motivation.

For the next few weeks, the threat of missing out on breakfast was all it took.

For the next day or so, the threat of tossing him naked into the car anyways would begrudgingly rouse him and send him off towards the bathroom.

When that no longer worked, threatening to put his clothes on the dog and send her in his stead was the only answer.

Then it took singing silly songs at high volume.

Then, while I was incredibly sick with whatever that horrible thing was, it was back to the shouting and yelling.

Then it took funny voices from the stuffed animals.

This week, having exhausted my bag of tricks, in a fit of desperation, I turned to his favorite game in karate.

Grabbing a pillow, I yanked off his covers and shouted out the first word: “Duck!”

He scrunched up in the bed and the pillow whiffed harmlessly into where his head had been so peacefully snoozing before.

“Jump!” He attempted to scrunch in the other direction and failed miserably. The pillow smacked into his legs.

He was awake and laughing at this point.

“Scram!” Three rolls to the side and he was out of the bed and running for the door.

I don’t know what it will take next week, but the point is this: Parents, you don’t have to shout and scream while you wait for your coffee to brew. You don’t have to stress over missed buses, and you certainly don’t have to leave the waking and readying of the kids to your wives. You can get away with crazy things like Duck, Jump, Scram with pillows, all by turning it into a game. Look around, all the other dads are being silly too. You only have so long to play with your kids till they are grown and off on their own adventures. So find the fun, no matter how tired and frustrated you might be, and your kids will play along. And they will thank you for it later.

Even when you pull their arm out of its socket dragging them across the floor.

Yes, Dad.

I still remember that…

Thank you.

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