Disrupt PalKid's routine at your own peril

The kiddo started kindergarten this year. She went from complete freedom to getting up at dawn five mornings a week for a seven hour school day. It is my fortunate task on four of those mornings to help her on her way. Like many of the Pal clan, she is independent of thought, and rather stubborn; once she's out of sorts, well, to paraphrase Colin Powell, you broke it, you buy it.

So I've developed a very careful morning routine, designed to ease us into our day as painlessly as possible. I'm a morning person, so I get up and take care of my ablutions before I get her up. Then I walk into her room, turn on a light, and rub her back. She rolls over and with eyes closed, lifts her arms up toward me. I pick her up and carry her downstairs, set her on the couch with the lights off, and let her watch some TV while I make breakfast. When it's ready, we sit at the table together and have breakfast, and by then, she's good to go. Her mood is bright, and I'm one happy daddy. After that, getting teeth brushed and clothes on is a breeze, and we're out the door.

Unless the routine is violated. The other day I had an early patient and MrsPal had to get her up. I carefully and in a sufficiently detailed and condescending way described the best approach to the morning and the possible consequences of violating it.

She violated it. While DrPal is a morning person, MrsPal is a night owl, and made use of the Forbidden Snooze Button of Doom. This led to a whiny, screaming child who shared her misery generously with my lovely but nocturnal spouse. It. Was. Ugly.

Tomorrow is MrsPal's day again. I'm thinking about making popcorn.


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OK, fine, but you better clear the back rub with Mr. B first.

Ah, my grandchild the morning person. I can, and have slept through tornadoes, so the mere annoyance of a two year old jumping up and down on my bed saying "Nonna, get up!" is really not a challenge for me... except for guilt. And anticipation...

When I'm left in charge of the darling 2 (nearing 3) year old, I generally wake up before she does. I feel a need to prepare things for her that will make my life easier.

One, I should have coffee. She has no idea how much easier her life is if Nonna has at least one cup of coffee before she wakes up.

Her milk, gently prepared just above room temp and put in a sippy cup ready for her when she wakes up is another thing that makes Nonna's life easier.

Have you noticed a trend here? Whatever makes Nonna's life easier is more likely to be accomplished. Another trend is that Nonna doesn't care if the child gets dirty. Child knows that Nonna will let her jump in the mud puddles wearing only a diaper, or nothing at all... and will rejoice in muddy artistic episodes that mommadaddy will frown upon.

In her cooperation in cleaning up before mommadaddy gets home, the child exhibits full understanding that some things are acceptable only under certain circumstances.

However, the child is quite incapable of NOT telling mommadaddy what Nonna has allowed. Fortunately, mommadaddy are happy to learn that their daughter can discern what she can get away with... under various circumstance. (note - none of these circumstances endanger her well-being.)

Don't get the idea that mommadaddy are over-protective. It is all that Nonna can manage without interfering to watch her granddaughter swim underwater, surface to take a breath and then float to the nearest adult. Nonna knows these skills are good for her, but cannot bear to see her grandchild submerged.

I love being a grandmother, though the bittersweet part is that I wish I'd treated my children as I treat my grandchildren... the complete acceptance part of whatever they do, especially.

Not that I'm complaining about how my children have turned out -- they are exceptional adults I'm proud to be associated with, and friends with -- but I wish I'd been a bit more mellow in raising them.

Cute; I also am the morning riser, getting lunches packed, coffee started, diapers changed, kids fed and so on while my night owl spouse slowly crawls from the bedroom to the bathroom for her long wake-up shower. Thankfully, I very seldom have to hand off the morning ritual :)

By Epinephrine (not verified) on 08 Oct 2009 #permalink

Uh-oh. We're both night owls! Who's going to make my morning coffee!?!?! I hope this hasn't doomed my relationship. :)

I am by nature a night owl, but I work in a facility where most people are at their desk working by 6am. So even before we had kids I'd adapted to getting up early. Good thing, too. My wife struggles to be conscious enough to take care of the littles by the time I take our kindergartner to the bus stop. At which point we've all been up for about two hours.

Tomorrow is MrsPal's day again. I'm thinking about making popcorn.

You should post it on YouTube as a cautionary tale to young couples planning to have children...