My two sons, four and six, like to wake up early. And by early, I mean they wake up at hours that I haven’t experienced since I was in college, and even then I only saw them through the bottom of a bottle. It’s not unheard of for them to wake up at 2:15 AM and loudly begin having Maximum Fun before storming into my room to demand that I allow them to go outside to play. This is what is known in parenting circles as bullshit. After a brief showdown during which I may or may not threaten to have Santa’s hands and feet cut off, my boys will settle down for upwards of thirty minutes before starting the process all over again. I could club retarded baby seals for a living and still make Santa’s Nice List just based on the fact that I haven’t once put my sons in leg irons (although I have frequently considered it).
By the time 5:00 AM rolls around, if the boys are up, I allow them the run of the house. I’ve earned the right to sleep in a bit. When kids are very young, it’s actually against the law to leave them unattended with, say, a power drill. If you’re in the room with them, then everything’s fine. You simply tell the police that, “I just turned my head for a second!” and you’re off the hook. Apparently, being inattentive is ok, but being asleep in the next room isn’t even though the end result is the same: Junior has a couple of extra head-holes.
But now that my boys are a little bit older, they are responsible enough for me to allow them to have some time to themselves in the morning. Haha, just kidding. They aren’t so much responsible as they are silent. Since daddy has proven to be a total asshole about them getting up at 2:15 AM, 3:10 AM, 4:05 AM, and 4:40 AM, they have shrewdly elected to go into ninja mode and sneak downstairs in a stealthy and quiet manner that only a librarian could appreciate.
Luckily, I have hidden all the power tools behind the guns and prescription drugs, so instead of getting into mischief my boys get into the food. And by “get into the food”, I mean they eat like Oprah the day before leaving for fat camp. This is a list of things they have surreptitiously eaten in the morning in just the last month:
- Eight ice cream cones
- A half dozen donuts
- A pound of holiday M & M’s
- Ten Jolly Rancher popsicles
- A quart of ice cream
The fact that they haven’t gained an ounce leads me to believe that jumping on the bed is the best workout in the history of mankind. The other thing they like to eat is waffles. They are crazy about waffles. They’re like waffle crackheads. If they wake up one morning to find that all the waffles are gone, they freak the fuck out:
Six year old: Daddy, wake up. Where are the waffles?
Me: We’re out. You guys ate them all.
Six year old: That’s not funny, daddy. C’mon, you’re holding out on me. Where are the waffles at?
Me: We’re out of them. Seriously.
Six year old: You’ve got some waffles in your closet, right? In case of emergencies?
Four year old: WAFFLES! WAFFLES!
Me: Guys! There are no more waffles in the entire house. You ate them all.
Four year old: WAFFLES!!! WAFFLES!!!
Six year old: This is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening…
Me: You two need to get a grip. We’ve got cereal downstairs, go have some Lucky Charms or something.
Six year old: Hey! I bet there are some waffle crumbs on the floor!
And so I’ll find them downstairs later on, licking the floor beneath the table. Silly waffle crackheads.
Still, I’ve been fairly lucky with the boys. My daughter used to fuck shit up pretty good before the sun came up. One day I woke up, went downstairs, and opened the fridge. “Hey, someone made some juice!” I thought to myself. It turned out that my daughter had attempted to make Kool Aid by emptying a few packets into a pitcher and adding about two cups of water. You could keep the stuff down, but only because it made your mouth pucker so tightly that it was weeks before you could eat anything larger than a peanut.
I told my daughter that Kool Aid requires sugar, which in retrospect just set up the next disaster: A week later I came downstairs to discover that my daughter had attempted to add sugar to the Kool Aid this time, but spilled the entire container on the floor. And for once in her life she decided that she’d better clean up her mess, which she did by pouring water on it and smearing it around with a mop. The result was similar to what you would get if a honey tanker collided with the floor of a movie theater. It was like a goddamn roach motel for humans in there.
(When I asked her why the microwave and all of the windows on the first floor were coated with an unknown substance, she replied “After I cleaned up the sugar, I realized that cleaning is fun!” She had sprayed everything with Armor All.)
My daughter has made amends for her early morning ways by deciding that she will never wake up before noon unless I unleash a fire hose in her direction, but my boys are going to require a little more patience, or failing that, leg irons.