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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wake Up Call

When my wife bought me the new Sony iHome for Father's Day, it replaced the old, slightly defective digital clock-radio that I'd been using.  I took the old clock radio from my nightstand to Lily's room so we'd at least have a way of telling time in there when we were trying to put her to bed.


My exact bookmark.
Lying in bed last night, I'd fallen asleep reading Jenny Lawson's "Let's Pretend This Never 
Happened". Not that the book wasn't riveting; it was, of COURSE it was, but I was tired, and I kept nodding off moments after jerking awake, rereading the same line over and over before finally giving it up as a bad job, marking my page with my Ignignokt sticker/bookmark, closing the book, and placing it on the nightstand. I looked at my new Sony iHome. The clock read 11:56. Not as late as last night, I supposed, but I hadn't realized it was quite that late.

I shut off the light, got comfortable in bed, and fell immediately to sleep.

The buzz of the alarm seemed to come a moment later. My wife's clock has the alarm set because she typically gets up to shower earlier, and she fumbled in the dark to find the off button. I could hear the scrabble of her fingernails across the clock's controls. The alarm's demands continued to bleat. What the hell?

"Les, shut off the alarm," I murmered angrily into my pillow.

"I'm trying! I can't find the button."

The alarm was ridiculously urgent at this point. There's only so long you can listen to that sound before you get angry at it and want to throw it across the room. I sat up in bed, looking at my new clock. 12:00. What the. . . 12:00?

I'd been asleep for four minutes. I turned over as Leslie continued to frantically probe the clock face for some sort of "off-turning" feature. It took my brain a minute to register what was happening.

And then, like the voice from a phone in a slasher movie, I said, "It's coming from Lily's room." The alarm was braying through the speaker of the monitor beside the clock radio that Leslie was so desperately punching into submission.

In the past when we had someone cleaning our house, the cleaning women would dust and clean around or on the clocks, and occasionally the alarm button would slide from "OFF" to "AUTO". Several times in the past I'd sprinted desperately to Emma's room to shut off the alarm clock that was wailing beside her head only to find her completely asleep, utterly unfazed by the alarm shrieking less than a foot from her ear. I'd switch it off and curse the cleaning woman.

I launched myself from the bed. I didn't have my glasses on and could barely see where I was or what I was doing, but burst into Lily's room as quickly and silently as it is possible "burst", searching desperately for the "OFF" button on that old, slightly defective clock radio. When I had silenced it (it was "mostly" on "OFF" but not completely, jiggling the switch even a little turned off the alarm) I turned to see whether Lily had woken up. For the past week or two Lily has been waking up at 12:00 or 1:30 and calling us. This is preferable to NOT calling us because usually we can get there and get her on the toilet fast enough that she doesn't have an accident in bed. Not that I wanted to set an alarm for it, mind you.

Without my glasses, I squinted over at Lily from across the room. She wasn't fidgeting. Was she, like Emma unmoved by the clock's reveille? I couldn't see well enough to tell. I tiptoed over to her bedside. Her eyes were open and she glanced up at me. I stroked her hair and whispered, "Back to sleep baby," but although she closed her eyes at my touch, they fluttered back open and I decided to put her on the potty before trying again.

From the hall I heard her relieve herself and I stooped to help her dress before scooping her up and carrying her back to her room, lying down next to her in bed and stroking her hair. A few minutes later she fell asleep and I slowly rolled from the bed and padded quietly from the room.

I climbed back into bed, noting the time: 12:16. It took longer to get to sleep this time.

30 comments:

  1. LOL Jim. I know what you mean about waking up in a fog. There's been a couple times when I've had issues hitting the snooze button on my old alarm clock.

    And on the positive side, at least you got Lily back to sleep without much fuss. Nothing ruins a good nights sleep like a child calling for you. Hopefully you sleep well tonight.

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    1. lately she's been going back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. . . it's been refreshing.

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  2. That stinks. Reminds me of the time Tate set the alarm on his alarm clock in his room by himself. Awesome. And it was, like, the one night he was actually sleeping through the night. I dislike alarms. Thankfully I have my first born son...who wakes up at about 5:30 am like clockwork every day.

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    1. Lily wakes up like clockwork too. . . 6:00. Emma is sorta clockwork if left to her own devices. . . 9:30.

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  3. Alarms freak me out! Amazing how your girls don't react much to them. You had a great daddy reaction though! :)

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    1. Once when the smoke detector went off (low battery) I lept out of bed and almost went through the window trying to get to the door (wrong direction). Leaping isn't ALWAYS a great solution.

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  4. Ha! "Like the voice from a phone in a slasher movie" :)

    My son used to wake on the dot of 4:27 every morning. Fun times. He's also sneezed once (just once) at 11:17 every night for eight years, without waking. Who needs alarm clocks?

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    1. Ugh. . . 4:27? That's. . . early. I assume you planned your bedtime accordingly?

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    2. Yah, that's what a smart person would've done but since I know he sneezes every night at 11:17 we can safely conclude I ain't all that smart.

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    3. good call. Neither am I. Sometimes I'll say, "okay, I know she woke up at 5:30 yesterday, so maybe she'll sleep in today! And I'll go to bed at two and then wake up at 6:00.

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  5. 4 minutes into sleep? Oh that is cruel...hope you slept well after that.

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    1. I did, actually. Last night too when she did it.

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  6. She barely woke up! I'm so glad. You are the best at storytelling. This was awesome. Probably LIVING it, not so awesome, but READING it, yep, super-great.

    I hate alarms. Also, I have a bad habit of waking up in a fog at 3am on a Sunday morning, rolling over, looking at the clock, thinking "oh crap I forgot to set the alarm I'm going to be late for work tomorrow!" setting it, then falling back to sleep, then waking up at 6:20 FURIOUS at myself because it's the only day a week I DON'T need to set the alarm yet half-asleep me didn't realize that.

    Half-asleep me is a jerk.

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    1. thank you! I may even have another story today. . . I'm on a blog roll.

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  7. Replies
    1. Thank you. I have a bunch of them. My sister-in-law's ex boyfriend (prior to getting married) knew the creator of ATHF and got an autographed dvd box set for me that was signed, "Follow your dreams, your stupid pointless dreams." There were stickers included.

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  8. It took us forever to figure out why, when Katie was an infant, she would wake at the same time, every night crying. Turns out, the alarm on the clock was going off every night in her room and waking her up. I SOOO feel you.

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    1. How. . . how did you not know that? I mean, when you went to see what was going on. . . wasn't the alarm still going off?

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  9. And that right there is why I have an alarm clock from like, 1982. It's not one of those ones that flip the numbers but it is close. Don't judge me. I know how to work it. :)

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  10. So, hi, *waves* I'm a blog stalker...came over from the Bloggess; I like to occasionally visit the blogs of her commenters when the post title intrigues me. Or I'm bored. Or procrastinating. Anyway, your post reminded me of a 20/20 or Nightline or some "news" magazine show like that did an "expose" on children not waking up to smoke alarms. I think I'm going to set the Sony iHome alarm in my 5-yea-old's room tonight to see what happens. So...ummm...thanks for your public service!

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    1. Hi there. Yeah, my oldest doesn't wake when the smoke alarm goes off either. I don't get it, that thing is PIERCING.

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  11. Be careful with the alarms and use them sparingly :)

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    1. well WE use one every morning. But we wake the kiddos by hand when we're lucky enough to need them to get up.

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  12. Ack. I hate alarm clocks. Usually because when I NEED to use one, I'm so anxious about waking up on time that I wake up an hour before it goes off.

    But super-dad to the rescue, right? YOU da man!

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    1. Sometimes I leap a fraction of a second after super mom. . . hoping that she'll get up instead. . .

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  13. There is nothing more alarming than an alarm clock that won't shut off.

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  14. There is nothing more terrifying than an errant alarm clock in a kid's room. My oldest would be awake for hours {shudder}.

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    1. zombies. . . zombies are far more terrifying. Why do you people ALWAYS forget zombies??

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