The Adventures Of Fatherhood – April 22, 2022

When I reflect back on parenting years from now, I am certain there will not be a longing for the morning rush hour around the house.

A friend and I caught up recently over some local politics. After we solved all the current issues, the conversation quickly divulged into a commiseration about our early mornings.

It went like this:

Me: Hey, just saw you at school drop off, so thought we could catch up or do you need some quiet time after the morning?

Him: [Laughing] No I’m good, but yeah I am feeling it. [Child’s name] fell asleep in the shower and [other child’s name] was having a day and will be late.

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Me: Yeah, I parked across the street one day a year ago so now we have to make the long walk every single morning, no matter rain, snow, sleet …

Him: Yeah, I see you guys and giggle every day.

Me: Yeah me too, but that is one sweet walk back after he goes into school.

Him: I feel that way driving off, too.

Me: Do you think you will miss these days later in life?

Him: Ummm

Me: Because I will not. I know we are told to not wish it away, but I’m going to be fine without all the morning drama.

Him: Agreed, nope not going to miss it.

We then reviewed the chaos that ensues at our individual houses.

Though both my sons go to school in the mornings at different times – Carson at 7:30 and Beckett at 8 — I purposely start making noise about 6:30 each morning. I run the blender and open and close a door or three louder than usual. I want them to know the wake-up call is imminent.

Carson has always been an early riser, but over the last month I have needed to wake him up every school day morning. The routine – it’s an Autism thing — is one I have come to accept but nonetheless I marvel over the absurdity of it all.

I walk into his room intentionally trying to wake him up. Once he is awoken, he pulls the covers over his head. I know that means I must leave the room. He then stomps at the top of the stairs for me to come back upstairs. I go into his room, pull off his weighted blanket, which he says he can’t pull off on his own (it’s a fib). He’s capable but chooses not to because it’s the routine we have created. He then orders me out of the room. He then makes his bed in his meticulous fashion with the pillows arranged in a certain peculiar way. He likes for me to hand him his pillows.

After he makes his bed, he gets dressed and hangs out in his room until 7:15 when he is to come downstairs. He will not come down on his own, however. Pam or I must go back upstairs and remind him (usually involving a threat or two about losing something). He acts surprised by the news. He knows it’s coming because a nearby alarm clock is reminding him. I then must leave the kitchen for him to come into it to have his breakfast. Once he’s seated, I can then return to the kitchen. After he eats, another new routine starts, leading us to the car. It’s an Autism thing.

Oddly enough, on weekend mornings, Carson wakes up especially early. It’s because we do not let him have his iPad before school on weekdays and we do on weekends. He wants to take advantage of it. Last Saturday, in fact, he came into our room at 4:42 in the morning. “No way Carson, way too early,” I said.

He stood there and through his nonverbal mannerisms I could tell he was bummed. I told him to sleep for another hour. He was back at 5:42. I am not sure if he actually went back to sleep.

As for Beckett, he is a bear to wake up every single morning without fail. If he does get up on his own, it’s usually because he’s not feeling well or when he was younger wet the bed. On school days, I dread the task of getting him out of bed. He can’t be trusted to just stir a bit and then get up. He requires prodding.

Though he has gotten better about it, a few times a month he falls asleep in the shower because there is a stool in it. He’s just not a morning person. At 13 years old, I understand it but without us around I wonder if he would ever make it to school on time.

Equally challenging is the getting dressed part. He wears a uniform to school, but it doesn’t make the process easier. He gets dressed in shifts. He puts his pants on and has his breakfast. He then puts a shirt on and makes his bed. The last to get put on are the belt, socks, shoes and tie. Last because last to be found. Somehow it all comes together by the time to go school, but it’s not without some anxious moments and raised voices followed by deep breaths at drop off.

When a fellow parent with older kids read a recent column, one bemoaning how ridiculous some aspects of parenting are, she sent me a text reminding not to wish anything away. She wrote, “just don’t forget to really enjoy the good times. Eventually, they will be all you remember, and you don’t want to feel like you missed any minute.”

This is sound advice. Ten years from now, I will have forgotten all about the nuttiness of the mornings (and I will not miss them one bit).

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.