Early to rise, early to grump

Four times this week, I’ve woken from my deep and blissful slumber at 6.30am. And not just because one of the cats is aggressively scratching the door in an attempt to persuade me that it should be fed.

Each time I have reluctantly emerged disheveled and groggy from under the duvet (which I believe for legal purposes I have to call a comforter in the United States, despite the fact that it makes it sound like some kind of security blanket), and reached for the closet to pluck out my dressing gown. Ten minutes later – having finally managed to find the armhole in the pitch blackness of the room, put it on, taken it off so that it wasn’t back to front like a straitjacket, put it on, taken it off again because it was inside out, put it on again, and finally grappled in the bottom of the closet to find the missing waist cord – I get my day started.

Now, this week was an unusual week, given that I had very early starts at work, but nonetheless there are always two or three days a week where I have to get up an hour earlier than strictly necessary. That’s sixty minutes of lost sleep, making me sixty times more likely to be grumpy by the end of the day (as I’m sure The Special One will happily confirm with a world weary roll of the eyes).

And the reason? Clearly it’s not a desire to go for an early morning jog along the Atlantic Ocean coast. Nor is it a willingness to skip merrily to a delightful little patisserie nearby, to pick up croissants and fresh baguettes. I mean, I would, but trudging through the cold to get a loaf of Home PrideWonder Bread just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

No, it’s because The Young Ones have to start school at 8.15am, and given that we live an hour or so subway ride from their educational establishment, one of us always has to get up at 6.30 to wake them and make them lunch.

I’m not complaining about making the kids lunch, obviously. Well, I am, but that’s a different matter. In the end, despite a certain amount of grumbling, I’m happy to accept the role. What I struggle to understand is why they have to be at school at 8.15am.

The strange thing is, they seem to be the lucky ones, with other kids having to be at school for 8. Of course, I understand that parents work, and so dropping them off before they head off to the office is a necessity for some people. But in New York, most kids at high school either live within walking distance of school or get the subway on their own. Classes finish at 2.30 or 3, but show me a kid who wouldn’t swap an hour of freedom in the afternoon for an hour of extra bed, and I will show you a 13 year old who probably has extra-curricular commitments as a shoplifter.

In the UK, school starts at 9, and finishes around 3.30. Much more civilised if you ask me. Maybe there are studies that show kids are more receptive to learning early in the morning, and I would kind of understand that, and should certainly respect it. All I can say is that there are studies that clearly show that I am substantially more tetchy having got up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning.

It’s time for change in more ways than one, I can tell you.

20 thoughts on “Early to rise, early to grump

  1. Alasdair

    Hmmm …

    So the kids can take the subway to school, but cannot make their own *lunch* ?

    (incredulous grin) Even more importantly, may I introduce you to the concept of “Getting everything ready the night before” ?

    I could understand it if you were getting up at dark o’clock to spend quality time with the sweet little innocents, but that doesn’t seem to be what you are saying … (grin) …

  2. Almost American

    They have an 8:15 start? You’re lucky! Our school district has put together a committee to study the concept of starting high school later in the day than the current 7:30. They’re looking for research that proves that a later start time would be beneficial!

    Personally I think the whole thing about teenagers having a different body clock and finding it difficult to get up in the mornings is a load of codswallop. They adjust when they move to a different time zone, so they can certainly adjust to having to get up on time for school. I know when I have difficulty getting up in the morning it’s because I’ve ignored the reality of my early rising time and stayed up too late the night before. I know my body, I know how much sleep I need, and if I find it hard to get up in the morning it’s my own fault!

    Oh, and as Alasdair said – surely if they’re in high school they can make their own lunches? So long as all the fixings are in the kitchen, it’s not THAT difficult. My 4th grader and kindergartner help me get their lunches ready in the mornings and I anticipate by 9th grade they should be able to do it by themselves!

  3. Silverback

    I’m obviously missing something here – being retired an all. I get up when the sun blinds me and it gets too hot in bed and the smell of coffee is at it’s strongest. This can range from 8am to a much more civilized 10am.

    I mean who wants to go to the swimming pool before 10am anyway ?!

    Off to watch Corrie………..

  4. Trixie Trouble

    By the way though, if lunch consists of sandwiches, making them the night before just means soggy sandwiches which is akin to child cruelty.

  5. that Girl39

    Always, always just leave the dressing gown in a crumpled heap by the bed so that you can just fall into it. Makes my grumpy morning moment a little less grumpy. And school at 8.15… thats the first bad thing I’ve discovered about NY!

  6. Lucy

    sorry Trixie Trouble….perhaps I should have let it go…but it starts with closets, before we know it he’ll be saying Band Aids and then we’ll be correcting the way he says Edinburgh…slippery slope and i think he’s covered in Vaseline….nasty.

  7. Dylan

    Look people – this area for clothes storage is categorically not a free standing wardrobe, or even a cupboard. You can almost walk into it, and on that basis I am sticking with my thesis that it is a closet!

  8. carrie

    i grew up in Brooklyn and went to school for 8 hours, starting in Kindergarten. the reason we do this here in America is to prepare our youth for their inevitable future as a member of the american workforce.

    i mean if we’re going to force our adult citizens to work a minimum of 40 hours per week (but secretly require at least 45 “value added” hours even though only paid for 40) and only give 2 weeks of vacation a year, we would surely be doing a huge disservice to our youth by not properly preparing them well in advance, no?

  9. Alasdair

    re “soggy sandwiches” – there is little better than a 12-16 hour old “lettuce, tomato, cheese, salad cream, and sliced meat” sandwich, ideally on eithr whole-wheat (for the US) or the ‘heels’/’steps’ of a Mother’s Pride white loaf in Scotland !

    The flavours blend wonderfully together, and the sandwich just *melts* in the mouth …

    If it’s the tasteless texture-free Wonder Bread sandwich loaf of over here, you have a point …

  10. Alasdair

    Trixie trouble – if Dylan wants to play “drop the waist cord in his closet”, then we should permit him his sassenach peccadilloes …

    Perhaps he can motivate his Young’uns to make their own lunches by showing up to help ’em in his Altogether … that should scare ’em straight … (well, so to speak !) …

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