Shortly after I proclaimed myself a child development expert on Facebook and the Blogosphere, my friend from high school, Miles, messaged me soliciting my advice on an issue he was having with waking his daughter. He told me that she’s a great kid except when you wake her up. If you wake her up she’s a total crab-ass, to put it mildly. His breaking point was his daughter’s imminent first day of kindergarten and he feared she would commit a homicide due to having to wake her up to get to school on time.
Here’s what I said: Is there any way you can get her to bed earlier? She's like most kids--happiest when waking on her own. If you can get her to bed earlier you might not have to wake her up and have a shit head. Another option is to wake her up with enough time to not only get her ready but to have her homicidal ways wear off. Oh, and she's probably shitty when you wake her up because you might be waking her in the middle of REM sleep which makes people more shitty. She just might be especially sensitive to it.
I heard back from him recently and he told me how he took my advice to devise his own parenting hack around the issue. Here’s what he did: He tricked her into thinking she's waking herself up. He gets up 15 minutes earlier than otherwise necessary to do it, but he swears it’s worth it. He gets ready for work, and then he gets her out of his bed and puts her into his bed while she’s still asleep. Then, he turns on her favorite cartoon and "accidentally" nudges her for about 5 min. Once she's got her eyes open, he lets her watch about 15 minutes of the show. Then, he asks her favorite question: Who wants breakfast? She’s a sucker for breakfast foods. As of now, it’s worked for about a month and she hasn’t committed an acts of aggression or homicide and she’s been much more agreeable.
My hope is that sharing Miles’ sensitive and well-thought out work-around to his daughter’s waking issues will provide others with ideas for their own problems. So, congratulations Miles on your success and thank you for sharing and letting me write a post about this. For the record, I offered to let him guest blog for me and he reminded me that although I like to write essays for fun, I’m nuts if I think others want to spend their free time writing papers that aren’t required for some sort of degree. Touché. For his ability to be bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind while taking charge and using TV to his benefit, Miles is my proud first recipient of a Parenting Black Belt award.