Written by Chris Loprete
I hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are gearing up for a safe and happy holiday season. We parents really are very lucky because seeing the joy and excitement in our children at this time of year makes us feel like kids again. It’s so much fun to be a part of isn’t it? There is one little warning I’d like to give to all of the new parents out there however. While you’re dolling yourself up to head to the office holiday party or the gift and cookie exchange party down the block or the New Year’s Eve extravaganza you’ve been waiting for all year; while you’re leaving instructions for the sitter and kissing your kids goodnight and saying, “Be good for (insert sitter’s name here), go to bed when she tells you and we’ll see you in the morning”; while you’re doing all of that remember one thing: KIDS DON’T KNOW WHAT A HANGOVER IS.
Date nights and adult gatherings are a rarity now for us ‘rents aren’t they? When one comes around and we actually envision an evening of adult conversation that doesn’t involve our child’s bathroom habits we jump at the chance faster than lions jump on a gazelle that tweaks a hamstring. Even though babysitter quotes have become outrageous (what are they, unionizing?) we’re willing to spare the extra sheckels to get an evening away. We may even have a drink or two. Even for those parents who don’t drink, that doesn’t stop you from taking full advantage of the night off and staying out a little longer than usual, right? And then after “making rather merry” we come home in the early morning hours, stumble into bed and sleep the sleep of the dead knowing that the hours we lost in the beginning of the night, we’ll make up for by sleeping all morning. And then (seemingly 5 minutes later) at 7 AM we feel a tap on our forehead and a small voice pierces our throbbing skulls saying, ”I want cereal and cartoons!” What the…? Now? Why? Don’t they know that mommy and daddy had several spirits last night and have only been asleep for 5 hours? Don’t they feel those jackhammers pounding into our cerebral cortex? Answer: no they don’t. And if they did…they probably wouldn’t care. And if you think you can just croak, “later” and turn and go back to sleep, I got news for you. Those jackhammers will increase by one. And it will get louder and louder and more and more powerful. And this one doesn’t have an off switch.
It’s not just hangovers either. You could be sober as a judge and go to bed Friday night thinking the weekend has started which means sleeping in for the next two days. And you’d be right…if “sleeping in” means getting up even earlier than your alarm usually goes off. My alarm clock is smarter than my 3 year old son. It realizes that Saturday and Sunday are non working days for me so it automatically shuts off and lets me sleep. My son saves the day though and makes sure I’m up at the EXACT time my alarm usually goes off during the week. My alarm almost shrugs and says, “Sorry, guy. I tried” My 3 year old knows the days of the week.: ”Monday, Toosday, Wenday, Fursday,…”,and he knows Daddy doesn’t work on “Satday” and “Sunday”…but hasn’t quite learned the concept of “sleeping in”. Or else he has and chooses to ignore it.
Another concept they don’t get is the two times a year when most of the country changes their clock forward or back an hour. For those in Arizona and parts of Indiana you can stop reading because you don’t change your clocks and therefore don’t have to deal with this phenomenon (freaks). The rest of the country just recently “fell back”. Now that gives us cause to rejoice because it’s an extra hour of sleep, right? Right…if you don’t have small children. Our little ones have not fallen back one minute and continue their clockwork ritual of waking us up bright and early. The difference? Instead of 7 AM it’s now 6 AM! Somehow they get themselves on track eventually, but just know that ”fall back” now refers to sleep time as in “Tonight we fall back on an hour of sleep.”
So take heed new parents. Enjoy the holidays as much as you can. Go out, see friends, and party like the old days. Just know that there will be a price to pay. Eat, drink and be merry…for tomorrow you’re up early.