Archive for November, 2014

Hamburgers fro Breakfast

This column first appeared in the November issue of Forsyth Family magazine:

During the week, my day usually begins an hour or before the day starts for Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins. First on my to-do list is giving the morning treat – a smackerel of canned tuna – to the cats, Blitz and Sherbert, and the dog, Joy. Watching Joy, who is up to a robust 6 pounds, spin around in circles in anticipation of her tuna treat is one of the highlights of my day.

After that, I take Joy out for her morning walk. When we return, I may occasionally have to take care of some spot emergency, such as Sherbert getting into Garnet’s succulents. Mostly, though, it’s quiet time on my own taking care of ironing my clothes for work and such.

Then it’s time for my most challenging task of the day – rousing Sparkle Girl. When she was younger, waking her up was the work of a moment. Somewhere along the way, it became serious work. When I asked her what she thought the difference was, she said, “I’m in high school. Need I say more?”
That’ pretty much what I figured.

It’s a given that the first attempt to wake Sparkle Girl won’t produce lasting results. My goal with the first round is simply to reintroduce her to the concept of being awake. I shake her gently and speak softly until she mutters or turns over. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might ask her to say something. Then I leave her be for a few minutes.

The serious work begins with second attempt. I definitely ask her to say something. I ask her to open her eyes and tell me she is awake. I have learned, though, that opening her eyes and saying, “I’m awake! I’m awake!” means nothing.

Usually, it’s the third or fourth attempt before it takes. There are times when I feel as if she is at the bottom of the ocean and I am calling to her from a boat on the surface. On those mornings, I have been tempted to flip on the light and be done with it. Whenever I say that flipping on the light crossed my mind, she has been horrified. Never, ever do that, she says.

Really, I wouldn’t. I know how harsh that would be. When I was a kid, my father would sometimes wake us up by flipping on the lights. Even worse were the days when, moments after returning to this world, I would find myself sitting at the kitchen table facing a bowl of hot oatmeal. One of the satisfactions of being an adult is being able to say to myself, “At least, I will never again have to start my day with oatmeal.”

In fairness to my father, I should add that, once we told him how much we hated starting the day with oatmeal, he began making hamburgers on English muffins for breakfast. They were great. I have offered to fix hamburgers for breakfast for our household. I’m sure Joy would be all for it, but, so far, Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins have all declined.

Anyway, whenever I have said something to Sparkle Girl about how much work it was to get her up, she has said that she’s sorry. It’s just the way it is, she says. “I can hear you and I know I have to get up. I just can’t actually do anything to get up.”

After one particularly grueling morning, I said, “So what do you suggest that I do?”

She thought about it and said, “The second time you try to get me up, make sure I sit up.”

“Not the first time?”

“Heavens, no!” she said.

I tried that the next morning. It worked.

“For now,” said Sparkle Girl. She’s making no promises.