Rocky has a tendency to wake up a little earlier on the weekends than we’d prefer. He usually wakes up between 6 and 6:30, sometimes as early as 5:45 (which is really not okay as the coffee is set for 6:00). In isolation, this isn’t such a big deal. I mean, I don’t really expect to sleep in past 6:30 anyway. However, Lucy runs herself pretty hard during the week and by the time the weekend rolls around, she needs her rest. Generally, a Saturday morning goes something like this.
I hear Rocky call from across the hall. “DADDY, I’M AWAKE.”
Under my breath, “Fuck.” Then, “coming buddy.” I quickly swing out of bed and into his room, crouching on his bed and lowering my face towards his. “Hey, let’s head downstairs,” I say, craning my head back to check the top bunk for any sign of movement.
“Shh, shh, yeah,” I whisper frantically, gesturing towards the door. “Grab your monkey and come on.”
“MILK AND WAFFLE?”
“Yeah, sure, we’ll get you your milk and waffle. Whatever, just come on.”
At that point he’ll generally scramble to swing his legs off the bed and charge downstairs, instantly at full speed. I’d say about half the time these days I can get him out the door without hearing a tearful “daddy” from behind; Lucy, now awake and not wanting to be left behind. Hey, no problem. If there’s anything better than one kid up too early it’s two.
But what’s most amazing about him is how his volume adjusts accordingly with how loud the rest of the house is. Not exactly the way you’d expect, though. It’s like he wants to fill a void. With his voice. It’s on the mornings when I want to let Leah sleep in and actually get him downstairs without waking Lucy that his voice finds its peak volume.
I’ll get Rocky downstairs and get him situated in his chair and then head into the kitchen to grab him his milk and a waffle. All the while, all I hear is “MILK AND WAFFLE. I NEED MILK AND WAFFLE.” He stars wailing as I’ve already been gone a full 15 seconds and might not be coming back, leaving him at the table to die dry-throated and starving.
“I’m coming, buddy,” I stage whisper from the kitchen. When I finally get his food in to him, he generally wants to eat it “ON YOUR LAP” and then we begin our morning discussion:
“YOU’RE DRINKING COFFEE?”
“yep, coffee” ”
“black. I’m right here buddy, you don’t have to shout.”
Whatever combination of being a boy, two, and clinically insane leads to this level of volume, it is a bit of a problem for those wanting to sleep in. Our house is not expansive and being upstairs doesn’t give you much relief from the noises downstairs. At this point, after trying far too many times to keep him quiet (once with a seemingly endless loop of Disney songs on YouTube. That ended up backfiring as his brain was fried all morning making him even wilder than usual), I finally realized there was only one real option: removal. He couldn’t be in the house. The issue, however, was what to do with him. We couldn’t go in the backyard or to a park, not if we wanted to spare the neighboring community an early morning wakeup call. I couldn’t come up with a good solution to get outside and burn off some energy until I remembered that our neighbor always take his daughter in the morning to Mariano’s, the fancy-pants grocery store that recently opened about a mile down the street. That would be a place to run around and – bonus – they have super-fancy donuts.
So, the next Sunday I swept him out of bed and snuck him down the stairs. It was at that point I realized my plan was a little flawed. I had grabbed a new diaper for him, but that was about it. I didn’t have any shoes or socks for him and he was only wearing thin pjs for a crisp, Fall morning. But, wait! Slippers! Where the hell did those come from? Doesn’t matter, on they go. Throw on a winter coat and we’re good to go. Except I forgot socks for me, so I get to go sock-less. Doesn’t matter, no turning back at this point. I grab a pair of shoes, tuck Rocky under one arm, and push the stroller out the door with the other. Out in ten minutes, my heart raced like a diamond smuggler who just cleared customs.
And then we had a great walk to the store. We talked about all the things we could see although, of course, he was speaking so quietly I could barely hear him. I think he’s just screwing with me at this point.
Mariano’s was great. Rocky loved to push the tiny shopping and all the people working that morning were charmed by the little man in his pjs.