Christmas morningAround 5, bright and early on Christmas morning, I can hear my bedroom door creaking open. The over-the-edge hook that my robe hangs on keeps it from swinging quietly. And with that, I know it’s showtime. I don’t let on, though. I let The Girl go through the motions of her annual routine.

First, she kind of whisper-yells from the doorway. “Mommy! You up?”

I stir just a little, pretending to be too intoxicated with sleepiness to be fully coherent. I might mumble something like “Merfelblatdha,” then pull the cover higher over my head.

Undeterred, she tiptoes closer. I guess the stealthiness is to keep me from being startled. But then she gets to shaking my shoulder, which really defeats that purpose. “Mommy?”

By then, I can’t contain my excitement. I’m as giddy about giving her her gifts as she is to get them. But the way she wakes me up every year is part of the traditional dance of the gift exchange. 

So ... what’s your child’s wake-up style?

The Peeper: My kid, as described above, is a peeper. They’ll crack a door open just wide enough to watch you sleep, even hover over your bed and totally freak you out if you roll over to find a cool spot on the bed. They don’t mean to be stalkerish weirdos, but they can’t help themselves. Waking a parent from a good night’s rest can spell certain disaster, especially if Mommy is a little crabby from staying up until 4 wrapping gifts that will be inevitably attributed to a fictitious man with a jolly smile and a sweatshop of elves. So they’re just cautious, not creepy. OK, maybe a little.

The Thunderbolt: Peace and quiet are ripped to shreds when this dynamo opens their eyes and realizes it’s gift-opening go time. They run through the house. They jump on furniture. They don’t even need to come directly into your bedroom because all of the commotion everywhere else is enough to rouse the neighbor’s neighbor, much less somebody trying to sleep upstairs. Something tells me Richard Simmons was probably a thunderbolt. Probably Robin Williams and Busta Rhymes, too.

The Indiana Pacer: Such ladies and gentlemen they are. Rather than rouse you out of your slumber, they wear out the hardwood floors pacing in the hallway, waiting for you to get up. Though they may employ some strategic coughing and “accidental” dropping of heavy objects — a la “oh, I’m sorry. Did that game of Jenga on the bathroom tile floors wake you?” — they are still, in essence, polite and considerate of their hardworking parents’ sleepy time (especially considering that cranky moms and dads make for a hard way to go, even on a holiday). Sometimes it’s just better to wait. But man, you adults sure can sleep a long time.

The Slow Poke: Seems almost impossible, but there are kids, believe it or not, who say the heck with an early call time for Christmas. They’d rather let sleep take its course and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face a full day of festivities than crash and burn later on like other kids who beat the sun to open their gifts but need a lil’ nappy nap by noon.

The Greg Louganis: They’re small, but they can dive bomb on the bed like a renegade missile. One minute, you’re off in la la land, visions of sugar plums dancing in your head. The next, you’re startled out of your slumber by a rambunctious fourth grader with surprisingly good form. Good news, though: kids who belly flop on their parents’ bed usually buy them a new one when they grow up and get jobs. OK, I don’t know that for sure, but here’s to hoping. After at least 10 years of performing pikes into your Sealy Posturepedic, it seems like the least they could do.

How do your kids rise and shine on Christmas morning?


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