Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How Many Alarm Clocks Does It Take to Wake A Teenager?

This is a serious question. How many alarm clocks does it take to wake your teenager? How many times do you have to tell them to get out of bed? And why on earth are they so exhausted all the time that they can't wake up?
In my house it takes two alarm clocks to wake up a teenager. Why doesn't he just hit the snooze on one clock? Well, sometimes he hits the snooze for the next hour. That tends to wake up everyone in the house except him. I'm not sure how two alarm clocks differ from a snooze, but apparently they do. There is a little twist, though. He's not using actual alarm clocks. No, instead he's using cell phones. That's right. Apparently they have alarm clocks built into them. (Am I the only one that uses their cell phone as a phone?) But even that's not enough. He has three different alarms programmed into each phone. So unless he turns them completely off, he still has some sort of alarm going off every five minutes for the next half hour. How is that different from hitting the snooze?
There's another problem with cell phone alarms as well. They go off whether you put them by your bed or not. One of the cell phones got left downstairs last night. It went off for ten solid minutes this morning. No one took care of it because we assumed our son was having trouble getting out of bed. Finally one of my other sons told me that the phone was downstairs. So we turned it off. I'm not sure if my teenager even heard the phone. I'm not sure if he set an alarm.
Which brings me to his backup. That's me. On weekends he doesn't set the alarm at all. He just assumes I'll wake him up in time to get ready for church. How come I can't count on someone to wake me up? Because I'm responsible, that's why! You know what else I noticed? No matter what time I wake him, it takes him that amount of time to get ready. But that's a whole different blog post! So how do I wake him? I call him from the doorway until he answers. (His room is not always accessible due to the amount of clothing on the floor.) Then I tell him what time it is and that he needs to get up. Does he respond right away? Not always, but he's gotten better about getting up when called. I'm a very persuasive person. I also don't have much patience so here's how it goes when I'm his alarm clock. I wake him up. Sometime within the next ten minutes I'll revisit his room. If he's not up I have a variety of creative (torture) ways to bring him to consciousness. For one thing, it's always a good idea to keep a bag of marbles in the freezer. Have you ever handled a cold marble? Empty those into his bed. Not only will they wake him, but they'll roll with him whichever way he turns. No more sleeping! My other method is a little more drastic. I dump a pitcher of cold water on his head. (No ice cubes. Those can hurt!) On more than one occasion he's awakened to a big splash of cold water in the face. Hey, he knew it was a possibility. I've warned him before. By the way, here's a little parenting tip: if you use either of these methods, the teenager has to pick up all the marbles and return them to the freezer. Or, he has to strip the wet bedding off and wash it.
So why can't teenagers wake up? What makes them so sleepy? Some say it's because youth has a clear conscious. They aren't mature enough to actually worry about things, so their sleep is deep. Hmmm. Maybe. But I think it has more to do with the fact that they can't tell time. No, seriously. They must not be able to tell time because they can never manage to get to bed at a decent hour. We have bedtimes in this house, but somehow the teenagers seem to be unable to tell what time it is. The problem is so bad, they have no way of realizing that they have ten minutes to take a shower, make a lunch for the next day, straighten up their room and get to sleep. Poor things. Neither can they seem to understand that, if you stay up late watching a movie, that doesn't change the time you get up in the morning. That just makes you less happy to get up. But someday they'll learn. Someday they'll be responsible. Someday they'll have teenagers of their own. HA! I can hardly wait!

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