Beware: The Early Morning Creep . . .

Every once in a while my kids trick me into falling for what I’m calling the early morning creep.


I need to preface this by saying that my children would make outstanding farmers.  Why, you might ask?  They are all early risers.  Most mornings all of my children are awake, clothed, fed and fighting with each other by 6:30am.  So when I say “early morning” I mean

Early. Morning.

The unwritten rule in our house is that anyone who’s awake before 6am should just “play sleep”.  Many times the early morning creep starts innocently enough–one of our kids will come into our room just a little before 6, maybe 5:56.  They whisper,

Is it time to get up yet?

And every once in a while, I make the fatal mistake of saying “not quite yet . . . here, just get into bed with me and BE QUIET.”

Mamas, please tell me you can relate.  You know how it goes—you let them hop into bed with you because you don’t want to give up those last, precious 4 minutes of sleep.  Or because they look so cute in their little jammys. Or maybe because they’re your kiddo and you wouldn’t mind cuddling with them for a few extra minutes.  Or maybe its something else.  In any case, it’s totally understandable that instead of sending your child back to bed, you just let them hop into bed with you.

Here’s the thing: The moment you say, “just hop into bed with me,” the trap your child has set snaps shut.  Hook. Line. Sinker.  They’ve got you.  Don’t get me wrong those last four minutes before 6 when you let them climb into bed with you are fun–you feel their cold toes on your legs, their morning breath in your face (or on the back of your neck) and their little body wriggling around next to you.  In that moment you feel like the best parent in the world; but in that moment, you forget what’s coming . . .

The next morning at 5:50 the whisper comes, “mom, is it time to get up yet?”  And, you should have learned your lesson, but you didn’t!  I mean its not like its 4am, you’re only getting up 10 minutes early for Pete’s sake and your children won’t be asking to crawl into bed with you forever so you say “no, just get into my bed.”

Then it’s 5:45

Then 5:36

5:00 (with their sibling!)

And then you’ve had enough.

The next morning when kid comes padding into your room at 4:45 they whisper, “is it time to get up yet?”  And you say . . .


Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.  At my house, the commotion usually wakes up everyone else.  No one gets back to sleep before the 6am deadline.

And then you realize it’s happened, and it’s like you didn’t even see it coming . . . even though you should have, you totally should have seen it coming.

The Early Morning Creep.

Kate lives in Iowa City with her husband (Matt) and three kids, ages 7, 5, and 2. She works at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa. She earned her PhD in Curriculum and Supervision in 2012. Prior to working at the University, she taught high school mathematics at many public schools in Iowa. Kate has also coached junior high and high school cheerleading squads for 10 years. Kate has a personal blog . . . stop by and relive your junior high and high school mathematics classes! (without the anxiety or the homework :) )


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