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The end of early-morning shut-eye

About 20 years ago, when I was attempting to start a new business – in air-duct cleaning and sanitation… yes, air duct cleaning and sanitation – I was conversing with an employee about the perks and pitfalls of getting up early in the morning. At that time, I was a precocious, spoiled 22-year-old with long hair and I wasn’t terribly disciplined. In fact, that year, I was taking time off from university because I just couldn’t – or more accurately, couldn’t be arsed to – keep my grades up. Was spending to much time partying and socializing.

So I took a year off, but my habits remained ingrained: I liked to sleep in a little bit every morning, and this job involved me getting up at 7:30 – 8 every morning. For me, at the time, that was a horrific concept. The employee made it clear to me that many, many people in the so-called real world get up ridiculously early to get started on the day, and my response was probably something equally ridiculous like: “Why would anyone want to get up that early? It’s a free world, and I’m not gonna conform to it!”

Well, then. It’s some 20 years later, and I’m a proud poppa to little two-year-old YY. As any parent will tell you, kids like to get up early. It’s strange, really, because you’d expect them to want to sleep in all the time since they can do whatever the heck they want until they turn 20 or so.

Maybe it’s because they usually hit the sack around 8-8:30 and they’ve already put in their quota of sleep hours that night.

Maybe it’s because the old human instincts to rise with the sun haven’t yet been erased.

But really, maybe it’s because the world is so gosh-darned exciting for a two-year-old that they can’t wait to get up and experience every single minute of it.

Wow – that must have been quite awesome. Imagine being so excited about the world that every morning is a Christmas morning and you just wanna get up, wake your parents up and get started on the day, every single morning?

And at six in the morning, too!

Wait a sec – did you say six in the morning?

Yup, six in the morning. The last few days, that’s what time little YY has been getting up. Even at this age I’m still particular to snoozing until a somewhat decent hour – such as six-thirty or seven. But six?

This morning, he woke up at 5:50 a.m. Phew. It was so early, I could barely pull my eyelids open to see what time it was.

I remember staying at people’s houses where they had kids, and I’d come downstairs bleary eyed at, say, 8 in the morning, for breakfast, and well, it seems that everyone’s already up and about. “Where are the kids?” I’d ask. “Oh, they’re already at school,” comes the response. Whoa, really? The day’s already a couple hours ago by the time I even get started on my own day?

Well, it’s actually become quite normal now to live like this. I come downstairs with little YY in tow, and kiss X good morning, and look at the clock. 6:25 in the morning, or something to that effect. I’m now one of those parents. I’m up at the crack of dawn. Now, really, I actually don’t mind it that much. It’s become normal. The new normal.

But still, I wouldn’t mind some shuteye until 8 on weekends. It still does happen. But gone are the days of sleeping til noon. Do I miss those days? Not really. It’s nice to have such long days, and to see the beautiful morning sun, to smell the crisp air, and all that. Thanks YY, for yet another eye-opening experience.

Keith MacKenzie

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