The Dawn Chorus

I’m starting a new venture. I decided at 5:23am that the time has come to have a career change (as a teacher, I might be tempted to wait until after the summer holidays, but hey ho). I won’t dwell on the fact that at 4:49am I considered putting my youngest daughter on eBay, that was merely a momentary thought that I realised immediately was ridiculous: no one would voluntarily buy into a dawn alarm system that systematically wakes you from a deep sleep by launching a remote control at your head (husband, I apologise, I should have stopped her, and I certainly shouldn’t have laughed, again.) Once I’d had time to reflect on the situation rationally I concluded I could probably put situations like this to good use (I realise how ridiculous ‘rationally’ is: it’s 5am, I’m watching The Land Before Time and I’ve already been asked who would win in a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jinx the cat. I went for Jinx, I don’t reckon even a bloodthirsty prehistoric carnivore stands a chance against a cat who vomits like the girl from The Exorcist, scratches her way through carpets like there’s no tomorrow and meows at a decibel that could wake a sleeping child at approximately 400m. I’m pretty sure Jinx would be able to annoy Tyrannosaurus Rex to death in less than a week).

I’m going to start my own business.

When I think about the most stressful aspects of motherhood, things that spring to mind include teething, tantrums, mealtimes. But nothing, upon nothing compares to the pain of someone/thing/situation waking up my child before I’m ready to get up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being unreasonable, I don’t mind getting up early. I’ve learned to consider anything beyond 6am respectable. After 6:30am you may even say it’s lucky. By 7am, that’s precious. And after 8am… well, that’s never happened, but I’m sure it’s just lovely. My new venture will try and protect the interests of the sleep deprived parent and I’ve decided to name the company: Get Back to Bed. Ok, we can work on the name later, that’s just literally what came out of my mouth, (directed at my middle child), as I was typing. So what kind of service can you expect from Get Back to Bed, I hear you cry? Well, it’s sketchy, but my initial thoughts are:

  • Fitting dawn timed locking mechanisms on the cat flap to ensure when the cat goes outside for an early morning wee: they cannot return to the house to scratch, vomit, terrify a sleeping child by swatting their head or meow vociferously until someone caves and feeds them.
  • Stealth dummy retrieval: perfecting the silent ‘drop and roll’ as the baby raises its sleepy head to see if there’s anyone attached to the dummy that has just been shoved back in their mouth. Get Back to Bed will specialise in commando crawling, lying dead in the shape of a starfish – flat on the floor – until it’s safe to move out.
  • For older children, turning back the clocks by one hour.
  • Investing in whichever company it is in France that manufactures their blackout blinds. Good. God. Wow. This year on holiday, I remember sleepily getting out of bed to feed the baby at 3am and twenty minutes later still being sat in the walk in wardrobe, long after she’d got bored and dozed off, trying to telepathically communicate with my husband to turn a light on so I could find my way back to bed without injury (first rule of pre-dawn club: don’t EVER talk). I would fit these as standard in every child’s bedroom.
  • If you have to break the first rule of pre-dawn club, you can quickly revert to the second: lie through your teeth. “I’ve only just gone to bed myself, love. That’s not the morning sun, it hasn’t even gone to bed yet.”
  • If the situation is irretrievable, Get Back to Bed will have on hand every single Disney/Pixar/dinosaur based/U rated film on hand to wow even the most difficult of siblings

Son: You chose last time, I don’t want to watch WallE

Daughter one: WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE!

Son: I hate WallE!

Daughter one: WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE!

Son: You’re so annoying!

Daughter one: WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE! WallE!

Son: Ok fine.

Daughter one: I’m not watching WallE. I hate WallE.

I think if it takes off on a local level, I might need some more money to get the company up and running on a nationwide level though. Maybe I could go on Dragon’s Den? I do worry my pitching skills are a bit limited at the moment though.

Me: So, as you can see, the projections show that in the first year we could make a profit of 78%

Dragon: That’s impossible, based on your figures.

Me: Er…? (Looks at graph) Oh, nope. My mistake, sorry, my toddler’s had a go at that! She loves colouring at the minute. Very good, don’t you think?

Dragon: So the projections…

Me: (Glazed expression)

Dragon: You were talking about profit?

Me: Was I? Are you sure it wasn’t you?

Dragon: You started the conversation, not me.

Me: (looking enviously at suited and booted Dragon) You’re so clean. I can’t remember the last time I looked so clean.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’d be escorted off the premises before they even started the cameras rolling. The idea’s got to be worth something though? Imagine how much more we could achieve and how much more patient we’d be as parents if we hadn’t had to get up at 5am. Now that 2 of our children go through the day without sleeps, my husband and I often do relay naps at weekends. I’m sure my son’s teacher thinks we suffer from some kind of debilitating sleep disorder. I can imagine the surprise and confusion on her face when he talks during show and tell about Mummy face planting on the dashboard in the passenger seat on the way back from Grandad’s house, or how Daddy falls asleep before Tinkerbell has even sprinkled pixie dust on the castle at the beginning of a Disney film.

People say I’ll remember these days fondly, when I have 3 grumpy teenagers who won’t get out of bed. They’re right, I will remember it, and I will make sure that each and every one of them is employed by the flourishing family run business: Get Back to Bed, so that they can spend their weekends reliving it



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