Friday, December 2, 2011

The Flip Side

In my last post I mentioned that I am a morning person. When I made the list of things I had accomplished before anyone else was even out of bed in this house it wasn't as impressive as it might have appeared. By lunchtime my pace has slowed considerably. When 3:00 rolls around I find myself desperate for a cup of tea, and the time between tea and dinner is spent with me forcing myself to stay focused. There have been many days when, early in the morning, I make plans for some amazingly complicated meal for dinner, but by the time late afternoon rolls around meatloaf is all I can manage. And what about between dinner and bed? My list of accomplishments for that block of time is very consistent. It looks like this.

  • knit 
  • read

The weird thing is it didn't used to be like this. When my children were very young they seemed to be pre-programmed to wake up before the sun. I would lie in bed bargaining with God. "Please, oh please let them fall back to sleep. Just for an hour." An atheist couldn't have had a worse success rate at getting that prayer answered than I did. Exhausted, I would roll out of bed to be greeted by disgustingly bright smiles and energetic little people ready to face the new day. 

Then an odd thing happened. At the exact moment the switch in my kids' collective brains went from "wake up with the sun" to "sleep until noon" mine did the reverse. I will always feel a little cheated by the timing of this. If ever proof was needed that life isn't fair, this was it. 

This all boils down to there being a very small window of communication opportunity in this house. Everyone knows I am basically toast after 6:00 PM, and don't even think about starting a discussion with me after 9:00. I can't be held accountable for my actions at that late hour. On the other hand, one look at the faces of the other inhabitants of this house when they finally roll out of bed in the morning/early afternoon makes it clear they won't be user-friendly for at least an hour. 

I figure this gives us about six hours to exchange all necessary information in person. Other than that we have to fall back on a haphazard system of post-it notes. For instance, right now there is a post-it note on the kitchen counter asking the People of the Night if they know what has happened to all the dish towels. (The fact that there are missing dish towels is part of an ongoing mystery that I will save for another blog post.)

The one great discovery I made when I unintentionally switched to being a morning person was I have the whole house to myself. The quiet, and the possibilities that quiet held, made getting out of bed so early worthwhile. Our house is not as busy as it used to be when all five kids were in residence. However, I find I still enjoy the peacefulness of the early morning hours, the quiet contemplation of my day as I hold a hot mug of tea in my hands, surrounded by silence. 

I heard Alexander McCall Smith give a talk in Vancouver last year. He is the author of, among other things, The No. 1 ladies' Detective series of books. He said his current writing rhythm was to get up around 3:00 in the morning and write for several hours, then go back to bed for an hour or so. You could hear the collective gasp in the audience, myself excluded. I might be crazy, but this idea appeals to me. There is one problem with this plan, one I am certain Alexander McCall Smith is not faced with. If I got up at that hour I might encounter a Person of the Night. 


  1. LOL, I'd be thrilled with meatloaf.

    I'm a Person of the Night. Once in a while I wake up earlier than I'd like on the weekend and get to experience the early morning quiet house--which has a different feel to it than the late night quiet house.

  2. I was just writing about this exact thing! I love, love, love being up way before everyone else. The quiet of the house is such a luxury with small children around. But I need lots of sleep still so that can be a toughy when the only time to hang out with hubby 'communicating' in front of a movie is at night. Which by the way also involves, at the most, knitting followed by reading before lights out!

  3. @Ric - That's an interesting observation about there being a difference between the quiet of an early morning house and a late night house. You are right, but the question remains as to why that is. ???

    @Kathy - That is exactly how I got hooked on being a morning person. The quiet of the house before my kids were up and active was worth every minute of lost sleep.

  4. Meatloaf is a big favorite at our house.

    I miss being in the house alone on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was so quiet and peaceful. I love my job, but I miss having a quiet day on my agenda.