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The First Whiff of Responsibility

Zoe is five, and irresponsible in the way that young kids are.  If I send her to clean her room or get dressed to go outside, there’s no way that it will get done without direct supervision.  Sometimes toothbrushing goes all right independently, and specific, fun chores like feeding the cat, when I remind her - but she’s not ready for adulthood yet. 

I woke up too early yesterday morning.  Well, I had set an extra alarm to make sure that I got up - and I got up to the wrong one, the early one.  It felt terrible. 

I had come in from teaching at a reasonable hour, but by the time Steve and I got caught up over a lovely glass of wine and by the time I had finished winding up 12 more reeds, it was late, and I was tired, and when my 6:30 alarm went off I forgot that it was the pre-alarm and I got up and headed for the kitchen, with Zoe trailing gamely behind me.

I started the kettle boiling for coffee, and then I noticed the oven clock, and realized that I could have slept a full 30 minutes longer.  I considered trying to restart, and I thought about how to fill 30 extra minutes of morning, and I thought about lots of things.  I probably could have stood there, staring blankly at the kitchen clock, until the bus came, but Zoe realized that she’d forgotten her bear in the bed, and once we were back in the bedroom nothing prevented me from just slipping ever so gently under the covers, and Zoe gamely climbed in with me.  I knew the real alarm would go off at 7, but meanwhile the bed was so soft… and so warm… and my daughter was so snuggly… and this wasn’t irresponsibility, this was just reclaiming the time that was OWED to me…

But no one had explained my sleep entitlement to my responsible child.  After a few blissful moments, just as my brain was shutting back down, I heard a tiny, worried voice from deep within my arms.

“But what about breakfast, and school?”

Fair enough, my love.

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