To envision it now is an anomaly. B waking up at 4 a.m., that is. Which is what happened six years ago, on Christmas morning.
B, 4 years old at the time and obviously powered by never-exhausted preschool fuel, arose at said ungodly hour and, depite the obvious darkness outside, proceeded to run insanely around the apartment, footsteps pounding the wood floors, whooping and ripping the wrapping paper off every single present under the tree.
Our landlady, who lived directly below, was furious.
We were furious.
It's cute in hindsight and in the retelling, it's even hilarious, now part of our curious family lore.
I recalled this mental video clip recently as, for the 1,000th school morning, I tried to get that same boy to wake up in time for fifth grade.
Since September, 10-year-old B has been unable to rise in time to get ready for class.
I've tried the preparation route. I set his breakfast cereal on the table in the evening, along with his clothes for the next day. His book bag is packed with snack, lunch and homework. Coat and hat hung by the door. Sneakers out.
School starts at 9:05 a.m., which means we leave the house at 8:55 a.m.
Mom's "time to wake up!" begins at 7:45 a.m. and again every 5 minutes after that, increasing in pitch from gentle-reminder to steam-exploding-from-the ears, head-popping-off.
8, 8;30, even 8:45 a.m. pass with B barely stirring.
Wednesday, he arrived at school at 9:15 a.m.
Last night, B suggested he dress in his school clothes the night before.
I suggested he eat breakfast before going to bed.
This morning, B left my car at 9:06 a.m., half-running (only at my urging) down the school driveway, coat flaps aflutter, sneaks untied, sweatshirt unzipped. In 1-degree weather.
I watched as he got smaller and smaller, approaching the door, then stopped to remove his hat before going inside.
Tomorrow morning, I'm aiming high: hoping to shave a minute off his arrival by having B sleep in his sneakers.
Plan B: match under the smoke alarm.