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Shannon Casas: While you’re waking up earlier, it feels like I’m getting more rest
Shannon Casas high res

My alarm clock is a little boy who comes in my dark bedroom when I am fast asleep and says, "It's wake-up time."

He does not have a snooze button. So, every morning I’m awake by 6:30 a.m. Mondays, 6:30 a.m.; Saturdays, 6:30 a.m; vacation, 6:30 a.m.

It’s probably a fairly average time to wake up during the work week, but that doesn’t mean I like it. And I definitely don’t like it on Saturdays.

By 6:45 a.m. both little ones are running through the house squealing and giggling. At least one of them is probably pretending to be a lion. Their giggles and lion roars are the best — after 8 a.m. and a cup of coffee.

I can be grouchy when they ask for cereal, ask where’s B, referring to my husband, ask why he’s at work, ask where we’re going, ask why I go to work — all before I’ve wiped the sleep out of my eyes . Note, the answers to these questions are the same every day; they still ask every day.

I don’t usually get my cup of coffee until after we’re out the door, after I’ve dropped them off at school. Only then is it quiet again. Only then can my brain start to catch up to where they started almost two hours ago.

I grew up in a house that was often noisy. But if it was ever noisy before 7 a.m., I don’t remember it. Instead, I remember sleeping until 11 a.m. on weekends. That’s incomprehensible now. I haven’t slept past 8:30 a.m. in years.

Today, at 7:30 a.m. there’s a chance the children are still sleeping. You may have lost an hour. I feel like I gained one.

These children can’t quite tell time, and their little internal clocks now think wake-up time is an hour later thanks to Daylight Saving Time and a seemingly later sunrise.

They each have what’s called a “wake-up clock” that lights up a bright green at 6:30 a.m., the time we designated as being OK for them to get out of bed.

There’s no reason they need to wake at 6:30 a.m., though; 7:30 a.m. will be just fine. Now that the sun is sleeping in a bit later, those wake-up clocks will be programmed accordingly.

I know my body will still feel that it’s 6:30 if I wake at 7:30, but I won’t be losing an hour of sleep like the rest of you, and those numbers on the clock will look wonderful.

Come Monday, I may need to wake by 7:15 a.m., which means I’ll lose half an hour. If the little ones are still sleeping, though, I’ll be coming out on the positive side of this time change.

Maybe I’ll have time to put my make-up on before they’re up and pouring an entire box of Raisin Bran into a bowl at the breakfast bar when I’m not looking.

Maybe I can brush my teeth while they’re still sleeping and they won’t be unsupervised in the kitchen throwing wet cereal at each other.

Maybe I’ll even pour their cereal while my coffee is brewing and greet them with a “Good morning” instead of a “Why are you awake?”

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a foster parent. You can hear her most weeks on the Inside The Times podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

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