And then everyone was up and out of bed at 5am. Again.
It's a guarantee lately that each morning that my son will either be woken by his mother or by the cat. His mother has usurped my early morning time. Getting up either to get into work at that pleasantly absurd early time where you can get massive amounts of work done. Or getting up to zoom off to the gym before work. Either way - I don't bother getting up anymore because if neither of us are in bed there's a fairly strong chance that my kids will somehow detect this and get up. It's relatively okay for my son to do that. He can always take a nap later. But my daughter getting up at 5am and then going to school all day is one of the clear ingredients for homicide. So lately I lie in bed with my headphones firmly wedged in listening to audiobooks, podcasts or whatnot. The sort of stuff that you can't really follow unless you're actually listening.
Anyway - it's not her bustling about in the bathroom (I'm guessing she's doing either carpentry or washing an elephant in there, judging by the amount of noise made) that wakes him up. Astonishing as that is - because if I was actually trying to wake everyone up and then still claim that I wasn't I'd do all the things she does in the morning before feebly claiming to be innocent. No it's that she's taken to getting up - smashing around in the bathroom - and then coming back into the bedroom and poking him maliciously until he gets out of bed. My son has some sort of odd detection radar that alerts him as to when I normally get up. It works about 50% of the time. So right before I try to sneak downstairs at Stupid O'Clock for some quality alone time he often wakes up - runs across the landing - and sneaks into bed with us. Which lately has meant demanding to lie exactly where I am until he falls back to sleep. Nine months ago if he had done this and anyone was up he'd just go downstairs to start his day. Now - even if his mother is in the bathroom thrashing about to techno and flashing strobe lights (that was yesterday morning's activity it seems) - he'll just crawl into bed aware that I'm not downstairs.
Except this morning - for the third time this week - his mother has come back into the room and pulled the covers off him and then lightly tickled him. She claims that she doesn't know it's him and that she thought it was me. And that she was well aware that I was awake and had come back in for a quick hug and some empathy for the fact that she's up and off to start her day very early. But surely after the first two attempts she'd have learned by now that all she's doing is coming in, poking him and pretty much telling him, "Time to get up! Mommy's not going to work today! Let's go downstairs and eat ice cream and play with the elephant that I just washed in the bathroom!!" Any claims to innocence just aren't believable.
Alternately if my son doesn't come running into the Big Big Bed in the morning he will sleep undisturbed until a very reasonable time in his own bed. That is unless the cat doesn't have any food. The cat lives in my son's room. Correction - my son sleeps in the cat's room. Actually it's been an extremely delicate balancing act ever since my son was cognizant of having a room to convince them both that it's actually their room. Needless to say that it's never come up with them both present so I haven't been in the uncomfortable position of being caught - like a man with two mistresses - telling them both that I wasn't lying. Rather what happens is that each and every time they're both in the room together they suspiciously eye the other one and then later on both ask me what on earth that fool was doing in their room.
I should note at this point that the cat is a) not mine, b) definitely mine and c) an emotional lunatic. Nearly a decade ago my wife begged me - like a diabetic begging for insulin - to get a cat lest their life degrade and they might die. And as she pointed out - you can't get just one cat. That's just cruel. So we ended up with two - a black one I named Bodmin. and a brown tabby already named Zora. These days Bodmin is gone and Zora is now free to twitch and grind like the perverted weirdo she clearly is. The two main characteristics of that cat are that it doesn't like or trust anyone at all except me, and that it is a massive drama queen. So none of the rest of my family are permitted to go within fifteen feet of the thing. It's not mean or aggressive at all - it just runs away terrified. It's like an aboriginal Bushman in the Outback half the time - even though it's indoors you won't find it. But if I am situated somewhere - especially in the morning before too many people get up - that cat will chase me around grunting and mewling, practically begging for me to touch it.
Anyway - it goes outside every night and I let it back in every morning. At which point it rushes in the house - behaves like a wanton slut ("Touch me!! Touche me!! You're AMAZING! TOUCH ME!!!"") before quickly bounding upstairs to its' room to eat. I have tried to remind myself every evening at the kid's bedtime to make sure the cat has food and water. Because if I don't the cat will stand at the top of the stairs screaming "I hate you, you callous bastard! I've been outside all night in the shivering cold defending you to everyone and you can't even be bothered to get me breakfast?! I don't know why I bother making effort to quash all the rumors about you. And so what if I started them? You rancid bottom-dribble of a man." She'll then run in and out of her/his bedroom yelling and shoving stuff off of desks/counters so that it makes the most amount of noise possible (which somehow can be heard over the roller-disco my wife has organized in the bathroom).
Ironically if I have filled the water bowl and fed the cat she then deliberately eats so loudly that I can actually hear her cracking the food with her teet and then loudly gushing about how tasty it all is. And then - once done - instead of coming downstairs and quietly curling up and taking a nap she wanders about upstairs yelling apologies. "Ohhh that hit the spot. That's exactly what I needed. By the way - all that stuff about being a gormless twat? Ignore that. Heat of the moment stuff. And admittedly it is early. You haven't taken the time to deal with the frankly very flimsy material you have to work with to make yourself not look like a cross between a failed experiment to crossbreed a fat three-days-dead acid-burned manatee and a battered chip-shop sausage. Therefore it's not really your fault that you look like a nightmarish, third-ring-of-Hell mutant, leper-demon wearing wildly unattractive flannel shorts and suspiciously effeminate-colored sweatshirts that make you look like a strangely gay Noel Edmonds with a wasting disease. This food though - cracking stuff. I shall be letting the neighborhood cats know that while I don't have conclusive proof that you aren't the sort of person to fiddle with cabbages I can state categorically that you buy decent cat food."
At which point my son gets up. Followed shortly thereafter by his sister. I'm just thankful they aren't mental or it would make the mornings seem long and strenuous.