Human Alarm Clocks

There’s a 50/50 chance that on Sundays we will arrive home from lunch at my parents’ house in the early afternoon and that I will have the opportunity to take a nap. Generally, it’s the result of being equally tired and super full from a delicious lunch and subsequent dessert. Sadly, it’s not a full-blown, I’m-going-to-leave-this-earthly-plane-for-a-while sleep quest. I divide the laundry first, then put a load in. I instruct Madison to wake me up when the cycle finishes. I put the clean clothes in the dryer and put another load into the washing machine. I do this 3 or 4 times and hope I will be able to fall asleep again when I return to the couch.

I choose to nap on the couch because I want to be able to pop up if Lynnette shouts something at me like “Phil, Cole’s eating the backpack strap.” Sometimes, though, Lynnette takes a nap, too. In this scenario, Madison is in charge of the twins. Cole and Avery can entertain themselves at this point, Madison’s just around to make sure they don’t entertain themselves by climbing onto the entertainment center and bombing onto each other. Ninety percent of the time Cole and Avery will find toys to play with or dance along to the Hot Dog Song. During that other 10%, though, they’ll see that I’m sleeping on the couch and decide to wake me up. If I acknowledge them – kiss them, speak to them, hug them – they usually return to whatever it was they were doing previously. Cole and Avery have very different methods of announcing their presence, however.

2Cole stands up with his chest facing me. He then raises both arms and bangs them rapidly on my chest and stomach while laughing. As you can imagine, it’s something of a shock to be brought back to consciousness this way. I don’t think I swore this time, but I know I tossed out a “What the hell?” – at least – the very first time he woke me up like this. When it happens now, I swing my arm around him, pull him close and pretend to bite his neck and cheek. He loves that, especially if it’s accompanied by loud noises. He’s so excited. He squeals, even if he’s got his binkie lodged in his mouth. It’s as if he just wants to make himself known to his best friend. Or at least the friend that tosses him in the air and lifts him so he can touch the boob light on the living room ceiling.

1Avery, though, has seemingly different intentions. She doesn’t wildly and loudly announce her presence. She seems more interested in exploring the human body. Sometimes I am startled by a tiny finger entering one or both of my nostrils, hooking, then yanking them. Avery’s also shoved a finger into my ear before. Most recently, she hooked her index finger into my eye orbital and tried to use my face as a bowling ball. Now, all of these things make me want to take a swing at the perpetrator when I’m awake, so the first time Avery decided to run anatomy class on me, my arm waved haphazardly and knocked Gravy to the carpet. This past Sunday, though, Daddy’s Favorite Troll took things to another level. I woke up because I felt something pinch my nipple. I woke and jerked my head forward to see Avery with her chubby paw on my chest. She was looking right at me and pinched again. I moved and growled. She smiled. I think she just likes the cause and effect. I scooped her up and sat her on my chest. “Why do you do that to Daddy?” I asked. She wouldn’t say.

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