Daylight Savings Time: A Conspiracy Theory

Somewhere in some (I imagine) dark, damp, creepy cave there is a secret organization that meets. This organization – for the purpose of this blog (my blog, my rules), I have named M.A.G.I.C. (which is an acronym for Make All Grown-ups Insane Co-op – exists for the sole purpose of finding (as the name implies) more and more ways to make parents go insane (M.A.P.I.C. just doesn’t have the same ring).

Children are "innocent."

The organization usually starts small. Things like fighting with their siblings…”forgetting” where they put their shoes…informing you that they have a huge report due at bedtime the night before it is due…you get the picture.

All their other efforts pale in comparison to their most heinous scheme: Daylight Savings Time. You see, this is a global occurrence (except in equatorial and tropical climates) that pulls out all the stops on making parents go googly-eyes, pulling their hair out, insane.

As a result of losing an hour of sleep, you mental faculties are already running at less than optimal levels. But then, your kids go into crazed lunatic mode. Waking them up in the morning makes you feel as if you’re hearkening a zombie apocalypse. And don’t even get me started on bedtime. Although all the clocks say bedtime, their darn internal clocks aren’t adjusted yet. Even though the clock says it’s 10:00 PM, their bodies say “I’m a rabid monkey!!!”

And then there are the daylight hours. Sleep deprivation makes even the slightest issue become World War III. You ask them to do their chores…melt-down. You tell them to brush their teeth…crisis mode. You tell them it is pajama time…the harbinger of the apocalypse is unleashed!

So, you and your children are sent into this downward spiral of sleep deprivation and temper tantrums. How long will it take for your bodies to adjust? Scientists worldwide have been trying to address this maddening issue, but they’re all too insane from Daylight Savings Time to get anything done.

Waterboarding: A More Human Alternative to Daylight Savings Time.

If I survive this Daylight Savings Time adjustment period without totally losing it, I need to start formulating a plan to stop M.A.G.I.C.’s evil plan. I only have 361 more days, time is of the essence!

Until next time…

Survival Tip #4

It’s Monday. I can remember back to the days of being a kid. Saturday morning would come and I could hardly get out of bed fast enough. There were cartoons to watch!!! I’d tear out of my bed faster than a cat trying to avoid a bath (trust me, that’s fast)! I’d flip on the TV and turn the volume down as fast as I could so I wouldn’t wake up my parents (that’s something my kids haven’t learned yet, I guess). And I’d turn the channel to the USA Network, ready to take in what they referred to as the “Cartoon Express.”

Cartoon Express: One of the few good things to come out of the 80's!

These days, however, there is no tearing out of bed Saturday morning for me. There is no racing to the TV to see what I’d be missing if I had slept in. No, sadly that eagerness has been replaced with the adult (boring) habit of attempting to sleep in. I say attempting because it rarely ever happens.

One thing I fail to understand is that the same kids you literally have to threaten to get out of bed for school each morning mysteriously can’t seem to sleep past the first hint of sunlight come Saturday morning. I guess I could understand it if the Cartoon Express still existed…heck, we don’t even have cable!

So, with that in mind, I present…

Survival Tip #4: Learn to ENJOY the Weekend

Monday through Friday I’m awake before 6:00 AM. Sunday I’m up around 7:00 to make sure we make it to church on time (five kids take time to get ready!). So, when Saturday rolls around, my natural instinct is to cling to every last bit of sleep I possibly can. Unfortunately, as I mentioned about, those natural instincts are usually destroyed disturbed by the results of some other natural instincts.

So, since sleep isn’t really an option, why not enjoy the weekend? Hang out with your kids! Do something fun!

I can hear you saying now, “But Mike, I have five kids. I can’t afford to do anything fun!” Hey, I have five kids too, I know how it is. But your idea of fun (fun=expensive) doesn’t equal your kids idea of fun (fun=cardboard box or fun=making strange noises). Make sure you’re not so eager to cross things off your to do list that you just leave your kids to do whatever they think is fun on their own. Odds are anyway that their idea of fun will be to be directly in the way of your idea of productivity (more likely, their idea of fun will be to destroy everything you’ve accomplished).

Saturday is most likely the only day you’ll get in a week to have fun. Sure, you might squeeze something in on an evening somewhere. But bottom line is, you’re usually too wiped out to try to have fun on a weeknight. So, next Saturday, take your family and do something fun. It can just be running around in the yard. It can be having a family movie day in front of the TV. It can be whatever your imagination can dream up. Kids are entertained very differently than you, so just make sure you’re doing something to recharge your emotional and physical batteries.

And if you don’t get Saturdays off, pick another day of the week to be your fake Saturday. You need it. Your kids need it. Your health and life depends on it.  Am I typing this as someone who has been great at doing this? No!  It’s more like I’m preaching to the choir here! It’s something I am going to try and be more purposeful about.

So go, enjoy your day off and have fun.

Until next time.

The Art of the Melt-down

In my years as a father, I’ve noticed something alarming. I am thoroughly convinced that our children are secretly plotting together in a concerted effort to destroy any scrap of sanity we might have remaining (which is not a lot with five kids).

We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of the store and one of your kids totally loses their cool. It might be a fit over not getting that toy they so desperately “need.” It could be they have to go potty 2 1/2 minutes after you just took them to the potty. It could be they are so hungry they simply can’t wait another minute for you to provide sustenance for their frail, weak, emaciated little bodies. (If you made it through this paragraph without picking up on the thickly-laden cynical sarcasm, please do one of the following: (a) Re-read that paragraph using every ounce of sarcasm in your being, (b) Stop reading now. This obviously isn’t the blog for you, or (c) Dress like a pirate, go to the grocery store, and address everyone as “Me Matey!”)

"Where be your ranch dressing, Me Matey?!?"

Or maybe you’re catching up with friends right after church. One of your kids obviously must’ve stumbled upon a hidden stash of pure sugar, and is now running in circles all around the foyer, despite any attempt at discipline. You’re embarrassed out of your mind, worried that one of the well-meaning church ladies might try to cast a demon out of them if they don’t stop (sometimes YOU wonder).

But have you ever noticed that only on very rare occasions will more than one of your children have a melt-down? Sure, there’s certain days where more than one will have issues – such as the day after Halloween, the day after Easter, anywhere within a two week window either side of Christmas, etc. But outside those “special days,” that is a rare occasion. And that, I submit to you, is no coincidence.

Late at night when you’re convinced they’re sleeping, I’m convinced your children are gathering for a conference. For the sake of this blog post (it’s my blog, suck it!), I’ll call it the “Crazy Conference.” At this meeting, your children are secretly plotting together to ruin any shred of mental health that might exist. In my head, this is a very organized meeting. I imagine the children follow Robert’s Rules of Order and make up an official agenda. Although I have yet to find a meeting agenda for one, I’m convinced the agenda would look something like this:

Derrickson Children
Crazy Conference Agenda
Monday, January 30, 2012

  1. Call to Order – 2:00 AM
  2. Reading of the Minutes from the Previous Meeting
  3. Unfinished Business
    1. Grocery Shopping Prevention Measures
    2. Re-evaluate Effectiveness of Church Foyer Policies
  4. New Business
    1. Stopgap Plan to Prevent Future Dinner Invitations
    2. Fundraising Strategies to Replenish Hidden Candy Stockpile
  5. Next Meeting – Monday, February 6, 2012 – 2:00 AM
  6. Adjournment

"And then you'll climb up on Dad's head like this..."

My plan is to try and infiltrate one of these meetings and see if I can dismantle this organization. My sanity depends on it. If you don’t hear from me in the next week or so, please alert the local authorities to look for my body in the McDonald’s ball pit.

Until next time…

Survival Tip #1

As a Father of five, so many times I hear people say, “How do you do it?”  Today I’m prepared to provide the first of many answers.

Maybe you’re out there and you’re expecting another kid…you’re wondering how you’re going to make it.  You’re going through all the emotions and questions; questions like, “How did this happen? (you know how)” or “What am I going to do?”  This is the first in the line of multiple survival tips that will (hopefully) help you survive as a parent with a lot of kids.

Survival Tip #1: Wake Up Early

Let me start this by saying that I’m not naturally an early riser.  If I could, I’d sleep in every single day.  But the most important thing that has helped me survive as a Daddy of 5 is getting up early.  For one, it gives me time to spend with God, reading the Bible and praying.  As a person of faith, this is very important.

But a second reason I get up early is that oftentimes that’s the only bit of quiet I’ll get.  In a house with five kids, there is very rarely any quiet to be heard (or not heard).  They always wake up earlier than you wish they would (except for when you need them to).  Bedtime is an ordeal filled with giggles and whispers and outright defiance.  Even when you’re watching a movie with kids, they’re always making noise.  So, for me the only way to survive is to get up before anyone else.

I take time with God and time alone just enjoying the quiet.  This does, however, present a problem.  You see, I’m a night owl.  I like staying up late every single day.  Even knowing that my alarm will go off just before 6:00 AM, I have a hard time going to bed much before midnight.  The only time I get to spend with my wife is after the kids go to sleep (which is much later than their actual bedtime), and I love spending time with my wife.

This presents a problem, as I spend much of my time looking like this:

Dog Yawning

Minus the fur and chain (most days).

Am I tired most of the time? Yes.  But to me, if I don’t have my quiet time in the morning, my day just doesn’t go as well.  This became very evident to me this morning.  My 9 year old, Joey, woke up only a few minutes after me this morning.  Instantly, I found myself feeling invaded upon.  Even though he just got straight in the shower, I felt like my quiet time was lost.

So, if you’re a father of many children (or plan on being someday), you’ll need to learn the art of waking up early.  This may be the most vital thing to remaining (somewhat) sane.

Until next time…