When I was in high school, like most people, I went through an 'I don't want to get up in the morning' phase. There was a time when all three of my siblings and I would wait until the absolute last minute to throw a little food down, flatten our bed hair, and race out the door for the bus stop and school.
Here's the thing. Alarm clocks are annoying. Beep-beep-beep is not a natural way to be roused from a deep slumber. And it is easy to hit the snooze button and just keep on snoozing. So my mom had the perfect solution. The Doggie-Alarm-Clock (patent pending). My siblings and I had three bedrooms on the second floor of our house and each morning, when it was time to get up, my mom would send our cocker spaniel (Mervin Wexford Dancrodile III, Merff for short) up the stairs. He always knew what to do. He would jump into my bed first, find my face and start licking away until he was sure I was getting up. Then he would head into my brother's room to do the same, finishing in my sister's bedroom and pretty soon, all four of us were fighting over the bathrooms and the hot water.
Our two girls have, over the last 6 months, gone from being early risers to sleeping like it was their purpose in life. And so, on the days when we do need to get moving early, I do the same thing my mom used to do. I head up the stairs, with our cocker spaniel Pearl at my heals and I tell her, 'wake them up Pearly'. She knows the routine, and she jumps from one bed to another with the energy of a puppy and slowly convinces the girls that it really is time to get up.
Thanks Mom, for teaching me some great tricks. I guess in the end, we really do become our parents. And my mom did more than just teach me a great way to wake kids up. Her love of plants and gardening is why I do what I do today. I still have some of her old houseplant books from the 70s and 80s on my bookshelf.