A light shone through the open bedroom door. That’s always a disturbing sight to wake to, knowing our children were loose in the house.

A light shone through the open bedroom door. That’s always a disturbing sight to wake to, knowing our children were loose in the house.

Seconds later, as I tried to cope with the fact that it was morning again, the alarm sounded. I’ve recently developed the annoying habit of waking before our alarm clock tells me to. This is annoying because, 1) my own body is slowly, second-by-second, shaving years off my life, and 2) I’ve gotten used to machines telling me what to do, you know, in preparation of the upcoming robot revolution. All hail our mechanical overlords.

Then the disturbing sound hit me. It was from the first grade boy.

“Don’t get out of bed,” the Boy shouted from the living room, briefly drowning out Tom and Jerry.

“Did he say, ‘Don’t get out of bed’?” my wife asked, groggily.

Why yes, yes he did.

“I don’t smell smoke,” I said, vaguely relieved.

Since the preschool aged Girl likes to get out of the bed as early as dairy farmers, it’s always a surprise getting up. Which cabinet door in the kitchen is open gives us a hint as to what we’ll find ground in the carpet in front of the TV later.

“Why can’t we get out of bed?” my wife yelled into the direction of the living room.


I started to get nervous. Did I hear sirens outside?

“Just don’t,” the Boy shouted.

Thump. Slam. Scamper. Scream. Whine. (The children don’t work well together.)

“Hey,” the Girl screamed.

“Don’t touch me,” the Boy ordered.

I swallowed.

“Here they come,” my Wife said. I don’t really think there was ominous music playing anywhere in the house, but I heard it anyway.

Seconds later, the Boy, in tighty-whities and socks, walked slowly into view.

“Here it comes,” he said.

What he held gingerly in front of him was amazing. It was a bowl filled to the rim with milk, a spoon leaning to one side. He walked into the bedroom and handed me the bowl.

“Here. Breakfast in bed,” he said, scampering back into the hall. “I’ll go get Mom’s.”

After appropriate “awwws” from Mom, I stirred the milk. There was actually cereal under all that milk.

“Is it soggy?” she asked.

Nope. The kid had waited until we woke up to pour our cereal. What was going on here?

After breakfast, we nervously got out of bed. With small children being independent in the kitchen, I expected the floor to be scattered with milk and cereal with and bits of cutlery sticking in the hardwood. But the milk was back in the refrigerator, the cereal box closed and in the cabinet, and nothing was smoldering. Wow. Our kids fixed us breakfast in bed without resulting in Mom and Dad engaging in at least a half-hour clean up or a trip to the emergency room.

“What made you think of fixing us breakfast in bed?” Mom asked.

“My teacher told us to,” the Boy said.

Lesson here? All you people who criticize the U.S. education system can shut up.