Up too early

These days, Bear is getting up criminally early. If we were able to get her to sleep until 7 am, I would probably break down in tears of happiness. And confusion. Usually, she gets up sometime in the 5 am to 5:45 am zone. I recently discovered that if I give her a bottle, and tell her to go back down to sleep, she will sleep (or at least lie down) until anywhere between 6:15 and 6:45. Oy. And yes – I know she’s not supposed to have a bottle in bed (and maybe not even a bottle at all at her age. Her age! Can you imagine?!) – but when the clock is screaming 5 something, and I can barely make my eyes adjust to the world – a bottle she gets. [Sometimes the bottle has milk, sometimes it has water.] UPDATE: We are experimenting with not going to her until the first number on the clock is a 6. She has been strong-willed in her crying, but with the amazing video monitor we can see that she lies back down. And then gets up again. Very Chumbawamba of her.

When it’s a week day, whoever gets up with her just sort of lazily hangs out in the living room, reading old sections of the Sunday Times or watching whatever is on the telly at that hour. Earlier this week, AO read the US Weekly on getting ready for the royal baby. I’ve been watching some Tour de France, adding the word pelaton to my vocabulary. When it’s a weekend morning, we try to get out of the house so that (a) it’s something more fun than our living room and (b) the other person can get some much-needed sleep. On Saturday, AO took her to the westside farmers’ market and for breakfast at HyVee. [Sidenote: Aaron recently asked me, “Do you think because we had Molly last year, the opening of the HyVee is the most exciting thing to happen to us this year?”] Because it’s summer, there’s a lot of options on the weekends. Even with lots of options, though, there’s still a limit to what time those options start. In taking the Sunday shift this week, I worried I’d be at a disadvantage. What opens at 7 on a Sunday? Bear and I headed out the door shortly before 7, saying goodbye to a sleeping Grace-a-fur, to see what we could see.

I decided to drive to Hubbard Avenue because I thought they might be open and I thought they might tolerate us and because I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. I first noticed that there are a lot of people who walk their dogs at 7 am on a Sunday. I mean, maybe not a LOT, but a lot more than I would have thought. It turns out Hubbard doesn’t open until 7:30 on Sundays, so Bear and I took a few laps around downtown Middleton, checking in with Trulia on the few houses we noticed for sale. At 7:33, I parked the car in front of the restaurant and released Bear from her five-point harness. A grandpa-looking figure was walking towards the front doors with a toddler beside him. I immediately felt I’d made the right choice. After Bear finally decided to make her way through the doors, we were seated at a table and given a basket of crayons and a paper coloring menu. I think a lightbulb actually appeared over my head: this place is ok with kids. I mean, I know the staff is made up of individuals – some of whom may love kids, others maybe not so much – but as a whole, I felt welcomed. I’m sure I sound like a dunderhead talking about this, and I’m certainly not articulating it well, but I want to be conscious of where I take Bear and make sure we’re not unduly annoying people while, at the same time, getting out and about in the world. Alright, so, anyway, we settle in and Bear orders the one egger, which is one egg (didn’t see that coming, did you?), a piece of bacon, hash browns and a biscuit. Yes, it’s a ridiculous amount of food for a 16-month old, but I like that she had choices on her plate.

Bear with her breakfast

Bear with her breakfast

She really enjoyed the bacon and the biscuit, preferring to chomp right into it instead of letting me break it apart. I don’t really blame her. I’m sure I’m going to sound like whatever is worse than a dunderhead when I say that I was shocked by how many people were at the restaurant. I mean, when we walked in, I was certain we would be only the second group of people there (after the grandpa + granddaughter duo), but no – there were probably at least five other tables with peeps enjoying coffee and conversation, or maybe the morning paper. Or both! There was no stopping these early birds. And people kept coming in. I even saw a young, 20-something couple and the woman was fully made up. A couple of groups of five or six friends were getting together in what seemed like mini-reunions. Some couples came in and chatted with other couples they knew.

It seemed like we had inadvertently stumbled upon the happiest place on earth.* I’m pretty sure we’ll be back soon.

After breakfast, we drove downtown and parked by The Plaza. We walked down State Street to the Terrace where I thought we would see some ducks. Nope, no ducks. Were they still sleeping? We walked back up State Street to the Square. I sort of felt like we were seeing what happens in the theater as they’re getting ready for the play to start in a couple of hours. I felt like I was seeing behind the scenes, into a world that is obviously always there, but one which I was never aware of. I’ve lived here my whole life. I worked on State Street for years. I’ve worked on the Square for almost nine years. I don’t think, though, that I’ve ever been downtown on a stiflingly hot, Sunday at 8:30 am. It was fascinating.

This weekend it’ll be Up Too Early: the Saturday edition.

 *Bear broke that spell, though, when I dared to change her in the bathroom. I tried to tell her, “There’s no crying at Hubbard Avenue! Didn’t you see all those smiles out there?” She calmed down once the changing was over and made herself happy again by touching every stool on her way out the door.

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2 Responses to “Up too early”


  1. 1 Jane Roe July 18, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I loved this. I can still remember those incredibly early mornings with Tim. Ugh! But it’s funny, when Kyle and Erin were that age I loved getting up with them and having private times together. And their parents were rather happy with the extra sleep time too. Some day these early times together will be some of your fondest memories.

  2. 2 kateandgracie July 18, 2013 at 9:58 am

    That’s good for me to think about because OY am I tired. But I’m not too tired to appreciate your words. There is something very peaceful about it being just the two of us in a quiet world.


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