A Late Start

[ 11 ] September 7, 2011 |

I would like to introduce Tina Gisone-Nicini, a new contributing writer to Kidoinfo. Parenting is not a science and although we want to make choices about what’s best for our kids, I also believe we need to make things work with our own personalities and family rhythm. I love Tina’s honesty and wit. And I am also not a morning person–this had me laughning out loud! – Anisa

I have a confession to make: we like to sleep in. We like to laze about in pajamas, playing with Legos on the floor or reading the news online until at least ten o’clock. If you call our house before ten, we are unlikely to answer. That doesn’t necessarily mean we are still sleeping, we are just not ready to make any plans or engage in serious conversation. If you stop by unannounced, you will find us in pajamas with bed head (I’m talking CRAZY hair). I’ve tried to hide our habit from my peers. I’ve finagled out of nine a.m. play dates, always pushing it to after lunch. We often miss the farmer’s market and we’ve never made it to story hour at the library. We are not morning people. Our secret is out.

My daughter drew this picture for my son and delivered it to him bedside one morning. My son's response is in purple: I will get up in a few minutes.

This is partly due to my husband’s atypical work schedule in sports television. He leaves home around one o’clock p.m. and might not return until two in the morning, depending on how many rain delays or extra innings creep up in a game. In the mornings, I try to let him catch up on sleep; this involves me guarding the bedroom door while our two kids stare me down, ready to charge if I should waiver. When he wakes up, this is our quality time with him and we don’t want to spend it rushing around. We’d rather sprawl around and chat over coffee and coloring books, then dawdle over Transformers and a pancake brunch.

Some days we struggle with the guilt of a late start. We often say, “If we were up, we could have done XYZ.”  School mornings can be rushed and chaotic. Without sufficient wake-up time, we’re often grumpy and yawning out the door. I’m working on it. I pick outfits and make lunches the night before. I pack a whopper of a morning snack, like banana bread with flax or zucchini bread with walnuts, in case breakfast is light. I set their backpacks by the door, ready to go. The less we have to fuss over, the better.

Summertime forgives our idle mornings… a little. Many families are up and at ’em, bright-eyed and shiny, heading on their summer excursions. Chances are, we haven’t brushed our teeth yet. We take a little longer to come around. In fact, we don’t hit the beach until four o’clock (or even five). We pack a simple picnic dinner of sandwiches and fruit and fly past the traffic streaming in the opposite direction. After four, parking is free and plenty. The beach is wide open and belongs to us. The kids can run freely along the shore without tripping on blankets or getting lost in a crowd. There are no radios buzzing, just the rolling, crashing waves and a delicious sunset if we stay late enough. On the way home we get ice cream, of course. Then two tired kids fall right into bed, the awe of the ocean fresh on their minds.

Many of our friends don’t understand our mornings. They either say, “you’re so lucky,” like we have no responsibilities or they gasp like we have no ambition. We’re not shirking any responsibilities or missing out on anything except peek sunburn hours. We just work on a later schedule. It is 10:34 a.m. as I write this in my nightgown. My husband is still sleeping and the kids are stretched out on the couch amongst blankets and action figures, still rubbing dreams from their eyes. It feels good to come clean.

I have another confession: I’m a terrible housekeeper. That’s a topic for another time.

Tina Gisone-Nicini is a writer and mom in Riverside, RI. When she’s not pulling Legos from the vacuum or crayons from the dryer, she’s most likely in the garden contemplating carrots.



Category: new parents, parenting

Tina Gisone-Nicini

about the author ()

Tina Gisone-Nicini is a writer and mom in Riverside, RI. When she's not pulling Legos from the vacuum or crayons from the dryer, she's most likely in the garden contemplating carrots.

Comments (11)

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  1. Elyse Major elyse says:

    i so enjoyed reading this. my husband and i are constantly trying to break out of our “college kid” lazy weekend mentality so reading this makes me feel a bit better. one saturday a neighborhood kid knocked on the door to ask my youngest son to play. my oldest answered the door (in PJs) and said, almost bewildered, “it’s (name). at our door. at 10:00 a.m. to play …” as if it were some crazyearly notion. did this make sense?

    anyway, welcome to kidoinfo!


  2. Amy Hood amy says:

    I’m not a morning person by nature but have become one by necessity. My 2nd and then 3rd child gave up naps early on but went to bed early and woke up early, so, like you, we’re working around a family member’s schedule. My daughter has me up by 6 am every day and is ready to be in bed at 6:30 pm. We don’t make late afternoon block parties, nighttime events at school are not family events, and after-dinner walks are impossible. But, like you, we get to the beach when the kids can run freely and the crowds are nonexistent (and, thank goodness, nobody ever brings a radio to our beach anyway!).

  3. Oh, this truly is wonderful – and that’s coming from a bona fide morning person. (I strive to be in bed by 9pm and up at 5am, before the kiddies!) Anyway, I think your article is a wonderful, funny, sweet reminder to take it slowly, roll with it, and simplify.

    Thanks, Tina – write some more soon, okay??

  4. Rebecca says:

    Tina – Welcome! Loved reading your article. I can definitely relate. Especially on the late afternoon beach runs. My sons thinks its great to watch traffic coming back from the beach as we breeze on by. Being redheads we prefer the later time anyway. I’m anxious to read your “confessions” about housekeeping so I can see if I’m not the only person in the world who doesn’t have a cleaning schedule!

  5. Kristyn says:

    I love you! We are kindred spirits. Meet us anytime at the beach next summer at 4pm. Why do we have to apologize for missing morning activities? Those folks miss all the fun in the evenings. There is no right or wrong about mornings versus nights, just differences. I often wish school hours were 10-5…would work so much better for me and my daughter. My son is more of an early bird, like his dad. Oh, and I struggle with the house mess, too 🙂 Look forward to reading more of your columns!

  6. Dayna says:

    Tina, I love your honesty and humor. Your writing is a joy to experience. Your children are fortunate to have such wise parents. They will look back on and treasure your late ‘no rushing’ mornings as fun, meaningful family time. You seem to have wisdom beyond your years and your words are a breath of fresh air. I am looking forward to reading more articles from you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  7. Megan says:

    Love this! We are morning luxuriators too!

  8. Noni says:

    I LOVED this! The mental picture of Tina “guarding the door” while her husband catches a little sleep is wonderful! Finding what is best for you and your family, and going with the natural flow of your uniqueness as a family, is what it is all about. This Mom/writer has her priorities in order! I cant wait to hear about her housekeeping!

  9. Pink says:

    Imagine if there was no cultural guilt attached to doing what works for your family! Today, we had pretzels in the car on the way to school for breakfast because we overslept. I was commenting very guiltily to my friend that last night my kids ate Sponge Bob soup (who bought it? How did it get there?), cut up orange pepper and grapes for dinner, on the floor watching tv beause it was a dark rainy night. She told me, “That’s awesome!” What’s there to feel guilty about?” I never thought of it that way. All of us feel guilty about stuff we’re doing or not doing and I think we should discuss it more. If we did, we’d find out that we were all doing pretty ok in the grand scheme of things. I think your lifestyle sounds absolutely wonderful because it works for all of you! Thanks for the article.

  10. Tina Gisone-Nicini Tina says:

    Thanks for all the great comments! I’m TOTALLY into shedding cultural guilt (like Pink said)… As moms, we have so much to worry about–let’s cross some things off the list!

  11. Sarah says:

    Tina, you’re my hero. I wish I knew you when I was rasing my children. Your life philosophy will come in handy when I have grandchildren!

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