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The One Thing About Teens I’ll Never Understand

alarm clock phone

A few months ago, at exactly 6:08 a.m., I started to hear a bell-like sound coming from somewhere in the house. Since it was 6:08 a.m., I was not so eager to get out of bed, so I went back to sleep. At 6:28 a.m., I heard the same sound and fell back asleep. At 6:48 a.m. I heard it again, but by then I wasn’t falling back asleep, so I decided to investigate (and I had to visit the bathroom—I am middle-aged, after all).

The sound was coming from son #2’s phone. It was his alarm. His ineffective alarm.

“Wake up, your phone keeps going off!”

Nothing. No movement. I approached my precious middle child and gently nudged him, saying, “Sweetie, your phone keeps going off, is that supposed to happen?”

When you grew up in the 80s before the invention of anything that started with the letter “i,” you are not always so tech savvy. Maybe all phones made this noise. I only got a smart phone two months ago after the passing of my beloved grandma-flippy flip phone, so what did I know?

READ: My Oldest Son Feels Like I Don’t Love Him

Nothing. No movement. So what is a mother to do? If your teenage son who only answers you in grunts and is constantly video recording you to send stories to his friends doesn’t respond to your melodic voice, you do what any reasonable mother would do: You start to kiss him all over his adorable, yummy face.

Yup, that got him to wake up. “Mom, I am awake. My alarm woke me up.” No kid, your alarm woke me up, you are still half asleep.

According to Wikipedia, the first alarm clock patent was given to French inventor Antoine Redier in 1847. I find this very interesting because the first teenager was invented way, way before that. Now I know that teenagers love to sleep. I have fond memories of being able to sleep 12, 14 hours with no interruptions. Ahh, the good old days before becoming a mom and developing ultra-sensitive hearing. The wind changes directions and I am up to go check on my babies. How does that happen?

Anyway, back to the alarm clock. I remember the lovely, “high tech” digital clock that replaced my Mickey Mouse alarm clock when I was a teen—it even had a snooze button. And I knew that after two presses of the snooze, my dad would make an appearance and tell me to, “Wake up or you have to take the bus.” Yes, that gets any kid out of bed really quickly.

Unless, of course, he knows that you will never follow through on a threat, and then he just falls back asleep.

READ: My Teens Are Staging a Jewish Rebellion & I’m OK with It

Now my other two boys have always been good about getting up, and neither of them ever use an alarm. One visit from me and they are good to go. But then, this happened. You see, my husband wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every morning. And since he is a man, he thinks he is being quiet, but really, he is not. So I am up, but then fall back asleep before I have to wake up the kids. What I didn’t realize is that son #2’s alarm had been waking me up every morning. I only realized this when, one morning, I woke with a start and saw that the kids were going to be late for school. What happened to the bell sound? Where was son #2? Was he OK?

Turns out, he had spent the night sleeping on the couch and his alarm was going off, but it was going off downstairs and I didn’t hear it.

READ: Is There a “Reboot” Button for My Teenage Son?

So the lesson is two-fold: 1. Alarms are effective, even if they are waking up the wrong person and 2. Apparently, it is never too early for a man to start sleeping on the couch.

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