It’s 4:45 am and I am fully awake. I have a decision to make. Do I sneak out of the room now and begin my day, or do I just lie here and attempt to go back to sleep? I have never been able fall back to sleep so I just want to get my day started, but I have a problem. My room is at the end of the hallway. In order to get to the kitchen, living room or outside, I need to pass two critical doors. The doors of my sleeping children who will wake if a feather falls onto a carpet somewhere in Shanghai. This takes the stealth of a ninja. I need to be unseen, unheard and my presence cannot be sensed.

Now don’t get me wrong. I want to spend time with my wife and kids, and generally look forward to seeing them in the morning when they wake between 6:30 and 7am. But 5am is not their time. It’s mine. This is theninja only time of day that I will actually have to myself. That is assuming I can pull it off.  Sure, there’s a chance my wife might get up at this hour too, but I think I have better odds of winning the lottery…… while being attacked by a shark…… who is being struck by lightning…. in Wyoming. The real problem is getting past the two doors of my children’s room in utter and complete silence. Not an easy task on hardwood floors.  Once my kids are up, there is no going back to bed. They go from zero to “LET’S HAVE A DANCE PARTY!!” in absolutely no time at all.

First I need some socks. They are an absolute necessity if I want to get down the dreaded hallway unobserved. They muffle my noise and let me slip by like a barely noticed breeze. Then I have to gently….. ever so gently open my door. That click can be the death knell for my morning of solitude. Once I’ve entered the hallway I make my way to the living room. But I don’t walk. I actually skate down the hallway in my socks. It’s so much quieter. This is like trying to slip through the Demarcation Zone to escape Pyongyang. Giving myself away will lead to disaster. As long as I’m able to avoid plastic dinosaurs, princess wands and whatever other land mines they’ve left for me to stumble into in the dark, I’ll be momentarily clear.

Now there have been times when I make it to the kitchen successfully only to put my glass of water onto the counter with too much gusto. I let my hallway successes go to my head. DAMNATIONS!!! Well that clink of a glass sets it off. You’d think I was ringing the dinner bell on the prairie. All of a sudden the hallway erupts into a cacophony of opening doors and running children who think (and expect) breakfast is being instantaneously served. So I have to keep everything super quiet at all times.

Oh no! I have to pee!! But the bathroom is directly across from Joseph’s room and the door makes noise when I close it. It needs to remain open. Gentlemen, you know the angle of the stream to keep urinary stealth at a maximum? Well, I need to hit that angle in the dark. I don’t want to brag, but I’ll have you know I am up to 80% accuracy!

The amount of precaution I have to take in order to keep my kids sleeping almost makes it not worth the effort, but I’m jealously guarding the few precious moments I get to have to myself. I tend to feel way better about the day if I can enjoy my coffee without being the morning servant for those few magnificent moments. If you are the kind of person who likes to sleep in, I recommend you try out a super early morning one of these days. You honestly don’t know what you’re missing! If it’s successful that is.