Gotta get up...
Those back-to-school blues

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Aug 28/00) - August is the cruelest month.

On that fateful morning, the first day of school, it's up to mom, dad, grandparents, older brother or sister, to get the kids out of bed, into the bathroom and out the door in time for school.

For the untrained, this might not seem like much of a task. The truth is that children -- when sleeping in beds with deep pillows, thick blankets and shadowed light through the blinds -- tend to resist being wrenched from sleep, especially to sit in hollow classrooms on plastic chairs.

So after the summer months of waking up when hunger or the bathroom calls, children need a little extra encouragement to make it to school.

Ping Ottokie from Cape Dorset says he doesn't have to work too hard to get his son Peter up. Peter is in Grade 3.

"I have no special tricks, just a little shake and wake," says Ottokie. "I'm nice to him in the morning, he'll wake up, he loves to go to school."

Charlie Lyall from Cambridge Bay has 12-year-old twins.

He says he just walks to their rooms and tells them to get up with a "wake-up" voice.

"I don't yell at them to wake up, but I do speak loudly," he says.

"When I was their age I had to get up at 6:30 when I went to residential school in Inuvik," he says.

"They have it easy waking up at eight."

Joanne Taptuna from Kugluktuk has four children, but only her youngest son, who's eight years old, has trouble getting up.

"I tell him he has to get up for school or he's grounded," says Taptuna.

"Sometimes he says he's sick and I tell him that he can't go out in the evening, then he gets up."

Sharon Akpalialuk from Pangnirtung says her eight year-old girl always gets up on time for school.

"We have an alarm clock and they get up," she says.

"I don't have any problems in the morning."

Iqaluit's Saimata Arlooktoo's children are teenagers now, but back when they were younger water was her tool of choice for rousing them from sleep.

"I had a little spray water-bottle, the kind for plants, and I'd spray them," she recalled. "Not too much and the cold water wasn't too cold. It worked."