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Tween life: Waking up is hard to do

One of the cruel ironies of parenting is that you spend half your kid's childhood silently cursing him for not sleeping in and the other half loudly cursing him because he's sleeping too late.

My grumpy 12-year-old daughter hates mornings so much that every school day begins with an unbearable battle that inevitably puts me in a bad mood. I've tried everything to wake her up, from gentle prods to cattle prods.

Science says that, unlike younger children and adults, most teens can't drop off to sleep until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. They have trouble waking up before 8 a.m. because their bodies don't stop producing melatonin until then. The problem has become so pervasive that some public schools in New York are having celebrities like Magic Johnson record 6:30 a.m. wake-up calls that go out to thousands of students who have been absent for 10 or more school days.

Until we get our own Dream Team on the line for Miami students, I've done extensive research for all the moms who suffer through similar morning funks. I present to you the Top 5 Alarm Clocks Guaranteed to Wake The Dead Teen:

* Wake N' Bacon: The smell and sizzle of cooking bacon, not the buzzer, is the trigger to rise. When this alarm created by inventor Matty Sallin goes off, a microchip powers a pair of halogen light bulbs that heat the bacon to a crisp. The aroma wakes the kid up – and you get out of making breakfast.

* Never Say Never: You will get a rise out of JB fans with this Justin Bieber iPhone Alarm Clock app, downloadable for $1.29.

* Math Hell Alarm Clock: For those who hit the snooze button one too many times, this clock requires the sleeper to solve a math calculation in order to turn off the ring. Program it to show five problems, one after the other. By the time they've figured out the answer to 23x17+6 and four other questions, you can be sure they're awake. Find instructions to make your own at

* Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker: Ah, sweet revenge. The maximum loudness of this alarm is 113 decibels. (Just for reference, a jackhammer is about 100 decibels.) Slip the bed shaker under the mattress for maximum impact. $39.99 at

* Flying Alarm Clock: The clock is a helicopter that flies away when the shrieking alarm goes off. It must be returned to the base to shut off the alarm. $19.99 at

What method works for you?