A few little things made me smile today and oh man, did I need to!
I just tucked everyone into bed and I wanted to share my joy at our achievement in this area! I'm sure all parents can empathise with traumatic bedtimes.
I used to sleep with Hannon and Lily in my bedroom. They used to have no set bedtime. They used to be awake until I could not be nice any longer! They seriously used to test my patience in the truest sense of the phrase and it was tough for me. I was a newly single mother of three, with two high needs children, trying to 'traditionally' home school a PDA child (!!!!) and getting used to a new-ish life living in Bedford, alone, dependent upon social security benefits.
So, I had to find a solution for bedtime before I lost my marbles!
Between us, we negotiated a new routine. Everyone in their own bedrooms. No electronics after 10pm. Read/play until they were tired if needed.
I set a new limit on food at bedtime too. I simply refused to make anything else after 9pm. That was when I 'clocked off' from the kitchen.
I think that because we came to this arrangement together, I was hopeful that it would work for everyone and give me back some of my much needed mental powers!
There were a few blips. Hannon and Lily shared a room for a while and then Hannon decided he wanted his privacy. Fair enough. We transitioned Lily into her own room over a week, reminding her every day it was happening and we hoped for the best! Then she used to sneak in her tablet for a bit (until Hannon caught her) but I think that was to ease in the change in her own way! No big deal.
Well, she doesn't even think about doing that now and she did so great!
They now both sleep in their own rooms and are in bed by 10pm.
No exhausted, grumpy mum!
All consensual. All peaceful. All happy.
Hannon is now reading his sixth manga series (don't even ask how much this is costing because it is worth every penny) and has probably read them all several times over.
Lily is reading whatever she can get her hands on but mostly manga, rhyming stories and poems that are familiar.
Harriet goes to sleep whenever she damn well pleases!!! Hahahaha! Yup, the baby has no idea that she needs to sleep. She is learning so much (and loving doing so) that she simply thinks that she has no time to sleep! Sigh. It is tiring but so worth it. Today she spotted a bumble bee in a book and screamed because she clearly recognised that she had seen one earlier in the day. We had chased one through the flowers in the garden. She can now sign 'milk', 'dog', 'finished' and 'monkey'. She is confident, beautiful, smart and completely charming! But, I'm biased of course.
And last but by no means least, Dominik.
Dominik has found new life since we began brushing (to release all of his retained infant reflexes). He is currently focused on his comic dubbing (and some singing) and is even auditioning for parts in other people's comic dubs.
He has wowed me with his ability to learn new skills. He has learnt to use programmes such as: Audacity, Synthesia, Movie Maker, Paint Tool Psi (sp?), Dropbox and probably some more I've forgotten, in a little over a month!
He is researching information about microphones and sound proofing and is asking for equipment for his not-too-distant birthday. He is truly happy and satisfied. He is drawing on a graphics tablet that Lily let him have (she really did!) and improving so fast. He is barely gaming at all. He is making new friends daily, He has stopped obsessing over how many views his videos are getting on YouTube. He is asking about punctuation! He is also teaching himself how to play the keyboard! He is just enjoying life so much. I am not sure I ever thought I would see him like this. Melts me.
And what about me I hear you ask!
Well, I've been shit! I know!! How is that possible?
I think what happened is that life got a bit 'quieter' (with all the kids doing so well) and then my world came into focus for the first time in a very long while.
I've struggled to reconcile being alone if I'm being completely honest with myself. I am angry and disappointed that those who undertook this journey with me are no longer there beside me.
I am bereft at the reality that my own mother is not offering me some extra support right now given that she was with me during two recent Dr's appointments where they both said that ideally, I should be in hospital.
However, I've started to feel a little better and am slowly leaving the fog behind. That is mostly because of my smashing friends and my growing support network.
Ok, I know these groups can't do anything practical on the kind of scale that I actually desperately need and want (a few days off), but they can listen, console, empathise, advise and perhaps most importantly, make me laugh. And that is what they have all done in their own ways.
It really is the little things that cumulatively make the most difference in normal, daily life.
No, my mum has not offered to give me a few nights off (shame really given that I have had only 7 in 12 years) but, my days have become less dark because there really are people out there who do care about me.
I know there are, because they tell me so.