Sometimes I just can't sleep. I'll lie there for hours, waiting to go to sleep, but I don't. Lately I find myself thinking that my arms are all in the way and I can't get comfortable. I am lying in bed thinking about my arms, and then about all the other times over the years I have suffered periods of insomnia.
It usually happens when there is a big change coming up that I am preparing for. I guess my brain gets busy and because it is so full on in the house during the day and difficult to get some good quiet thinking time, my brain uses the quiet night time to do it's thinking. When we have to move and I'm trying to be organised (physically and emotionally), or if the kids have a big routine change of some sort (after school activities change for example), or if we are going to have visitors staying with us, or if we are going to be travelling somewhere or away from home for a night. Any of these sort of things take a lot of preparation for us because of the effect changes have on my two kids who are on the Austistic Spectrum. We have to introduce the idea of the change slowly, and talk about it to make the idea normal, and give the kids lots of information about what will be happening, who will be where and when, what they can do if they feel stressed in the new situation, and lots of other details!
It is currently 11.29pm, and I have just got up from bed, having laid there for 2 hours, wide awake. I was so tired tonight too. I went to be at 9.30 thinking I'd fall asleep in no time, but for the 5th night in a row it is approaching midnight, and I am still awake. The new school year is approaching and I'm thinking about school uniforms and bags and lunch boxes and shoes, which usually wouldn't bother me too much.
And I'm thinking about L starting high school. Year 7. My boy, who has Aspergers Syndrome, has made it through Primary School, in pretty good form too. In a few short weeks he goes off to High School and has to learn how to cope with 6 or 7 different teachers and shifting from one classroom to another 5 times a day, and catching the bus to and from school. This is going to be tricky.
In a few months I am pretty sure I'll look back and be amazed at how well he has done, and how he has met all the challenges thrown at him (he always does- he is, after all, awesome!). Not that the adjustment period will be easy, or without meltdowns. But I am confident he will be fine. He has made it through some significant challenges already (soon I will write about what life has been and is like for L), and I expect he will keep getting through his challenges. We have done everything available to us in the way of preparation. There is nothing else to do now.
But boy am I nervous. As his mum, I get to help him and support him and try to interpret the world for him as he comes up against new experiences, and I get to do this while being mum to 4 others. Some days I feel so stretched, and so far out of my comfort zone and my natural parenting style as I try to hep him deal with anxiety and stress. I think it is this that keeps me awake at night lately- the wondering what the challenges are going to be as he makes this big change, and wondering what I am going to need to do- what resources I will need to find- what strength I am going to need to draw on- in order to equip him to navigate these new challenges?
And I am sure that my arms never used to get in the way so much when I was trying to sleep!
9 January 2012