Although I started teaching last week, it won't really feel like I'm back into a somewhat regular schedule until Wednesday. Part of it is that my daughter doesn't start her classes until tomorrow. Part of it is that last week was a blur of stress, with Kim finishing up a massive work deadline and lots of teenager-related drama at home. I'm looking forward to feeling more grounded, though I know that there will be a rough adjustment thanks to the strange hours I've been keeping over the past month.
When I was a teenager, I was very nocturnal, frequently staying up until after 5am on school nights. I'd compensate by taking naps after school, but was still often underslept and over-agitated as a consequence. Unfortunately, Skylar seems to have inherited both this trait of mine and her mother's difficulty falling and staying asleep, whatever the circumstances. It's one of the principal reasons why the past few years have been so difficult -- not to mention why I have been scarce in these part -- since the schools she attended were not exactly accommodating to kids like her and her mother's work schedule and mine, to a lesser extent, are also at odds with her desire to stay up most of the night.
Over the past month, most of which coincided with my break, I have often found myself awake along with Skylar, while her mother attempts to sleep. Kim has never done well with late nights. And Skylar can be very demanding of parental time and energy when she is feeling low, which often happens in the wee hours of the morning. The head-trip in all that is that she probably starts to feel low because her sleep patterns are so irregular and out of sync with "normal" routines. But there simply isn't a way to correct the problem easily. If we couldn't make her fall asleep at a particular time when she was two, we certainly aren't going to be able to do it when she's sixteen!
I have been taking the approach of trying to be there for Skylar rather than letting her figure things out on her own. Quite a few people, including her mother, have told me that it's a mistake to indulge her in that way. And maybe they are right. My sense of things, though, is that it is better to talk to your teenager when she wants to talk out her worries than to let her brood by myself. I suppose time will tell whether I was mistaken in this conclusion. For now, though, I am just hoping that starting classes will help her adjust her schedule incrementally in the next few weeks and therefore help me to get good sleep on a more regular basis.