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Out of Sync
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.

Current Location: 85704

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springheel_jack From: springheel_jack Date: January 20th, 2015 01:59 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I have a bad circadian rhythm disorder and I always have. It's not a question of 'indulging' it. I don't stay up late because I want to.

The only thing that makes any difference is exposure to light. Keep it dim at night and no backlit screens. Get it bright in the morning. This will help a little but is no panacea.

"Adjusting incrementally" probably doesn't work, if it's more than about an hour or two's difference and you're trying to walk it backward. The system only ever wants to go forward.
springheel_jack From: springheel_jack Date: January 20th, 2015 02:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Also, from experience, i can tell you which of not getting parental input and attention vs getting it, when my worries and depression had ahold of me, fucked me up worse. It was not getting it. "Cutting kids off to let them develop adult strength on their own" is a loser proposition.
croneitude From: croneitude Date: January 20th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
As someone who didn't get parental attention when I needed it, I agree. As a parent I find it challenging to always be present for my kids when they need me, especially if those times line up with when I need/want to be asleep. What is most important, I think/hope is we show up for them in both good times and more difficult, that we are present, interested, caring, and flexible whether or not we are able to do the night shift with them.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 26th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I only got attention when I was sick, pretty much, which probably led to me being "sick" more than I needed to be. I'm going to continue erring on the side of being there.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 26th, 2015 12:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's good to hear. I have been trying to be especially patient -- not talking about how I need sleep or making hyperbolic statements of any sort in order to "reach" her -- and, while I can't say that it seems to be "working", exactly, she does seem to be glad that I'm there.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: January 20th, 2015 07:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Keep it dim at night and no backlit screens. Get it bright in the morning.

Agreed! I think everyone should have a dusk/dawn simulator alarm clock for going to sleep/waking up. It makes such a huge neurochemical difference. Especially now when mornings are still so dark.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 26th, 2015 12:25 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Getting her off her computer is never easy, but I'm trying to get her doing things like playing her guitar instead.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 26th, 2015 12:21 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks you so much for this comment. I've been thinking about it for a week and suspect that she has the same problem. We have been trying to get her out in the sunlight more. I'm not sure it is helping with her sleep, at least not yet, but seems to have had a positive impact on her mood.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: January 20th, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
blarg. write and delete write and delete write and delete has been what I've done with this comment for quite awhile now. There's really no point, is there? We already know -- from salty dawg parking lot arguments about where that train was aheading! -- that we wildly disagree in parenting methods. So instead of all that i've written and deleted and written and delete, I will just say: I hope you start to get some good sleep; even minor sleep deprivation carries with it a multitude of debilitating consequences, on all levels.

And in other news: basis reposted english position in oro valley
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 26th, 2015 12:29 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Honestly, I'm not even sure that we disagree as much as you -- or I -- think. It's a household here with two quite different parental approaches, one of which is very hard to not prioritize. If I had to do it all over and I was the only parent, I'm sure I would have done things differently. But it's not like we can travel back in time!

Anyway, I appreciate your input. And the job information. Right now, things are going pretty well at the U of A, but the rug has a way of getting pulled out from under folks at very short notice.
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