Sleep Issues, Again, and Maybe a Strategy
I had met with Charlie's teacher and a school behaviorist Tuesday and (among other things) we'd talked about his recent early wakings. We talked about teaching Charlie to stay in bed till a certain time and about ways to help him relax before going to bed. Needless to say, I was glad we had talked about all this when I heard Charlie's voice Thursday morning.
I told him, he could go for a walk at 5am, in a couple of hours. (At the meeting, we had agreed that it might work better for Charlie to know that there's a specific time for doing certain things, rather than saying, for instance, he could go out when the sun rises). I mentioned the name of the behaviorist at school and Charlie put down his socks and went to sit on the couch, and asked to hear some music on the computer. He listened for about 20 minutes and then asked—very much to my surprise—for "bedtime," and went back up the stairs.
I had been sitting on the other side of the room and had picked up a book, actually a book for my class on Women in Antiquity. I had assigned a chapter on the legal status of women in ancient Rome, which mostly contains selections from the Roman jurists. Personally, I find this very interesting stuff as what Roman jurists have to say about marriage, divorce, dowries, patria potestas, and the like reveals much about what the everyday of women's lives in the ancient Roman world. But I'm not going to fool myself: Selections from the Institutes of Gaius or by Ulpian are not 'fun' reading, and are dryer than 3-day-old toasted rusks.
In other words, they're the sort of thing that, when you read them, you almost can't help getting a bit sleeping, by fiat.
In other words, they're something to read if you have insomnia and you're trying anything to get yourself to go to sleep.
Certainly, reading the various consequences of adultery in the Roman empire at 1.45am on Thursday morning led to my eyes drooping and I was certainly glad to hear Charlie clomp back up the stairs.
Once back in bed, he tossed and turned (though he wasn't unhappy, from the sounds he was making and the words he said here and there) for at least an hour before sleeping. As I listened to Charlie, I thought back to what I used to do when I'd wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep (something that doesn't happen anymore unless I'm woken by Charlie). I'd always have a book around. After reading a couple of pages I'd feel my eyes getting tired and then I'd be able to go back to sleep. It didn't have to be something by the Roman jurists, even.
Charlie's not a reader so him reading or being read to wouldn't work, but it all got me to think about some things to try to help him go back to sleep. As I've often been very groggy during his early wakings, I've tended to choose the easiest thing to do, to keep him occupied, such as kiddy videos he asks for. Thursday morning, besides him having to do some typing to hear some Disney songs, I also turned on a little jazz on WKCR. Perhaps something a little more challenging might better help Charlie to go back to bed, and to sleep, I thought; perhaps these did.
Charlie didn't wake up until almost 8am. I had to catch a train and Jim got Charlie up using the timer. En route, there was one instance of loud crying from the backseat; Jim kept the radio on with Charles Mingus music and they got to school without incident. Indeed, the rest of Thursday was without incident, with Charlie going on a morning bowling field trip, an afternoon bike ride (during which he persevered through dogs straining at the leash towards him and honking cars), a fun trip to get a burrito (with more Charles Mingus; yesterday was a daylong broadcast of his music, as April 22nd was his birthday), a long evening walk (on which I gave Charlie some melatonin, earlier than I've been giving it to him) after which—as he had in the early, early hours of the day—Charlie asked to hear music.
The internet was a little balky and kept stopping in mid-song. (It's proving best for Charlie to listen to songs streaming from the 'net as he gets really fixated on CDs and DVDs [= shiny colored circles].) After a bit, Charlie asked for one of those kid videos and I said that we should probably take a break from then as they're about 30 times more over-stimulating and fixation-inducing than the CDs and DVDs, for one thing.
Charlie remained kneeling on the couch for a minute. Then he said:
"All done" and got up. And then, "bedtime."
Words I most certainly couldn't object to.