The new school term began today, a week too early for our liking! I always find it so bizarre that the one holiday when there is plenty going on, with brand new entertainment for the children is always the shortest break of the school year. Our four are exhausted, and need a week post-festivities to sleep and recover, and they are not the only ones since I am stuck yet again in a cycle of insomnia partially fuelled by K's current inability to sleep more than two hours in one go. You would really think by now, after 13+ years of motherhood (yes, I really AM that old!) that broken nights would be a piece of cake, something so second nature I would be able to sleep anywhere. The irony is that Richard CAN and DOES fall asleep like that whilst it is me who is woken countless times each night!
Admittedly we have had some variety over the years... reflux being the biggest sleep stealer of course. Tube feeds, venting tubes and medication-giving took its turn and hysterical screaming from H who would insist every night "I'm not tired and I'm NOT going to bed" until 1am. Or at least at 1am I eventually gave in and he crawled into our bed and asleep or not he was still enough for me to grab a few hours myself before the screaming started again. The award for most original reason for not needing to go to bed has to go to A who recently informed us he wasn't tired at all, and that his eyelids were "just resting"! Chronic sleep deprivation doesn't get easier though, the cotton wooly feeling in my head on the bad days makes me long for my once-sharp mind. I have forgotten or somehow lost the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep all night - even when the children surprise me by doing so! When recently signing up for an ADHD parenting course I wryly asked the administrator if there was a module on coping with Extreme Sleep Deprivation. It isn't a form of torture for nothing.
So today all four returned to school and the mental olympics required for the past two and a half weeks are once again confined to mornings and evenings only- and I can give in to the cotton wool mush in my head until the coffee kicks in without constantly wondering what son number two will get up to next. His latest trick is running off - I say latest but in fact this is not new, just revisited but this time with a little more determination on his part. It scares me silly, but when I have the younger two with me also all I can do is stand still and hope he will return. he usually does however and thankfully so far agrees to wear the ID tag I bought him when out and about.
So it was with some trepidation that I went to collect him from school at 3.15pm today. Would he have run off at school or managed to stay the course with no meltdown? His one-to-one support brought him out to me and informed me he had, on the whole had a good day. "Good" allowed for a lesson refusal, classroom outburst and general bolshy pre-teen behaviour, but that is as "good" as it gets right now. I had to laugh though... her parting comment (and I know her well now, and took no offence) was "I don't know how you manage!". As I watched him crawling on his tummy under the metal fencing around the restricted area currently in his playground, below the KEEP OUT sign I had to smile. I didn't know there was a choice!!