Unicorns, Butterflies and Daffodils
By Elise Ronan on April 04, 2010
Spring has sprung. The air is warmer. The grass is green again. The birds are chirping. You can hear the crickets and the frogs at night. You can smell the fresh flowers and the trees as they bloom. The ancient Greeks celebrated spring as the return of Persephone to the world of her mother Demeter. For as Persephone lived for six months out of every year in the underworld with Hades, Demeter in her despair left the Earth fallow and without any growth, warmth or nurture. Spring is the time for renewal and a burst of energy. It is the time to open the windows and let in the sunshine. It is a time to feel the breeze of a new season and to leave the tired and the old of winter for another time. It is a time for sheer joy in the reawakening of the world. Yeah, unless you have an autistic child, who hates daylight saving time and has decided that he is finished with school somewhere around the Ides of March.
First let’s talk about DST. Now I understand the purpose behind it. It is a viable economic reality that helps in fuel consumption and saves on electric. It is generally a good idea for an oil starved world and quite frankly I tend to like that the days are longer and it is light well into the evening. However, when you live with a regimented child who thrives on scheduling and familiarity their biological clock does not change so quickly and the weeks after DST can be sheer torture. I can actually tell you that HSB has not been sleeping well. His entire rhythm is off. Heck, my rhythm is off and I can’t tell you what a grump that makes me, can you imagine what a grump it makes him? Well if you have been reading my saga about his junior year in highschool you can kind of figure, it has not been a fun week. He can’t go to sleep. He wakes in the middle of the night. He fights with me to go back to sleep and then has trouble getting up for school the next day. Needless to say, I generally do not fall back asleep after one of our 2:30 am bouts of…
“You have to lie in bed,”
“No I don’t want to go to sleep I’m not tired.”
“You have three tests tomorrow you have to try.”
Scrunching his face and body with gritted teeth,” I said I don’t’ need to sleep.”
“Go to sleep or you will lose your computer tomorrow and your handheld.”
He marches upstairs to the under his breath tune of “bitch.”
Of course he falls right to sleep. But he would never admit I was right. I leave it alone. But cranky has been the watch word in our house now for awhile and I am hoping that he does well on the three tests he had today.
I have come to the conclusion that if it lasts much longer I am going to try some over the counter meds to help him sleep. Melatonin never worked for either of the boys, but I might try some Benadryl after I am sure the adderall has worn off. This is one of those times that you have to be extra careful with medication. Everyone knows that cold or allergy medicine that passes the blood barrier is contra indicated for those on adderall. The boys can take zyrtec, but need to wait till the adderall passes out of their system for any other type of OTC cold medicine. Have to tell you when they are sick, it is another issue sending them to school with snot coming out of their noses and hacking coughs because they can’t take cold medicine. (No don’t tell me to not give them the adderall, HSB is so unfocused he can’t even sit appropriately without his meds. One day in elementary school, he had forgotten to take the meds even though he had told me had had taken the pills. The school had him in the nurse’s office and they could not figure out what was wrong. He really could not even focus his body to sit properly in a chair. They thought heaven knows what this child may have taken, or what might be wrong. I took one look and knew. They looked at me really quizzical. They couldn’t believe it. But sometimes there are real reasons these children need medication.)
Anyway, DST has caused sleepless nights, anxious days and grumpy dispositions. But we will get through it. It’s the rest of spring I am trying to deal with. Yes, it begins around the Ides of March. It wasn’t a good day for Julius Caesar and it generally is not the beginning of a good period in the school year for HSB. By then he has plain just had enough. He had been holding it together every day for almost 9 hours a day, plus after school activities, hours of homework and even chores, since September. Yes, there have been little breaks, but nothing like collegeman gets. Those 6 weeks off between semesters give collegeman time to rest up and regroup. It helps him prepare himself for the semester to come. HSB gets a week at Christmas, a week in February and a week at Passover/Easter. Thank heaven for next week. I can’t tell you how this child needs to do nothing but sleep.
However, HSB comes to a crashing halt around now, and this has been an exceptionally difficult year for him academically. He has been tremendously challenged and sometimes very confused. I truly wish there was a way for him to not have to do math anymore. You know it is something when your child, who you know is exceptionally bright, is overjoyed with a C. You know he is anything but average, and wish you could find a way to help him through this difficult period a little better. However, unfortunately you can’t. He doesn’t want to study, but he does. He doesn’t want to do homework, but he does. He has had enough of not being able to just sit still and do nothing. I am not talking that he doesn’t sit and watch TV every night, or play games for a few hours. He does that. But there is something about not having anything hanging over your head for a long period of time, which he does not get during the year until the summer. He is stressed. You can see it in his face and how he holds his body. You can see the stress in his gait and in his eyes. He just looks worn out. And unfortunately for HSB it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
The college boards are coming up and then finals. Finals he is used to. Truthfully they start to prepare at the beginning of May (that’s why his boards are in April). But its review homework and new homework almost every night in every class. As if he doesn’t have enough homework, now it is going to get worse. We will try to keep him calm. We will support him the best way we know how. The school is used to him and they have worked well with him this year, so I know they will be there for him now too. I also know that in the scheme of life, the tests and homework and boards are nothing that adults face, and it’s something he needs to learn to deal with. But it doesn’t make it any easier to watch happen. I know he is feeling the stress right now too. His tic has returned. It is not constant but it refuses to die. I know I just need to find the trick that will rid him of the tic. This damn lousy imperious tic is as invulnerable to therapy as Achilles was invulnerable to arrows. But even Achilles had his unprotected heal, so too does the tic and I will one day find the arrow that will rid HSB of it once and for all.
So once again we will work on the coping skills. Truth be told, each year HSB does get progressively better in his ability to handle the “hold-it-together” stress. I just wish none of it reared its ugly head. But no such luck. Now another surprise, oh joy, oh joy, as I was writing this post, I received an email from one of collegeman’s classroom coaches. He had two minor seizures today in art (of course he didn’t tell me). No one noticed but he asked her what happened, so he knew what was going on. It’s midterm week for him. Stress abounds. Sometimes I just wish the fates would make things a little easier for my children.
Unicorns, butterflies and daffodils. Spring has sprung.
Until next time,