I have said the words, “our new normal” a lot lately. That is what I feel like we are in now. Now that Horatio has been away for a month, we are settling into our new normal and finding our new routine.
The first thing I noticed that was different about my days was that I was staying up later. We usually have the boys in bed; reading or sleeping, depending on the child; by 7:00 or 7:30. Their lights-out times vary, of course. In the first couple of weeks after the departure, I would look at the clock after the boys were settled and see that it was closer to 9:00.
After the kids were in bed, I’d start tidying up the kitchen, check email, write a little, head upstairs, find a task that “couldn’t wait” and finally get into bed at 11:30ish. Normally, I like to turn out my lights by 10:30 and after a couple of weeks of this routine, I found my self struggling to get through the days. I was tired.
So, I started reworking the timing of everything. Now I start making dinner earlier. As the older boys are finishing dinner and getting ready for dessert, I take Harold upstairs to get him ready for bed. I put a dvd on for him (to keep him in one place), change him, do his nebulizer treatment, brush his teeth, shut off the tv, let him choose a book to read, and head to his bedroom to go through the bedtime routine.
By the time Harold is settled into bed, the other boys are showering and getting ready for bed. I read to Bob, we say our prayers, I reiterate each boy’s lights-out time and leave them to settle in to their beds.
Next, I head downstairs to clean up the kitchen. If it is early enough, I will watch a little tv and then head upstairs to go to bed. Somehow, though, I almost always get distracted somewhere in between shutting off the tv and getting into bed.
A few nights ago, I set out to go to bed early, to catch up on some much needed sleep. I ended up fixing some grout in my shower and reorganizing Horatio’s bureau (30+ books, some magazines, work papers, legos and inches of dust). I ended up getting in bed about an hour and a half after I headed in that direction.
I wondered aloud to a few friends and family members, “what is wrong with me???” We came to the conclusion that this is my way of filling the silence. If I work and keep busy until I am utterly exhausted, there’s hope that I will fall immediately to sleep. I can avoid thinking about the daunting 18+ months ahead. Sadly, though, this is a flawed tactic. I always end up reading for at least 30 minutes and then lay awake for a while before I can finally rest.
So, truly, I don’t know what is wrong with me that I can’t just get myself to settle down early and get the rest I so need. Here I sit, writing this post, rather than heading up to bed.
I think I’ll have to find another method.