Friday, March 7, 2014

Screw you Daylight Savings Time!

It's that time of year, the time when we "spring forward" and gain extra daylight, anticipate the arrival of spring and most importantly LOSE AN HOUR OF SLEEP! In an autism household- sleep is a precious commodity, one that is horded like fine jewels or our favorite wine.  Nighttime wanderings, odd sleep schedules and the like is something that most parents with kids on the spectrum endure. Melatonin is the Autism parent's best friend. But when those clocks change-  at either time of the year- it can send our kids into a tailspin that can take a while to recover from.

The Boy, like most autistic children, NEEDS structure and routine. He doesn't like abrupt changes in plans, although as he gets older that seems to be getting a little better.  But when things don't go as they should- in his mind anyway- it is prime time for massive frustration, irritability and possible meltdowns. The time change   is not just an inconvenient part of life for him. Having extra daylight means absolutely nothing to him. The clock on the wall and his internal clock are now different. While his body (and the Melatonin) are telling him one thing- his dad and I are telling him something different- and it messes him up. 

In years past- the time change has been a source of agitation for the whole family. We have to adjust dinner time, medicine time and try to ensure that the first day of the time change he is resting, relaxing and hopefully prepared the following morning for school.  I can't count how many all nighters we pulled (melatonin and Clonidine would get him to dreamland, but would not keep him there.) He was moody, over tired, and not a joy to be around at all. Our lack of sleep made us just as irritable, and of course that made life just all around miserable for everyone. 

This year, like every other year, we will spend Sunday just relaxing, keeping things quiet and make the adjustments that are needed as unobtrusively as possible. This may help, it may not. Monday is also a delayed start at school, so that may help. 

That doesn't mean that the anxious knot in my belly is getting any better. And all of the worse case scenarios are playing on a loop through my sleepless mind. Not like I don't have enough to keep me awake at night, like the impending IEP, some odd behaviors we have been seeing lately, my work, my school...the list goes on. 

I hope that we have an easy transition like we had 2 years ago, and even last year wasn't the worst. We prepare for WWIII at all holidays, family gatherings, family outings and yes for Daylight Savings Time.  Prepare for the worst, hope for the best- my life's motto. 

I think that maturity plays into all of this, and the older he gets, the better he handles unexpected (or even expected) change. He lives by his calendar, and announces any and all holidays on it. So he is aware of DST, and aware we all lose an hour of sleep. And so far, nothing negative. 

Now if only Mother Nature would cooperate, and stop with this polar vortex and snow crap- then we could truly feel like "springing" into anything.