Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 26 - March 3, 2012: Schedule, Lent, and Glorious Sleep

We are settling into our Lenten routine very nicely thus far.  The crown of thorns is a huge hit.  Henry is really proud of every thorn that he's gotten to remove.  He's doing a great job on his Stations of the Cross coloring pages and is enjoying the nightly ceremony of ornament-hanging, readings, and our family Way of the Cross.  His reading is coming along in leaps and bounds.  Henry tries to read everything he sees now and he's overjoyed when he can figure out a word on his own.  The entire process is just amazing to me.

It seems like Oliver has learned some of his letters.  He's actually said a few of them (m, o, d, e, h) while pointing to them and he's developed a sudden interest in playing with our alphabet puzzle.  It's very encouraging, especially combined with his more consistent use of a few words. He's saying "yesh" quite often when we ask him questions, "uuup" and "din" when we go up and down the stairs, and "mmmm" for milk.  He's also listening better and following simple directions.  We are still in the process of getting signed up for in-home therapy.  We'll just keep working with him ourselves and see what happens in the meantime.

One big Oliver issue that seems to be resolved is his sleep trouble.  Starting in January, Oliver began having a lot of sleep disturbances.  He'd go to bed at 8:30, but wake up screaming and crying at 11:30.  He'd be inconsolable for ten to fifteen minutes, then be wide awake and wanting to play until around 4:00AM.  Of course, most nights he'd wake up Henry or Jane (or both).  And since my husband's wake-up time is around 5:30, I'd try to handle Oliver all night so he could get some sleep before heading off to work.  Which meant I was getting about an hour of sleep in the evening before the fun began and another three or four hours in the early morning between the times when Oliver went back to sleep and the other kids woke up for the day.

Things have not been fun.

"Dr. Ferber?  I need help.  Stat."
We tried melatonin supplements to help smooth out his sleep cycles and it seemed to help a little bit.  He certainly fell asleep more easily and he didn't have the confusional arousals anymore.  However, he'd still want a few hours of nocturnal playtime before going back to sleep.  Finally, in desperation, we decided that if he was getting up at 11:30 every night to play, we'd just keep him awake until 11:00 before putting him down for bed.

And it worked.  Really well.  The first night, he fell asleep on his own at 11:00 and slept until 9:00AM the next morning.  I woke up in a panic because I got more than three hours of continuous sleep and thought everyone had been kidnapped or something.  He's kept it up, too.  He goes to bed around 10:30 now and sleeps until 8:30 or so each morning.  Henry and Jane are getting full nights of sleep, Matt and I are getting full nights of sleep... I feel like a sentient being again.

This is one of those times when I seriously thank God for being able to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom.  We don't have to get up early to get everyone out the door on time.  I can let each child get the sleep he or she needs without worrying about everyone else's schedule.  And I really think the good sleeping is helping Oliver during the day with his attentiveness.  It's certainly cutting down on the whining from Henry and Jane (and, I'll admit, me).  Of course, we'll have our new arrival in about 4 months or so and then the fun begins anew!

In the meantime...

This week, Henry only has one math lesson, Lesson 72: graphing a picture on a pictograph and handwriting master 11.  Saxon only does 12 lessons per month, so it's the final February lesson.  We don't start the March lessons until the following week.  He'll also color two more Stations of the Cross.  We're enjoying the break.

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