Thursday, June 14, 2012

Morning People

My son is a morning person.  I'd say I'm not quite sure how this happened, but that would be a lie.  I knew there was a good chance he would be - my dad is a morning person, and my mom's brother woke up every morning at 6 or 6:30 a.m. (I can't remember which) without an alarm clock every day of his adult life.  So the fact that M1 wakes up at 6 a.m. every. single. day. isn't entirely a surprise.

For years his early-rising habit has been a problem for our household.  He would raid the kitchen for candy, wake his sister up, sneak out the back door, and otherwise get up to all sorts of shenanigans.  I'd have to get up with him (and as a night owl, 6 a.m. is an hour I don't want to see unless I'm coming from the other end of it) and there would be yelling and consequences and just general negativity.  But since we put him back on the Intuniv a few months ago (and we convinced him that he could, in fact, choose to control his actions, since the Intuniv doesn't do that for him like the Vyvanse did), he's coming to realize that mornings don't always have to end badly.  In fact, his morning productivity has actually gotten so predictable and amazing that I can almost wake up leisurely!  I will come into the kitchen to find breakfast plates on the counter, table wiped, coffee made, cats fed, chickens checked and eggs collected, and the boy back in his room - dressed and with bed made - reading.  He will have brushed his teeth, taken his medication, and possibly even helped his sister with whatever she needs, if she wakes up early.

To me, all this is nothing short of miraculous.

I still ask about everything and double-check it all because I still don't entirely believe that this is going to be a consistent, long-lasting thing.

And of course there's a catch.

With the early-morning productivity comes mid-afternoon narcolepsy.  Any time between 2 and 4:30 p.m., if he's left to his own devices - reading in his room, lounging on the couch, even sitting in the car - he'll fall asleep.  And when he falls asleep, he falls asleep hard.  I joke and call him my little European, since he wants to be up early and take a siesta after lunch... well, that and he doesn't like ice in his drinks, but that's a different matter entirely.  Even with a nap, though, he's ready for bed by 8 or 8:30 in the evening at the latest.  The last couple of days, since I haven't let him doze, he's been ready for bed by 7.

Today when he climbed into bed, he asked if we could talk about something.  "Of course!" I said.  "What's up?"

Very seriously, he looked at me and said, "I can't stop myself waking up early, but if you don't let me have naps, I'm going to need to go to bed earlier and earlier and soon I'll need an early dinner and early bedtime, and then I'll miss chapter!" ('Chapter' is our read-aloud time before bed.  We're working through the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series right now.)

I told him that no, he wouldn't get early dinner.  He would just go to bed at bedtime and his wake-up time would adjust itself accordingly, not the other way around.  He doesn't seem convinced, but then I told him that especially during the school year, his early morning could be when he does some of his school work... some of the little stuff he doesn't need me for.  He seemed to like that idea.

And I like it, too.  I don't mind him getting up early if he's going to be good about it; I just don't want to have to get up with him!


Anonymous said...

Early-risers have always been a mystery to me. I don't know how they do it! My husband, son and I are all night-owls.

It's great that your son is in a good, productive morning routine. I think having activities to fill time is definitely the key.

farmwifetwo said...

My 10yr old (autistic) has always gotten up around 5-6am. He's actually pissy if he gets up later than that. He's ready for bed at 9. No naps. I'm just happy that he can now go down on his own and play on the computer while I sleep a little longer.

The other (12) (HFA - passes for normal), even with the Adderall (started a few mths ago), sleeps much more. Problem with him that the moment he gets a "treat", stay up later, camp etc he's beyond foul the next day. The drug only helps with his inability to concentrate, unlike the risperdal (age 6 to 8) it does not help with the moods nor the behaviour. Which is reverting to the excessive - not just the annoying we had between meds - behaviour we had at 6. It's going to be a LONG miserable summer for that child since he thinks he's going to spend it on the sofa watching tv and playing his DSi. Not going to happen.

I just wish they had a "happy" pill for my 12yr old. I'm also tired of the "all kids are like that" spiel people tell you. Ummmm... no... he's not like all the others.

Beth said...

Beware of the self adjusting wake up time, it may not happen. We tried that for a few months, to get 1 & 2 to wake later and stay up later so they could see C more. All we got for our efforts was some SUPER grouchy kids and they actually started waking up about 20-30 minutes EARLIER than they already do. Hopefully it works for him and he self corrects time wise, that would work great for you all!