Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sleeping In - The Double Edged Sword

Every weekend I find myself in a similar conundrum of needing to sleep in, being fully aware of the pros and cons of such a cyclical outcome.   The result that I hope to attain from catching up on much needed rest, typically does not match my unrealistic expectation.  I am fully aware that this is a naive notion, where I will not end up feeling well rested.  Sleeping in for only one morning just messes with my sleep cycle, actually causing me to feel like I could have used some more rest.  It doesn't leave me refreshed and invigorated as I would have ideally liked.  This proposition is much like Einstein's take on insanity: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

This is the opposite of what I've been taught over the years, about how consistency is so important, when one dabbles in a skill based endeavor.  Things that are skill based, such as learning a musical instrument, (for me it was piano) need lots of repetition.  It is only with lots of repetition and committed practice, that we can advance and progress; thus doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.  Perhaps it is with this exact insane type of mindset which we need to be in, in order to be fully committed to our skill based endeavor.  The difference between Einstein's insight and learning an instrument, is that Einstein is speaking in a very literal way about exact repetition.  Even though we cycle through lots of repetitions when we practice, it is an additive process.  We don't repeat the exact same thing indefinitely.  In a gradual progression, we add more music to the repetitions and over time, move on to newer material.  Only in this way, can we really expect to see progress.  If our practice is approached in the correct manner, then expecting results is definitely attainable, and not at all crazy.  Now pursuing a career as a musician, is a whole other ball of wax.  Lump on military changes of station on top of that, and it's a whole other ball game - but this is better left for some future post.  So far, I have been fortunate to find some work in music, with all that we have going on.


Max and Miriam finding new uses for laundry baskets at home
 
Our regular routine during the week is getting up with the kids around 6:00AM.  Alex will either get ready for work or get up extra early for a pre - work workout.  On the weekends, I sleep in one day, and Alex sleeps in the other day.  The problem is that the sleeping in until 8-9AM typically leaves me wired that same night, and it's hard for me to fall asleep.  The very next morning it's my turn to get the kids ready around 6:00AM again, when I'm most likely feeling less then human.  Since I get the opportunity to have that one day a week to rest, I instinctively feel that I should take it.  On the other hand, I am getting to the point where that one day a week thing is more than what it's cracked up to be.   Moving forward, I will try to rest, but not sleep much longer than usual.  Hopefully, this will help with the weekly sleep cycle.   I recall having read an article or two about acieving optimal results by sticking to a similar sleep schedule daily.  I see the merit of this now.

I bet that we all have friends that can tell their kids to stay in their room and play until mom and dad are ready to get up.  I can't even imagine having that scenario in our home; all the disasters that could take place during that unattended time...  Unfortunately, it's not typically a likely reality for families that live with special needs, with very young children, or with both.  Alex thinks that it could happen in the next few years -  but for now, I'm not holding my breath.  What I do know, is that we have to actively continue to make it work - it, being our life with all of it's connective elements.  It's crucial to get rest on a regular basis, so that we can manage the house, the kids and their therapies (I will post about the twins returning to speech therapy later on), while we enjoy as much of it as we can.  We'll go out on occasional date nights, as well as some fun outings with the kids on the weekends, finding little opportunities for special quality time with each of the kids.  We are grateful for all that we have been blessed with, as we strive to learn more about parenting, autism, relationships, and ourselves.  Meanwhile, extending a hand of support to other families coping with autism, continues to be an active part of our life, on our minds, and close to our hearts.


We will continue to make beautiful music, marching to the beat of our own little drum.


Jake stealing the show - Summer 2011





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