A Great Day in Our Backwards Life

Oct 30, 2013

Raising a child with a broken circadian rhythm is not easy. Few are the days when the child is able to get out and enjoy the daylight. This was just such a day.
Our family lives in a battle zone. 

Each day, we are at war with an enemy so strong, so indomitable, that our efforts at defeating it are nearly pointless. Fight as we may, rarely do we win a battle. What is this enemy who defeats us so regularly and successfully? 

My children's body clocks. 

Sleep problems are the main symptom and cause of bipolar disorder. Their bodies naturally want to be asleep in the day and up at night. They try all sorts of things to get on a normal schedule. 

  • They stay up all night, hoping to stay up all day, so that they'll fall asleep in the evening. 
  • They try to force themselves to bed early. That never works. 
  • They try not eating after a certain time so they lack energy and will simply pass out. 
I've tried this treatment and that. We've yet to find one that affects sleep with any consistency. 

Each day is practically consumed with thoughts of how to get the girls to sleep at night and be awake in the day. 
  • What schedule are they on? 
  • How can we correct it? 
  • Will that work? 
  • What's the downside? 
We are always trying to find something to fix it for today. For tonight. On the rare occasion that we're successful, it is a cause for joy and hope.

Tuesday was such a day. 

A Great Day in Our Backwards Life

Alexis has been away all week. So, I've been focused on flipping Lorelai's schedule. Keep in mind that her body clock naturally tells her to sleep from about 9:00 a.m. until between 4 and 6 p.m. She rarely sees the day and this upsets her terribly. 

On Monday night, she fell asleep at 8pm but awoke at 2 a.m. because her body simply doesn't want to be asleep at night. I decided to stay up with her. 

At 7 a.m., I insisted we go out to breakfast. I knew she needed food. I knew she needed to be out of the house if I was going to keep her going. While waiting on our breakfast order, Lorelai worked on her math.

After breakfast, we returned home to do household chores and then visit the playground. We live in a very small town (2.5 sq. mi.). Everything is within walking distance of everything else. Our library and park are on the same grounds. 
Our one fast food restaurant is a Subway inside the only convenience store in town. 

After playing a while, we decided to grab subs and return to the park. Then, we went into the library, where Lorelai chose a book and two movie. She played in the kids area a while and we returned to the playground. 

Upon returning home, I noticed she was getting tired, but I didn't want her to fall asleep at 4pm. "Want to wash the car?", I asked. And that's what we did. That occupied her a while.

Dinner. Shower. Pajamas. After a bedtime snack, she fell asleep on the love seat. It was only 10:30 at night.


I can't express to you how happy I was all day. My nature-loving child was able to spend time in the sunshine. She had a normal schedule for the day. She had fun all day long. 

I know it won't last long. I know we'll return to the usual mixed up, crazy schedule. But for this one day, my mama's heart felt so at peace and happy for my baby girl.
"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." --Abraham Lincoln
Disclaimer: I respect my children's privacy and level of comfort. Posts such as this one have been discussed with and approved by them.

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  1. This is beautifully written. Love your honesty. Celebrating with you. Hope there are many more days like this one. :-) Sharing.

  2. You are a great mom. I can tell that you are constantly trying to honor the needs of your children. I know this must be a constant struggle as you would probably like to sleep ;) Hang in there!

    1. Thank you, Jen. I appreciate that. And, yes, I miss sleeping. A year ago, if I was still up at 1a.m., I felt I was being a horrible mom. Now, I *wish* I could go to bed at 1a.m.! That would seem to early to me.

      Perspective, huh? ;-)


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