It is 1 p.m. The afternoon. And PanKwake is still asleep.
I am not 100% sure when she went to bed last night. She was still up when I went to the bathroom at 3 a.m. but asleep when I got up at 7.
Not knowing exactly is a recent thing. Until the past few weeks she was certain to have me up several times each night…
My iPad died, Mommy…
Mommy, I have a joke for you!
Some of those were things that she genuinely could not do for herself. Some she could but did not want to. And sometimes…she just needed to have someone to talk to. Had not gotten enough ‘people’ time.
When I took her off the Melatonin three years ago and allowed her body and brain to self-regulate itself, I prayed for the time when she would be self-sufficient. When I could go to bed and sleep comfortably knowing that she was safe and would wake me in emergencies only.
I know that we are not there just yet. But I got a tiny taste of it the past few nights. I would stick my head in when I got up for the bathroom. Each time she looked at me like I was a green one-eyed alien…almost as if to say…what are you doing here? I found myself self-consciously justifying myself…I’m just checking on you.
Now some people would be scandalized that we have taken RADICAL UNSCHOOLING to the point that we allow an eleven year old (eight when I began) to set her own bedtime.
But without the demands of school or work…
We no longer live in caves where it is dangerous to be up at night. So there is no evolutionary advantage to the up during the day, sleep at night schedule.
Even if you think in terms of jobs…some of them REQUIRE you to work at night. And in the future as more people work at home…
Well this house is a perfect example…
I write…getting up around 6 or 7 to do so as often as I can…while Cookie Monster and PanKwake sleep.
Cookie Monster works from home…and with the time difference between the UK and the corporate offices…his usual hours are 3 p.m. until…well, whenever the work is done or the meetings are over. Last night he had a midnight one, so he and PanKwake played Minecraft during a break between his other work and that meeting.
And PanKwake…her little body is on a 26 or 27 hour cycle so she rotates around the clock.
I had a scare yesterday. I had made a dentist appointment for 9 this morning…since she was sleeping in. Then she fell asleep at 7 p.m. last night. I was worried that meant she would be up for my appointment this morning…and me without her carer.
But it was just that rare nap…on the days when she got up too early and needed to compensate. And that was exactly what has happened…a two hour nap…then back on her current track…maybe even sliding a bit more around the clock.
And there are two really big advantages…
- No more arguments/meltdowns…trying to put her to bed. With her Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)/Awe-tism bedtime has always been a nightmare. So stressful for both of us. Not anymore.
- But the real shocker was…all those night time seizures that had plagued her almost her entire life…including wetting the bed…GONE. Yes, allowing her body/brain to regulate itself has reduced her fits…brought her epilepsy under control better than any of the meds the doctors tried.
Of course…none of this would be possible if PanKwake were in school. In fact, when we moved in with Cookie Monster, I toyed again with the idea of putting PanKwake back in school (probably for the last time…only if SHE asked). But as he pointed out…how? The only option would be to put her back on the medication. And that is not worth it.
Radical unschooling touches every area of your life…24/7/365. It is not something that can ever happen from 8 to 3 at a desk…or even in a certain building.
But there are so many rewards…it has been so worth it…not just for PanKwake but for us as well.