Having spent time with my three older kids over the holidays, I'm feeling really good about where they're at. They are really happy with their post-secondary programs, they are feeling optimistic and comfortable with their career options, they have friends and are happy with their living arrangements, are challenged and also excelling with their educational programs. It's exciting to have all three of them in good places.
Fiona is doing well but not surprisingly is experiencing more growing pains. She's growing and changing more than the older kids since she is only 13, and experiencing the biggest lifestyle change of all of them I think, even more so than Sophie who has moved away and started college this year. Going from unschooling to a challenging bunch of Grade 11 courses at a mainstream high school, whilst living away from her dad and our home-sweet-home-in-the-forest most of the time, things which are very comforting and grounding for her, it has all been a huge shift.
I've mentioned the insomnia she has been coping with. I have never been troubled by insomnia so although I have a fair bit of clinical knowledge about healthy sleep hygiene, it is hard for me to really get into her head psychologically. What feeds her insomnia is anxiety about not having enough time left for restorative sleep... if she spends half an hour in bed and isn't feeling sleepy, if it's the night before school she will start to get panicky about not being able to get enough sleep before her alarm goes off, which of course makes her wider and wider awake. Me, my attitude to not feeling sleepy is "whatever ... I can deal with all-nighters, so no matter what happens, I'll manage." I wish I could get Fiona to that place, but it's probably more a matter of temperament than knowledge.
In the next couple of weeks we'll be moving her into the new almost-completed bedroom at the HouseInTown, and I think we'll take that opportunity to address a couple of issues in the sleep hygiene department. For instance, her evening use of bright lighting and her tendency to use her bed not only for sleep but for other stuff (doing homework, watching Netflix, etc.). We can do some creative things to make dim lighting work in the new space, and hopefully we can establish a separate area, or at least a nook of some sort, where she can do homework and be on her computer. I think she'll be on board with this, especially if it's part of a new-bedroom-design project. Once we have the common part of the house free of renovation mess and the daytime intrusion of contractors (i.e. soon!) we can work on making that area more welcoming and better organized for non-sleep activities as well.
Today is our last day at home. Tomorrow we head to the HouseInTown, which is the jumping-off point for getting Sophie and Noah and Sophie's Guy off to the airport for their flight back to the coast. Fiona starts school the next day, and the day after that I run Erin to the Spokane airport for her return to Boston (and make a three-hour side-trip to pick up some extra bathroom tiles since we're two short
So I guess it's time to un-decorate the Christmas tree and hopefully squeeze in a last 15 km ski on my favourite trail that starts in the ghost town near us.
Happy New Year, all!