Over the last couple of months, BalletBoy has become a constant presence in the house late at night. He’s up for hours reading, working on projects, programming, and generally just doing his thing.
A year ago, this is the same child who, if he wasn’t in bed before nine, would have been a walking wreck. He still builds it up and needs extra rest some evenings, but for the most part he has just shifted. It’s okay, but it’s an adjustment.
Many years ago, when I was teaching, I got an excellent piece of advice from someone with older teens. We were both teachers and she said to me, frustrated, “I think some of these parents never expected their children to become teenagers! I always expected that my kids would one day be teens.” I laughed. It’s not like the passage of time is unpredictable. But I looked at my boys, who at the time were crawling around on the floor eating crackers off the school rug, and thought, I’m not going to be surprised. They will one day grow up.
Obviously, he’s not a teenager yet, but BalletBoy has shifted to that night owl schedule a little ahead of schedule. It’s fascinating to see and also a little confounding.
For one thing, I increasingly have two boys on different schedules. You can still set your watch by Mushroom moaning, “I’m sooooo tired,” around 8:30. He’s also the weird kid at the sleepover who tells all the other kids it’s time for bed. Right now, he’s being pushed to his limit by having to stay out until 10:00 for a play he’s in, but in general, he’s early to bed, early to rise. Several times now, I’ve had Mushroom for school in the morning but I’m not sure where to fit in BalletBoy’s missing time.
It’s also difficult to have BalletBoy hanging around all evening. He’s such a little social creature, and while he wants to do his own thing, he wants to do it near me or the Husband. We, on the other hand, want time to ourselves or to retreat by ourselves. So that’s something else we need to work out.
However, one of the benefits of homeschooling should be that if he naturally wants to shift his schedule, he should be able to do so. Once we’ve worked out the kinks, I’m sure it’ll be a good thing.