When I started blogging in 2005, my focus was primarily faith and living simply. As my life changed, my blogging changed as well. Although I don’t blog about living simply as frequently as I did in the past, it is still something I think about pretty much every day and still write about at times.
Meshing my desire for a simpler life with having a differently-wired child has led to lots of reflection, adjustments and, frankly, desperate prayers over the years. With every stage of Caroline’s growth and development we’ve had to rethink some of our choices. In some cases, we’ve had to make choices that were the exact opposite of what we had previously done to simplify our lives because what worked for us as a couple did not work with the addition of a child.
Here are some simple living choices we’ve made in order to accommodate life with a differently-wired child.
Adjust Our Schedule
This morning I had to go out early for blood work. It was still dark when we left home and the sun was just freshly up as we were coming home. It made me realize how much I missed being up and around early in the day. David and I were early risers when it was the two of us. We tried to get as much done as possible before noon.
Caroline, on the other hand, is a night owl. She is up until 10:00 p.m. (or later) every night. We’ve tried everything to try to reset her clock and it doesn’t work. I’m not going to lie. This is not what I would choose. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child who goes to bed at 8:00 every night. We’ve had it happen a couple of times when she’s been sick and fallen asleep earlier and it’s just… mind-boggling.
When it became obvious that Caroline was a night-owl, David and I made the choice to adjust our schedule. We now get up later and stay up later. We also tend to homeschool in the afternoon. Again, it isn’t what I would choose, but this is what we need to do so we do it.
The first few years with Caroline we rarely went anywhere we didn’t have to because maintaining our routine was so critical to keeping life on an even keel in our home. Negotiating additional major transitions throughout the day was never worth it so we kept things pretty normal day after day, week after week, month after month. Gone were cozy nights out at the bookstore. We never went out in the evening. Gone was running errands at the drop of a hat. We didn’t go out when it would involved missing nap-times.
As Caroline got a little older, we were out and about more but we were still very much homebodies at heart. When she was a baby I was sure Caroline had to be an extrovert because she never wanted to be alone, wanted to be held and carried around all the time, etc. Now that I know her better, I can see she has a strongly introverted side. And as we’ve recently discovered in a profound way, none of us deal well with a lack of margin. All of this leads to the need to stay home, make things fairly predictable, and take care of our introverted selves because there is nothing simple about living on overload.
Nothing will complicate your life quicker than having expectations that are completely out of line with who your child is wired to be. Insisting that a child be something she isn’t is a recipe for disaster on several levels. We invested a lot of time studying our child and looking for the information that would help us parent her most effectively.
We discovered numerous times that we were not doing what was best with her spiritedness. Once we began to put changes into place, our lives simplified a great deal. That isn’t to say it was always easy to make those changes. It wasn’t always easy. But as we applied those changes over time, life simplified greatly. We knew how to effectively parent our individual child which brought more peace to everyone.