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Rituals and Routines; I finished my book, now I can’t sleep!

Chainfire Autism Routines
I need to buy two books at a time! A few months ago I began reading the Sword of Truth series, by Terry Goodkind.  Only recently have I begun to read so much fiction, and am glad that I have.  Reading and writing fiction has been like therapy, and good exercises in Theory of Mind, but that is a subject for a whole other discussion.
The Sword of Truth Series has a total of twelve books, and I have consumed nine of the twelve.  I began with the Wizard’s First Rule, and wrote about how that stupid wizard was continually nagging me here. Well, I am hooked and now my wizard and all the other characters in the saga are my close friends. I spend time with them daily.
Without realizing it I began a ritual. Each night I crawl into bed with my Kindle(I love my Kindle, and have my eye on the newKindle Whitepaper for Christmas…hee hee), and go to D’Hara to check on Richard (the hero of the book) while crunching on several packs of Smarties.  I think I am now developing a Smarties habit and problem too.
Hubby has gone to Wal-Mart at midnight because I was out of Smarties, and I need to munch on them while I check on my friends (read my book), or I will not be able to relax enough to sleep. Several times, there weren’t anymore!  Really? Who is eating up all the Smarties in town?  Oh—that may be me.
A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I needed to start buying two books in the series at a time so when I finish one I would not have to wait in order to purchase the next book in the series.  Of course, I didn’t actually do it, and I am now paying the price.
On Wednesday, I finished reading, Chainfire, book nine of the series, and downloaded the sample of Phantom, book ten. I might add a small complaint here to Mr. Goodkind.  The samples of the books, (a portion you can download onto your kindle to read before purchase), have been getting shorter by the book!  I thought the sample would least last me a day—but alas it was too short.  Or, maybe I read it too quickly—but I finished the sample Wednesday night as well.
Its Christmas time (that is my excuse) and I have to wait until payday to purchase book ten. I will purchase, ten and eleven, Confessor, on payday so this does not happen again because I have been unable to relax and sleep well the past few days.
Reading these books has become my source of relaxation, winding down, decompressing, and very much a bedtime ritual and routine.  I have been “off” the past few days because my routine is messed up. I must admit that when I finish a book, and in this case it will be worse because it’s a series, I wind up in a funk—depressed and missing my friends.
Hubby suggested that I read another book (I have plenty), but I cannot do it.  I cannot start another story in the middle of this one!  Grrrrr
Anyway, tomorrow at dawn’s first light you can be certain I will be on Amazon downloading Phantom! What am I going to do when the series is over? I think I need a plan.
It seemed like such a small thing, a tiny routine, a small bedtime ritual, but when it was messed up it affected my sleep—despite my taking my Melatonin, I had trouble drifting off.  My sleep in turn affected my mood. It hadn’t occurred to me how even the smallest upsets can turn the whole day inside-out, and I am an adult. Can you imagine how our ASD children feel when their routines, no matter how tiny, are interrupted?

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.