Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sleep (ha ha ha *SOB*)

When I was pregnant with Soren, I remember thinking that labor didn't worry me at much as the post-partum period did. Specifically, I was consumed with the whole lack-of-sleep thing. You see, I adore sleep. It is the perfect escape. My idea of a perfect Saturday, for example, was always to get up, have brunch, take the paper to bed, and go back to sleep. Delish.

So it is a special kind of struggle (OK, agony) to have a child who doesn't sleep. Oh, I know, parents always say that their kids don't sleep. But we are in a different realm over here.

I hesitate to give you the details; I don't want to use this as a place to complain about my sweet child. And we are in good company: up to 80% of kids with autism have some sort of sleep issue. But not sleeping is crazy-making. That's how they torture you, after all.

Our sweet son gets up every other night, sometimes every night. And once he's up, he's up. For four, five hours in the middle of the night. He really likes the 1 - 5 A.M shift. And we are up with him, for safety's sake. (Even after kid-proofing, we've seen removal of heating grates, eating carpet shreds, chewing on marbles, chewing up books, and so on. We *need* to be with him.)

And he's wired. Manic. Exhibit A:

Please, please don't give me tips about sleep. We've tried: early bedtime, late bedtime, melatonin, strong drugs, leaving him alone in his room, Epsom salt baths, warm milk, serious talks, driving him in the car, snack, no snack, getting out of bed, staying in bed. Don't even get me started on "sleep hygiene." (Sounds like a Very Special After-School Special.)  But as you can tell from the video, there's just something wired differently in our boy that tells him that 2 A.M. is a great time to be up and do gymnastics on your parents' bed.

It's awful. And yet it's our new normal. I've gotten great knitting done while "sitting up" with Soren. I've read lots of trashy magazines. And I'm learning more and more that there are so many things with kids that we just can't control.

So we think about this. All the time. We talk about it, to whomever is around. We argue about it. (Tip: don't argue with your husband at 3 A.M. about who is getting less sleep. There is no winner.)

And we're trying some new drugs. (And I must say, Grandma Moss is a hero for staying up with Soren when she's here. Bless you, Mom.) We're keeping our fingers crossed. But please forgive me if I need to kvetch with you about sleep issues. It's kind of a big deal around here.


  1. Is he still doing somersaults? The video implies it didn't stop!!!

  2. I've really appreciated reading your new blog and getting a glimpse into your life now. I very much enjoyed the post on Erik, as well as becoming acquainted with Soren--even though online is a faint substitute for in-the-flesh.

  3. I'm so sorry that sleep is so elusive for you. I think it's even worse because you love sleep so much. I think about you often!

  4. Did you go on that vacation?? Post!



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