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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's the middle of the night; I'm a little fed up and I need sleep now

Janey has been up for two hours, after going to sleep grouchy about 9.  It's not a lot of fun.  Tony is currently trying, as I write, to get her to sleep, and I am trying to not project, to not think about how tired I will be tomorrow, to not think about how this might be the start of a hellish cycle, to not think about the many years ahead that right now stretch out endlessly, full of sleepless nights and frustration.

Janey has been making a long string of requests posed as questions---

Do you want me to get you an onion?
Do you want me to turn on the light?
Do you want me to pour you soda?
Do you want me to watch Kipper?

It's pronoun reversal middle of the night autism demonstration time.  We answer no to all, without bothering to try to correct the format of the speech.  It's not the time to worry about semantics.  

Janey is jumping up and down and reciting a favorite Kermit dialogue, Kermit arguing with the Count about what an elevator operator is supposed to do---"You're SUPPOSED to take people to whatever floor they want to go to, and I WANT TO GO TO THE SEVENTH FLOOR!"  She laughs hysterically, and recites it again.  After the 10th time or so, it seems kind of funny to me too, in an crazy sleep deprived way.

We try reasoning with her, which is useless.  We try bargaining with her "If you will stay on the bed, you can play with your iPad.  If we get you water, will you sleep?"  She agrees to anything, but it's meaningless.  These are not binding contracts, and she knows it.

My grass pollen allergies, delayed by the cool weather, have chosen tonight to kick in full gear.  I am sneezing and sneezing, each time causing Janey to recite something funny she heard one time---"A-shoe, A-sandal, A-sneaker!"  She cracks herself up every time.

I send an email to cancel plans I had for tomorrow.  It will be a napping day.  I wonder as I often do how Tony makes it through the day.  I wish he'd call in sick sometimes when he doesn't sleep.  I worry about what all this sleep deprivation does to him.  Isn't that what they do to torture people?  In the night, in my own state, it becomes a scary concern.  Thoughts get dark when you are tired and can't sleep.

The least affected by all of this is Janey.  She never seems tired the day after this kind of sleepless night.  Her system doesn't seem to work that way.  She doesn't even sleep late the next morning, usually.  She's up at the regular time, ready to rock and roll.

I am trying to keep positive.  I am going over in my mind all the other sleepless mothers out there, and the ones in far worse positions than me---awake in a hospital watching a sick child, awake worrying about a child that hasn't come home, awake because they don't have a bed.  But sometimes, the contrary part of me thinks about all the people that have it easier instead.  That's not useful.  I think about articles I read where a parent is freaking out over bad grades, a sassy mouth, not eating vegetables.  I wonder if they realize what a miracle they have---a child than can talk, can understand, a child with a bright future.  Sometimes late in the night I don't think nice thoughts about those parents, even though I am those parents, with two sons that have bright futures.  

Janey is still awake.  She is still jumping.  So I will think about the parents I know must be out there right now, staying awake with their own autistic child.  Parents living my same life.  I wish I could talk to them, right now.  That we could all feel less alone in our own houses, getting through our own nights.  I hope we can all help each other make it through the nights.

1 comment:

audball said...

Suzanne, I know I'm not in your exact shoes (and I would never dream of saying I know exactly how it feels), but please, please don't succumb to that harsh depression spiral that comes from sleep deprivation.

I have been there (and still sometimes go there) and it just adds to the heaviness and exhaustion that you are already going through. I don't want to minimize what you and your family are going through with Janey's sleep issues, but sometimes it's the hard two or three days of little to no sleep that's making us go down this path. I have learned to tell myself: This is one (or two or three) day(s) of no sleep. I will get through this.

It's weird, but at least for me, it's helped to look at it as isolated incidents and not try to anticipate long stretches of continuous insomnia. Again, please don't think I'm in any way implying I know better…just trying to offer what's worked for us :)

This sounds a little strange, but would a low hammock in Janey's room help? Something that could soothe her to sleep? I know you were investigating setting up a "safe room" for her and you when she had these episodes. Could you start by creating a "sleep corner" in her room?