Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sleepless Hell

This is one of those times when I don't know if we're just going through a phase all parents and kids go through, or finally entering the hell I'm so afraid of (shamefully) in raising an autistic child.

Many autistic children don't sleep well.  At all.  I remember working for the HCA (Handicapped Children's Association) and we had one autistic adolescent there who slept maybe 2-3 hours at a clip.  On our overnight weekend respites, we had to lock him into a room (kid-proofed) and stand guard at the doors while he trashed the room until he finally passed out and slept for two hours, then he'd wake up and the whole cycle would repeat, all night long.

We've been very lucky.  Zack has slept very well. 

But every now and then, he goes through these stints where he just keeps getting up, and won't fall asleep.  Thing is, we're not sure if it's the autism or other things.  For example, right now he's potty training, so a lot of time he legitimately has to go bathroom, but he can't take himself.  Last night, Abby thought maybe his pajamas were too warm, plus it was her first night working the weekend night shift at the hospital, which probably threw him off.

Still.   This is the third night in a row he's not made it through the whole night.  At least Thursday and Friday he eventually went to sleep (though he gave the babysitter a tussle Friday night, which isn't encouraging)  and didn't start waking up until 1-2 AM, so I could say "Heck with it" and get up extra early and write.

Last night, I put him to bed around 8:15.  He proceeded to get up almost every thirty-five minutes, until about 1-2 AM.

Needless to say, I did no writing this morning,  My head's pounding.  I'm dead on my feet.  Abby's still sleeping.  And after all that and maybe only 4 1/2 hours sleep, Zack promptly got up at 6:30.

Maybe Abby working threw him out of sorts.  He actually didn't fall asleep until she came home.  Maybe it was the pajamas, (which I was too flustered to think about until, again, Abby came home and mentioned it), because with lighter pajamas he fell asleep.  Either way, the world right now is this hazy not-awake-sorta-dream world, and I feel ashamed at how much it scares me that he'd continue to do this, reducing Abby and I to sleep-deprived zombies who will stumble through the day in an almost drugged, sleepless hell.

Pardon the grumpiness and whining.  I'll be honest.  I feel like crap. Maybe later will be better...