Thursday, September 6, 2007

Perchance to dream

Not quite so long ago I was a very distraught and sleep deprived woman. Seemed that no matter what I did, there was always something new to come along and change his sleeping arrangement.

It first started when he would not sleep for any length of time unless he was in his carrier. So I would buckle him in, sit in on the floor in front of the sofa, and would only be awaken for feedings. When he got too big for the carrier he was scared to be in the crib. We finally got him used to falling asleep in it but not before watching him fall asleep standing up with his head resting on the rail.

The time in the crib was very short lived as he soon started to climb out. This in itself was not too scary it was the fact that a number of times if I had not been in the room with him he would have landed on his head. So we transitioned him into a twin bed and put a gate up at his door so he would not wander through the house at night.

Soon the really strange and unusual would start. Instead of sleeping in his bed he started sleeping under it or in his closet. We had an occupational therapist by this time and she suggested a tent to give him a space to be enclosed by himself. That gave him a third place to sleep, under bed, in closet, or tent. You would think as long as he was sleeping I would let this be, but he was not sleeping well at all. He would not let me lay anything on the floor so after he feel asleep the pools of drool soaked half of his head and he would be awake again crying.

As well as sleeping in weird enclosed spaces he began to scream whenever we would turn his overhead light off, but would also make sure that no light was falling on him what so ever. Nightlights were rejected. I was beginning to think I would never sleep again and as I read stories about other parents in similar situations I was even more afraid.

Sleep deprivation must spur creativity and necessity must truly be the Mother of invention because one morning I just knew what I had to do. I pulled the old bunk bed the girls use to share out of storage and put it up in his room. I placed it in the corner of the room and used shower curtain hangers to hold old red and gold table clothes to close in the remaining exposed side and end of the bed. I removed the ladder and the top bunk serves only as a roof.

I slept well that night, till I heard Thump. He had rolled out of bed and was climbing back in. He has since placed his air mattress sleeping bag on top of his regular mattress and I wedge a pillow under one side to make sure there are no more tumbles. He zips himself in making sure the zipper is up as much as it will go and tells me "Night, night". I even on occasion get voluntary kisses.

I wonder how much longer till we have to make new inventive changes.


Crystal Jigsaw said...

I hear of so many autistic children having sleep problems. I don't know what happened to us! Amy's goe to bed at 9pm (sometimes a bit later) and gets up at 7.30 the next morning having slept like a log all night! She might get up in the middle of the night for the toilet (that's if she doesn't do it in bed) then she goes straight back to sleep again! Tonight, I shall count my lucky stars!!

All the best, Crystal xx

Swearing Mother said...

Hi dgibbs! Well, they say that necessity is the mother of invention, and you are certainly an original thinker when it comes to encouraging a good sleep pattern. You sound so incredibly patient, and a real lateral thinker.

Here's hoping your boy's latest sleeping arrangements last for a peaceful, long time.

Best wishes, and thanks for visiting my blog. Lovely to read yours.

merry weather said...

Hello and thanks for visiting me -

You have a lovely writing style, I enjoyed reading this post.

I can imagine how tough it must be not to get your sleep, for such a long time. Yet you remain creative and inventive - Wow!

Look forward to visiting you again soon.

mcewen said...

My boys 'sleep' with the central light on all night. We installed a timer switch that cut the light after 40 minutes. All that happened was that every 40 minutes one of them was up to turn the light back on!
Since then the timer has broken [consumer mis-use] It's on all night, every night.

Self employed mum said...

Well done on your invention, how clever. We have a close friend who is autistic, he's 11, sleeps in a single bed, but with a double quilt and has to have complete darkness, 2 people are never the same.
Keep up the good work and thanks for dropping in on my blog x