Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Midnight Wanderings

One of Little A's writing tasks, with his own answers. Bed is for Mommy.
I've written many a post on Little A's sleep, or the lack thereof, even before he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It took him ages to sleep through the night, and until recently he would still wake up at 4 or 5am a few nights a week.

When Little A wakes in the night he sometimes babbles, and if this goes on long or loudly enough I go in and quiet him down, whereupon he asks me to stay with him until he either falls asleep or the sun comes up and he is allowed to get down from bed. Other times he gets down from the bed himself (no easy feat in the dark from a top bunk!), shuffles into our room, tugs at my hand and takes me back to bed with him to keep him company. He knows he must stay in bed until there is daylight, and that he is not allowed to share ours as he shouldn't disturb his sleeping dad.

Upon moving into his own room in January, Little A's sleep patterns, by and large, improved. There is still the occasional early morning waking, more so since summer has begun and he has been less tired by the day's activities, with no school to keep him busy. But the sleep hours are longer, and for that I am grateful.

On the nights that Big A and I are out on a date, the Au Pair puts Little A to sleep. She knows the routine and manages very capably. As soon as he is out for the count, she retires for the night herself. Normally, we arrive home only 2 or 3 hours after bedtime, and usually all is quiet. I peek at Little A, and then get ready for bed.

One night recently, we stayed out later than usual, as a friend of BigA's was in town for the first time since she migrated to Canada with her family three years ago. When we got home, I saw that our bedroom light was switched on. This is unusual, as we turn out the lights when we go, and at bedtime only nightlamps remain illuminated. I checked Little A's room, and he was in his bed, but he was awake.

When he saw me, he reached for me and asked me to stay next to him as he fell back asleep, which only took a few minutes. The next morning, I asked the Au Pair if the light in our bedroom had been left on the night before. She told me it was off when she went to bed after putting Little A to sleep. He had obviously woken in the night, made his way to our room, turned on the light to be sure we were not there, and, finding the room empty, gone back to his own bed.

I still am very proud he did this all on his own. In the beginning my biggest trepidation about him sleeping in his own room was that he would wake in the night, turn the lights on, and play with his toys. He used to try this, but has since accepted my edict that unless the sun is out, he must stay in bed and at least try to go back to sleep. That he followed this even when seemingly at home all alone gives me much joy and hope that in other things as well he will learn to behave appropriately. Hooray for small successes.

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