Sunday, July 21, 2013

Night Waking

It's been a long time since I posted about a book. I read many, close to 200 in a year, many of which are wonderful. Until I joined this book club, I never used to keep track, but now I have a reading log and an ever growing pile of books to be read.

Sarah Moss's Night Waking was a Daily Deal in Amazon's Kindle store last year. The blurb sounded interesting so I went ahead and purchased the book, only to have it sit in my virtual library for months. I finally got around to reading it, and was astounded at the quality of her writing, and how much it resounded with me.

As the title suggests, this novel is about sleeplessness. The protagonist is a scholarly mother of two stuck on an island off the Scottish coast trying to get a book written while managing her children, who do not sleep. It is dark and perceptive, everything you'd expect from a Granta novelist.

The timing in which I read this book coincided with a period of Little A's sleeplessness. While he's never been the best sleeper, we'd gotten into a decent schedule of sleeping from 10pm-7am, or 9pm-6am once school started, with the occasional early waking - 5 am maybe twice in ten days. He sometimes wakes up at 2 or 3 am, but falls back asleep within 2 hours as long as I'm lying next to him. We've already established that getting out of bed properly is not allowed until the sun is up.

Since his sixth birthday party at school, though, we've had a lot of night waking. And night crying, and, for the first time, night screaming. Four or five nights a week in the past fortnight. For maybe the second and third times in Little A's life, his dad has had to put him back to sleep after the 2 and 3am wakings, as there is less screaming involved when he is in charge.

It is at these times, lying in the dark at 4am, having gone to sleep at 11 and been up again since 2, that I come perilously close to harming my child. Only a mother who has been through this would understand; unfortunately I may be in for this for a long time, as children with autism tend to have sleep issues. These nights I try to fall asleep soon after Little A does, so that I've managed at least 3 hours before the wakeup call.

We've been unable to pinpoint what caused this development, though I suspect it is the memory of his birthday party, or the thought of more parties, singing and clapping that initially triggered the crying. While the crying and screaming have, thankfully, and hopefully permanently, stopped, the 4am waking continues, now every other night. I can manage this, as one night of 5 hours' sleep followed by another of 7 is far better than 3 hours, 5 nights a week.

4am wakings mean we are up for the day, as the sun is up by 6. Big A sometimes falls asleep at work, and I get by with coffee. This week school is out until August 12th, so we hope to get Little A's sleeping back to its regular schedule of 8 hours or so a night. We will see how that pans out.  

No comments: