Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Breathless-#GBE2, #NaBloPoMo

"What is it about your kids and sleep?" our sons' psychiatrist asked me yesterday.

I was sitting in his office yesterday for our regular monthly visit, a time to discuss the mental health of both of our sons. The boys do not come with me to these appointments. Going to the doctor can be a stressful thing for a kid with special needs.

Attend an appoint without them? All by myself? Fine by me! I sat like a zombie at this man's desk, chugging a tall cup of coffee as we talked and dreamed about getting those boys to sleep.

Poor sleep and autism seem to go hand-in-hand, and anyone who even knows a little bit about our family knows that sleep is perhaps one of our biggest issues.

Our house operates practically around the clock. It is not unusual for neighbors to report driving by our home at some late hour only to notice shining lights and signs of life through our sleepless windows.

Between our sleepless walls.

Under our sleepless roof.

Behind our sleepless doors.

On top of our sleepless floors.


Drugs don't really help. I tried the natural stuff until I was so desperate I went full-guns-blazing, asking whatever doctor I was seeing at the time to find something--anything--that would knock one or both of these kids out for the entire night.

No such luck.

Our younger son is better to manage than his brother. Ahhhh, big brother. The child who has never, ever, ever slept properly since the day he was born. Sweet, sweet, sleepless, sucking-the-life-out-of-me older brother.

His neurology, high anxiety and gastric woes have combined to form the perfect storm. In our house, the Sand Man doesn't stand a chance.

Lately, he's been spending two-to-three hours awake starting at around 2 a.m. For the most part, yes, he does need my attention, and my middle-aged body is feeling the wear and tear that comes along with working around the clock. I told this to my husband a couple mornings ago.

"I'm about at a breaking point," I said to him.

He nodded. I knew he understood. My husband is our paycheck. I'm the night nurse because our paycheck needs to stay awake during the day. Sometimes, our paycheck does the saintly duty of driving his sleepless son to favorite malls at 4 a.m. in an effort to induce sleep. Sometimes, however, our paycheck has to return to the office once we get the kids bathed and settled into bed.

Last night was one of those nights.

I didn't think twice about it when he headed back into work. I situated myself in our younger, anxious son's room, and, within an hour, both boys were asleep. Soon, I headed into sleep myself before our older son woke for the night shift.

"Daddy, please," I heard.

Where was I?

"Upstairs!" I heard our older son say. His voice sounded from a different place in the house. "I want Daddy, please."

I was out of bed before I was even awake. Why I was running, I don't know. I looked into his room to find that he wasn't in his bed. I gasped. How did I not hear him get out of bed?

Breathless, I ran down the stairs into the front hall.

There stood our older son, in his striped pajamas and winter boots, calling for his Daddy for his middle-of-the-night car ride. It was just after 1 a.m. Daddy was still at work.

The front door was not locked.

Our low verbal son with a history of bolting, our son with little danger awareness, had awakened and left his bed. His mom, who for the past 11 years has slept with one eye open, missed it completely when that child walked down the stairs alone in an unsecured house.

He wanted the car, and so he put on his boots and called for his Daddy.

Thank you God for keeping him away from the door.

Tonight and every night moving forward, I will be locking every door and window in this house. But, somehow, I believe that it will be quite some time before I can settle in at night and feel that I can breathe normally again.

Thank You GBE2 (Group Blogging Experience 2) for the word prompt.

NaBloPoMo July 2012 Challenge. Continuing to blog my way through July even after my kid almost escaped from our house.


  1. That you can still manage to keep your sense of humour when writing this post says it all! My heart goes out to you. Wish there was something I could do to help. (((hugs)))


    1. What else can you do but smile and keep going, right? I wish I could say this was the first time, but it isn't. This is just the first time it's happened because of an oversight on my part. We have an alarm system and locks on all the doors and windows. I knew better. However, since he's been better about bolting/escaping and since I truly do hear every little thing those kids do at night---except for last night. :P---I left the door open for my husband (and burglars). LESSON LEARNED.

  2. When my (technically not special needs child, although it was the male child, so...)youngest was about 5 he developed a horrifying habit of sleep walking. Seriously frightening sleep walks sometimes out the LOCKED door and onto the front porch or the back porch. I finally had to put a chair by the back door and slept on the sofa in the front room. I would then hear him BEFORE he escaped. He had no idea where he was or what he was doing and never once woke up while I returned him to his bed. UGH...I also slept with one eye open for a very long time.
    He did manage one time to get out and off the porch and was trying to release his bike from the lockdown for a nice 2 a.m. ride, apparently. I intervened just as he picked up the lockdown. I don't know if he could have opened it or not, but that gave me nightmares for months!
    That left me doubt.

    T just likes to keep you on your toes. No reason for you to actually get a good sound night's sleep, or so he thinks.


    1. Yes, Jo, it is just as you have described. You understand the feeling of "breathless" we've had many times compliments of older son.

  3. Amy, I wish for you a good night sleep...somehow and sometime in the near future. Take care!

    1. Thank you! I'm really, really hoping it is tonight! I can't wait to go to bed...

  4. You need to get an alarm. Not for the people coming in, but for those who attempt to get out. You could set it to buzz when the door opens. That might help you to sleep better. Good luck.

    1. Thanks, Joyce! We have a full house alarm system. Again, my error. I had it set on chime mode. Admitting that it's was a bad move all around. Door needed to be locked for several reasons and alarm set. No excuses.

  5. Very scary and yet, as always, you made me smile too. Hope your dreams of a full night sleep come true soon!