In our house sleep is something we have come to realise is just not on the cards. I have a 4yr old that will only fall asleep with Mum and if she wakes up and I have snuck off to my bed she WILL take the time at 3am to give me a lecture on why she is cross that I bed hopped without taking her with me. Don’t get me wrong, I do cherish every cuddle as I know one day she won’t want to know me and I'll find myself dropping her off a block away from her high school so her friends don’t see her embarrassing mum. When you throw a 3yr old child living with autism in the works it just takes it to the next level.
You see Emmi-Belle has never really been a big fan of sleep, in fact she would much prefer to watch Dora, play the iPad, go for a drive or even better scream the roof off for hours. I swear she used to have an inside game she would play with us “see how many nights Mum and Dad can last with no sleep before they have a mental break down”. For a good chunk of EB’s life she happily functioned off a maximum of 2 hours sleep a night. I would be googling at 2 am things like “why wont my child sleep?”, “sleep and children with ASD” , “ how long can a human live with no sleep”… you get the idea. There was a period where Emmi-Belle didn’t sleep a wink for 3 days and Chris and I were like walking zombies trying to live out everyday life/ work and it was just too much. We got into the routine of taking it in turns where one of us would get to sleep one night and then have an all nighter the next. I mean it's not the ideal situation for a working couple with 2 young kids but hey, it was damn better than no sleep at all. This went on for a good 6 months and once we got into the routine it wasn’t really that bad. I look at it like I am a soldier in training and in the end I will be an undefeatable warrior. I am now proud to say I can easily live day-to-day off 4 hours of sleep. lol!
Anyway after a while (and a by while I mean long time) Em started to sleep for 2-3 hours then 3-4 hours then 5-6 hours and so on. Soon she was sleeping 6 hours a night!!! WE SURVIVED THE STORM!! We've had it good for about 12 months now with EB sleeping on average 6 hours a night, life is good…. Until recently she's decided to bring back old habits….
A NIGHT IN OUR HOUSE STEP BY STEP:
6:30 get home from work/kindy/after school care and start dinner, run bath etc.
7pm do homework and read EB a book
8pm start the going to bed process…
10pm Taleah is already out like a light but Em is still bouncing off walls
12am Emmi-Belle is starting to get tired and fingers crossed she will fall asleep (and let's be honest wherever that might be we don’t really care as long as she falls asleep)
2:30am Em wakes up crying, Chris and I lay wide eyed in bed crossing all fingers and toes the cry dies down and she falls back asleep.
3am she is still crying so one of us goes in to tend to her
3.10am she is dragging us through the house to the car and now the cry has turn to a gurgling scream. This goes on for as long as we can tolerate and then she wins and one of us takes her for a drive.
3am Monday 16/3...
If we are lucky we will get her to sleep and then with stealth precision we can transfer her from the car to her bed and pray to the gods she will sleep until at least 5am. If not then I will simply park in the driveway, recline the drivers seat, lock the doors, open the moonroof and try to catch some Z’s. Last Sunday night I was staring at the stars while lying back in the front seat and was thinking to my self, “ this is the second time in 3 days I have slept in the car, I wonder how many other mums are sleeping in a car right now or even squished up into a cot with a sleeping baby, lying wide awake on a cold wooden floor, not yet ready to let go of their child’s hand, in fear they wake up at the loss of touch or even just not lying at all as their kid is still bouncing off walls?? I guess it's just what we do as parents, we do what works and there should be no judgement passed at how families decide to run their household. A question for you… Where is the strangest place you have slept in order to keep your child happy?
Taleah woke me up by tapping on the car window at 7am...
Love Nik xx