There is something going on around here. Or rather, there is nothing going on. At least between the hours of 8pm and 7am. And this morning? 8:42 am and still counting. Or should I say that the only thing going on around here, for the younger generation, is sleep. Blissful sleep. Five nights and counting. And not only is Oliver sleeping but he is going to sleep easily. He is asking to turn the lights out and go to sleep. And he is doing it without melatonin.
The funny part is that I only just came to the revelation that Oliver has a true sleep disorder and made an appointment with his pediatrician to talk about it. For a long time I believed that the sleeping -- or lack of it -- was just part of the autism. But then I thought about what I know about the core deficits of autism and realized that messed up sleep patterns weren't part of it. So why not look at the sleep thing as a true disorder, distinct from the autism?
The last time we went to see the pediatrician about this she recommended melatonin -- and that has been a fantastic help to us. It used to be that it took me two hours or more to get Oliver settled into sleep. When he was an infant that meant laying in bed with him, completely immobile, in the dark, as he was latched on. For two hours. When he finally drifted off to sleep I would come out of the bedroom like a mad woman, half asleep myself and angry and resentful that I was the only one who could nurse this boy and that Nik and RT had been helping themselves to the rest of the ice cream because "who knows how long you'd be in there." I did that for more than two years. Two years! Now it seems like a herculean task beyond belief. But at the time it was just what I had to do, so I did it.
The same has been true for the general lack of sleep that we've endured. Five years is a long time to live with broken and non-existent sleep. Especially when you have to get up and go to work every morning and manage to pretend that you aren't the coffee mainlining zombie that you really are. Nik and I became like battle-hardened veterans. We traded in our coffee maker for an espresso machine and exchanged silent, amused looks whenever any of our friends or colleagues complained about how tired they were because of a sick child. Truly, we started to believe that no one, ever, in the history of mankind, was ever as tired as we were. But also, in a weird sort of way, we just got used to it. We learned how strong we were.
So I'm not really sure what to think about these last five nights. They are a gift for sure. Part of a trend? One can only hope! But the perspective of a few nights of sleep also reminds me of how our life, in some ways, is so fundamentally different from those of just about everyone else we know. Parallel but different. And hard sometimes. But overall, I have to say, pretty good. And today? Five times better!