Thursday, October 09, 2008

Imagine That. ...

We're going through another sleep episode here. Or rather a no-sleep episode. Oliver has been awake for a good part of the last two nights, waking at 2am and unable to fall back asleep until 6am. The trouble is that when Oliver doesn't sleep he requires an adult to be with him or else no one else in the house would be able to sleep. He jumps on the bed and is just generally loud unless someone is there with him. Sometimes I get up with him and take him to the kitchen and we bake something. But sometimes I'm just not able to be wakeful and then it is a struggle between what we both need. So last night I tried something different. I laid next to him in the dark and told him over and over again that if he couldn't sleep he should turn on the light and get a book to read. Oliver isn't much into self-directed reading so I'm not sure this is the best strategy but I'm hopeful that we can help him find something quiet to do when he can't sleep. So around 5am he finally turned on the light, got a book and climbed back into bed, half-heartedly paging through it. When he closed the book I suggested he get another. Then another. After the third book he put his head back on the pillow and pulled the covers up to his nose. Then I told him that if he was ready to sleep he should turn off the light. He did this and was asleep within a few minutes.

It is hard for me to imagine a time when Oliver will be able to find ways to occupy himself but I am hopeful. I see him spending more time on activities and he is willing to sit though more varied reading materials. And it isn't hard for me to also recall a time when I found it difficult to imagine that he would be able to dress himself, use the toilet, brush his own teeth or ride a bike -- but he can do all of that now and I've begun to take it for granted.

And in the meantime, it is only sleep, right? And on the RDI-front, Oliver has probably mastered our current objective, which requires that he is able to adopt a studying response to uncertainty. Today I held out two hands, one of which had a surprise inside, and asked him to choose a hand. Very carefully he shifted his gaze from hand to hand, then he reached out and turned one of my hands over, looked at my closed fist for a second then touched the other hand to choose it instead and looked up at me to get my reaction. I remember trying to teach this to Oliver more than a year ago and being totally unsuccesful. He would always just randomly choose a hand, more to please me than out of any kind of consideration. After working on this for a couple of weeks I see that he is applying this new skill all over the place, trying to figure things out then looking at me for reassurance or more information.

I added two mantras to my desk-side window today: "Little by Little." and "In Our Own Time."


  1. Love the mantra!

    Sorry to hear about more sleepless nights - that does take a toll! The books are a good idea, especially if they are not too engrossing - they may help him get back to sleep.

    When Frog is having his episodes of sleeplessness coupled with jumping and screaming, laughing, yelling to hear himself yell, I find deep pressure and rhythmic swinging sometimes help him over it.

  2. Wow, full moon? Not sure, but I just wrote a post about being up from 2-6 am with the boys. I hope that one day they are as able to occupy themselves as Oliver was with books (even if you had to lie with him!). I especially appreciate knowing that there were other things you weren't sure he'd do and is now.

  3. Well, I see you had already noted the weird coincidence :)

  4. Anonymous8:03 AM

    It sounds like Oliver is continuing to blossom. But -- oy! -- the sleep deprivation! I hope you get a break soon.

  5. Hey 3 am here too! Fortunately, Cotton has his own side of the house:) He loves to stack cards, pile toys and look at books, so that occupies most of his time. He also LOOOOVES to listen to music, so I have a bunch of CD's (copies) for him to mix through. As far as actually entertaining himself, and not stimming... I have to admit, I let it slide at 3 am. We have been doing music therapy for a few months now, our next CD is suppose to help organize circadian rhythms. I will let you know if it has an effect.

  6. This sounds so promising. I have been trawling the internet for a good Veteran RDI family blog.