Everybody knows that when you have a newborn baby in the house that you’re probably going to have minimal sleep for at least 6 weeks. Actually – scrap that….Most people I know would extend that to maybe 12 months or at least until the worst of the teething months are over.
But what about families like ours where 8 years later there are still no signs of your child ever sleeping through?
Yep, that’s right, we are still waiting for that to happen with our “newborn” eight-year-old.
Of course there have been days and even weeks where Harley has shown us that it is possible, but sadly, we keep reverting back to nights like last night. He currently takes mood stabilising and anti-anxiety meds and has done for almost 2 years now and it works really well to help him fall asleep.
But that’s not the problem. Falling asleep and staying asleep are two entirely different things.
I could probably count the number of times on one hand that he has actually gone more than a week without waking us up in the early hours of the morning. Usually between 2 and 5am he is up at least 10 times. And when he’s awake, he makes sure that EVERYBODY else in the house is also awake. Harley’s room is at the opposite end of the house to ours and his brother and sister’s rooms are in the middle. Sometimes he will lay in bed crying or calling out (which wakes them up) but most times he walks quietly up to our room and stands beside our bed and calls out “Mum….Dad”..until one of us throws back the covers and marches him back to bed kicking and protesting wildly and loudly so they are woken up ANYWAY!
Rinse and repeat several times per night until you reach our point of utter exhaustion.
How very considerate of him….
Today I had downed 4 coffees, a Berocca multi-vitamin drink and a diet coke by 10 am just so that I could function well enough to survive Lucas’ early Intervention Group. And that’s not only incredibly unhealthy but pretty ridiculous and desperate measures to be taking.
This morning when I walked out to the kitchen to prepare breakfast – I was presented with 3 tired, irritable and sleep deprived kids and a husband who looked like death warmed up who had opted to go into the office later than usual just to catch another hour or so of much-needed sleep.
I have been to the paediatrician about this a few times now and each time he keeps handing me a prescription for Melatonin.
So why haven’t I filled it already?
Well – because it’s expensive for one and secondly because with Melatonin you can’t give it every single night because if you don’t alternate it and have days where you DON’T give it, the child builds up a resistance and it stops working.
It’s those in between days that scare me.
What are we going to do on those days?
At least now he is falling asleep. I shudder to think what he will be like on the days after a melatonin-free night.
I have thrown the question out there on Wonderfully Wired’s Facebook Page and many parents have written their personal experiences to me and I must say that it’s been very encouraging to read.
It help to know that there are several other families out there that have a child like ours and reaffirms that it’s nothing we have or haven’t done to make him like this.
It’s got nothing to do with us not establishing solid sleep routines when he was a baby (Thanks for nothing anonymous mothering helplines). And it is not because we aren’t strict enough with him. (Thank you too well-intentioned mothers at playgroups).
And I know this because EVERY night at 5:30pm he eats his dinner.
At 6pm he has a bath or shower,
At 7pm he has his tablet and cleans his teeth and is in bed by 7:30pm for a story without fail. And it’s always been this way for as long as I can remember.
Is it just me …or does that look like a pretty solid routine?
And 99 nights out of 100 I stick to it.
From speaking with other mothers of ASD kiddos, most spectrum children have sleeping issues of one type or another. And I have only ever read and heard positives relating to Melatonin.
So tomorrow I am pulling out that dusty script and I am marching down to our local compounding chemist and purchasing what seems to be our very last glimmer of hope.