Posted by: autismland | January 10, 2007

I Think He Gets This (#568)

This post begins at 1am on Tuesday morning, when Charlie woke up after falling asleep shortly after 8pm on 1.5 mg of melatonin. We were both still up and, in the interest of Charlie not staying up until 6am, being woken two hours later and falling asleep at school, we gave him another small dose. He was not completely bright-eyed as he went from front porch across the soggy lawn to the sidewalk and the bus, but then Charlie does not appear to be a morning person.
Finallytired

(This photo, by the way, is of Charlie at my parents’ house in California, where he was going to sleep at 1am Pacific Coast Time—-4am East Coast Time.)

After ABA and a home visit from his school speech therapist, piano practice, a dinner whose highlight was mushroom and tapenade—“taup odd” said Charlie, who has never shown much of interest in olives; who knows—some random running around and using Grandpa’s couch as a trampoline (Grandpa and Grandma do not sit on it anymore, as their “legs are not good”), a shower and a puzzle, Charlie gathered up his bedtime provisions of balls, the plush Snowman whose moniker seems to be “Barney” by default (Charlie used to sleep with a large one until the purple dinosaur had to be dispatched to the garbage), and an old (but clean) golf shirt of Jim’s—–perhaps I should call these rather Charlie’s bedtime talismans, his small collections of things that all touch on deep memories and connections—–Charlie was to be found lying on his bed with Daddy’s blue blanket wrapped around him in the manner of a tight sleeping bag.

It was 9.15pm. Jim and I had decided to give Charlie 3 mg of melatonin for dose #3 and see if he can sleep through the night.

Charlie looked at me expectantly. “Bedtime, goo’ night!”

“You’re ready for bed?”

“Goo night.”

I gave him the melatonin, put an extra fleece blanket on him, and turned out the light, then grabbed my laptop, a sweater, a book, headphones, and some stationery and tiptoed upstairs, after turning out all the lights to the lower level of our house. Jim was working at the dining room table and I whispered how, after 8.30pm, Charlie had been going in and out of his room and into our room, laughing and clapping his hands, and checking to make sure those bedtime talismans were where they should be.

Charlie has been falling asleep within 15-30 minutes of taking the melatonin, an effect which seems a bit magical after one late late night after another. But the real magic to me is that, as of yesterday, Charlie seems quite aware that there is something that can help him go to sleep, and that he does not have to spend hours tossing, turning, and finally running in over-tired hyperness all over the house in the wee hours of the morning.

That soft and open look on Charlie’s face as he settled down on his pillows tells me he must indeed understand what is helping him sleep better.

Unless it’s not the melatonin but something in that snowman………

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Responses

  1. Hmmm…you make me think I should try this on Ben. He stays up very late.

  2. “Unless it’s not the melatonin but something in that snowman………”

    I love this ending to your post.

    Edith didn’t get any good sleep last night at all, and was up before 5:00 am. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and praying that a seizure doesn’t occur today.

    If there is something in that snowman, I think we just might need to find one for Edith.

  3. Re toys having to go into the garbage: We had to throw some out (cheap plastic stuff, gift from a grandma, one bit broke and a child cut his foot on it, so we tossed the lot) and take some out of circulation for 6 months to try again (not every child is past the putting-things-in-the-mouth at 3!).

    Sleeping is going reasonably well here, except Sam was still awake at 10 and grumpy about getting up this morning. We’re OK, but if it gets worse, melatonin might be worth a try. We’ll see. (We’ve dealt with a lot worse; better is much better!)

  4. Sleep is so important for all of us. As I have posted before, Melatonin did nothing for Sam, as we resorted to Clonidine a year ago. After 3 years of him waking at 1am and remaining awake until morning, it is so much better. We still have some tough nights, but all in all it’s better. I hope you figure out the best dosage for Charlie. I think the adjusting to “home time” after traveling plays a huge role too. My Sam is still off from our travels and its been two weeks. Best wishes and sweet dreams friend!!!

  5. I still can’t believe it has worked—-knocking on a lot of wood! It is certainly not the hardest thing to have tried to help Charlie with, that is certainly true—-but I do think longer, regular sleep is slowly having a nice effect on his whole “dysregulated-able” system.


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