Bedtime Wars

Like many autistic kids, Tad has issues with sleep.  His problem isn’t so much going to sleep as it is staying asleep, but recently he’s had problems doing both.

With his new bed, he really doesn’t seem to feel the need to wander about the house at night to find a different place to sleep – he REALLY loves his bed.  But in our effort to make his bed especially appealing to him, he has a desk lamp on the headboard to read by, and that is causing problems.  He wakes up in the middle of the night and turns it on, and then will often fall back asleep with it on, which sometimes bothers Rerun.  Recently, though, he’s been refusing to turn it off to go to sleep.

I wanted to nip this one in the bud right away, since I am very tired of sneaking into his bedroom to turn off that lamp all the time.  Last night, I found a way.

Tad has a select number of CD’s he likes to listen to at bedtime, and most of them are Veggie Tales.  He’s been listening to the Easter CD since Easter without stop.  That doesn’t bother me too much, because Easter music is not nearly as pervasive as Christmas music.  But now that Christmas is here, he really wants the first Christmas CD that Veggie Tales put out, “A Very Veggie Christmas.”  The problem is, the music gets him so stirred up that he rarely goes to sleep while listening to it.  And having the lights on doesn’t help the situation at all.

Last night, he asked me specifically for the Veggie Tales CD.  I had slipped The Vince Guaraldi Trio CD in, hoping that the sounds of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” would lull him to sleep.  No, he didn’t want that, he wanted Veggie Tales.

I finally said, “Okay, Tad, you can listen to Veggie Tales… but your light stays off.”

And I switched off the desk lamp.

And he promptly freaked out.

I insisted, though, even as his whining got louder (Rerun wasn’t asleep yet – he was listening to this conversation while paging through one of his favorite dinosaur books).  He could listen to Veggie Tales, but the light had to stay off.  And if he turned it back on, I warned him, I would take the CD away and he wouldn’t get to listen to it.

Tad’s internal struggle was mighty, but his desire to listen to the CD won out.  The light stayed off, I turned on the CD, kissed both boys good night, and left the room.  I did leave the door wide open with the hall light on, so there was still plenty of ambient light.

I checked on them four minutes later (I’d set the timer while I was mixing up a batch of cookies), and they were both awake, but the light was off and all was quiet.

Ten minutes later, Tad was fast asleep, the lights was still off, and Rerun’s eyes were almost closed when I came in the room.  I gave him another kiss and tucked him back in (he always kicks off his blankets), and he dropped off immediately.

I have won this round, but the battle is far from over.  And new fronts are opening up in the war all the time.

Still, I will savor today’s victory, for tomorrow will inevitably have its own defeats in store for me.

One Response to “Bedtime Wars”

  1. Jennifer
    December 14th, 2011 13:35

    Sweet Victory! Stopping by from Autism Moms. Wanted to say hello.