Monday, April 16, 2012


How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake and talking to one another in the waking state?  - Plato

When I consider this carefully, I find not a single property which with certainty separates the waking state from the dream.  How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?  -Rene Descartes

Some time back in my not-too-distant blogging past I mentioned that our Autism puzzle includes two types of sleep issues:  1) falling asleep; and 2) staying asleep.  I previously posted about our falling to sleep issue.  Today, its staying asleep.

I would assume that just about any parent who is reading these words, has many a story they could tell about the early days of parenthood and trying to get a baby to sleep.  (For those parents who had the kids who slept 16 uninterrupted hours: I say to you (insert French word here).

For our oldest son, we have some doozies.  We broke every rule and ended up with a kid who thought his rightful place was between mom and dad every night.

But, there are sleep issues -- and then there are sleep issues.

When Autism first became a reality to us, I recall reading about some children with Autism who only slept about 2 to 3 hours a day in total.  Image that.  It doesn't even seem physically possible.  Indeed, if you find other blogs of other parents of children with Autism, you will find that Autism with sleep problems is not an uncommon tale. 

One of the earliest memories I have of the Little Man was right after he was born and we were still living among moving boxes in our  current house.  He woke up about 2:30 in the morning.  Not uncommon for a baby and I - being the hero parent - jumped up to take the Little Man down stairs for a feeding and hopefully a quick return to sleep.  The return to sleep did not come until many, many hours later.  At the time, it seemed like no big deal -- just a baby being a baby.  But, of course, it didn't stop there.  

There have been times, with no real discernible pattern, where, for as many of 4 days a week, our Little Man would wake up and 2:30 in the morning for the day.  Thats right:  For the ENTIRE day.  We are not talking a simple re-tuck in - or an I dropped the lion.  We are talking a full blown adrenaline rush of energy.  Now, if you know the Little Man, you know that if he is awake, he is talking.  And with 2 other kids sleeping- 2:30 a.m. playtime can be awfully disruptive.  

RANK SPECULATION WARNING:  I have a theory which some day I might discuss in more detail, but I believe that our Little Man has a significant problem processing hormones, such as adrenaline and testosterone, which the body produces naturally as part of the growth process, and which cause him periods of intensity which he can not physically control.

You can trust me-- if you can think of a trick for getting this kid back to sleep, we have tried it- from sweet love to tough love. to everything in between.  Fortunately, the 4 days a week thing only happens from time to time.  Sometimes we can go weeks without it.  There is no rhyme or reason and no real way to prepare for it.  

I would give you the current statistics, but I don't want to jink it!


  1. I gather when you tell people about Little Man's sleep habits you get lots of advice.

    I don't know how you do it. Sleep deprivation is also a form of torture.

  2. Yes. Sleep deprivation is torture. Want to know my secret to getting through it? My wife!