Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Going Cold

with 23 comments

She had joined me in bed again.  I don’t know how many nights in a row this is, too tired to count now.  Always between 3 and 4 in the morning.  I’ve tried to figure out why, but I can’t come up with anything.  It just appears that there are cycles of sleep problems, and we’re riding one right now.  She no longer calls out, or announces her presence, she just presents herself at the side of the bed, until Daddy gets out, and I wearily take her in.  Sometimes she goes right to sleep.  Sometimes she fidgets, and neither of us get our rest.  After a while, Cubby joins us.  My sweet, exhausted husband leaves me a cup of tea as he heads off to work.

I need my transition.  I urge the kids to go to their rooms, but they stay.  I sip the tea, trying not to spill as they bounce all over the bed.  Cubby is only content in my arms, making tea-drinking impossible.  In the end, I give up.  I place the cup back down on the bedside table and it goes cold while I wait for them to let me be for a moment.  I get out of bed, and the day begins.

Hours later it is time for the day to end.  I’ll have my second cup of tea once they are in bed.  My other bookend to the day.  My ritual.  Cubby is winding down, but Pudding is still active, hyperactive.  We need her to go to sleep tonight.  Her Daddy has volunteered for an overnight shift, and he needs to take a brief nap to keep him going.

She isn’t in a cooperative mood.  She demands, then refuses a story.  She gets into bed, but tosses and turns, hums, and twirls her hair.  I’m thinking of that cup of tea.  How much I need it, my wholesome vice.  Why won’t she just sleep?  Almost an hour later, I give up.  I tell her to go to sleep and head downstairs.

I start to clean the day’s mess.  Even before the kettle has boiled, she is downstairs.  I march her back up and place her back in bed.  I just want a few minutes of the day to myself.  I refuse to hear her pleas to stay, and return to pour the water onto the teabag.  It steeps, I add milk.  I’m ready to sit down.

She returns.  I lead her back up to the bedroom.  Exasperated, I ask what is wrong, but she doesn’t reply.  I ask what she wants, and she replies: Mummy.  I’m humbled by her need.  She wants me to get in bed with her, being downstairs is not enough, sitting on the chair in her room is not enough.  Only physical contact will soothe her.  I climb in beside her, and cup her cheek with my hand.  I lie still while my tea is going cold.  Her breathing slows, and I move my hand away.  Instantly alert, she grabs my arm and holds on, keeping me close.  This isn’t manipulation, this is desperation.

I submit and stay, knowing that the tea will be undrinkable.  I can only hope this will pass.  That one day she will be able to calm herself when she feels like this.  Until then, I can meet her need just by being present.  I’m grateful that I can still provide all that is needed.

I watch her chest rise and fall before I dare make another retreat.  This time she didn’t stir.

Nothing to do but come downstairs and pour away the cold tea.  I’m about to make a fresh cup.  My needs are also mercifully easily met.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

23 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Lovely post, both my kids have been like this, but so was I, so I didn’t know there was another way.
    My Aspie bubble it’s such a great place to live in…LOL
    I have done exactly the same as you, as this is what my Mom has always done.
    Sleep is hard for Aspies, I still wake up between 3-4 every night.
    My brain looping, I sometimes have to write it out…usually a poem.
    I think it’s because throughout the day I am storing information (filming). When I’m a sleep my brain carries on filtering and processing it(Play backs). By about 3am my body has had the rest it needs and my brain wakes me up.
    I have some of my most eye opening light bulb moments at 3am. Once I have express in writing/speaking I can go back to sleep.
    Just to give you a bit of hope about this, both my kids by the time they where 6 figured this out and have found their own way of going back to sleep.
    You’re doing great, Pudding and Cubby are blessed to have you as their Mummy.
    On a practical note, I have a thermos cup with a lid. They don’t spill and stay hot.
    Love and hugs. Lisa. xx 🙂


    February 25, 2011 at 7:04 am

    • Thanks Lisa. You know, I have one of those thermos cups- don’t know why I don’t use it more. 🙂
      I was a poor sleeper too. Maybe the trick will be to get her to stay in her room after she wakes up. Hopefully my kids will do the same as yours when they’re a little older.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 25, 2011 at 8:54 am

  2. You’ve put this to words so eloquently. It’s rough, balancing your needs with the children’s…I always get exasperated when people (usually older, blue haired or my sister with NO kids ;)) tell me to enjoy it, the time goes by so quickly. I just want them to come over and try it for a night.
    Alienhippy–thank you for your enlightenment as to the why’s. I cherish your insight.


    February 25, 2011 at 8:56 am

    • Oh yes, we don’t get many overnight volunteers either. But then again, she only wants me anyway, so it would be no use! 😉

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

  3. (((hugs))) sounds almost identical to sleep with Julia. Only I don’t really “do” tea. 🙂


    February 25, 2011 at 9:15 am

    • Nope, definitely a Brit thing. Tea courses through my veins. Could never get Pudding to drink it though!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 26, 2011 at 7:57 am

  4. Beautifully written post. You have described so many evenings at our house where little miss is loathe to go to bed. My husband or I lay on the floor beside her crib until she falls asleep and she checks to see if we are still there by periodically asking for a tissue. There have been so many nights that while laying with a tissue in hand and staring at the night light, I have daydreamed of my ball of yarn and crochet hook — waiting for me to unwind a long day with tight stitches.

    Be strong, it will pass. And then we will be on to something new 🙂

    Karla (Mom2Kaia)

    February 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

    • Thank you. I put Daddy on duty last night, and she did a lot better. I think we’ll do it again tonight!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

  5. My son used the the same (he has aspergers) but, he got through it and eventually slept well. Now he’s 16 and thinks he’s too grown up to sleep so we have the same problem again for different reasons! Good luck, You’ll get through it.


    February 25, 2011 at 10:51 am

  6. oh how well you described that moment – the one when you think they are asleep, and you lay there so still next to them, and count to 30 just to make sure they are asleep, then move that hand and awake they are again. sigh. can you tell how many times I have been there? For me, it’s not my tea waiting for me. It’s Glee. and I have yet to see it on time. 🙂


    February 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    • Nope- that is why we DVR it. Sometimes don’t get to watch it until a few nights later. Thank goodness for DVR.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

  7. I love your blog. My son id seven. He has asperger’s too. His doc recommended Melatonin. Its natural, it works, its safe. You will be so surprised. Ask the pediatrician about it. Sleeping well will improve her coping skills-yours and hers! I love your blog.


    February 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    • Thanks Selina. I’m constantly working on my coping skills! Melatonin gets her to sleep quicker, but she still wakes a lot in the night, and rises far too early, it doesn’t seem to help with that.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 26, 2011 at 8:01 am

  8. Oh darlin’ sleeping issues suck!

    We’ve had to give into sleeping tablets for Harry *sigh*
    But you are so incredibly sweet to her….I usually scream ” go back to bed and go to sleep” and make him cry 😦

    I need to learn from you xx


    February 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    • Don’t forget you’ve been doing it a lot longer, with more kids! I’m the one who needs to learn from you. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      February 26, 2011 at 8:02 am

  9. You have such a way with words. You create the whole scene in my mind. I live this same scene with my son and I know that sinking feeling when their eyes open as you try to make that getaway. But love keeps you by her side. So beautiful. Must go kiss my son. Thanks.


    February 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  10. Us, too, honey. Us, too. Until he can calm himself at night, I’m right there for him.

    Brenda (mamabegood)

    February 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  11. Lovely post about that thing you can’t explain to anyone who doesn’t have kids, or whose kids are all easygoing & typical (yes, there actually ARE families like that… or so I’ve been told), how you just have to do what you have to do when your kids just need what they need, and the “rules” be damned.

    It’s funny how in our house my son with autism is actually my EASIER sleeper (I say this with him having woken up at 5:30 this morning, but really it’s the first time he’s done that, assuming an aberration). His twin brother, the typical-ish one, is my difficult sleeper. He is high strung and high maintenance and probably has some ADD and/or anxiety issues, but ni any case, he needs to talk and talk at bedtime, is afraid of the dark and CANNOT get to sleep unless someone is in bed with him holding him. At eight and a half. Yeah, 8 & 1/2 years of bedtime taking about 2 hours a night. And people wonder why I am so tired all the time 😉

    Just letting you know … you are not alone.

    Varda (SquashedMom)

    February 26, 2011 at 9:18 pm

  12. This brings back memories of my early years with my oldest. It did get better. I’m still needed, and I’m still the reliable source of comfort, but in different ways now. I trust it will get better for you, too.


    February 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

  13. […] February there was even more tea, but this time it was going cold.  Pudding began playing Jedi mind tricks on us, and I mused about how it might be to see things […]

Leave a Reply to Varda (SquashedMom) Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: