Teacher Professor

July 14, 2010

Hard Sleep

Filed under: Autism — Teacher Professor @ 4:51 pm

There’s so much to say and so many things I want to blog about- the fancy dish that really was tuna casserole and  reminded me of labels; Ray’s missing tooth and his belief in the tooth fairy; and Elizabeth’s mirror personality that is reflecting unusual things from camp, but the reality is that I’m too tired. 

I’m deep into three big writing projects- a book and two grants- and one of the grants was due today, so I’ve been up until 2:00am working on it for more days than I want to think about.  The other two are looming (I’m working on it, Lacey!) and I’m running on coffee and energy and just pure love of what I do.  This is my summer bliss- I get to focus on what I love to do all day, take a break to feed and play with my mother and children when they come home from work and camp, and then go back to the computer.  The deadline drives me; the pressure makes me problem-solve and the intricity of the projects fuel me.  I flirt dangerously close to mania… and the lack of sleep is a problem. 

I wanted this to be a  post about sleep disorders, because sleep underlies so many, many problems.  Lack of sleep fuels Elizabeth’s autism, it sends Ray into a literally twitchy state.  It aggravates James’ ADHD and makes me a mean mommy, a mean person.  I wanted this to be a post about sleep disorders, but I’m too tired to think much about it.

But while I worry about and think about and feel my thoughts flit about sleep, my daughter is not having these same issues. 

My daughter is sleeping on the floor.  And not just any floor- a cold, hard tile floor- next to the dog’s crate.  She got mad at Ray, sharing a room with her, two nights ago and took her blankets off in a huff and flounced out into the hallway, where she made herself a nest.  I figured that she would be back in her bed within minutes.  Within minutes, she was snoring- asleep in the middle of the hallway.  That was two nights ago.  Last night, she went back to her spot, right in the middle of the hallway, where I have to step over her to go to the bathroom, where I had to move her to let the dog out one last time before I went to bed.  She’s not complaining. She’s not achy.

I asked her “Why” this morning and she just shrugged. “I like it,” she said, unable to find the words to explain why she would choose a hard tile floor with no pillow beyond Bunny over a bed.  Getting away from her brother?  Wanting to feel grounded?  Wanting to be close to me?  Wanting not to miss anything going on in the house?  Wanting to feel the coolness of the tile?  And once again, I find myself trying to guess Elizabeth’s motivations, trying to see through the sensory experience to the anxiety? the anger? the fear? the novelty? that she doesn’t have the words to tell me.

All I know is that if she’s sleeping, it’s working for her.  And I will not be joining her. 

When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said ‘No, I made a few mistakes.’
Stephen Wright

1 Comment »

  1. I hate deadlines! For 30 years I’ve been meeting them for art shows. I haven’t missed a deadline yet. But I hate them. My next one is October 1 in Tucson, AZ, and I need to have three new paintings completed, framed, photographed, digitals sent to the show for their website, and crates ready to pack and ship. It’s old hat, I’m used to it. But, indeed, the “muses” need to be kick-started sometimes, and I want to have my best work finished for display. I sold a little 11×14 masterpiece at this Tucson show last year, and I’m still so proud of it. I don’t let art show deadlines interfere with my sleep, though. But that’s because I always have months to plan and paint before the deadline. I’d rather go to bed with the chickens, and get up at 5 a.m. and get to work with a fresh and energetic mind. I deal with sleep deficit when I’m traveling, though, for some reason, and I haven’t found the remedy.

    As for kids sleeping on the floor, my 40-year-old son still does sometimes when he’s away from home, and it doesn’t bother him a bit. He started that sleep habit when he was little, from time to time, and never had a problem sleeping. I can’t sleep on the floor to save my life! I don’t know how anyone does it!

    Comment by Claire Goldrick Hughes — July 14, 2010 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

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