Thursday, March 14, 2013

Midnight Madness

   As any parent can tell you, one of the most difficult things about parenting can be the lack of sleep. When you first bring home a newborn, getting up every 2-4 hours can really take its toll. I remember with all four of my children,they never slept well as infants, then for some miraculous reason, they hit age two,and slept like rocks. Considering the fact that my oldest is seven years older than my youngest, meant that at one point we had 4 kids  seven and under.Suffice it to say, we spent many nights awake, and weeks on end running on interrupted sleep.Not enjoyable. However, once we had everyone past age two, we enjoyed the luxury of being able to sleep all night,something we had missed for a long time.
   Mikey had usually slept pretty well. When he was very young, he would fidget a lot in his sleep,turning this way and that, but as he grew older, that subsided. Then, what I like to refer to as "Midnight Madness" hit our home.
  As I have mentioned in previous posts, Mikey was genuinely a happy kid.Always laughing and smiling. We noticed that as he got older, he developed somewhat of an obnoxious laugh. Not his typical giggling, but rather a loud, high pitched ,never-ending laugh. What was even more interesting was that he seemed to do it on purpose in order to annoy his brothers. Now, at first, I have to admit,that I thought it was funny. Just knowing that he was actually behaving mischieviously warmed my heart. He knew how to aggravate his brothers, and enjoyed doing it...to us, it was refreshing to see such a "typical" behavior from him. Lord knows his brothers drove him crazy all of the time ,so I guess he felt the need to pay them back, and it was kind of funny.....for a little while.
   Every so often, in the middle of the night ,when our house was super quite and everyone was sleeping,Mikey would wake up. Instead of just falling back asleep, he would start to giggle. At first, they were quiet giggles, very sweet actually, and even though it woke me up,it would make me smile. I was happy to know that whatever he was thinking about made him very happy. Slowly but surely, the soft giggles turned into full-blown cackling at the top of his lungs. Not very cute anymore. Yet,while I still couldn't get mad at him,  his brothers did.They would yell from their rooms telling him to lay down, be quiet ,etc. It drove them crazy,and understandably so. After all, everyone was trying to sleep, and with that laughter so loud, it was impossible to do so. However, the more they yelled,the louder he laughed.
   When this did happen, I would often try to take him downstairs to watch a little tv, and hope that his brothers would be able to get some rest, but was often times not very successful. It seemed as though his main mission was to wake everyone up, as if he was having a little party. It was indeed annoying, yet I still found myself unable to get angry with him. He was happy, and as the parent of a child with autism, that was what was important to me. Of course, the boys getting their rest was important as well, so again, the struggle to keep everyone happy continued.
  Fortunately, these episodes were few and far between, but they have never stopped completely. Mikey still does this ,and actually did it a few nights ago. It makes him happy,and the rest of us very sleepy. Yet, we consider ourselves lucky because we know many families with autism who not only have kids who hardly ever sleep, but also kids who try to leave their homes at night. We will gladly take the laughter,as loud as it is, and count our blessings.

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