Its the middle of the night (currently rnd 3 or 4 for us, lost count) and you hear your child crying. They are normally a pretty solid sleeper unless something is wrong, so you go in to attempt to figure it out. In my case, I know E’s SPD means that he has a much higher pain threshold, so if its bad enough to wake him up then he’s miserable.
Sometimes you get a clue..fever, tummy gurgling, vomit, diarrhea, stinky diaper, pulling at ears…but tonight you get none of these. Every parent knows that feeling of helplessness of knowing something is wrong but you can’t fix it because they cant tell you what it is for the first year of their child’s life but for us, it’s indefinite. Is it a headache? earache? sore throat? nausea? something else? Add in the autism, and sometimes even older children can’t point to the offending area, open their mouth enough to check the throat, or shake their head yes or no.
So you begin the cycle…try to soothe for a bit (sometimes he calms when I rub his arms or legs or massage his belly…sometimes all I can do is lie close and let him know I’m there) and hope they fall back asleep-but even then you’re not sure if they like what you’re doing or if they hate it and just can’t say so, then you give in and give them pain reliever just in case, more soothing, more looking for clues. Sometimes whatever it is the pain reliever helps so eventually its back to sleep. Other nights like tonight you repeat the same process every hr or so. Wishing you could read their mind so you could take their pain and discomfort away…or at least attempt to.
Right now E is somewhat calmed down, and has his iPad in the bedroom…yeah its almost 3 am but he’s calm finally so mommy is taking a few minutes to restore some sanity…and to give you a glimpse of our life. I think this is the single hardest thing about both his lack of words and his autism 😦