Conversations at o’dark thirty


I feel like I got hit by a Mack truck the other day.  I was lightheaded from my head was continually spinning.  My eyes could not focus on anything.  The best position for my eyes was closed.  All I could think about was drinking an ice cold diet coke or taking a six-hour nap.  Why did I have to choose?  I remember hearing a slight hum from the radio, but my head hurt so much much I couldn’t make sense of what was playing.  UGH!  I heaved my eyes open trying to concentrate on my ever-growing to-do list.  All I knew that the nap was climbing to the top of the list.  I.must.power.through.

Now, let me tell you I haven’t been sick.  Hell, I wish I could have said I had one too many margaritas the night before.  No, I had gotten up at 2:23 A.M. to check on P after I heard his familiar shuffle, shuffle “I’m Ok mom.”  That was my clue that everything wasn’t all right.  Autism is funny in a lot of ways.  Especially before o’dark thirty wakeup calls.  It is like a grab bag of cotton-candy to who rained on your parade.  I have learned to proceed with caution.   I grabbed a blanket to lay down next to P.  He says to me, “Did Daddy leave?”  (You see Daddy works early in the morning, but not quite this early.)  I said, “No, buddy.  It is not even 3:00 in the morning.  Daddy gets to sleep for a bit longer today.”

An “Oh” is all I hear from Peter.  He was quiet for a few minutes.

“Where is Daisy (our dog)?” P asks

Much to my surprise Daisy was still sleeping.  She usually is up with the o’dark thirty wakeup calls to make sure her boy settles back down.  I told P “Daisy is sleeping too.”

P was quiet for another few minutes, and I thought he had fallen back to sleep.  Then P sits up and says “You know once I am up.  I am up for the day.  So, we might as well eat breakfast.”

I do love a good breakfast, but I have drawn a hard fast rule no breakfast before 3:45 AM in the house.  I said to him, “It’s not time.  Let’s close our eyes and see if we can sleep for 50 minutes.”

“But Mom, ” P says, “if we eat breakfast now, I was thinking, then we could get dressed and be all ready to go when Daddy wakes up.”

I decided to follow along with his train of thought to see where he was taking me.  “Then what?” I asked him.

P smiles real big at me knowing that he had my attention.  “Then I can be with my Daddy.  Isn’t that a good idea? When Daddy goes to work, then we can have all the time to look for my missing shield.”

And there it was.  The missing shield from the latest lego project had gone missing.  If you could see P’s room, it would not shock you that something 2 mm by 3 mm could ever go missing in his room.  It is a twist between chaos and utter havoc.  Trinkets and doo-dads cover his desk.  Half-built lego creations and school projects scattered around the floor.  Clothes and blankets littered in between.  I take extra blankets downstairs; however, they keep finding their way back upstairs straight to Peter’s floor.  It’s a battle I can not win.  Peter’s bookcase has one alarm clock, his collection of hotel room keys, a deck of card, a pencil, magazine, little baby lego pieces that multiply when I close my eyes.  Back to the missing shield, P realized last night at 8:45 the shield was missing.  He freaked out a bit.  I told him that we would help him clean his room to look for the shield.  That was not good enough he needed like pronto.  I said good-night to him telling him if he wanted to look for it he could.  I had my answer he didn’t find the shield.

All night long that one little detail sprung to the top of his thoughts perseverating inside him until he could not sleep any longer.  Bam!  Just like that, he was awake at 2:23 AM wondering where he his little lego shield was hiding at in his room.

Why did he have to have the little red and yellow lego shield?  Because autism.  Do we need any other reason to explain this focus on one small object?  I mean why else would we get up before the butt crack of dawn?

I said to P, “Dude, there is still a chance for us to sleep at least two more hours.  Where did you last see the red and yellow lego shield?”

He says, “I’m not sure.  I think it might be in my treasure chest.”

“Did you get up to look in your treasure chest yet? ”

“Good idea” P throwing off his orange blanket springing out of bed.  He reaches under his desk to pull out the treasure chest that Grandma had given him two Christmases ago.

He rummages around for a few minutes pulling out trinkets and doodads.  Then he gets to all the extra pieces from all his lego creations.  He dumps out about 479 pieces and voila! The missing shield had been found.

P is smiling from ear to ear.  I am yawning like an exhausted mother.  I look at the clock.  It is 3:18 AM.

I ask P, “Remind me, are you going to use the shield for the car you are building?”

“Nah.  I just wanted to know that it was safe, ” P told me.

Of course.  Thank you autism for another short night of sleep.  

Through my yawns, I  cover P up with his favorite orange blanket and ask him, “Will you be able to fall back to sl…”

I look at P and hear the soft breathing that tells me he is drifting off to sleep.  I quietly close P’s bedroom door and climb into my bed, hoping to drift off to sleep once again as well.



All my best to you,


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