AND it's been another month since I touched base here. This one I blame on my insomnia, which has apparently decided it really wants to be my friend forever and ever and ever and EVER! It comes in two forms now; one where I can't get to sleep until early in the morning, 2 or 3 AM, and then I get up at 5:15 to start the day and the variant when I fall asleep okay but wake up after a few hours and have trouble going back to sleep and wake up every fifteen or twenty minutes or so. More than a few days of that and you feel like you're wrapped in thick cotton, stumbling when you walk, and generally not able to write anything more coherent than your name on the bottom of checks.
A reason I sometimes can't fall asleep is when the rebel brain decides that nice, quiet, dark time when you're comfy in bed is just the best time to throw up all kinds of bad thoughts and worries that hang around worse than a buddy who comes down 'for a few days' and stays until you start to claim him on your taxes. Worries about the bills, Tracy's job, the cats, the house, the cars, and eternally - Xander. If he's had a bad day, so much the better for the renegade brain - focus on all the problems we had, look ahead to a time when he's trying to function on his own and has those problems. That's a recipe that would give a narcoleptic bags under the eyes. Good day? No problem! Imagine him having to deal with other things that's always there, good days or bad.
Like his sensory issues.
Autistic people tend to be sensitive in one or more areas of their sensory input. Vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, heck let's throw in sixth senses too because it's not TOO tricky right now. Things that are a nonexistent blip on our sensory radar screen (that hint of oregano, that shadow cast by a strong bulb on a jagged stack of books, that faint holdover smell of last's night spray of air freshener, that dead air hum from the TV, the feel of the spoon's edges we hold to eat) turn into Katrina-style hurricanes to sensitive people with just as destructive, if more isolated, results. At best, it's probably like having to walk with a stone in your shoe and not being able to remove it, a constant annoyance that affects everything just by being there. At worst - agony.
Since I'm also afflicted by migraines, I can sympathize if not completely fathom it. When I'm in the depths of pain of a bad one, I can hear a cat walking on the carpet in the room. It's not like anvils dropping down steel staircases, but it's loud enough, and at a time when all I want to do is fall asleep it's just as effective as a brass band in keeping me awake. So I might have a small understanding, or familiarity.
And given my lack of sleep, I see it from another angle, where colors are a little duller and sounds louder (there mainly because I crank up the music to help me stay awake) and generally my whole body feels a step or two out of time, like I feel things a few seconds after I should have, a badly dubbed movie where the lips stop moving before I hear what you're saying. It's all-too-annoying because it's so usual for me, which may be a small blessing, that Xan is so used to the everyday stuff that it takes more to push him into overload. Not fun, but at least handleable,
There is another side.
Tracy volunteered this weekend to help fix up a house. (I envy people who can do that, fix cars or houses or build things. I've tried; it's not in my DNA. I like to joke I'm under court order not to try and do anything more complex than change a light bulb, but it's only a restraining order, not an actual court finding.) So I had the boy all day Saturday solo. It went up and down, with mostly good times mixed in with all out battle of wills.
A recent focus of problems is the kitchen, in that Xan seems to always be hungry and has developed a bad habit of strolling into the kitchen and getting stuff to eat with permission being seen as a unnecessary time delay. Whole packages of raisins, set-out food to be made later (cooked but not constructed, as it were), of course any candy within eyeline, and so much more have been devoured in spite of our warnings and threats. Xan also skillfully skates the line between overt disobedience and possible misunderstanding like a pro.
This happened more than a few times Saturday:
Xan calmly, nonchalantly, ambles into the kitchen.
I see him from the living room and yell at him to get out.
He exits the kitchen yelling, jumping, whining, and occasionally head-butting the table or a chair.
(Need I say this is often AFTER a big lunch, or a snack? It's not like he's on a diet here!)
This grew old the first time it happened, and by the fourth or fifth it had lost any magic at all. And it kept on going until we went to get mommy.
We decided we all were too tired to cook dinner and stopped at Wake and Bake on the way back, which is where I saw a side of Xan's odd senses I usually forget.
He was sitting down while we waited for our to-go order, sipping (well, guzzling) a root beer, and every few seconds he would burst out laughing. No idea why - maybe the bubbles from the root beer in his mouth were especially ticklish, or the windows across the street had lights under ceiling fans that made funny shadows, or some echo from people's conversations were like jokes to him?
Whatever it was, he really enjoyed it, whatever it was. Something he sensed that we couldn't, something that tickled him that wasn't even in our level of comprehension.
It was an interesting demonstration that sometimes an area that can be so problematic can, sometimes, throw up an unexpected marvel.
Like the fact this column roughed itself out in my head as, once again, I jumped in and out of sleep like a flying fish.
Sweet dreams, one and all.