The Parenting Rule I Had to Break to Help My Son


I totally cheated at nap time today. I snuggled Brandon in his bed until he feel asleep. Will I pay for it tomorrow? Possibly. He may decide that he doesn’t want to take a nap because he wants Mommy to lie with him again. But I have to trust my instincts, and mine told me it was okay to bend the rules today.

Brandon was making a lot of noise in his room. I checked the nanny cam and he was lying by the door. He only sleeps at nap time about 50 percent of the time, but he does stay in bed. Before going in to lay him back in bed, I waited a couple minutes to see what he was going to do. He went back to his bed, and just sat there staring straight ahead.

Something just didn’t seem right. I can’t really explain it, but my instincts were telling me that he wasn’t just being defiant. I opened the door and he ran up to me, jumped in my arms, and buried his head in my neck. Brandon is a very affectionate child, and does like to be held, so that part wasn’t weird. But it was weird that he was so quick to need my affection when I opened the door. Again, this is hard to explain… I just knew something wasn’t quite right — a mother’s intuition.

My main strategy for getting Brandon to sleep in his big boy bed is to be consistent. As is I said in my post about this, I am not perfect. I cheated. I laid down in that teeny tiny toddler bed with him and let him lie on my shoulder. He was very still. After a few moments, it clicked. Our neighbors are having work done in their backyard. There’s a lot of weird constructions sounds happening out there. It’s a small project. It’s not very loud, but you can hear it. He fell asleep in five minutes… if that.

He was tired, and wanted to sleep, but something about the sounds bothered him. I don’t know if they made him nervous, or just annoyed him.

Can you imagine being 3 and not being able to communicate something like this to your mommy? He just expected me to lay him back in his bed without saying a word. It breaks my heart to think about this.

Now he is napping soundly in his bed. It was one of those times that I had to break my own rule in order make this through this autism journey. I’m glad I did. I know this doesn’t seem like a huge deal to the average parent. So what… I snuggled my son to sleep; but any autism parent can tell you that breaking consistency with something like bedtime can throw you off for weeks.

Oh well. We’ll just have to see what happens.

All parents can tell you this though: Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and do the best you can!

This post originally appeared on Ramblings of a Special Mom.

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