Of all the things that we do have trouble with at home, the least stressful of them is bedtime.
I remember, as a child, putting up plenty of fights about bedtime – wanting to stay up later to watch TV, or to read, or to just do anything besides go to sleep, which was boring. (Those were the days.) And inevitably, I had ways to get around those problems, but in the end, my parents won.
Given how the Monster doesn’t always understand directions, I think I expected bedtime to be a bigger issue, especially since we’re not always so consistent due to our own schedules. There are nights where one or the other of us isn’t available. Nights where the grandparents are watching him. Nights where, for whatever reason, we’re not home at bedtime and things get delayed. And then the nights where we just decide on a whim to let him stay up later for a bit.
Ironically, this has been the easiest part of dealing with his autism. One of two things happens when we’re home, without fail – either he announces to us that it is bedtime or heads for his room on his own (not quite so common), or he relents the moment we tell him it’s bedtime.
Of course, though, this also requires a fixed ritual. There’s changing, two songs, and then into bed.
Bed, to me, might be the weirdest thing. He’s slowly been accumulating more things into his bed. Originally, it was just a stuffed animal, his pillow and a blanket. When I last checked, it’s now the blanket, pillow, three or four stuffed animals and his night-light ladybug. None of them are in the ‘expected’ locations – the pillow’s midway down the bed, one stuffed animal is at the head, everything’s scattered about – and he prefers to just disappear under his blankets rather than sleep like a normal person. AND, typically, he’ll stay there or in the rocking chair beside his bed until someone retrieves him in the morning. (His door has a gate in front of it, but I can’t recall the last time he actually even opened the door before someone came to wake him up.)
On the other hand, I’ll take it over bedtime fights.