Ryan started his new school a week ago, and since then, he has woken up in the middle of the night - almost every night, sometimes 3 times a night - screaming from a dream. Miss Maria assures us he seems very happy at school, and the school social worker suggested he's just working through the transition to a new school, new therapists, new kids, new routine.
An aside: it seems like a terrific school. The teacher and therapists seem very nice, they actually communicate with us every day, they have a woman who comes in to help the kids build various skills through tennis lessons (when I told Stu about this, he said "So you've got a bunch of autistic preschoolers swinging tennis rackets? This seems like a bad idea.) And yesterday they sent home a permission slip to take the kids apple picking; well, it's less a permission slip than a note saying there will be no bus service for the trip, so if you want your kid to go you have to drive him, and pay for your own admission as well. Still, when I told Ryan about the trip, he seemed pleased.
Anyway, the first night he woke up screaming "Fruit bar! Fruit bar!" as if he were hungry, but in that panicked way he has when he feels like he's never going to eat again.
Another night, he ran into the hall at 2:30am, rapidly shrieking "School! School! School! School!" When I tried to reassure him that it was the middle of the night on a weekend and he didn't have to go to school, his wailing seemed to get worse. Then he started shouting "Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!" When we got him settled down, he whispered, "Spiders." "Are there spiders in the school?" I asked him. "Spiders in da school" he echoed, eerily. I told him he just had a scary dream and to go back to sleep.
Stu suggested that maybe these dreams weren't scary - maybe this was his begging voice; maybe he woke from a wonderful dream and was instantly having a tantrum, demanding to go to school. I dismissed this as bizarre and unlikely.
Well, turns out Stu may have been on to something (yes honey, I'm saying you were right; you may now declare victory).
Last night, 3am, I hear screaming in the hall. Ryan is shrieking "Socks! Socks! Socks!" I tried to calm him down by putting socks on him. When his socks were on, he started demanding "Shoes! Shoes! Shoes" tantrum-style - but still half in bed, obviously not really awake. I tried to explain that he didn't need shoes in bed at 3am. I asked where he wanted to go.
"Apples! Apples on da trees! Pick apples on da trees!" he wailed.
He had woken us up at 3am to have a sleep-tantrum that he wanted to go on the school apple picking trip.
We tried to keep our laughter quiet enough so he could go back to sleep.