Philip wasn’t bouncing off the walls, but he was bouncing on his trampoline, the couch, the recliner and the floor. His vocal “one-two” stimming had morphed into “one-nooo!” He was madly laughing and racing across the living room. I hadn’t seen him this wound up before bed in weeks.

Unlike his son, my husband had gone to bed a few hours before. Peter has been on an odd “early to bed, early to rise” sleep schedule. That would be okay if he hadn’t awoken at 3:00 am this morning. He had a tired headache, so I knew he needed to get his sleep. I was worried that Philip’s shenanigans would wake Peter up.

I decided to take Philip outside. My original plan was to take him on a short walk. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the straps on his almost-too-small sandals securely fastened. Philip was distracted from walking by the undone strap.

It turned out a walk wasn’t necessary. More “distracting” than the slipping sandal was the view overhead. Philip looked up at the stars. The sky was clear, and our little hometown doesn’t have a lot of light pollution, so it was easy to see many stars.

I led Philip to our front step and set him in my lap. I was talking to him about the stars, but Roscoe heard me and barked a “I know you’re out there” protest. I whispered to Philip instead.

Philip, who never used to point at anything, was pointing up at the sky. He would occasionally grab my hand to request that I point with him. Each time, I counted the stars in the Big Dipper for him.

Philip stretched across my lap and leaned back his head to get a better look at the sky above. It was great that he was inverting his head, providing himself with some calming, vestibular input.

I gently rocked him until he grabbed  my hand once more, asking me to count. He giggled once, uttered a few “one-nooo”s, but I could tell that being outside had calmed him down.

I think we both would have enjoyed staying outside longer, but I was getting a cramp in my leg. I was worried that all the calm would be negated by making Philip go inside, but when I told him, “All done-time to go inside” he didn’t protest. He was again distracted by the loose strap on his sandal, but he solved that problem by kicking off the shoe.

We came in the house. Roscoe whimpered at us, but I know that he didn’t really want to go outside. He would rather be sleeping.

Sleeping like his buddy. Philip came in, now completely calm, and laid down on the couch. Maybe he dreamed of the stars.


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