Holy Sleep Deprivation Batman! I Need A Bat Cave

For a year (yes…a year), I’ve had a towel over my little boys window. I’ve been trying to work out what kind of window covering would  survive him, and him it.

Autism manifests itself in many ways but my 5 year old is a sensory seeker. He craves sensation. When he gives you a hug, he can’t help but go that one extra step and dig his fingers in for a pinch or a scratch. He loves to rip paper. He loves to make noise – a lot of noise! Especially when he wakes up. He loves all things string and carries a ribbon everywhere as his stim of choice.

His bedroom is kept fairly clear. It’s only a small room, so there’s a bed, a small chest of drawers, a rug, some beautiful photographic prints of him at about 6 months taken by Uncle Al (photographer/artist Alberto Sanchez Peinador) , some gorgeous animal art originals – all placed nice and high so he can’t reach them. He also has a pinboard which deserves a post of it’s own, but let’s just say everything on there is laminated, including the recent self portrait he took at school.

It’s kept clear because he is on a constant search and destroy mission. It’s a nice room but the window coverings have held me in limbo for quite a while. Curtains? No good, he’d pull the whole thing out from the wall. Blinds? Can’t have anything with a string and he’d also probably just yank the hell out of it till it broke. He’d dearly love to take a leap towards the ceiling fan – lucky white boys can’t jump! I give him a year.

Push has now come to shove. The sun is getting up earlier & earlier here in Australia as we move through our stunning spring towards summer. We’ve gone from him waking at 6am to 5am in just a couple of weeks. And it’s only going to get worse! I need a total blackout situation if I am not going to be woken ‘in the 4’s’ for the next 4 or 5 months. I need a bat cave!

I put the question out to a group of special needs mothers – please help! Within a couple of hours I had some really great ideas. Everything from hanging old blinds on the outside of the window to attaching foil to the outside of the glass with just a spray of water. But I decided to go for the velcro solution. The worst that can happen is he rips them down and wakes up early. Here’s how it all came together.

A nightmarish trip to the shops to buy the supplies. Not fun. My boy does not like Spotlight so spent most of the time on the floor screaming. I got a big headache…and the supplies. I did not care if the fabric design was perfect for the room. Just take my money and let us get out of here!

Auntie Elaine’s beast – they don’t make ’em like this anymore!

Out comes an ancient machine (inspiring another post, yet to be written about women’s machines!). My auntie gave this beast to me a couple of months ago. Unbelievably heavy! Fully operational, worked just like a new one! I haven’t used a sewing machine for about 20 years, but it was just like riding a bike, kinda. A few additional items were required from the sewing tin and the tool box.

my sewing tin

measure twice, cut once

Measured twice, cut once, zim, zam zoom…done!

the blue window

the red window

Brilliant! I’m very pleased with myself. My little guy celebrated with a jump on the bed.

Problem solved…fingers crossed. Further reports will be forthcoming.



12 thoughts on “Holy Sleep Deprivation Batman! I Need A Bat Cave

  1. Curious how it will end up, for the feel of velcro is magnificent (both sides), also the way it feels when it comes apart over and over again 🙂 and if sound is his thing to, man what a joy for it makes a sound so complex and mesmorising.
    I’m 41 but a piece of velcro is still a joy to play with.

    • I didn’t really think of that Robin! There’s certainly a lot of sensory feedback in velcro. I might give him some to see if he likes it. He has made it through the first night without pulling everything down, but still woke at around 5am! These things take time I guess.

    • Me too! If it lasts anything more than a week that’s a success in my book. They are still up at this point. Still waking early but I’m expecting it to take a little while to adjust. Hope you guys are doing well.

  2. I have had a blackout curtain velcroed to my sensory seeking aspie’s window since he was two and a half. He is seven tomorrow.
    Mine is no where near as attractive as yours (and I only measured once so it has a join in it…) but it works a treat! I had to replace the soft velcro in a couple of spots earlier this year. Otherwise it has been perfect. I hope you have similar success ❤

  3. Brilliant! Thanks for this idea! 😀 🙂 My David yanks the living daylights out of the walls because he won’t stop tugging on all the curtains and wrapping himself up in them. Every time he sees them blow in the breeze from a fan or something he’s right there messing with them again and tugging on them. Completely oblivious as to that’s the reason they keep falling down. 😦

    I don’t need to keep light out or anything, but it would be wonderful to be able to keep the walls intact for a change even if David can’t leave the curtains alone. Do you have any tips for the actual installing of the velcro? Especially for someone who lives in an apartment? I am eager to hear back on this. 🙂

    Thank-you so much for sharing this. 🙂 Velcro curtain hangers… BRILLIANT! 😀 🙂

    • Thank you! I used the stick & sew Velcro. You sew one side to the fabric and stick the other to the window frame. Not sure what will happen if I try to remove it but can’t be as bad as ripping the curtain rods out of the walls!! Glad its been helpful to you. I am SO happy with them. It really is a bat cave and they are still on the windows just where I put them the first time – a miracle!

    • They have worked out pretty well and not too expensive. I think they cost about $80 AUD and the Velcro cost almost $50! But worth it!! They haven’t been pulled off once (yet) and he seems to like the darkness. So I’m very happy all round.

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