Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Night Terrors.

These are new to me. Apparently Hubby's brothers had them all growing up. They'd wake up crying, saying things like "I'm too Tall! I'm to Tall" and then "I'm too small! I'm too small!" And of course you could never wake them up, just had to soothe them while they freaked out and eventually quieted.

I never did anything like that. I don't think my siblings did, either. My first taste of Night Terrors was when Thing Three was in the hospital. He had them every night. He'd wake up screaming that he was "floating" and he'd try and rip all his wires out. (He actually succeeded in ripping out his feeding tube, during one episode, can you say trauma?) And whenever he gets a high fever, he gets them.

Well, my three year old has been getting them, about once or twice a week. It's been tough. He wakes up crying, and he's SO sad. And he's speaking and acting like he's awake, but he's not. He's babbling. Usually he says he "needs to grow." Or sometimes he won't talk, he'll just cry and you can tell him "Mommy's here" all you want and he still cries and won't wake up. Hubby and I usually trade off, and it's NOT fun.

I've heard it's best to let the night terror sufferer just play it out, and NOT wake them up. Well, since I've TRIED to wake up my son a few times, and he won't, I guess that isn't an option. I don't like the feeling of trying to soothe my child and he acts like I'm not there, or he doesn't know me. And then it's like a switch turns off somewhere, and he lays back down and resumes regular, deep breathing, like it never happened. FREAKY.

Anyone else deal with these? My experience with them before my own children was limited to hearing about them only. I just hope Thing Four outgrows them. He did mumble something about "snakes" last night, when he had them again. Maybe we shouldn't play Lego Harry Potter anymore? ;-)


Brenda said...

Wow! That's scary. Sorry I have no experience with them but good luck.

Devon Ellington said...

I had godsons who suffered from those. Interestingly enough, out of ten godchildren, only the boys ever had them.

We created guardians together. Went to the toy store. Two of them chose teddy bears, one a dragon (this was at different times). We made clothes from the stuffed animals and gave them a toy sword. The toy sat in a chair next to the child's bed, and was told it was his job to keep the "dream monsters" away. We created a little ritual so that, every night, the toy sat on the bed during story time, and then was moved to the chair just before the lights went out, with the reminder about its mission. I think there were one or two episodes after that, but then no more. The kids sometimes dreamt that the toy was in there with them, defending them, and remembered enough of the dream to tell me when they woke up.

One of the kids is all grown up and has given the same bear to his son, who also had night terrors, with the same set of rituals, and it's worked. Again, interestingly enough, the daughter never had a problem.