Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Night Terrors

It amazes me how there is always something. Something to throw off a schedule, a good sleep routine, and chance to feel like we are finally getting a hold of this thing called parenting.

lately we have been sideswiped by night terrors. Only we didn't realize that was what we were dealing with. In my own peanut brain I thought night terrors consisted solely of a child screaming bloody murder, and while that may be what it looks like for some.....I have learned that it can also look very different for others.

We are in the "others" category.

For the past month or so, Cole has been waking up about 2 hours after falling asleep every night (sometimes multiple times). we go in to see him and he is inconsolable, if we try to cuddle, comfort or pick him up he gets worse. He thrashes about his bed, kicks if we attempt to hold him, and carries on and on anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. Both Kyle and I were getting frustrated and were constantly trying to reason with him, even attempted to discipline, take away privileges for the following day, etc...but nothing seemed to work. We thought he was just being stubborn.

(Top it off with Mr B who has decided he wants to get up and nurse every hour again, and you have the recipe for two parents feeling like they are on the verge of insanity).

Then finally we started reading, researching and both came to the same realization--night terrors.

And would you believe the night that we went to bed armed with knowledge of how to properly handle them,....he didn't have one.

Can you say,  typical? It's as if they know....

I am so baffled sometimes at these little beings that we love so deeply. Just when we think we need to step to the left, they take 20 million steps to the right! While I love it, and feel completely at peace that this is what I was made to do....I also have moments of complete bewilderment. 

Will I ever be one step ahead, to where I can actually parent in the moment with what they really need? Or am i constantly going to have to be scraping by, no sleep, trying to figure out what exactly went down....and wondering whether or not I handled it correctly. Could I have done better? Something differently? Been more proactive? Anxiously searching the internet for answers, solutions, and the perfect equations.

I imagine I'm not the only one to have these questions burning a hole in my head. And I can pretty much bank on it that this will not be the last time.

I just want them to be happy, to not hurt, to find nothing but joy in this life. I want to protect them from everything and anything that might hinder that. Night terrors included. The most comforting thing that I have read is that they normally don't have any recollection of the terrors, and they aren't brought on by bad dreams but more things like being overly tired, too hot, change of schedule, being hungry.

I'm guessing the hungry and hot part might be part of the problem. He doesn't normally eat much for dinner, and our upstairs can get pretty stuffy at times. So we are going to keep trying different things to see what helps.


Thankfully I started writing this post a few days ago, and we started using a white noise machine, turned it on the lullaby's (per Cole's request for winkle winkle widdle dar) and last night, he didn't have a single terror! Praying that it wasn't a fluke, but progress.

Bennett on the other hand.....slept more with us than in his crib, and still ate his way through the night. I suppose I could try and wean him of this, but being that he isn't even on the charts for weight, I'm kind of reluctant to do so.

Does anyone else have experience with night terrors? What did you do, how long did it take them to grow out of them?

I hope we can figure out how to help, because let's face it....I yearn to see more of this and less of the sad, night time sadness stuff.


  1. Isaiah sleep walks often, but every once in awhile will just start yelling and talking in his sleep. His eyes are open, and he sees things and freaks out. I mean. FREAKS OUT. I don't have experience with night terrors, but I'm a FIRM believer in speaking Jesus's name out loud. I believe that just speaking His name aloud, and praying helps. It's calmed Isaiah instantly even though he's not coherent. Does that make sense? I just think that the devil uses any means possible to get to us (even through over tiredness and sugar and fear). I hope I'm not sounding preachy in any way. I just feel like I'm supposed to share that with you! Love you! And love your Christmas card!

    1. Thank you Jen for your words (and no, not preachy at all) they are such truth. I can honestly say that before realizing he was having the terrors, we spent most of our time tired and frustrated....and kind of forgot about the whole speaking Jesus into the situation. Such a good reminder, thanks so much friend!

  2. No advice, just hugs from the other side of the country. I don't think we will ever feel like we have this parenting thing totally figured out. If we do I think that's when we are in trouble. :) Love you, friend. Your last post with the frustrated Bennett and stinker Cole made me laugh out loud. I hope that Winkle Winkle Widdle Dar is the solution for Cole-man.

  3. Caden got night terrors. I think time was the true cure for them. But, we do use a sound machine and it seems to really help my kids sleep well. We actually realized that they were way worse with a night light. He could see the shadows before he went to bed and I think they were a trigger. Nights we used a night light he woke up screaming and crying. Nights we didn't use one he was fine. We are now a strict no night light, sound machine using, black out curtain using family.
    Hope some of that helps:)
    And yes I definitely prayed with Caden every time as well. Do you by chance pray with cole before bed? That might help as well.

    1. Thanks Jody! Kyle prays with him every night, and he knows to ask Jesus to help him if he ever gets scared at night or any time. We just started the sound machine, and also have blackout blinds (thanks to you!) Interesting about the night light, there is one on the sound machine, I might try to see if i can get it to turn off some how, thanks for the suggestion! :)