Thursday, December 03, 2009

Night Terrors - a sign of great intelligence, right?

You know how whenever your child is getting into everything in the house, or is being hyperactive or disruptive in class, it's always because they must be especially intelligent and need more stimulation or some such thing? Yeah, while there is some truth in these reasonings, we all know that mostly being told our child is really bright is to make us feel better for having to struggle with them more than what seems (from the outside, looking into other people's lives) the norm.

Ah yes, well, at 4.10am, after 2 hours and 10 minutes sleep (Ari apparently decided that after a long day of socialising, he really only needed a 2 hour "nap" between 7pm and 9pm, and then needed to be awake between 9pm and 2am), Ari woke with a blood curdling scream. Luckily for him, I was sleep right next to him our family bed. Unluckily for me, I was sleeping right next to him in our family bed... After slipping back into my skin, I attempted to comfort my distressed and writhing baby. He flailed and screamed, and twisted his body this way and that. I attempted to breastfeed him (that's pretty much my go-to solution for distress, their's and mine!). He wanted no bar of the boob. In fact, he wanted no bar of me either. It was like I was the monster in his nightmare that he was trying to get away from.

TBH, I got a little annoyed. I was half asleep, roused from what would have been DEEP sleep, after an 18 hour day. It took me a good 15 minutes or so to accept that he was totally losing the plot and that this might actually be a night terror episode. You see, we're not unfamiliar with night terrors in this house. All the boys have had them, though Luey only had one, so we don't even really count it. Erik had a half dozen or so, REALLY awful ones where he would run from us screaming and cower in a corner. The light would be on, but seriously no one was at home, he was in his own - obviously very scary - world. Then after 30 minutes or so, he's come out of it, be calm as cool water. But he was 20 months or so old.

Bryn has had many, many night terrors. They started at about 2.5 years of age, and we're still working through the odd one here and there. His were only moderate, and seemed mild compared to Erik's, though many more in number.

So, anyway, night terrors aren't a new phenomenon in this house, but NEVER has one of our children had one this young (13 months). Ari's was on the same level of Erik's, but unlike Erik, once I realised what I was dealing with and turned the light on, Ari seemed to recover. Took him a couple of minutes, but he came out of (Erik would only come out of it if we held him tightly on our lap and said his name over, and over, and over.

Night terrors are thought to be causes by overtiredness and overstimulation. Children (and adults who very occassionally suffer night terrors) are not thought to recall the nightmare they live so realistically for the period of the night terror.

I just wish there was some pay off for night terrors, like it meant they were super intelligent... Because they're so awful to go through, especially when you're woken from a deep sleep to try and deal with it.

1 comment:

Mr B said...

Oh god night terrors. Both my kids have had them too, they are HORRID. I hope that it was the one and only for Ari so you all get some sleep.

Beren has now progressed to have very active dreams, hes almost a sleep walker, sits up in bed and chats and freeeaks me out. Freya has stopped for the moment thank goodness.

Good Job!