Night #1. 5:00am - I was woken up by high pitch screaming in E's room. I went in to find E standing straight up in his crib, screaming like I have never heard him scream before. When I asked him what was wrong he did not answer. This was very unlike E. He has always been so great with his words and explaining to us what is bothering him. I called for Hubby because I was very scared at this moment. E continued to scream and would not answer us. I tried to take him out of his crib and comfort him but he pushed me away and pulled away from me like I was hurting him. We tried to wake him up/snap him out of it because it seemed like he was just having a nightmare and possibly a temper tantrum. He banged around in his crib, rubbing his head against the crib bars. IT. WAS. TERRIFYING. Hubby pulled him out next and held him close, not letting him lash out. Suddenly, he seemed to start to snap out of it. He yelled out, "milk!", so I went downstairs and grabbed a glass of almond milk for him. When I quickly returned he was sitting calmly in his father's lap, smiling and cuddling him like nothing happened. He drank his milk, we placed him back in his crib, kissed him goodnight and that was it. The whole episode lasted a LONG ten minutes.
Hubby and I went back to our room asking ourselves WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!? DO WE NEED TO CALL AN EXORCIST? WHERE DID THAT DEMON-LIKE CHILD COME FROM?! It was terrifying to say the least.
The first thing I did when I got to my desk at work that morning was Google "night temper tantrums". I didn't really know what a night terror was and had always thought they were linked to a nightmare or scary thought. E's episode from the night before seemed more like a temper tantrum to me. Every single thing linked me back to the definition of a night terror and it couldn't have defined our experience any better.
- Uncontrollable screaming and no talking.
- Seems frightened but can't be awakened or consoled.
- Doesn't acknowledge you.
- Usually lasts 10-30 minutes.
- Cannot remember them in the morning.
- Do not wake the child.
- Protect them from harming themselves.
- An episode will end on it's own.
Night #2 - 2:30am - Again I am woken up by screaming and again I walk in to see E standing in his crib. Hubby tries to hold him. He pulls away from me every time as I try to rock him in the rocking chair to encourage him to fall back asleep. If we put him in his crib he harms himself by hitting his head on his crib. He fights to be freed from Hubby's arms. Eventually after ten minutes have passed and he is still screaming we brought him into bed with us and let him kick and scream between us, hoping he will snap out of it soon. Twenty minutes later we had a happy boy again. When we asked him why he was crying it seemed like he had no idea what we were talking about.
Fast forward to last night. E had a fever at day care on Thursday so we had to pick him up early. He was not himself all day Friday and Saturday but started coming around yesterday afternoon. We knew he was overtired because of his constant wakings at night due to his fever, but he would not nap. Finally around 3:30 pm he climbed on my lap on the couch and fell asleep.
|Late afternoon nap on the couch for a feverish boy|
For E it seems these terrors only come when he has a fever and is overly tired. They can be very stressful for us because you feel hopeless and want to comfort them and stop the crying. I really hope we don't have many more of these, I don't think my heart can take it!
Have you ever experienced night terrors with your children?