Night Terrors

The high octave of her cry jolted us from sleep. I picture whispers in black and white; this sound surged in red hot color yet made me shiver at the same time. This was not the quiet cry of a sleepy bad dream, this was pure terror.

Our lethargy evaporated and we made for her crib where she sat shaking, face contorted fear, shrieking. We scooped her up, attempting to hold her close but she refused the comfort of our cuddle. As if possessed, she stared straight ahead, lips quivering and then parting into a scream every several seconds.

I waved my hand in front of her delicate, trembling face but she stared through it, eyes open though clearly not awake. Our hearts pounded with adrenaline, worry and fear. It was unsettling to see her in the trance of so gripping a nightmare. How to ward it off without startling her? Cue gentle back rubbing, shh shh shh sounds and soft murmurs of “It’s okay LLC.”

And then, her screams stopped as suddenly as they started. Her eyes re-focused on us and she smiled, and returned our cuddle. She soon went back to bed only to wake three hours later in a similar state, after which she spent the rest of the night in our bed sleeping soundly.

I’d class this, as they in the UK, as a night terror. I don’t think we use this term in the States but I’m not sure. But it was certainly a nightmare of the highest proportions.

Do children’s dreams derive from their experiences / perceptions? Did something happen during the day that unsettled LLC? I don’t know but I hope we don’t we don’t have to investigate this again anytime soon.

Have you ever had a run in with the night terrors?

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8 Responses to Night Terrors

  1. Nappyvalleygirl says:

    We've only had it once – when LB1 had a very high fever. He had them for about three nights running until the illness ran its course. Was horrible and scary. But it has never happened again. Fingers crossed it doesn't with LLC. x

  2. AHLondon says:

     Poor both of you!  They are called night terrors in the US as well.  And I'm sorry to say, they just happen to some kids.  Terremoto has mild ones.  Cupcake sleepwalks.  Comforting doesn't help most.  You just have to play through.  Check with doc, obviously, to see if any ideas and check with other moms too.  

  3. Muddling Along says:

    Bigger has night terrors – they are awful and she sleep walks with them too which has been occasionally interesting (I tend to trip over her as I stumble into her room…)

    I don't think that there is much that you can do other than to cuddle them and make comforting sounds and I tend to stroke her hair – I have been told that waking them is a bad idea

    I believe that they are a sign of a rapidly developing brain and that they do pass (hers seem to go in phases) – I have noticed that when something particularly disturbing has happened that they do play out in night terrors and vivid dreams which I guess is better than them dwelling on things in the daytime 

  4. Tanya (Bump2Basics) says:

    Yes I had heard fever could bring this on….yes, fingers crossed it never happens again for any of our little ones.

  5. Tanya (Bump2Basics) says:

    Yes I have been information gathering.  It just took us by surprise and was scary to see her so out of it and be helpless to do much but see it through by her side.

  6. Tanya (Bump2Basics) says:

    Dreams often take me a bit of time to reconcile so for little ones who haven't developed this form of reasoning they must just seem very strange and scary.  Also have noted your tip that waking is a bad idea, I had a feeling thsi was the case.

  7. Michelloui says:

    We only had this a couple of times with my daughter and it was awful for me to watch as well.

  8. Tanya (Bump2Basics) says:

    Glad you didn't have to face this too much….hope I can say the same in time too.

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