When Ethan was 8 months old, he started having night terrors. Since it’s very rare for babies to experience night terrors, it took us a while to figure out that’s what it was. (Night terrors are not nightmares and they occur when a person gets stuck between sleep cycles. Children usually scream and cry in a way that is different from their usual crying and they sound terrified. Often they can be kicking and screaming and will have their eyes opened, almost looking possessed. Around the time Ian was born, Ethan’s night terrors stopped. He has always experienced intense nightmares as well, though those aren’t quite as frequent as they were when he was 2 and 3yrs of age. I can still remember in vivid detail how scared I was the first few times Ethan experienced night terrors and how upset it made me.
A week or so ago, Ethan had two episodes of wetting his bed in the middle of the night. He hasn’t done that in well over a year so it came as a big suprise to both of us. Ethan told me that he thought he was using the bathroom and then woke up to find that he was in his bed and had wet it. I determined that he must have dreamt that he was in the bathroom.
Last night, he came into our room, got into the bed and just stared at me. I kept asking him “Ethan, what do you need? Why did you come in here?” He didn’t answer and just made noises and kept moving around. He finally got up and went back to his room. I realized after he left that he must have been sleepwalking. This morning I asked him about his coming into my room to see if maybe he had woken up at some point when I was talking with him last night but he said that he never came into my room. He was quite upset to learn about the sleepwalking.
I remember my sister sleepwalking when she was a child and I know that this can run in families. I had trouble going back to sleep last night because I started worrying that between the bed wetting and now the sleepwalking, he was developing a serious problem. When he was a baby and I read everything I could find about night terrors, I read about the bizarre and scary things that can happen to people while they are sleepwalking. I had to stop myself and confess to God my anxiety about it and ask him to protect Ethan.
In my research today, I’ve found that Sleep Terror Disorder and Sleepwalking Disorder are more prevelant in gifted children, and more so with boys. I haven’t found much advice on how to deal with it. A friend of mine has a gifted child who was a sleepwalker and she cautioned me to make sure that the doors are locked at night for safety. I’ve read that having a regular bedtime routine is important, which we’ve always had one, so there isn’t much to change there. I will be praying that God would keep Ethan from trying to go outside and that we would always wake up and hear him if this continues.
Anyone whose has read this blog since the very beginning might remember all the suffering we went through with Ethan’s night terrors (which finally stopped before Ian was born). Our suffering, not his:) I’ve decided that Ian must be having night terrors too. You’d think I would be able to realize it right away after having gone through it with Ethan but I finally just figured it out. He has always cried in his sleep but lately it has been more like screaming. For a while we blamed it on his ear infections or his teething, which some of it may have been that. But lately it’s been the same time each night. A few times I went in thinking he needed Advil for teething and ended up waking him up and then he was confused and wanted to be up the rest of the night. (One of the no no’s with night terrors is to never wake them up–I ended up being up with him for 3 hours in the middle of the night). So since I realized he may be having night terrors, I’ve not rushed in when he was screaming and watched him on the monitor and he was behaving the same way Ethan did with his night terrors and within 5 minutes he stopped. One of the factors that can trigger an episode is not getting enough sleep and Ian is prone to either wake up early in the morning or not take a long enough nap so there’s a good chance we’ll be dealing with this some more. At least we know what to expect this time around…(need I refer back to a previous post when Ethan had a night terror every hour for five hours one night?)
Ethan continues to get up in the middle of the night, 1am or so. Sometimes it appears to be from a night terror, other times after a dream. I guess we’ll just have to get used to it. He continues to progress slowly with the potty thing. A few times I have wondered if he was still too immature for it (especially after he pees every 20minutes which makes for no success in keeping dry) and then he’ll suprise me by telling me he has to go (which rarely happens) or he’ll stay drier than usual. Today I took him to my allergist. After having an ear infection followed by a sinus infection over the holidays, I was tired of the constant sickness and scheduled an appointment with my allergist. She diagnosed him with asthma and allergies (along with the eczema I already knew he had) and will test him for specific allergies in two weeks. She gave him a nasal spray to add to his list of meds. This about it for him. I started volunteering with the senior high youth at church, should be a good experience. That’s it for now.
Last night we’re pretty sure Ethan had a night terror though we’re not positive. It lasted a half hour. George went in to rub his back and said he stopped crying when he rubbed his back but didn’t acknowledge his being there. So because he didn’t acknowledge him I would say it was a night terror but because he stopped crying, I don’t know. I happens every night at the same time which makes me think it’s related to his sleep cycle. Oh well regardless there’s no treatment for it. I don’t know why I worry about it so much. On a lighter note, Ethan so much loves to help around the house (with unloading the dishwasher, laundry, vacuuming, unloading groceries from the car, etc). Today he got to help me with some refinishing I’m doing on some furniture. He loved to use the scraper. I wish he would want to be helpful forever but I know this too will pass.
Since Ethan turned about 18months he has been having difficulty falling asleep at night. It takes him at least an hour to fall asleep no matter how early or late he goes down. I initially thought it was because of the time change and that he was having trouble sleeping because it was still light out. Then he started to do the same at his nap time. For a while I thought it was because he was overtired and couldn’t settle down to sleep. He always nearly falls asleep in the car at about 11am so I started trying to put him down for his nap earlier but that didn’t work he still jumped up and down for an hour or more before falling asleep. This past weekend he went several days without a nap at all and was so difficult to be around by about fivepm. I knew he still needed a nap so this week I’ve been trying to put him down later and later until I found a time that works. The past few days he’s gone down at 1:30 and it’s only taken him 15min. to fall asleep. I feel bad that it took me this long to figure it out. Our other problem is during the past month or so he’s been waking up crying several times throughout the night, every night. It doesn’t sound like his night terrors (unless he has changed his cry because his night terror cry was horrifying) so I don’t know if he is having nightmares or what. I guess I have some research to do.
Ethan had a night terror last night about 10pm. I was still awake so I was able to think clearly and help him through it the way you are supposed to. He was crying and rolling around in his crib and I rubbed his back and tried to keep him from hurting himself. He got his foot stuck in between the bars of the crib one time. He never woke up or realized I was there. I cried the entire time because I wanted so badly to wake him up because his crying just broke my heart. Keri’s mom was in the other room praying for me. It was the longest five minutes of my life. We are still having a good time here in the big city of Greenwood, SC. We’ve done tons of antiquing in cute little towns. There’s more to be done today.
Ethan has been having night terrors on occassion and they terrify me as much as they do him. I am so disoriented when woken in the middle of the night by him screaming that it takes me a while before I realize what is going on. My heart stops for a moment but feels like much longer. He cries in a way I never hear him cry. I end up doing what you’re not supposed to do–wake him up. Last night I tried to have him lay back down and work through the terrors but he kept screaming and pulling on me that I was concerned something was wrong. In the process of checking him out, I think I woke him up and then he was upset and scared. Although he may have still been dreaming, it’s so hard to tell with babies. He did fall back to sleep very quickly. I sure didn’t.