Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Scream

Some people have kids who sleep-walk or sleep-talk. Ian is one of those kids, but more often than not, Ian prefers to sleep-scream. Suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, he screams out as if someone were ripping him limb from limb.

Most of the time I go running in, only to find him sound asleep. Sometimes, however, he is fitfully sleeping, crying for five or ten-minute stretches or longer, completely inconsolable unless we can manage to wake him up, which is no small feat, I assure you.

Inconveniently, this pattern repeats itself over and over for most of the night, particularly when he is overtired or sick. And I just can't ignore it, even if I know that he'll likely be sound asleep when I get in there. What if this time, something terrible is happening? What if this time, someone is snatching him from his bed? What if he's laying in a pool of his own body fluids, crying out for his mommy to help him? What if he has somehow trapped his arm underneath Henry's bed (as Ian's is trundled under Henry's lower bunk) and is in danger of breaking it? What if the house is on fire and he's the only one who has noticed?

On nights like the past two nights, I have stumbled out of bed at least a dozen times, responding to the scream, only to find him sleeping when I get into his room. I have no idea if the screams subside after 4:00 am, or if by then I am just too exhausted to hear them, but I seem to get my best sleep between 4:00 and 7:00, regardless of the alarm clocks and dressing husband in my very own room during those times.

How do your precious ones torture you in the middle of the night?

13 comments:

Amy said...

This is sure to make you hate me but both my kids started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks and aside from the occasional stomach flu never bother me once they've gone to sleep... That sounds like bragging but let me assure you I KNOW it is an oddity and I will be forever grateful for it. :) Hang in there!

Prudy said...

West tends to sing-song chatter in his sleep. Last night it was "Three Coins in a Fountain" from sun down to sun up. We've had some screaming from both of them in the past too. Usually they aren't awake but continue to sleep fitfully for a while afterwards. It's definitely unnerving!

Aly sun said...

I have a good sleeper and a horrible sleeper. Still at 18 months, she rarely sleeps through the night. If her cries last longer than a few minutes, I always feel compelled to go check on her. Usually she just needs her blanket or her back patted or to burp or she is having a bad dream. Children have the power over their mothers in the night. My husband can sleep through it, but I have the same thoughts as you... what if.

Kim said...

Caitlin has been our sleeper all her life. She was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks and continued daytime naps until 2 weeks before Kindergarten. She would still sleep 11-12 hours per night if it weren't for her sister.

Amber is a great sleeper... once she's out. But she only requires about 9-10 hours of sleep and naps are becoming less predictable. Still, I have no room to complain. But it is interesting how different their sleep needs are.

Caity is our sleep talker. Aside form that and the occasional sickness we don't hear from them at night.

I love your comment about sleeping through hubby's morning prep. I am the same way. If my children so much a sniffle in the middle of the night it wakes me. I don't get up unless someone's crying, but it will disturb my sleep. But Brad can leave the alarm clock blaring and stumble through the room getting ready and I'll be out cold. Funny how the mommy radar works.

Sea Star said...

My Henry did this same thing for the first year and a half of his life. As a baby he would just scream and scream in the night. I would rush in there and pick him up thinking something was wrong and he would continue to scream and didn't want me to hold him or nurse or anything. I finally took him to the doctor because it was driving me crazy. She told me it sounded like night terrors. It is a form of sleep walking and he would just have to grow out of it. That didn't help me as it continued for months and months more. But somehow he did finally grow out of it and hasn't had another Night Terror since.

I don't know what I would do if he still did it. And I am praying that this new baby will not put me through that sort of thing too.

I am sorry your little guy has these screaming fits. It is very hard for everyone.

NobodyofGreatImport said...

Jon's had similar problems with his oldest, Elanor. He swears by magnesium citrate supplements in drink powder form and earlier bed times. Haven't tried it with my kids, but we do have one that would be a great candidate - Eleyna is a big sleepwalker. Wanders in our room almost every night.

Nicolette said...

Michal, I am so sorry. Sleepless nights are the pits. Eric and I just talked about this the other night and I don't think I've had a full night sleep since I was preggers with Ty. It will happen again someday... right?

Jen Norton said...

Hello my long time ago friend Michal! I am so happy to see you again! Kim told me how to find your blog way back in december at grama's funeral, and now it's march and i finally say hello! I so want to catch up with you! I am not a blogger,(i am a facebook junkie) but you can see what i once started....www.diaryofanorton.blogspot.com I do have a sleepwalker...and it's always involving the bathroom...it's entertaining more often than not. Would love to hear from you....Jen Joyner Norton...yubfloat@hotmail.com

Lei said...

Last night my 4 yo kept calling out to us that he had ear pain. :( Poor guy. His ear drum ruptured last month, I sure hope it's not going to do it again! Darn TX allergens.

Anonymous said...

Our 5-year-old with major neurological issues was actually sleeping through the night about a year ago. Didn't last long--she now regularly wakes up at 2 or 3 or 4 and doesn't go back to sleep. This is her most rambunctious time of day. But we feel very blessed that these days she's happy! We turn on the Christmas lights in her bed and give her some stuff to look at, and then we can usually ignore her and sleep more. I have to use earplugs, but Jeff's good at getting up with her when she needs us.

--Christine

The Red Hen said...

OK, I thought Jack's night terrors were bad - I think screaming would push me over the edge! Jack will wake up crying and upset, but not be totally awake! It is really hard to wake him up OR calm him down. Then, when I DO get back into bed, I cannot for the life of me go back to sleep! I totally feel your pain!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Right now my little one has it down pat ... scream and scream when he doesn't need to eat. Maybe he is teething?! I just know I hope I get some sleep tonight!

J and M said...

Are they night terrors? Those peak more often when over tired and hot (Ellie was doing them too, and it is NOT FUN). Someone mentioned to me that magnesium helped (which indeed it did)! Just some FYI.

marni