When you first announce you are pregnant, people are more then willing to tell you about the terrible morning sickness they had that lasted for months. Thank you for the well wishes Mr. and Mrs. Stranger.
Then as you get bigger, the general public views you as a Good Luck Buddah who is just dying to have it's belly rubbed and more people start telling you about the horrible fifty-seven hour long labor they went through. Thanks for that Mrs. Inappropriate Timing.
Of course, when the little one makes it's grand entrance you think that all of the random stranger comments will cease...and then you go to the grocery store for the first time with your new baby and run into that crazy old lady that feels like she has every right to touch your child's face and hands. Uhhh, not so fast Mrs. Germ Spreading Granny.
The list goes on and on about what people will do and say to you when you are prego or have a little baby. So, why is it that in all of these random ramblings by people I don't know did no one happen to mention one of the scariest (non-life threatening) events that could take place with my toddler? It's not uncommon, but I'd never heard a thing about them, until after AJ had one and I researched them.
AJ had just turned 2 and the whole family had a very eventful day together. AJ fell asleep early and had been down for a few hours. Jasey and I were starting to call it a night, too. Then out of no where AJ started screaming and crying. Jasey got there first and said that AJ was standing on his bed staring at the wall screaming his head off. He would kind of respond to us when we asked him a question, mostly by saying 'No!' and crying harder. Then he started crying for mommy, so I stepped up and tried to calm him down and asking if he wanted some juice, he yelled 'No!' and then cried for mommy again...'I'm right here kiddo.'
Then we realized that he wasn't looking at us, he was looking past us, right through us. He was completely glazed over, still screaming and by this time crying so hard that he couldn't breath. I left him with Jasey and went and got some juice and the phone. I was half way through dialing my mom, when I hung up and started to call the pediatricians office. Halfway through that number I realized that it would be at least a half hour before they called me back and I was afraid that he was going to have a seizure or something. I kept telling myself that he was OK, that he would calm down soon, that we were his parents and we could handle it. Then I thought that I would never forgive myself if something happened to him and that if I was scared enough to think about it then it wasn't a silly thing to do and I grabbed the phone and started to dial 9-1-1.
I never finished dialing. Just like that he stopped crying. He was hiccuping and cuddling with Jasey and was even holding onto his juice cup. He was responding to our questions with real answers and was looking at us right in the eyes. I was still a bit in shock but totally relieved that he was OK. Then the question of 'what in the heck just happened?' crept into our minds. After settling him in to bed I immediately went downstairs and got on the computer. I don't even remember what I googled but in the end came up with night terrors.
AJ has had a handful more since then, though none as scary as the first, I guess since I knew what it was this time around. A few of the shorter ones were actually a bit on the amusing side. One he was standing at the gate to his room just screaming 'NO! NO! NO!' right to my face, I just turned around and walked away. The latest one he was standing on his headboard, behind his blinds and appeared to be attempting to climb out of his bedroom window. But, by far, my favorite (is it bad that I have a favorite night terror) was during a nap time one day. He had been asleep for a little while and I went in to check on him and cover him up. As I was adjusting him he opened his eyes, reached up and grabbed the hair on the top of my head and started growling 'MOOOMMYYYY, MOOOMMYYY', and then let go and instantly feel back asleep. It was very creepy, but it gave me a good giggle.
So now you have been forewarned about a scary thing called Night Terrors. It's along the same lines of sleep walking. It can happen if your child has missed a nap or is extremely tired. It usually happens a couple hours after they have fallen asleep, when they are completing one sleep cycle and entering the next, they kind of get stuck between the two. Do not attempt to wake, talk to or touch them, believe me I know this is hard and goes against all mothering instincts, but doing any of those things can prolong and worsen the situation. The best things to do is try and make sure they are well rested throughout the day. Check on them a couple hours after they have gone to sleep, adjust them to kind of make them stir but not wake them up. If they do have a terror just watch them to make sure they don't hurt themselves since they may thrash or try to climb.
Hopefully if you ever have to deal with night terrors, this will prepare you a little bit and you won't be on the verge of calling 911 like I was!
Now I do realize that this post may bring me into line with the 'people' mentioned in the beginning, but since it was to make you aware of what may come, rather than scaring you poop-less or trying to touch you without your permission, I feel that this was more constructive rather then invasive.