I’m pretty sure my three year-old is trying to kill me.
I know she looks angelic, but it’s a disguise. Beneath that cherubic gaze of adoration lies a calculated plan to dissolve my sanity, and her weapon of choice is night terrors. Do you know much about night terrors? They are not nightmares or bad dreams, but happen when there’s a disruption between the stages of sleep as a child moves through them. They are common, and are usually only a phase. My eldest daughter had them regularly for about three months when she was three years old, but hers were a lot easier to deal with: usually she would wake up with this weird, staggered cry, I would run and put her on the potty, she’d go pee and that seemed to break her out of the terror and she’d go right back to sleep, not remembering it the next day. But Karenna’s experience with them has been vastly different: after about an hour of sleeping, she will suddenly wake up in a tantrum-like state. Her heart is racing, she is often drenched in sweat, and she is MAD. M-A-D. For no good reason. I go to console her and she kicks her legs madly, swings her arms to try and hit anything in her path, and is so loud she always wakes up her sisters. It takes her a long time of crying to snap out of the terror and back to reality, but then once she’s back to reality she is still locked into the tantrum cycle and she has a hard time breaking free from that. So even once she’s fully awake she can’t stop crying. It’s awful. And it wakes up the whole house. And it always happens between 8-11 pm, the one time of day I used to call “me time” where I could unwind and watch some trashy TV on the internet or make out with my husband. It’s so emotionally draining, and every time I go to bed, my entire body is clenched tight with anxiety, wondering what sort of dreadful night we’re going to have.
I am going to take Karenna to see a naturopath about her sleep disruptions. I know night terrors can be common, but she has always been a poor sleeper and it only seems to be getting worse. It can’t hurt to get some insight and maybe some help.
Have you dealt with night terrors? How long of a phase was it? Any tricks for making it through this trying time? Also, does anyone out there use melatonin for their kids? I am planning to ask the naturopath about it since there seems to be conflicting information about it online (shocking, I know).
I just want to be able to sleep at night and have my kids do the same. Is that too much to ask?