Jacob had night terrors pretty consistently for about a year and a half – it started when he was maybe one-and-a-half to when he’d just turned three. If your kid has never experienced one, first of all, I hate your luck (!), but here’s what it means: You hear your kid crying 1-3 hours after they go to sleep, you go into their room to see if they need a drink or a wee, they start screaming in a possessed-like state and that carries on for anything from ten minutes to two hours. Screaming. Non-stop. Hitting you, lashing out, non-stop, while you wonder if everyone in your area has contemplated calling child services.
I read a lot about night terrors when we realised what we were dealing with and most articles said to sit somewhere nearby to make sure he wasn’t hurting himself, don’t wake him up and ride it out; that he’d grow out of it. So we did that, for a year and a half. We were absolutely shattered but without any real practical advice from anyone, we just sort of accepted it as our reality.
When Eva came along, the terrors got worse. I would just get Eva to sleep, and, hoping to catch some Z’s myself, Jacob would almost immediately kick off. He wouldn’t let Ass Monkey in the room with him at all when he was having an episode, I was the only one who he would scream the LEAST amount around. He was still screaming of course, just not as badly. Then his screams would wake Eva, she’d start crying agin, then I’d have to feed her, then because I hadn’t slept for fucking ages my breastfeeding was suffering and my brain was suffering and…we were all suffering.
Jacob’s night terrors stopped on account of one, all or none of these things happening (who can really say, they just stopped all of a sudden):
- We contacted a €300 sleep therapist.
- I started crushing half a tablet of camomile into his milk before bed.
- My friend said a prayer to her deceased mammy for me.
- We cut out his day time nap.
- We re-instated his day time nap, but only for half an hour.
- We started giving him milk and cookies before bedtime (he used to only want juice, a big dirty habit we’d gotten him into).
- I moved Eva and her moses basket into our room with Daddy, because being awake for five hours on the trot with my two kids while he snored was not part of my life plan.
- Did I mention the sleep therapist? Don’t worry, we didn’t pay the money in the end. But just like bringing a car with a ‘funny noise’ to the garage that disappears as soon as you get there, Jacob stopped having terrors THE DAY AFTER I sent my enquiry email.
Anyway, I came across THIS ARTICLE ON NIGHT TERRORS today from Lucie’s List, and I wish I’d seen it last year when we were in the thick of it. I haven’t tried the product, I haven’t a clue how it works, or if it works, but if you are dealing with a toddler who turns in to the Exorcist at 10pm every night like ours did, then I’m sure you’ll try anything too. Good luck!