Anyone with children will remember those first days, weeks and months of new life, when a tiny little sweet smelling but slightly alien like bundle of squishyness first enters your world. Those drained, dazed days where you stumble from one incompetently carried out task to another, desperate for sleep but still buoyed by the love you feel for this little creature.
With children of 3 and 7 I thought those days were gone. But I now have a son who almost never sleeps for more than a couple of hours at a time.
And it is not that he is not trying to sleep. But he is interrupted by nightmares and night terrors.
Both of my children have had night terrors. If you don't know what they then you are fortunate. My husband gets them too. Wikipedia gives this description:
A night terror, also known as a sleep terror or pavor nocturnus, is a parasomnia disorder characterized by extreme terror and a temporary inability to regain full consciousness. The subject wakes abruptly from slow-wave sleep, with waking usually accompanied by gasping, moaning, or screaming while waking. It is often impossible to awaken the person fully because they are so concentrated on waking, and after the episode the subject normally settles back to sleep without waking. A night terror can rarely be recalled by the subject.
So, little P has these, and then also has trouble getting back to proper sleep, and then wakes hourly, it seems, and has a cough, and talks and sings in his sleep. And gets very overtired, and then we start again the next night.
It is one thing to have no sleep when one has a little baby and is not working. It is quite another to try to function at work and look after other children and run a house on no sleep.
I think that half his problem is that he has a big heart and a very very active imagination, filled with Bionicles, dinosaurs, bad robots, good robots and all things in between. I need to find a way to calm him down, to slow down his mind so that bed time becomes a time of peace and calm.
One idea I have is to remove all Merlin style stimulants pre bedtime. Maybe I have let him get too involved in playing Knights and Horses, or robots fighting but he is just such a boy that he loves to be this way.
I thought I might use the idea of the ubiquitous inspiration board (and I do mean ubiquitous - Google it to find exactly 1 trillion happy wedding inspiration boards) to create a little place in his room where all the calm gentle things he loves have a place.
I love these three dimensional textural boards, and I thought I might try this for P:
I think rather than being inspirational, these are more like memory boards. It might include a special drawing, some shells found at the beach, photos of family, tiny toys and other little treasures.
This last one, by Cobi Ladner, makes me think of Anna Spiro's style.
So, a plea from a desperate lady. Apart from making sure he is not getting overtired, do any of you have tips on how to manage night terrors and nightmares in a 3.5 year old?
(Images (1) House and Home (3) SculptressStudio.Blogspot (4) snakk.klik.no (5) StaceyStyleFiles.Wordpress (6) Thomas OBrien via Paloma 81)