Nocturnal Activity: Living with Night Terrors

There are many things that keep me up at night (reading, writing, twitter, the cat) but none more so than Bam Bam.

Until recently it was predominantly due to night terrors.

We have lived through night terrors before but the Wilful One grew out of them quickly. Bam Bam’s have gone on for a much longer period of time. In general, his episodes have been longer and more violent. The onset of asthma also added a scary new dimension when he was unwell.

Most nights between 9.30pm-11.30pm the beginning of an episode would be signified by a high-pitched wail and a thump as he kicked the wall. He would cry and toss around for 5-15minutes (on a few occasions much longer) before either stopping suddenly and going back to sleep or waking with a coughing fit.

At times his thrashing around was quite scary, like something out of Paranormal Activity. It was a shock to us as the Wilful One only ever sat bolt upright in bed and cried.

There are lots of great resources on the net about night terrors and sleep disorders which helped us a lot. Experts claim it can be more distressing for the child if u try to wake them, as they normally have no recollection of what occurs. However, occasionally we had no option as he was in very real danger of hurting himself and sometimes us.

Sometimes a cold drink of water snapped him out of it and he immediately went back to sleep. Other times any physical contact at all made it worse.

Causes and triggers for night terrors are thought to include over tiredness, stress and illness, all of which is very consistent with our experience. I would also be inclined to add sugar overload to the list of suspects, although my guys do not eat many lollies or sugary drinks unless at a party so at times when I’m blaming the sugar it could be due to being over tired/over stimulated.

Night terrors have also been linked to other genetic sleeping disorders like teeth grinding, sleep walking, sleep paralysis and chronic snoring. All of which The Man suffers from to varying degrees. With a strong likelihood that the boys will follow in his sleepy footsteps, it’s rather lucky I’m a light sleeper.  Well lucky for them, perhaps not so much for me!

Fortunately, Bam Bam seems to have grown out of his night terrors in the last month *touch wood*.  He has graduated to waking and demanding various things – water, this teddy, that pillow, stay, go or a very adamant “No more plee-ping now!” which is very cute but rather frustrating at 1am.

I fear he’s gone from having night terrors to being a night terror!

Have your children suffered night terrors? I’d love to hear about your experience. 

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Bubbles

Yesterday was not a good day.

The moment their little eyes popped open my boys were in full monster mode.

Unfortunately, due to lack of sleep & a touch of the lurgy, I wasn’t at the top of my game (common of late) and a few poorly managed incidents early in the piece seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day.

By mid afternoon things were at an all time low. I had managed to get the house work done but still needed to go to the post office & supermarket. A prospect I was not looking forward to with two monsters in tow. I was also looking down the barrel of a solo mission through witching hour & bedtime as The Man was off doing… man-things.

So, I did what any self respecting mummy-0n-the-edge would do. I resorted to bribery.

Aren’t kids fickle? The simple offer of blowing bubbles & a gingerbread man on our safe return home turned my little antagonists into little angels instantly. With only one near-miss, I managed to get them in the car, around the shops & home again incident free.

Of course my little angels disappeared with the crumbs of the gingerbread man & the pop of the last bubble, but I did manage to capture a few snaps of the small slice of magic that graced our otherwise ill-fated day.

Does bribery work for your kids? What’s their bribe of preference?

Little sickies

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It is 12.48am.

I am back in bed, listening to my littlest man cough & cough despite the dose of medicine I just administered.

It has been a looong weekend. Not in the good, went away or did lots of relaxing type way. Long as in, the house looks like a bomb site, smells slightly funny & these pyjamas might require surgical removal.

Sick kids is no fun for anyone & as with most families my boys work on a tag team system when it comes to sharing germs so we’ve generally always got some type of lurgy on the go.

This weekend though, they’ve decided to mix it up. We have had the full spectrum – gastro complete with projectile vomitting, soiled bed linen & a suspicious rash to copious amounts of green snot & the horrendous barking cough I’m listening to now. (Sorry if that’s all too much info but sleep deprivation has blurred the lines of socially acceptable disclosure a little.)

I have managed to see past the bodily fluids, excessive laundry and increasing sleep debt to appreciate a few of the nicer (less gross) aspects of sick kidlets. Sooky cuddles & a desperate need for mummy love being a definite upside. As was my precious Will stroking my forehead while I lay exhausted in bed this morning, telling me to go back to sleep, that he would look after daddy & Nick.

It was a very tempting offer but I stole an extra cuddle instead.

Image from weheartit.com

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Lucky undies

Did your mum, Nan or Great Aunty Ethel ever tell you it was lucky if you put your knickers on inside out?

I find this has been happening to me alot lately, but in my current sleep-deprived state I think the only lucky thing that’s happened is that I’ve remembered to put knickers on at all!!

My mum is full of these little gems. I grew up throwing pinches of spilt salt over my shoulder, avoiding walking under ladders and dreading crossed knives in case of an argument. I find these things fascinating on reflection and often wonder where they originated.

Are there any old wives tale that left an impression on you when you were little?

Spit it out!

Courtesy of stylehive.com

I did a brave thing  last night. I took another step in saying bye-bye to my baby and threw away the dummies.

This was a hard thing to do but probably more so for me than for Nick.  The Man has been keen to get rid of them for ages and has managed to wean him from them for night sleeps. Mind you, he is also much better at managing at tired, cranky BamBam and being firm with him when needed.

Me… well, I’ve probably mentioned before that when it comes to Nick, I’m a bit of a pushover. Let’s call it a preference for the path of least resistance!  Will was pretty easy when it came to sleep and we said goodbye to the dummy with no fuss at 18  months.  However, it was a long hard road training Nick to put himself to sleep for naps WITH the dummy. Now that he’s got it down pat I’m not so keen to revisit nap time hysteria. Of course if the antics are dramatic enough driving me to capitulate and give him a dummy, he’s asleep in minutes and I can relax with a cuppa!   This little repertoire has of course created a self-fulfilling prophecy and hence the reason they had to go – to remove the temptation from me as well as Nick!Courtesy of stylehive.com

In my own defence, I must say I’ve held out so long in consideration for his other carers too. My poor mum & his daycare teachers will no doubt struggle for a while as well. I really didn’t see his dummy “habit” as an overly bad thing. He only had it for naps and to calm him after a particularly horrendous meltdown (which he’s quite prone to at present, unfortunately). I do not however, want him to get to a stage where he demands it constantly and I can see that this is where we are heading.

The Man reminds me it will only be a week or so of discomfort for all until “dum-dum” is a distant memory, but I have my doubts. Nick is a very stubborn little man.  But the deed is done and we will find out soon enough.

As a parent is there something you’ve been reluctant to give up in favour of the path of least resistance? I’d love to hear your stories!

Room 4 2

Our house is quite small. When both the boys were babies the nursery was the tiny room off the kitchen. When we first decked the room out in preparation for The Wilful One’s arrival it was my favourite spot in the house. Everything was new and fresh and it had such a serene feel. I would just sit in the rocking chair and bliss out. Ah, how glorious those last days of your first pregnancy are when you are oblivious to the chaos & mayhem that is about to descend upon your once peaceful life!

Anyway, when The Wilful One turned two we moved him into his ‘big boy’ room. This is technically the master bedroom in the house & had lots of room for his king single bed and masses of toys. It also made way for the nursery’s newest occupant. But with two young boys and a ridiculous amount of toys, there was the inevitable “creep” out into the living room. There were baskets of toys lining our living room wall & although the boys were very good at tidying every night, their very presence drove me mad.

Now I’m not a clean freak by any measure (as my husband & the ‘junk room’ can attest) but I do like defined living spaces. So I was keen for the boys to come of an age where they could share a room and the toys could be given a dedicated space. This time came in November when we moved Bam Bam’s cot into The Wilful One’s room in preparation for the boys having to room share on our Christmas holidays. The nursery was consequently turned into a dedicated toy room and everyone was happy.

There was one small side effect from this much-anticipated event that I hadn’t bargained on. Early starts. Not being a morning person, I had invested much energy in training my boys in the fine art of sleeping in. The Wilful One was easy enough and stuck pretty consistently to a 7.30am wake up time from an early age. This is a reasonable hour that I can deal with. Bam Bam on the other hand has always liked to mix things up. He has gone through periods of 5am wake ups which would be followed by a few weeks of 9am (bliss!). The beauty of them having their own bedrooms was of course that I could attend to them without disturbing the other and even convince them to lay back down for a while if I was REALLY lucky.

But alas, in my hasty quest to reclaim the living room I overlooked this very important factor! Bam Bam started becoming a regular early bird on our holidays and so it began.

Consequently, we now have a pretty much guaranteed 5.30am wake up. There seems to be some unwritten wake up roster between them and if it isn’t one it will be the other. Of course in the majority of cases the individual in question will make enough of a racket to disturb the other.

For a long time I’ve clung to the disillusionment that I will become a morning person through the course of parenting. I’m sad to say this is not the case. I guess in the grander scheme of things I’m only 4.5 years into this parenting caper and have a long time to work on adapting my body clock. I’m sure by the time the boys become teenagers and start sleeping till lunch time I’ll be itching to be up and vacuuming or going for a jog or whatever it is that enthusiastic early risers do with all those extra daylight hours. In the meantime, I’ll continue to walk around in a daze guzzling coffee & popping multivitamins.

Roll on puberty!

Did I say that out loud?

At what point did I become this thought disordered, fuzzy-headed, tongue-tied individual? I used to be relatively cool, calm and collected – or at least give the impression of being so. I always managed to carry out intelligent and relevant dialogue in most settings and could adjust my demeanour to reflect the situational context eg. professional at work, relaxed and easy going in a social setting, etc.

Nowadays though I’m in a perpetual state of mental disorganisation; never able to find the right words, forever losing my train of thought mid-sentence and constantly forgetting the simplest things. The most perplexing development, however, is that my ability to articulate thoughts and feelings in an appropriate manner to an appropriate (and receptive) audience seems to have dissipated completely. I now suffer from a chronic case of foot-in-mouth.

Why today, for example, would I tell a prospective new childcare service that my 4 year old has neurotic tendencies and his brother is a thug who shouldn’t be trusted in a room with small babies?! These aren’t things that reflect well on my children or myself and aren’t even necessarily that accurate out of context (well… BamBam  probably is a thug regardless of context).  Somehow my internal filter for processing such thoughts as they pop into my head has completely disappeared. Even while they are escaping my lips I am thinking “Mouth is open, should be closed!”. I know most people have such moments but this state of random, inappropriate disclosure seems to be never ending for me.

I have no doubt that motherhood and all it brings (sleep deprivation, constant multi-tasking and a trillion competing demands) has absolutely everything to do with my memory loss & occasional thought disorder. But what of this perpetual stream of inner most thoughts flowing uncensored through my mouth? When will it end??