Daughter’s First Night Terrors

We heard the muffled cry over the monitor.  Typical.  She lost her pacifier.

I’ll go in, pluck it off the mattress two feet away from her, plop it back in, then she’ll collapse onto her stomach and sleep for ten more hours. Or so I thought.

Dang. She’s really upset. Took a little while for me to get up and sneak into her room, so I guessed she was agitated. Oh, she was thrashing around the bed.

That scream. Shrill and animal-like. Flopping from corner to corner. And she still had her pacifier.

I watched her alternate from shrieking to flopping, petrified in confusion and concern.  My wife texted me from the other room: ‘another night terror.’ Okay, I thought, what did Nicole say last time Charlotte had an episode: don’t touch her or pick her up. It will confuse her.

Crap. My hand was squarely on Charlotte’s back, rubbing it as a lame attempt to soothe her. (As if my magic touch could calm the rapidly firing synapses in her brain). She pushed up and rolled away and screamed.  Her breathing sounded labored through her yelps. This of course compounded my own distress.

She tossed her pacifier out of the crib. I picked it up and put it back in her mouth since she cried even harder after throwing it. She then stood up, and her eyes opened.  I began to think, good, now she’ll see she’s in her room and daddy’s here (yayyyy, second fiddle to mommy is here while I battle the demons in my mind).

Her eyes being open did nothing to stop her screaming.  In fact, she began trying to climb out of the crib.  I pulled her back in, to which she responded by throwing out her blanket, her stuffed rabbit, and finally, her pacifier, which she actually shoved out of the crib on the side against the wall.  Total punk move by my daughter aside, she was still stuck in whatever terrifying vision playing in her mind.

My wife pulled me out of the room.  We sat for five agonizing minutes listening to her scream.  Finally, Nicole and I went in together and sat by Charlotte’s crib.  We watched her for another five minutes, holding each other’s hand.  That helped.  Also, we googled night terrors.  Knowledge is power (or whatever).

Nicole ended up holding Charlotte.  It took an hour to nurse her back to sleep.  I continued researching night terrors.  I’m hoping the cause was Charlotte’s over tiredness, but another cause is genetics, which if that’s what Charlotte got from me, I wouldn’t be surprised.  I don’t know if I had them as a kid, but I lucidly dream quite often. Also, she gets all the good personality traits from her mom.

Every parent hopes their kids inherit all the best qualities from them and their partner.  Often, though, the children pick up some of the negatives.  It’s heartbreaking if the negatives cause pain or alienation.  It’s also regrettable if they grew up to be Cincinnati fans, but that’s controllable.

So, Charlotte, you may have gotten an overactive imagination or thalamus (or wherever night terrors are triggered) from me.  Here’s hoping you don’t get my other negative genetic dispositions: jacked up teeth, back problems, lack of rhythm, inability to stomach spicy foods, and hyperactive digestive system.

Judging by your tooting already, you’re screwed.