Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sweet Dreams are NOT made of these

Red, my 8 year old, is a sleepwalker. This is merely a progression (I suppose) from the night terrors he's had since he was a baby. If you've never experienced a baby (or a child...or anyone for that matter) having night terrors, count yourself as very lucky.

When Red was only a few months old I was woken up by an ear shattering scream from him that one could only assume meant that he'd been stabbed. I went from dead sleep to leaping in 3 strides into his room. When I got there, his eyes were open and he was just screaming. I checked him from head to toe and there was no sign of any injury. He was still screaming. I changed him, he continued screaming. I tried to give him a bottle, he continued screaming. I rocked him, he continued screaming. I sang to him, he continued screaming. I put him in the car and drove him around, he continued screaming. His eyes were wide open, but he was, in fact, still asleep. This only happened a few times, thank GOD. It is a helpless feeling when there is nothing you can do to console your child and he can't even tell you what the problem is.

As he got older and was walking on his own, well, then he began sleepwalking. I have to make sure that all the doors are locked and the keys put somewhere that he can't get to them. In the past he has jumped out of bed and run down the hallway screaming "Momma! Momma!" My room is right next to his and he flew past it. I've found him beating on the back door screaming for me. He's run into the living room screaming for his grandmother. He has even walked into the kitchen thinking it was the bathroom. Thankfully, my husband managed to redirect the boy to the bathroom before he actually peed on the kitchen floor.

I can even tell when Red is about to be sick because he talks in his sleep the night before he gets a fever.

Lately, his sleepwalking activities have go like this...I am suddenly woken up by Red yelling "No! No! No! No! No! No! No!" and then he runs down the hallway. I immediately jump up and attempt to catch him before he gets down the hall, but don't usually make it. I call out his name and he stops, turns, and walks to me and hugs me. I ask him if he's okay. He typically mumbles something unintelligible. Then we walk to his room and he crawls back in bed. The next morning as I'm dragging ass because of exhaustion and he's all smiles and energy, I ask him about it and he has no memory of any of it.

These are just a few of the sleepwalking/sleep talking instances that have gone on in his life. His father is also a sleepwalker/sleeptalker so I suppose that it's inherited. His father actually slept walked out of the house when he was only 4 years old. They found him several blocks away walking along a canal. This is why I'm very careful about locking everything and keeping the keys where he can't get to them. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when he gets older.

He goes through phases. It won't happen for a long time and then we'll have several nights in a row. Also, when he goes through a difficult time (his dad and I are divorced and his dad is not always...the most reliable person) is when his sleep walking takes on the frantic running and yelling. He's not violent or anything, though.

All of this makes for a difficult time for me to sleep. I'm always listening for him...afraid that one night I won't hear him get up and he'll either get out or he'll hurt himself accidentally.

I know I make it sound awful. It's not the harrowing experience that it was when he was a baby. Now he's aware that he sleep walks and when he hears my voice or my husband's voice, he doesn't necessarily wake up, but he calms down and redirects himself, almost as if he's aware while still asleep that he's sleepwalking. It's as if he can control what's going on. Strange, but true.

Anyway...this is a long, boring post. Sorry. This is what happens when I only get an hour of sleep.

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