Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Let the fear take the wheel and steer...

Before this post gets underway, I wanted to make a quick clarification about the Pampers giveaway.  This being NMOTB's first giveaway (though there will be more, I hope!), I think I did a bad job of explaining the rules of the giveaway.  Each comment you make on the blog (whether it be to tell me you follow me on Facebook/Pinterest, be your awesome sleep advice - I'm learning so much! - or your bonus entry for today) counts as one entry for the giveaway.  So, if you liked me on Facebook or Pinterest (thank you!) in order to enter the giveaway you need to leave a comment so that it can be counted for an entry.  If you already followed me on Facebook/Pinterest, you must also still leave a comment stating so.  I am terrible at explaining things without being wordy, so I blame the confusion on me and you're probably even more confused now.  Ideally, you will be able to enter the contest up to three times (So, three comments on the giveaway post - one with your sleep advice, one stating if you follow me on Pinterest, and one with your guess about today's bonus question.  Additionally, you must "like" New Mom on the Blog on Facebook to qualify you if you win.  You don't have to leave an additional comment stating so.)  Phew.  No wonder it's so confusing.  I'm terrible at this.

Though we have yet to experience them, I have several friends who have told me about their struggles with a very unsettling phenomenon known commonly as "night terrors." 



It's like a bad dream on steroids except that you'll never know what made your little one scream like a banshee in the middle of the night (nor will they).  In truth, since we haven't experienced them, I don't even know that much about them myself, so I was super excited when I received an email with someone who was interested in writing her solution for night terrors that worked like a charm.  This particular person is someone who has raised two wonderful children into adulthood and lives an amazingly healthy lifestyle (one which I modeled some of my own weight loss after).  She also happens to be my mother's twin sister and more importantly - my godmother.


Oh, AND, did I mention? She's gorgeous.

So here is what my Aunt Patty has to share with us.  And, make sure you don't miss the end of the post where I tell you what you can do for another chance at the Pampers Giveaway!

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From the day she was born, my amazing daughter, Katie, has thrived on rituals.  She still does to this day, 23 years later.  When she was a three-year-old little girl, she and I had to go through the exact same routine every night before she would settle down to sleep.  After her bath, we would read exactly three books, no more, no less.  We said the exact prayers in the exact order.  Then I was required to tuck her beloved teddy bear and water baby into the exact spots around her and give her the exact number of kisses on her sweet, little nose.  And finally, before closing the bedroom door, we would need to say the exact goodnight words, always ending with, “I love you so, so much.” 

Finally it was time for my own ritual, when I would have a little time for myself to relax before climbing into bed and falling into a deep sleep.  But without fail I would be abruptly awakened by Katie’s desperate screams.  I would rush up the stairs and into her room to find her in a completely different state than I had left her just a few hours earlier.  Sweating and breathing heavily, Katie would be staring wild-eyed into space, sobbing and screaming, speaking incoherently.  I tried everything to help calm her.  I tried soothing her with gentle words, then reasoning with stern ones.  I tried applying cold washcloths to her face to snap her out of it.  I tried holding her, only to be pushed away.  Every attempt to soothe or rouse her was useless.  All I could do was stand by helplessly, waiting until she eventually calmed on her own and she fell back into a peaceful sleep.

Luckily, Katie had no recollection of these terrors in the morning.  But I did.  I was exhausted and becoming increasingly frustrated and hopeless.  I felt guilty for the misplaced anger I had towards my small daughter, who had absolutely no control over these episodes.  I felt like a failure as a mother for my inability to help calm my terrified child.  Was it my mothering technique?  Was I doing something wrong?

I was becoming more and more desperate as the nightly terrors continued over the following year.  Finally I reached out for help from Katie’s pediatrician.  I described the episodes in detail and he explained that as long as she was in no danger of harming herself, it was okay to do nothing.  He assured me that Katie would eventually outgrow them.  After that I turned to parenting books and had some insight into other parents’ experiences with night terrors and had a few tips on how to handle the episodes.  The advice was mostly to not interrupt and let the terror run its course.  But I was not going to just stand by and witness my daughter’s nightly terrors.  And I did not want to wait until my daughter outgrew them.  These night terrors were entirely too disruptive in our household so I continued to search for help.

One day, I mentioned Katie’s ongoing night terrors to Jane, the owner of my favorite bookstore.  Surprisingly, Jane happened to have a friend who not only had a child with the same problem, but also had solved it.  She gave me her friend’s number, which I called immediately.  Jane’s friend was a complete godsend.  Her advice was so, so simple, but it changed everything.

She told me she would get her daughter out of bed about an hour or two after she fell asleep.  She would guide her to the bathroom, set her on the toilet, and then help her get back into bed.  She said her daughter never really woke up and would go right back to sleep.  It was that simple.  I gave her advice a try that night and it worked!  Katie’s night terrors completely stopped and our whole house could sleep soundly through the night.  I repeated this routine for about a year until slowly easing off.  She never experienced a night terror again. 

Today, Katie has a different set of nighttime rituals.  They do not include her beloved teddy bear or water baby.  And I no longer read to her or tuck her into bed and help her say her prayers.  But one ritual has not changed:  we never go to sleep without telling each other those exact same words, “I love you so, so much.”

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It is of course at this point that I share with you that the obvious reason we haven't experienced this phenomenon yet is most likely because we haven't potty trained.  So, just one more thing to look forward to.  Yay...

Feel free to ask more questions about night terrors or about this possible solution.  I'm sure Aunt Patty will be happy to ask them!

And now, the bonus round!  For one more bonus entry in Friday's giveaway: hop on over to the original post and name the connection between the subject of this post and the lyrics I used for its title.  (Your answer doesn't have to be correct in order for your entry to count, so give it a try!)  The giveaway will close tomorrow, May 2 at 7:00 pm CDT, so get all of your entries squared away before then!

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