Dec
27
2009

  Night Terrors

William had a fever when he went to bed on the 23rd, but it was gone by morning. He was fine all day, but the night of the 24th he had an even higher fever-- that time I used some baby Tylenol to get it down (worked like a charm). On the 25th his temperature was again normal when he woke up, but his fever returned by noon, so we gave him more baby Tylenol. But all this time he never had any symptoms of illness (besides the fever) other than some irritability, so the fever was a bit of a mystery.

But Friday night, although he no longer had a fever, William woke up around 9:30pm and started screaming his little head off. This was not like when he has gas, but something different. He was writhing around and arching his back and pushing away when he was held, and screaming and crying the whole time. I was a little worried and wondered if he had something internal wrong with him causing his fever and now it was painful for him. But I really couldn't discern anything in particular for him to be wailing about. And just when I was about to call the doctor (he had been carrying on like this for about 15 minutes straight), he calmed down and fell back asleep.

He repeated this antics again a few hours later, and once more just before sunrise. But he never had a fever again (although he felt cold and clammy the first time), so I didn't call the doctor, and just hoped whatever it was would work itself out.

When we came down for breakfast the morning of the 26th, my sister asked if we knew what was wrong with William that was making him scream so much. We told her we had no idea. She asked if was acting "like this" and proceeded to writhe and shake her head and push away pretty much exactly like William had been dong. Yes!! She nodded seriously and then told us that William had "night terrors".

But she didn't know what caused night terrors, only that a lot of kids get it, and it pretty much manifests the same way. Kid wakes up screaming his little head off for no apparant reason, and it takes a while to calm him down. William has had ordinary nightmares before-- he'll be asleep, then wave his arms about or yell out in his sleep, waking himself up, and start to cry, but then he's very easily comforted (we usually just pop his pacifier back in his mouth) and he falls back asleep almost immediately.

I feel bad for the baby having to suffer through these night terrors. What could have happened to him in his little baby life that scared him so much? Terry doesn't think kids have imagination at this age, he must be recalling something that actually happened to him or that he actually saw happen. But we haven't looked it up, it's just our theory.

I think maybe he was just overstimulated. He had a big day shopping on Wednesday, then had a fever that night, and a big day going to grandma's house on Thursday, going to mass, being around the whole family including his three screaming cousins. And Friday morning was probably overwhelming, all the presents, the other kids running around and yelling, and all this when he wasn't feeling well. So maybe his little brain couldn't process all that and this resulted in him having some night terrors. After that, Terry and I gave him a little more downtime, playing with him up in our room more so he wouldn't have to be around the extended family during all his awake time. He hasn't had a fever since noon on Christmas day, and last night he slept soundly, so hopefully he's completely recovered from whatever was troubling him.

It's helpful that his nap schedule is opposite of his cousins, so there is not too much overlap where they are running around making a commotion when he's trying to play quietly. And they eat at different times, too, which is convenient. We're done with breakfast before the girls even emerge from their bedroom. That was good today, since William and I shared a slice of apple pie and a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast (it was just going to be apple, but he ate nearly the entire slice and I was still hungry, so I broke out the second slice and he ate less of that), but my sister doesn't let her kids eat sweets much, so they might have thrown a fit if they saw their baby cousin scarfing down pie for breakfast while they ate dry Cheerios.