Early this morning, I had my first experience with night terrors. Oh my!! Thank heavens I'd at least read about them before she started screaming. It scared me to pieces!
Delightful Finch and Angel woke me up just before 6am - very early for them. "Put on Funny Bear," they chanted. It was too early! I put them both back to bed. Ten minutes later, Finch started screaming.
I've never seen anyone so completely terrified in my whole life.
Night terrors happen when you're partly awake and partly asleep. It seemed like she was seeing something coming towards her. She screamed about monsters. The monsters were trying to bite her. Even holding her with all the lights on, she kept "seeing" monsters. She was shaking and tense. Every 5-10 seconds she's let loose a death scream.
Most kids have night terrors when they're still asleep. With open eyes, they scream and thrash until the episode ends. It can last up to 40 minutes. I'm pretty sure Finch was mostly awake. After almost an hour of watching Sesame Street on my lap, she finally relaxed. I left her watching TV and went back to bed.
An hour later, the screaming started up again. This time I took her into bed with me. I covered her eyes and told her to close her eyes. I figured she'd either stop seeing things or I'd be able to tell her it wasn't real. She soon fell asleep in my arms. The instant I moved to get up, she woke up.
There's nothing you can really do to help or comfort your child in the middle of night terrors. Usually you just watch to make sure they don't hurt themselves when they thrash around. You're not supposed to try to wake them up. They say night terrors are harder on the parents than the child. The child has no memory of the incident in the morning.
I hope you never have to see this first hand, but if it happens I hope you'll remember hearing about it and not freak out as much.