Nightmares and Cuddles

Livi has always been a fabulous sleeper. I think she slept 5 hours straight in the hospital even! I didn’t realize how amazing that was at the time. I was exhausted. I have realized since that most newborns only sleep two or three hours at a time. I will take my five hour sleeper any day! When she was around five or six months old she started giving up her middle of the night feeding and started consistently sleeping a full 12-13hours at a time while still having two over-an-hour naps during the day! I have been so blessed with this child. She still sleeps like that ๐Ÿ™‚

Recently though, Livi seems to be slowly developing some sleep issues. I read that sleep issues can be genetic. I did not nap after 12 months old and when I was 18 months old I started having night terrors, terrible dreams and insomnia. Insomnia and dreams still plague me to this day. I always just assumed my bad sleeping issues were a symptom of my chaotic childhood. Livi’s childhood, so far, has been very un-chaotic. She is on a set routine, Jon and I barely argue in front of her and never yell at each other. I don’t generally watch violent, intense, or scary shows in front of her, especially now since she notices the TV a lot more. I’m sure she has picked up on some of our stress this past year but we have made every effort to keep her feeling as stable and safe as possible. I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far. Maybe too good of a job… she is such a little dare devil! So why has she been waking up from a deep sleep sweaty and crying?

A few times a week, within the first 2-4 hours of Livi sleeping, she will wake up suddenly crying and screaming. When I go and pick her up, her hair is wet (and curly) from sweat. She is immediately comforted by me, stops crying, sometimes smiles at me, and plops her head back down on my shoulder. I think the episodes have been upsetting me more than her. She would gladly be put right back down in her crib and have me leave her to sleep, but I do generally cuddle her for a few minutes… just to reassure myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Has she started having night terrors already? Night terrors are very common in children, but from what I have read, generally night terrors don’t start until a child is at least 2 or 3. Night terrors are defined as being abrupt anxiety filled awakenings that can have the person experiencing them screaming, crying, sweating, flailing and while generally being inconsolable for a few minutes. Livi does not flail. She is generally limp and still lying down or just starting to sit up by the time I run in to her room. She is also completely consolable. She stops crying, relaxes immediately, and returns to sleep in seconds unscathed. Are these just terrible nightmares that she is having? She is not even thirteen months old yet! What scares her?

It is really horrible. I feel so helpless. Her pathetic, scared little scream is heart wrenching and I can’t run in to save her fast enough! Luckily, everything that I have read says that most children grow out of it… by adolescence! 11 more years of this?! Has anyone else experienced something like this with their kids? Is it a matter of reassuring her during the day some how? The only upset I can think of in the recent months, is that I am working occasionally now and am away from her more. These last two weeks have had me working a lot because two of the staff members at the group home I work in were getting married within a week of each other. Listen to all that ‘mom guilt’ coming up. Why do mom’s blame themselves for every little thing that comes up with their kids? Jon thinks it has more to do with her walking so much now and realizing the world is a much bigger place than she thought. The combination of both, plus the genetic disposition, are probably the culprits. An answer to the problem doesn’t make dealing with the problem any easier. Help!

The good part about her night waking is all the cuddles I’ve been getting! I love it! She just lays there and looks at me with her droopy eyes, burying her head in to her fuzzy on by shoulder. When I first pick her up, she sometimes gives me a scrunchy, squished smile. It is beautiful. Sometimes, even if she is sleeping soundly, I’ll go in to get my cuddles. Does that make me selfish? If you had a perfect baby who gave as good cuddles as Livi does you would be a little selfish too. She is so precious.

Other than that, Livi is doing great! Her language is taking off. She babbles even more than she used to but there is so much determination and point behind her talking. She looks at me expectantly, like I understand. Her words are expanding every day. She says Mommy, Daddy, (auntie) Sess, Wow, Nana (banana or any food), Cookie, Look, and Kitty, all really clearly now! She is quite the little dancer now too. She has four or five different moves she brings out. She loves watching So You Think You Can Dance and has even started trying to copy their dance moves! It is amazing! She hasn’t quite figured out how to put her dance moves together yet and can only do them one at a time. She knows where her head, nose, and belly is too. She is not too bad at sharing and she walks/runs EVERYWHERE!

Jon and I are doing well too… now ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a bit of a pregnancy scare. I have been like clock work for almost a year now and then this month I was three full days late! Needless to say, I was freaking out. We want a second child eventually… but not right now! Of course, we would love a second child if we get blessed earlier than planned, but I am thankful that I live in a time when medical and technological advances let me have some control over when I get pregnant again. We want to enjoy Livi as an only child for a while. I’d like to get our lives a bit more settled and I’d like to be on our way to getting a bigger home. The plan is to wait AT LEAST another year before trying to get pregnant again.

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One thought on “Nightmares and Cuddles

  1. Anonymous says:

    Connor has nightmares almost every night…we have a routine set up where he comes in to tell us, we ask him what he dreamt about, and that it's OK…we tell him to ask Jesus to keep the nightmares away, and to give him a good sleep, and then he goes to the bathroom, and gets a drink…this has been going on for years now…I had recurring nightmares for years as well…I still get them sometimes. I think we have active, creative minds that have a hard time stopping, even sub-consciously for a break…you will all get the hang of handling it! :)MP

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