Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Midnight Wails

            When I got home from work I greeted my ladies and crashed onto the couch. I could feel in my bones I either needed a nap or a jog. Celia was wandering around and grabbed my nose. What the heck, I figured, I’ll let her decide.
            “Celia, do you want to go for a run to Trout Lake? Or do you want to play at home?”
            Celia’s bright hazel eyes looked into my own as she said, “Eeuuh!”
            I needed more clarification. “Celia. If you want to go to Trout Lake, clap your hands.”
            She started clapping awkwardly with a snack container in one hand. I looked up at Michelle with wide surprised eyes and Michelle grinned. Celia then paused, put down her snacks, and clapped loudly as she walked to the front door.
            “Okay,” I grinned, peeling myself off of the couch. “My daughter wants to go to the park.”
            We had a great time when we arrived, swinging and feeding the ducks leftover puffed-rice cakes. I was energized when I got home, as usually is the case, but weariness set in again after dinner and I knew I wasn’t going to make it very long. After putting Celia to bed we watched some Olympic figure skating and went straight to bed, hoping for good rest and a morning of more energy.
            It was just after 2am when Celia first started crying. When the crying got louder Michelle went down to console her. I looked at the clock after 3am, wondering when Michelle would return. It was almost 3:30am when Michelle came back to bed defeated, and Celia sounded even worse than before.
            I struggled out of bed and picked her up. She was frantic. Her lungs sounded raspy, which made me wonder if she’s sick, but I got this uncanny parental sense that there was something more. I think she was afraid.
            I scooped her up and held her tight. She was drenched in tears. I sang and prayed, then sang some more. She finally calmed when I held her in the rocking chair, patting her gently while her head rested on my chest.
            She dozed off. I grew hopeful that she would be okay, but then she jerked awake and started to freak out again. I stood with her. When she saw her night-light she screamed. I felt chills run up my back. “What’s wrong? Are you wondering about the night light?”
            I took her over to the night light and pointed. “That’s the night light. And next to it is the lamp, and all the electrical cables. Look.” I explained every item in the vicinity until she calmed down. I ended up reading her a story, singing one more song, and finally leaving her to fall asleep. She cried, but it felt more “normal,” less frantic.
            I collapsed into bed utterly exhausted as I listened to her cries die down and disappear within a couple of minutes. It felt like two minutes later that I looked at the clock and peeled myself out of bed for work. I’m amazed that I’ve actually been able to focus today. I just hope that my daughter is okay, and that these kinds of midnight wails are nearly over. I vaguely remember just how tired I used to be a year ago when she wasn’t sleeping through the night.
            I think I was more tired than this. I suppose I should be thankful.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ephie! You have probably figured this out by now, but night terrors are totally common for kids your daughter's age. Particularly when there is a big shift or major life stress.

    Peter started having them right after Lucy was born, so that means that he was just under 2 years old. He continued to have them (with decreasing frequency) for maybe two years. He was far more susceptible when he was overtired.

    Lucy never seemed to have them (but she has her own set of nighttime issues).

    Clara has them very rarely and she is nearly three.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, Disney movies are scary for kids. They play up the villain and the background music adds a lot. Peter is nearly seven and still finds many of them have parts that are too scary to sit through. He is not alone, either. Many of the kids his age we have met have the same fears.

    Peace to you,