Toddlers, Terrors & Tranquilizers

It started innocently enough. “Mommy, mommy, mommy!,” Anna cried from her bedroom. My head had just hit the pillow, and I’d foolishly let myself think that I might get a decent night’s sleep. Wrong.

I heaved my legs over the edge of the bed, forced my feet to shuffle to the stairs, and trudged up each creaky stair to the second floor of our 1938 airplane bungalow. As I reached for her doorknob (she insists on sleeping with her door closed), I wondered what I’d find.

Had she wet the bed? Was she getting sick? Had she misplaced her beloved Jessie and Bullseye?

Nope. It was the beginning stages of what I’ve come to know as pure parenting hell…a night terror. I didn’t know what to call them until talking with a friend today whose daughter has the same sleep disorder. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know that the “terror” part is completely accurate.

After nearly 45 minutes of intense, exorcism-level screaming,  physical outlashes (not even exaggerating), she finally calmed down enough to be put back to bed. The whole household was awake. Anna screaming, Dave yelling, me pacing, and Erica just happy to be out of her crib and part of the excitement. (She thought the whole ordeal was hilarious, smiling her gummy smile at me, as if to say, “See mommy, I’m being good.”)

Nothing would console her. Absolutely nothing. We probably could have offered to buy her a pink, glittery unicorn that poops out fruit snacks, and she wouldn’t have cared. At one point, I turned to my husband and said, “We need a tranquilizer.” I wasn’t sure who needed it more, me or Anna, but it turns out it wasn’t an outlandish thought.

I felt completely guilty for having this thought, until I came across this article about night terrors:

In the case of extreme night terrors, sometimes a doctor will prescribe tranquilizers to help or refer you to a sleep disorder treatment center or doctor…(from

Last night was certainly extreme, but I’m not sure it’s time to call a specialist quite yet. As for the tranquilizer, I’ll settle for the liquid variety that’s prescribed for mothers.


2 thoughts on “Toddlers, Terrors & Tranquilizers

  1. OMG! Joseph had those too. They scare the crap out of parents as much as the kids are terrified. I’m not sure why it happens, but he grew out of them. We would just sit with him, stroke his back, keep him from walking around (or climbing the wall, literally), etc. It was torture. Poor baby. Poor momma!

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