Friday, November 19, 2010

Crying in the night

As I write this, Quinn is crying. Not because he's mad or hurt or hungry - something I can identify, something I can fix if it needs to be fixed. He's crying in his sleep.

He did this when he first came to us, and it was heart-wrenching. His second night with us, after he realized these strangers weren't going away and it didn't seem he was going back to his home, he mourned, moaning through the night. Once we got home, he would go down easy at bedtime, and then start crying once he was asleep. Thankfully, it went away within a couple of weeks.

The shut-down kid became goofy and happy-go-lucky and a joy to be around. He wakes up happy, goes to sleep happy, and smiles through most of this day. And yet, two years after coming home, the crying has returned.

It's a horrible thing to hear your child cry and not be able to do anything about it. It's nothing short of heart-breaking to know there are hurts we cannot fix, and sadness we cannot erase.

And it's so hard to know what to do about it. The advice on night terrors is to let kids sleep, the thinking being that if you wake them in the middle of a terror you'll it into their conscience and make a bad thing so much worse. But how do you let a 3-year-old lay on his belly and cry alone? We watch the monitor and wait, in case he becomes conscious enough to call us, as he did tonight.

Now he's in our bed, sleeping peacefully next to his Baba and holding a tin airplane he picked up as I carried him from his room to ours.

There's so much I wonder. Is crying in the night the same as a night terror? Do kids tend to outgrow them? Have any of you whose older kids used to have night terrors talked to them about it? Do they remember?


China Dreams said...

I don't have experience with this, but I did read about it at the link I'm going to provide where it says onset often happens at 3-1/2 years. I didn't read the whole article, but it looks helpful. My only suggestion, as a parent, would be getting him a heartbeat to listen to. Here is the link:
I did do a search for a heartbeat soundtrack or music box and found this:
Good luck,

Jill said...

Thanks so much, Ruby. Quinn is PRECISELY 3 1/2 years old!

kyburg said...

I did this, and I'm a biokid. It's also related to sleepwalking, has anyone told you that? In my book, it indicates a 'loaded up' kid - and it's processing time while sleeping.

My five year old? His (when he has them, they're getting rarer all the time) are too violent to let alone (he'd be safer on the floor), so we often have to wake him out of them.

The triggers I've seen are angry ones - frustration, anger, adjustment times. Coaxing answers and reassuring him that it's okay to be mad, we would be too! seem to help the most.

Jill said...

Interesting about sleepwalking. The more I read the more I think it's nightmares, not night terrors. Apparently with night terrors kids sit up and seem disoriented and if you wake them up they often don't recognize the parents. Quinn lays on his stomach and cries, and eventually he stands up and calls for us.