Monday, April 12, 2010

WHAT was that?

I'm not sure what to call what we went through last night - night terrors?  Temper tantrum?  Sleep induced fit?  But good heavens, I'm exhausted this morning.  I actually got to bed at a decent hour last night but thanks to Bryce I went to sleep much later than usual.  Jay and I had just settled down when we heard Bryce kind of whining.  Usually this means he has to go to the bathroom and when that happens one of us goes in there and helps him to the bathroom.  He is a very deep sleeper and often can't wake himself up enough to go so he'll start crying because he's so uncomfortable but once you get him to the bathroom and let him go, he'll go back to sleep without any issue.  Most mornings he doesn't even remember going.  We try to remember to make sure he pees before bed but sometimes we just forget, I mean as adults it's just something you do - not so for little kids.  After last night, we'll definitely be remembering.....

Anyway, so last night, I heard him, went in and helped him to the bathroom even though he always insists that he does NOT have to go and then he stands there and pees a river.  But last night, he also had just started on a terrible coughing fit which was surely brought on by his allergies.  (The poor kid is an absolute mess this year on all of his meds.  Apparently, a terrible terrible allergy season.  The OTC drops that worked like magic last year aren't enough this year so while we have a checkup next week, the doctor's office called in an Rx for eye drops because his eyes are so irritated.  He'll continue on his Nasonex and Singulair, but I think the Zyrtec isn't strong enough anymore and I have a feeling we'll be back to an Rx antihistamine after our visit next week.  Oh and it's not even oak pollen peak yet and he's THIS bad - oak is his nemesis but he's still pretty sensitive to other tree pollens.)    Soooo, he's standing there in the bathroom clearly not completely awake and crying and coughing.  When Bryce cries he coughs and rubs his eyes, but when he's the allergic mess he is right now, the coughing is worse and the eye rubbing makes his eyes look terrible.    But it's a cycle so the harder he cries the more irritated his eyes get and the more he coughs.

I took him back to bed and tried calming him down but that didn't work because he didn't want anything.  So I just sat there while he laid there whining with his eyes closed. I don't even think he knew I was there.  He kept crying and saying things that weren't exactly coherent but I was pretty sure he was semi-awake.  But then he said something that made me realize he might not have been truly awake at all:

sob sob, cough, choke "But where's Woof?????"  cry cry cry

Who's Woof? Well, Woof is Waldo's dog from the famed Where's Waldo? books that Bryce loves so much and had been looking at intently with my mom that evening.  And from there, it just got worse.  Jason came in and tried laying down with him since that has worked in the past, but not last night.  He kept coughing the nastiest cough and rubbing his eyes.  His face was so swollen and red from all the crying and his eyes looked worse than I've ever seen them.  He said he couldn't open the, but I think he just wasn't awake enough to do it.  In this weird sleep cycle he said a bunch more things that let us know he was dreaming and clearly processing things from the day:

"Where's Caroline?  Caroline, GET OUT OF MY ROOM!"  (She had been in his room right before he went to sleep and they had a little argument about it.  Caroline slept through all of this!)

"I will not eat that.  I don't like that. I don't like chicken!!"  (He had a big fit after dinner about not wanting to eat one bite of chicken on his plate and we made him eat it if he wanted anything else.) 

He yelled about Caroline several times, actually.  And the chicken tantrum came up once or twice too.  Finally, after he laid there for the better part of an hour and we left and then each went back separately to try to calm him, Jason went back one last time and took him a cool washcloth for his face.  I don't know if that snapped him out of it or it just happened to be the end of the cycle, but all of a sudden I heard Bryce's non-crying, nice voice say "See you in the afternoon, daddy" and that was that.  Jason said he even hugged him.  Instantly quiet. 

This morning, Bryce did remember crying and you could certainly see how an hour of hard crying had affected his eyes, but he didn't remember all the things he said.  In fact, as I expected, he thought it was hilarious the things he had said.  So is this a night terror?  (Katie, I know you have dealt with things like this with E and L.)  I guess I always thought a night terror was involving some kind of scary dream or something but clearly, in Bryce's case, it has to do with things he dealt with that day that were upsetting to him.  I also believe that Bryce's high allergy state right now is making him more sensitive than usual and he crumbles into crying about every 30 minutes so his sleeping is clearly disrupted too.  I told my mom today to try and get him to lay down for a little bit since I think he needs a nap more than ever.  I know I sure as heck could use one today.


Katie said...

Emily has night terrors all the time, but they were more frequent last year (age 4). Lucy hasn't had them yet. They always happen within the first hour after falling asleep. She screams, thrashes, whimpers, etc., but isn't coherent and doesn't respond even though her eyes are open. All we do now is to make sure she doesn't hurt herself and she falls back asleep with no intervention after a little while. Maybe his going to the bathroom triggered him into a sleepwalking-type state. Very possible, but it seems like his episode lasted for such a long time that maybe it was something else. Emily's episodes don't last for more than 30 minutes tops- more like 10-20 minutes. I think the more you attempt to interact/interfere, the longer the episode drags on, at least that is my opinion based on experience with emily.

Erika said...

K, I think you're totally right - the intervention definitely made it worse. I think it was hard for us not to intervene given his coughing attack b/c of the allergies and us worrying he might have an accident. But I'm thinking we need to lay low and let them play out b/c last night was so difficult.

(When I said, "L", I meant Landon. Now HE's had some interesting sleep convos! Ha ha!)

Katie said...

Ha ha! I am wondering if the sleepwalking/terrors are inherited. I also wonder if Emily's night terrors will change into sleepwalking? Yikes.

Sometimes, if they are really bad night terrors, I stand close by and listen or gently say "go back to sleep, everything is okay", but I stopped trying to wake her up b/c it makes it worse. It is hard though, especially if they call out for you b/c it sounds so real!

If it happens again, try to stand close by, but not interact too much and if it is a night terror, it should pass quickly.