I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In the middle of the night

Jackson sleeps through the night. Ayla, on the other hand, doesn't. She usually cries a little because she is uncomfortable and can't find her binky (see earlier post). This is probably a combination of her personality and the fact that, as first born, we were always jumping out of bed to comfort her with every little sound...

Recently, Ayla has been having nightmares. We know it's a nightmare when (a) the screaming is out of control and (b) nothing will calm her down. She seems to still be sleeping through the tears, runny nose and inconsolable screams. We've tried calmly talking to her, holding her, sitting her up in bed and telling her sternly to "wake up!" It's sad to see her so freaked out and beyond upset. And you begin to wonder to yourself, is this going to stop? Do I have to douse this little girl with a cold shower?

One night I had to take Ayla outside on the porch and make her stand up. That seemed to pull her out of that sleep/awake limbo and the fresh air helped her calm down and come back to reality. We then had a nice conversation about Wall-E, the stars and his spaceship coming back to earth. You know, the usual.

Last night was a very similar situation. We're watching tv and then hear Ayla's cries. These nightmares seem to occur only about an hour after she has fallen asleep. I'm not sure where this puts her in the sleep cycle - but I'm assuming it is before any deep REM brain waves start flowing. Gregory was doing his best to wake her up without scaring her any more than she already was. It took another trip downstairs (and waking Jackson up as well) to pull her out of hysteria. And now, she is finally able to verbalize what scared her so much. Bugs.

And I admit, bugs are creepy. But we've always tried to not push any of our own adversions onto her. She used to enjoy holding any bug I found in the garden and loved holding worms. But this past summer, I think Ayla figured out the creepy factor in how it feels to hold a squirmy worm or bug. The goosebumps down your back as something with six or eight legs scurries over your arm.

So, as Ayla was getting over her episode and in between those cute little crying hiccups, she said she was afraid that another bug was going to bite Momma's leg. (I have a bite/rash on my leg from camping at Ohiopyle. I hope the look of it alone wasn't enough to traumatize her.) It's nice to know she's concerned about her mother being attacked by bugs!

Gregory had night terrors as a little boy. He has memories of a black cat crawling on the walls. I slept-walked for a short period in elementary school. And all of us still have the occasional nightmare. It's always that irrational fear as you wake up, unable to move and looking around in the dark - was it real? Am I awake? And to try to work through those feelings with a toddler brain? Poor Ayla. But in a house with little kids, there is always something strange happening in the middle of the night.

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