I don’t think there is anything that makes me feel more helpless than listening to my child’s cries, knowing there’s nothing I can do to help him and that Mommy’s presence doesn’t fix everything.

The Boy gets night terrors every now and then. Thankfully, it’s not frequent, but when they hit, boy is it a doozy. They usually happen when he doesn’t nap well or goes to bed very tired, as he did today. Knowing this, I make it a point to monitor his naps and adjust bedtime accordingly. Of course, since we attended a birthday party for his friend CR today (at which there were several balloons), he only napped for about 20 minutes in the car this afternoon. He had plenty to eat all day, that I knew, so I put him down at 6 instead of 7. He protested until about 6:30, then finally fell asleep. Then the night terrors kicked in at 8. He just now has settled back down to sleep.

The screams are the worst, followed by the flailing. When I heard him cry out, I rushed into his room, expecting him to be tangled in his blanket or caught in one of the crib railings. Instead, he was lying down, thrashing about – and no amount of hushing from me or calm, comforting words would help. If anything, it seemed to aggravate him more. Instead, I sat in a corner of his darkened room, just watching and waiting for him to go back to sleep.

It’s a terrible feeling, knowing that there isn’t anything you can do, knowing that this is something he has to do on his own. Even worse is that I have no idea what his night terrors could involve, no idea what his dreams include.

And now that I’m back in the living room, I hear him cry out sporadically and hold my breath each time, wondering if another bout is pending.


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