Wonderful thoughts

The night terrors started a few weeks ago. That first night, I didn’t know what was happening. “Mommy! I don’t feel good. I’m so scared!” Wren sobbed uncontrollably while sitting straight up in her bed, her eyes locked on mine, pleading for me to help her. I was scared.

These episodes continued sporadically and with a little Googling and a little conversation with friends, I was able to name these experiences as night terrors. I learned that these sleep disruptions were normal and sometimes occur as the brain develops and kids transition from one stage of sleep to another.

Right around the time that we became homebound, the terror came nightly. I knew when to expect it, but I didn’t feel like I knew how to help. I’d reassure Wren she was safe, that I was there, that she was going to be ok. Sometimes there terrors lasted a few minutes, other times for much longer.

Finally, I reached out to a friend I met through Wren’s dance class. She is a school psychologist and I thought maybe she’d have some insight or at least reassure me that this was still normal. She told me that her daughter had gone through a similar phase and that now, before bed, they talk about things that are wonderful.

Couldn’t hurt.

So that night before bed, we all talked about the wonderful parts of our day. When Wren woke a little after 11pm, her fear wasn’t as intense and she seemed more sad than scared. I talked her through the moment by saying, “Let’s think of something wonderful…” and I went on to name some of the things she had talked about before bed. She was sound asleep again within minutes.

These episodes have continued, but are much better. The “wonderful strategy” is helping to shift Wren to a positive place. The wonderful overcomes the terrible.

These days, I find myself trying to name the wonderful from my own day, when I need to create my own calm.

14 thoughts on “Wonderful thoughts

  1. I think we all need to start naming something wonderful to get us through this scary time.

    It is wonderful that the help you sought out has yielded something positive for Wren. May solid nights of restful sleep for all of you come soon.

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  2. HUGS!! You are doing wonderful job with Wren as she moves through this blip, this phase, of her life! You are doing amazing work for our district, our school, our teachers and it WILL get to the kids. This “work” is hard – sitting in front a computer all day, even with people on the screen, does nothing for our need for human interaction. However, there are wonderful things happening – YOU are slicing every day, YOU are creating a read aloud bank, YOU are leading us, paving the way to make distance learning manageable and meaningful for kids! YOU are wonderful!

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  3. All of what Dawn said. I can’t imagine trying to do what I’m being asked to do if my girls were your girls’ ages. They’d have night terrors just to get my attention. I love reading about your parenting. Your girls are so lucky. And also lucky that you’re capturing it all in an accessible and lasting place.

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    1. That could very well be what is happening… night terrors for attention! 😳Poor things. I keep buying them Legos to keep them busy and quiet. It’s a lot and they’ve been so great considering!

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  4. I’m with the commenters above, in agreeing with your last line, that that’s what all of us need to be trying to do. Two nights ago I had a Wren-like night, I think because I read a harrowing article right before bed. Not a good idea. I need to be able to think of wonderful things. I still hope we can get kids to try to do the SOL April challenge…for that reason.

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  5. Naming the wonderful from our day! Now that is a strategy I need too. Maybe we all need to try this. I’m so sorry Wren is having night terrors. It sounds like she is a sensitive girl. I don’t doubt that she feels what is going on in the world. I’m glad that things are getting better. Let’s all try this and see if we can alleviate some of our own terrors.

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  6. I am sorry Wren (and you) are going through this. I love the wonderful strategy and I can picture you wonderfully applying it! Wishing you many good night sleeps to come!

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  7. I feel comforted so often when I visit your blog. The stories from your family life always touch me in a particular way. Meeting our children where they are is what you’ve demonstrated here; offering Wren (and yourself) a strategy for making something less frightening, less disturbing. I appreciate the sensitivity you show in working through it rather than rushing to erase it.

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  8. Name your own wonderful – Oh, Jessica! I am 100% sure that you don’t write about all the ups and downs of parenting – and that you *surely* do not write about all the ups and downs of parenting right now, but honestly, from where I sit, you are loving her just the way she needs to be loved. And that is wonderful. May you both sleep well tonight.

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  9. What a a beautiful idea! One of the books I brought home for a read aloud was about ways to be happy. I think we have to flood not just the kids, but ourselves s with positive, self affirming messages.

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  10. What a ‘wonderful’ post, what a great suggestion from your friend to get your daughter through her fear stage and so glad it’s working. Nothing worse than having a scared child, except perhaps a very sick one! Yes, it’s a good reminder to think on things that are wonderful. Thank you.

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