The high octave of her cry jolted us from sleep. I picture whispers in black and white; this sound surged in red hot color yet made me shiver at the same time. This was not the quiet cry of a sleepy bad dream, this was pure terror.
Our lethargy evaporated and we made for her crib where she sat shaking, face contorted fear, shrieking. We scooped her up, attempting to hold her close but she refused the comfort of our cuddle. As if possessed, she stared straight ahead, lips quivering and then parting into a scream every several seconds.
I waved my hand in front of her delicate, trembling face but she stared through it, eyes open though clearly not awake. Our hearts pounded with adrenaline, worry and fear. It was unsettling to see her in the trance of so gripping a nightmare. How to ward it off without startling her? Cue gentle back rubbing, shh shh shh sounds and soft murmurs of “It’s okay LLC.”
And then, her screams stopped as suddenly as they started. Her eyes re-focused on us and she smiled, and returned our cuddle. She soon went back to bed only to wake three hours later in a similar state, after which she spent the rest of the night in our bed sleeping soundly.
I’d class this, as they in the UK, as a night terror. I don’t think we use this term in the States but I’m not sure. But it was certainly a nightmare of the highest proportions.
Do children’s dreams derive from their experiences / perceptions? Did something happen during the day that unsettled LLC? I don’t know but I hope we don’t we don’t have to investigate this again anytime soon.
Have you ever had a run in with the night terrors?