Thursday, September 16, 2010

There Are Monsters Under My Bed!

Not so much my bed, but Colin's.  Or so he thinks.  Or dreams, rather.  As if his incessant getting out of bed routine wasn't bad enough, now throw in the occasional nightmare and you've got a deadly combination.  At least for those of us trying to get a little sleep. 

A couple of nights ago he had his second nightmare (that I know of).  He woke up screaming, crying, and sweating profusely.  I attempted to soothe him without getting him up but that wasn't good enough.  I had to physically lift him out of bed - not an easy feat considering he weighs about 35 back breaking pounds - and rock him in my lap.  We had to take his pants off to cool him down, which seemed to help tremendously.  I also sang him a couple songs in an attempt to take his mind off of whatever had startled him.  After 10 minutes of rocking, I laid him back down and he went right to sleep.

The next morning I wasn't sure whether to bring it up or not.  I decided not to.  Wes decided to ask.  Colin told him that yes, he had had a nightmare and there was a monster trying to eat his bed.  He went on to say that strangers were monsters, which was a bit unsettling to Wes.  I wasn't so disturbed because I don't want him to think fondly of strangers.  I don't want him to think they're monsters but I also don't want him to think they're his friends. 

I've since done a little internet research and found that I was wrong in ignoring the situation.  It's good to talk through them and discuss what is real and what is make-believe.  As far as what causes them, the article listed several changes or disruptions that can cause a child stress or anxiety - ultimately the root of nightmares.  Unfortunately, we fell into almost every one of the possibilities:  going to a new school - check, a parent going back to work - check, a new baby in the house - check, and a change or disruption in sleep patterns - check!  The odds are stacked against him according to this article.  The author acknowledged that there was really nothing you can do for any of these scenarios, so perhaps you should be more lenient on what you deem as "bad behavior" during this period, essentially don't be so hard on them.  And how exactly does that fit in with consistent parenting?  I think I'll opt for consistent parenting and deal with the nightmares one night at a time. 

Have any of you dealt with nightmares?  And do you have any words of wisdom?  I hate feeling so helpless but I don't know what I can really do. 


  1. Oh poor Colin! Pierce has had what we assume are a couple nightmares because he'll wake up totally upset - sobbing - but he's not really a talker at such times and he wouldn't tell us what was wrong. You feel soooooo bad about it!

  2. What really helps us when the kids have nightmares is prayer. After they calm down, we always pray with them and ask God to help them have good dreams, keep the scary thoughts away, help them to go back to sleep etc. It works. God is good!

  3. I had nightmares last night! Maybe it was the moon or something. I actually had to sit up and watch TV for a few moments. Probably not the best idea for a little one but that tells you what a wimp I am!!

    BTW, my brother is 25, so he was at Little Elks a LONG time ago. I didnt go there bc my mom didnt "discover" it until I was past the age. But he loved it and I loved going to all their little performances. So cute!

  4. Poor little guy! When I was a nanny and my little ones had nightmares I would lay down with them in bed, read them a happy bedtime stories and say a prayer before I left the room. That seemed to help calm their nerves. Good luck!

  5. ella has only done she was this once. she woke up bawling and she kept saying there was a fly in her crib. who knows? we told her we got rid of it and then she seemed fine.