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Nightmares: Catterpillars crawling in bed!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I searched for nightmares but didn't really find what I was looking for... I hope this isn't redundant!

My poor DD has been having horrible nightmares that catterpillars are crawling all over her & her bed. I'm sooo sad for her - I can just imagine how terrifying that would be! Sad!

The worst part is that she LOVES catterpillars! She's been picking them off trees & putting them in a jar which is obviously why catterpillars are in her headspace. But.. she doesn't want them outside of the house!

We taped up that jar, put the lid on & had her shake it to assure they were properly contained. Then we wrapped them in a bag inside a bag tied tightly & then she chose a cupboard to put them in & closed the door.

Then we stripped her bed & put on the linens she chose from the closet. We have a special protective anti-catterpillar blanket. We also use spray before bed to get rid of any remaining catterpillars AND have dialog with her special stuffed blue-jay who eats catterpillars & will keep them all off the bed.

Finally, with this routine we can get her to bed, but she's still waking up terrified. We leave the hall light on, so there's plenty of light - anything else would flood her room... but she's beating on her bed thinking they're there (I assume the shadows in her blankets.

So! Any ideas? Experiences? Assurances this is normal & we need to wait it out? I'll give anything a shot!

I'd love anything you got ladies!
post #2 of 12
I can only tell you that it's not uncommon for nightmares at this age. I'm kind of wondering if she is having some kind of irritation from pajamas or bed clothes that is making her skin crawl???? I understand you just gave her fresh sheets, etc, so this probably isn't any help.

Is it more like a nightmare that she wakes from or a night terror where she never really wakes during it? Can she sleep with you? Would it help?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
thank you for responding...

I thought about the pj thing too. The first night she woke up screaming I tore her clothes off thinking there might have been a bug or something! We've tried different nightwear (& she only has cotton stuff!) & naked bottom.

She does wake up (eyes open grabbing at everything in her bed/running around screaming etc), but she's definitely still "in it" & "seeing" catterpillars everywhere, which from the way she points & screams at them I think are the shadows in the blankets/clothes etc. She totally responds to us, but is pretty convinced there's catterpillars too.

When she's too scared to sleep in her own bed she falls asleep in ours, but she still wakes at least once a night because of catterpillars - whether she's in our bed or hers.

It is kind of funny having the conversation "There's catterpillars! There's catterpillars!" "No, Syd, there are no catterpillars in mommy's bed." "How do you know???" "Because I do NOT sleep with catterpillars!" at 1am each morning .. seriously though! Catterpillars in bed would be sooo bad!

Last night she spent the night at her grandmas house (a usual occurance) & even had one there! Sleeping in bed with my mom! Apparently it took a whole hour to get her calmed down.

She's so frightened... it's awful! I would be too - if there were catterpillars crawling all over - GROSS!


I guess it's especially sad because she keeps having them *every* night *at least* once a night & has them no matter where she sleeps! I'm so sorry for her.

I'm about to wage war on those catterpillars, let me tell you!
post #4 of 12
Have you checked her for pinworms ?

I similar nightmares as a child (though I was convinced the bed as full of earthworms). I can vividly remember watching them climbing the walls etc. Anyway after treating the worms the nightmares went away.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carley View Post
:She does wake up (eyes open grabbing at everything in her bed/running around screaming etc), but she's definitely still "in it" & "seeing" catterpillars everywhere, which from the way she points & screams at them I think are the shadows in the blankets/clothes etc. She totally responds to us, but is pretty convinced there's catterpillars too.
Sounds a lot like night terrors! I would look into it, I think they become more common in early childhood.
post #6 of 12
I recommend a few drops of Bach Flower Remedy Mimulus in water each day.

Worked wonders for DS's nightmares about scary things in his room coming to eat him..... it's the remedy for a fear you can name.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post
Have you checked her for pinworms ?

I similar nightmares as a child (though I was convinced the bed as full of earthworms). I can vividly remember watching them climbing the walls etc. Anyway after treating the worms the nightmares went away.
OMFG! NO, I haven't checked!!! I WILL!!!
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by glorio View Post
Sounds a lot like night terrors! I would look into it, I think they become more common in early childhood.
:

The fact that she's still "seeing" them after she's awake tells me this is a bit more than just a nightmare. I used to get these as a child all the time, only for me it was snakes. For me it seemed to be food related - as in I was intolerant/allergic to something that was triggering them. There is a lot of information online about night terrors if you go looking.
post #9 of 12
Yep, totally sounds like night terrors, which manifest as creepy-crawlies, rats, or dark figures, even if a person is unfraid of such things during the day. The big variable would be when she actually gets them: night terrors occur earlier in the sleep stage.

You might want to do some research on calming children after night terrors... they actually require different types of intervention than nightmares.

You also might want to start looking at what kinds of days she has when she has them... keep track of activity level, anxiety level, food choices, etc. I know that when I had them (I had them until just before I turned 30), it was often because of the type of day I had.
post #10 of 12
I'm NMY and searching for recommendations on child development books and wandered in here. I wanted to respond because I have "wakeful dreams". Mine typically surround spiders or people standing in my room. Mine are definietly tied to my stress level. Hugs. I have heard it is very disconserting to deal with someone who is asleep and still dreaming. I don't have any ideas or solutions. Oh, I know that sometimes it takes a light being turned on or being touched to bring me out of it--even if I am sitting up or moving around on the bed. You might be on the watch for sleep walking--I have had a few instances in my life of this. My homeopath thinks that my remedy may help me to have fewer episodes and less traumatic episodes.

Hugs for you and your dd!
Jenne
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I did the butt check & we're all clear thank goodness! I couldn't decide what would be worse... catterpillars crawling all over me or pin worms!

I had researched night terrors, but she doesn't seem to fit the criteria. She's defnitely concious & reasonable when she wakes up - not confused at all. We tell her there's no catterpillars & that's that.

She didn't have a nightmare last night (thank goodness) but she has been awful busy lately. She's been doing a lot of fun stuff at the expense of her lengthy naps & early bedtime.

We're definitely on the ball as far as nighttime now! 8:00 all the way!
post #12 of 12
Good luck Carley. Night terrors are common in my family, I have been known to beat up my DH in my sleep. Apparently my father did the same thing. I used to wake up from these terrors as a child and be completely unable to move. I guess it was I'd wake up before my brain had a chance to turn off the "sleep paralasys" response. I've got a faulty sleep switch! These intense dreams are hard for anyone who doesn't have them to understand. Just keep up with the routine and eventually they'll calm down.
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