toddler waking at night crying, screaming, inconsolable - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-08-2006, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello friends,

I'm wondering if anyone has any wisdom to share about an episode (hopefully it's only an episode!) we are experiencing with our co-sleeping 28-month-old DS. For the past couple weeks, he has been waking in the night, one or two times almost every night... and when he wakes, he starts to cry and gets himself pretty quickly into a crazy state of complete hysteria, crying, screaming, saying "go away mama" and "go away dada," unable to stop until (usually dada) figures out a way to distract him. This happens sometimes early in the night before we grownups are in bed (while he's alone in bed) but just as often when I am sleeping right next to him, and I cannot console him at all. It is awful, painful to experience. We ask him if he has boo-boos, or if he was scared, or whatever and he says NO to absolutely everything.

A lot of factors could be involved. He's had a really horrible cold for almost two weeks, in his sinuses and chest, but that seems to have cleared in the last couple days with no change in the waking. I'm pregnant (due in April) and he has recently weaned, I'm sure because my milk is gone and also because it was hurting mama. He doesn't really ask for nurse now, and says NO when I suggest it during the hysteria. A couple months ago, we stopped giving him daytime naps because he would be up very late (11 or 12) and now he usually goes to sleep fairly easily at 7:30-8ish. He's not really working on potty training, sort of interested but not using the potty. I'm wondering if this could be related to his diet? I don't really know where to start with that. It also doesn't seem like how people describe night terrors--he's clearly waking up, it's not a half-awake sleep state he's in during these episodes.

Anyone experience something like this? We'll be grateful for any advice!

Marian
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#2 of 10 Old 02-08-2006, 02:13 PM
 
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Hi Marian,

My son has done that a few times, he is 17mos. It's a horrible feeling to not be able to help your child and to have your child say that they do not want you. My husband has also been the one to figure out the distraction as well. We could not figure out anything that he had eaten that was different. We think that our son might have had nightterrors when this happened. It would take 10 to 30 minutes to get him settled and than he would go right back to sleep. This has only happened about 5 times, but several times if the lights were out he would point crying at the corner as if he was scared of something. This was odd because he was never scared of the dark before and only was during these episodes. So for us it helped to turn the lights on and to talk gently to him to let him know that we loved him and that we were there. Good luck!

Stacy
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#3 of 10 Old 02-08-2006, 04:31 PM
 
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I think it is the same my ds had. He is 15 months and he wake up for 7 nights between the same night (3-5 am), he will scream, crty and nothing will help me. He also was very tired, because we were playing a lot at he afternoon and not making his nap at 7 pm. I found that is called night terror, and you can only be with him, and look that he does not make harm to himself.
I hope it finish soon, I decided my ds needed to sleep his nap and go late to bed. mmmm

I hope you find something about it.

Good luck and I big hug
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#4 of 10 Old 02-08-2006, 05:04 PM
 
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my son went through something similar with almost the same situational context as well. i was pregnant, my milk had just dried up. he had just nightweaned and had been sick with cold for several days. he had several nights of screaming exactly like that...i think he was just getting used to so many changes...it stopped after a few times. it happens once in a blue moon now, usually when something has recently stressed him out (birth of ava, bout of diarrhea, etc)
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#5 of 10 Old 02-09-2006, 03:29 AM
 
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This is totally out of left field, but does he watch any TV? We had that with DS#1 at that age and eliminated the TV and within days it eliminated the late-night sudden screaming.

Just a thought.










(FWIW they watch now, but it's only videos, we don't have TV reception, so that there's nothing they're seeing that we don't know about ... even if it's a few seconds of weirdness on some PBSKids show that you wouldn't expect it from ... and it does happen on PBS, too ...)
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#6 of 10 Old 02-09-2006, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=merpk]This is totally out of left field, but does he watch any TV? We had that with DS#1 at that age and eliminated the TV and within days it eliminated the late-night sudden screaming.

Just a thought.



Interesting.... are you saying that your DS was affected by the images or by having TV on at all? We don't let him see any grown-up TV. He watches a bit of public TV in the mornings while I'm getting ready for work, and sometimes Thomas or Dan Zanes videos. But, we also show him music videos on the computer at night (very mellow Neil Young video, he loves Neil Young, and another similar really mellow song and video) to sort of wind him down, and he often falls asleep while watching/listening to that. I've wondered whether just having the screen on, even though what he's watching is really benign, is stimulating him. Last night he didn't wake, and his cold is definitely past now, so maybe we're looking at an improvement.... keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I'm also going to read some more about night terrors although I suspect that's not what this is.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-09-2006, 12:04 PM
 
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My oldest used to have night terrors and they sound very similar. She'd wake up screaming and we wouldnt be able to calm her down and then after about 30 minutes - hour or so she'd just fall back to sleep. We found that they doordinated directly to things that were going on in our life. If things had been stressfull for her like changing daycare or different schedules etc she had the night terrors. So my best advice woudl be to see if things have changed at all during the day in your routine that might have thrown him off a bit. Most likely they'll pass on thier own as he owrks them out but of course WE want to make that transition as easy as possible. Goodluck and hope they go away fast for him!

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#8 of 10 Old 02-09-2006, 01:58 PM
 
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Any TV. He watched PBS. And at that age, the fast images, etc., even on the PBS shows, are over-stimulating. For some children, anyway.
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#9 of 10 Old 02-10-2006, 11:58 AM
 
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Hi Marian, sounds like a classic case of night terrors. NTs are worse when the child is overtired.
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#10 of 10 Old 02-12-2006, 05:07 PM
 
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we had this issue for almost three years. I can suspect TV looking back, a mistake i wont make again. they have almst dissapeared, and nothing changed really, just stopped happening so frequently, nw we are dwn t maybe nce a week (instead of twice a night)
i agreee its harder on us then them, in that DD never really knew what was going on.
KUP
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