Letter to Penny: Your First Night Terror Experience

Dear Penny, 

Sunday night you went to bed like an absolute angel even earlier than usual infact, but not only that you didn't even mange to drink all your bottle which is very unlike you. I sat by your side holding your hand until you fell asleep at 6.30pm. Holding your hands after they've had a nice soak in the bath is just delicious...no sticky fingers just soft warm floppy fingers relaxing in the palm of my hand. Safe and secure until the morning. Yeah right...*First time naive parents alert*.
Fast forward to 8.30pm you'd not been asleep for too long when me and daddy heard the monitor go off. At first it just sounded like you'd woken up and wanted your dummy so I slowly got up from the sofa and began to make my way up to you. Suddenly, you started shouting 'no no no!'. I panicked thinking had you got your leg stuck in-between the cot bars or perhaps you were stuck in your blankets? All sorts of thoughts came to mind so I paced up the stairs to see what on earth you were screaming about...

I arrived to your bedroom and you were sat up howling the house down, so I picked you up to comfort you but you didnt respond to my arrival. You didn't calm down or even acknowledge me. If anything it got worse the more I tried to make you see I was there. I hushed you and tried to lay you in my arms but you fought me so much I couldn't believe your strength. I called for your daddy as I knew something wasent right and we both tried to comfort you again to no prevail. 

Your eyes stared with a look of sheer terror, your arms thrashing around hitting me all over, We took you into the kitchen as you were so hot and red, we thought to check your temperature. This made you furious, so we got the reading and I pulled you close to ease your tears. 

We walked into the living room to try our next plan...Bottle. Yes that might work we thought, so off daddy went to get the bottle. I don't think he even got to the stairs before I started shouting out to him. I was asking him to call the doctor. Your body had gone ridged, stiff, and your head was twitching, your eyes flicking, and your limbs moving in popping movements. Its by no exaggeration when I say you looked like you were fitting right infront of my eyes, the way your body looked and moved will haunt me. It was the worst thing to see as a parent. I shouted for Reese but it only last a few seconds by which time he came and it had stopped.  The bizarre fit like moment I mean, not the monstrous screams you were letting out.

We got your bottle and daddy said goodnight to you as you went up the stairs as if it was bedtime again, 'night night bubba, night night'. I felt an instant relaxation throughout your body and you went quiet. It was asif the bedtime routine was starting all over again for you. Your body exhausted and limp I lay you down as you were so peaceful and looked ready to sleep. Your head touched the pillow and you freaked right back into this awful state you were in just moments before. What happend? We had no idea. I felt so desperate and upset by this point I had to ring my mum. I got into your cot and I held you, I hushed you, and my heart breaking for you. I sobbed to my mum on the phone, questioning everything, as I couldn't help you. Nana could hear your screams too, even she was unknowing of what was going on. Were you in pain? Was something seriously wrong? We had no idea.

I kept saying to Nana its as if you are not there, you were unresponsive to us, you didn't know where you was or who we were. You were hitting all around, kicking and screaming. We kept saying its as if you were asleep or something.

I got out the cot and carried on talking things through with my mum and Reese was sat on the floor trying to settle you back off. You could barely catch your breathe after going through all that for a solid 10-15 minutes but you fell back to sleep almost instantly as soon as we left you be.

Seeing you drift off and be laying there so peaceful, it confused the hell out of me. How can you just sleep like nothing has gone on? As I sat in complete shock about what just happend, I turned to Google. My good loyal friend. It turns out what we'd all just gone through was your first night terror experience. 

After researching for far to long, I found out that night terrors are when a child wakes up suddenly from a deep sleep period which normally occurs in the first few hours of their sleep time. You were infact not awake when you had this episode Penny, you were in a dream like state. There was no way of me making things better, because when a night terror occurs you wouldn't of even known I was there.

Infact I did the worst thing by picking you up trying to make you calm down when in fact, I should have kept you in the cot and calmly stroked your head/back to help you back to sleep. Its safer that way so you don't hurt yourself. The funny thing is that children don't even recollect any memory of what happens during the night terror. This is completely true. I tip toed into your room the next morning and you looked dead at me with a huge smile on your face completely none the wiser about the night before.

I, on the other had was a complete emotional wreck who waited at the stairs the next night set and ready to run up the stairs if the same were to occur. My anxiety being completely through the roof. BUT, it didn't happen you were absolutely fine Penny.

I hope it was just a one off experience for you and that you never have to go through that again. No little girl or boy should have night terrors, they are frightening. It makes me sad to think of what you might have been dreaming about. All I wish for you is to have a good sleep and to dream of something lovely. My worst nightmare is knowing your having nightmares, and night terrors. Mummy just wants you to sleep peacefully and happily, that's all.

This letter isn't to frighten you, or to make you feel bad for worrying us. I wanted to write this so you know how much we tried to help you that night. Although we were none the wiser as to what was going on and made a few mistakes that yes, most likely agitated the situation but we didn't find all that out until afterwards. You had your first night terror experience but so did we. We knew nothing of these mean old things before now.

Even though you don't remember it at all, I want you to know we did our best to ease you, comfort you and we tried to make it better. We now have the experience from all this to now be prepared for the future if you ever end up having another night terror. I want you to know that mummy and daddy will always be right there to protect you, even if you cant tell we are there. We'll fight away the monsters under the bed, or the big old bug chasing after you, anytime, any place my little princes.

We will keep you safe, lots of love...

Mummy x

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  1. my son has had these occasionally and it is so awful isn't it? Like you say they don't really remember it but I certainly do!

  2. Ah I love the way it's written as though you're talking to Penny.

    It sounds so frightening, I've been dreading this happening to one of my two. My three year old seems to be waking more crying from nightmares and it really makes my heart break for her.

  3. We never had these, they sound awful poor you and poor Penny! Hope they never come back again!xx

  4. My Son used to have night terrors every so often and it was an awful experience. You're right, it's as if she's not there when she wakes up in the middle of one. My Son would thrash about and he was inconsolable for ages. Really distressing but thankfully he seems to have stopped having them now.

  5. I've heard of night terrors before but, *touch wood*, we have not experienced them in our house. I really hope it was just a one off for Penny and that none of you have to go through that again x

  6. Oh my goodness! This sounds so scary. I've heard of these happening but I've never experienced one with Rosalie I hope I never do! Xx

  7. Oh gosh that sounds so frightening. We haven't had any night terrors here but my friend went through them and she said it was so scary for her. I hope it doesn't happen again and it's just a once off. X

  8. Oh gosh, Jack has had one night terror in the past touch wood just the one. Its so scary


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