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Good Sleep, Bad Sleep
Friday, December 28, 2007
Good Sleep

So last night Stef and I were talking about what happened the day before on his nap, which by the way are getting better, that I wanted to blog about. First let me say that his first English word is "bye". Which he uses at every possible time you can use the word "bye". When we leave a store Andrei says and waves "bye" to everyone. And of course most people think it's cute to see a little one wave so they wave too, which naturally makes him wave and say "bye" even more. I must admit it is very cute, but as I always say, I'm a bit biased.

He said bye to his grandparents when he left the room, he said bye to them when they left the room. He loves watching the garage door shut and says bye to it when it shuts. "Bye" is obviously a very popular word.

So the Good Sleep story happened during nap time when Stef was putting him down for the nap. He's still a little restless and tosses and turns a bit and then finally gets ready to dose off. Well just before he makes his final rotation in the crib he reaches out his little arm and touches Stefanie with his tiny hand patting her on the shoulder and says "Bye-bye" and then rolls over and falls asleep.

As Stef was retelling me the story it was hard for her not to shed a tear. It clearly was the cutest thing he's done in the three weeks since he's been with us.

Bad Sleep

Well, just after we discussed this cute episode we got, by far, the most terrifying thing we've run across with Andrei. About 45 minutes after he fell asleep at night he woke up with a horrendous wailing. He was almost screaming so, of course, one of us (it was Stef) went in to comfort him. But the wailing continued. I went into his room to see what was wrong, after all he always calms down when Stef holds him.

But he was crying away (and loudly). I said, "Maybe he's sick." So we check his temperature and it's fine. But the crying is continuing. Stef hands him to me (sometimes he just likes being comforted by the other person). But no, that does no good. We set him back into the crib and rub his back (which also helps most of the time). But still no success. He doesn't seem to even know we're there and won't respond to us.

Then all of the sudden he stops and quiets down and falls back asleep in like 2 seconds. So we sit there for a minute or two and then leave. He's fine for about 40 more minutes when all of the sudden he wakes up again screaming away. Again not even acknowledging our presence and trying to squirm away from us holding and comforting him.

Okay, now we're really panicking. I'm thinking maybe we should call the pediatrician's emergency number. Both Stef and I are getting scared and asking each other what to do.

He finally calms down again (after about 10 more minutes of screaming). And Stef says, "Maybe it's Night Terrors". We grab the "Caring For Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5" by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Side note: If you have a kid under 5 and don't yet have this book, BUY IT!!! It is without a doubt the best most complete source of information (medical, physiological, etc.) about little ones out there.

In the book on the bottom of page 375 I read about Night Terrors (which I had heard about but did not understand what they were). The book says "...Occasionally your preschooler will be in bed, appearing to be awake and desperately upset...but he won't respond to you."

Ahh, YEA that's what's happened.

It goes on to say we've witnessed something called a Night Terror which is both mysterious and to parents extremely distressing.

Well, YEA again, so what do we do????

It turns out nothing. We just have to watch that he doesn't hurt himself. The good news is that is ends as quickly as it began. And even better, he won't remember the episode the next day.

I HIGHLY recommend (almost to the point of insisting) that if you adopt a young child that you read up and fully understand Night Terrors. They are more common for adopted children and although not something that needs to be addressed (by therapy or anything like that), they are very scary for the parents. And as such it's a good idea you are well grounded in how to recognize them and what to do (which again is basically nothing since even holding and comforting the child usually makes them worse).

But just as the pediatricians say, he didn't have any issues the next morning and was his happy cheerful self when he woke. Of course I'd prefer not to go through that again and our hearts hurt for our little man, but we are feeling okay knowing it was something normal (if not a bit rare) and that there were no long term effects.
posted by Steveg @ 1:21 PM  
  • At 2:06 PM, Blogger Lauri said…

    I second that book... by far my go to reference book.

    We had issues with night terrors and still do at times... very scary indeed

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger ArkAngels for Russian Orphans said…

    My brother (bio) had night terrors. My daughter (adopted from Russia), did too. They both grew out of it. But it was hard on everyone (and they never remembered any of it). Good luck -- you can do it!!


  • At 9:43 AM, Anonymous jacksmom said…

    when our little one woke up screaming we did the knee jerk reaction thing - yep- took him to the ER. They told us all about night terrors there! I was sure he had broken an ear drum- either that or some crazy form of cancer... he is perfectly fine and we are still learning things everyday and it has been 5 glorious years this January!

  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger Tricia said…

    I remember my brother having night terrors growing up. Wow sounds scary.

  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger Cristina Warner said…

    I am amazed at how calm you both remained. I would have probably dialed his pediatrician at that hour and been told "it's only night terrors". How scary, so thankful we haven't had that happen to us. Knock on wood...

  • At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Our son also had night terrors at about that age. He'd been home for over 6 months, but it was still scary. It happened when he was very over-tired and only lasted a few days. Hopefully once your son adjusts to a consistent sleep schedule they will go away.

  • At 9:26 PM, Blogger Lake said…

    I liked your 'good sleep' story the bad sleep story was scary, but I am glad you figured it out. Love you all.

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    Night terrors are frightening the first time it happens. Our daughter has them (still- at 5 years old) and has had them since we brought her home. She never remembers them. Lately she has added sleepwalking (!) to the routine.

    You both handled it very well. Thank you for the book recommendation. You're fortunate to have it so early. It took us a while before we found it.

  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    This doesn't just happen with adopted children. In fact, none of my adopted children have had what you call a "night terror" while in our home, but my five year old has probably had five or six. It is almost impossible to wake him up, and all I can do is lay next to him whispering how much I love him while rubbing his head. I also tell him other things that are good to dream about and about after 10 minutes or so, he finally falls asleep.

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I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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