Sunday, March 21, 2010


A few night ago, I heard a noise. Suddenly, it seemed Rooster was three years old again --- I scrambled out of bed and into his room knowing before I got there that he was having a night terror. In the 20 seconds it took me to get to him, I noted how strange it felt to realize I'd nearly forgotten the night terrors that once plagued our home, and how it felt like much more than three years had passed since they happened regularly.

I scooted in bed next to Rooster and out of pure muscle memory began comforting him by stroking his hair, rubbing his back, murmuring reassurance... "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay..." then I remember that none of that stuff had ever worked back in the day. I took a deep breath. Then, it clicked. The power of the deep breath.

I'd been in his room two minutes or so when the last three years of learning from, about, and with my son all clicked into place with the power of the deep breath. I could practically hear the answer spoken aloud. The rooster did not need me to come solve his night terror, to come fret and soothe and worry and smother and TALK. He needed me to breathe. I held him in my arms. I went quiet. As he yelled and cried and clawed at himself, I breathed, long, slow, deep breaths. Within another two minutes, he did the same. He stopped thrashing, he stilled, and he breathed.

For the first time in three years, he had a night terror. For the first time ever, I knew how to help him, by not helping him so much. When I could just relax and breathe, so could my Rooster.

No more night terrors since.


Christine said...

We suffered through night terrors, too. There is nothing worse, in my book. Sounds like you've both come a long way in the last three years. Wishing you more restful nights ahead!

gretchen said...

Love this.

gretchen said...

Love this.