It’s 4am. I’m awake for the 4th night in a row because my almost 7 year old is all of a sudden terrified of literally everything.
She won’t sleep all night. She won’t sleep without a light (and we talking something bright enough to see from space). She won’t play outside for fear of blood sucking bugs, even though she has known about mosquitoes now for awhile. It’s insane. Every little thing terrifies her. She is scared of the toad that creeps onto the porch at night. She is afraid that it’s too dark. She worried about dragons, monsters and people breaking in. She worried that a cougar will eat her in the yard after dark. Won’t walk near the woods because who knows what’s hiding.
She hears noises at random times in the night and goes into panic mode. She will wake up crying and run into our bedroom and after an hour or so of convincing her that there is no such thing as the big bad wolf with overalls, she finally goes back to sleep.
Unfortunately, these interrupted nights of sleep are making it worse. She’s so tired when she gets up in the night. She ends up being very cranky by lunch and then it’s a struggle to get through the day. I’ve had to curb what she watches, what video games she plays, where she goes and who she hangs out with.
My daughter has always kind of had a soft heart and been a little on the sensitive side, but I need my 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. She needs her 10 hours of sleep. Her Daddy needs his sleep and so does her sister.
So what is a Mom to do? Do I wrap her in bubble wrap? Teach her to use a sword to scare away imaginary beings? Should I get Daddy to post up in her bedroom at night with a shotgun? No. No I shouldn’t.
I can’t baby her. I’m just not that kind of Mom. It’s not fair, but at 4am after tucking her back in and arguing with her repeatedly about whether or not she heard something, I’m running out of patience. I try to be understanding, and loving but sometimes her outbursts are so dramatic that it wakes up everyone in the house. Once the toddler is awake and her Dad is up, she magically isn’t scared anymore and goes back to bed. It’s almost too perfect.
I understand that my little bundle of joy is going through a phase. It’s an exhausting, ridiculous mess of a phase… But a phase non-the-less. The only thing I can do is hug her, wipe her eyes and reassure her that I will protect her from all of the things she is scared of. Except spiders… That’s totally up to her Dad.
Finally after many weeks now of fighting off imaginary monsters, I made her clean all the stuff in her room. We dumped out toy boxes, moved curtains, cleaned the closet. Looking ever so intently for “scary things”. We searched for spiders, found one and smashed that sucker. We searched for other bugs, nothing. Searched for monsters, nothing (except the creepy baby doll she had in the bottom of her toy box.. but I suppose only I was fearful of it). We even pulled and pushed on her window to show her how hard it was to open. Explained to her that unless she got up in the middle of the night and let the scary things in on her own, that there was no way something was getting in.
So after not finding a single thing, my daughter suddenly and almost magically realized that there was nothing that can harm her in her bedroom. No dragons or rabid racoons. No big bad wolf or slithering snakes. She went to bed last night with minimal complaint. She only woke in the night twice and when told to go back to bed didn’t even make a sound.
Hopefully we are on the way to a peaceful night’s sleep around here. This Mama is running on fumes!
Hugs! -Kristy aka Mama Kuddo
photo credit: Alyssa L. Miller <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/34701044@N06/3250804881″>The Safety of Fear</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>