I put Liam down like I always do. We kiss daddy, blow out the candle, go upstairs and climb into the "big bed" (i.e. Mommy and Daddy's bed). There we either watch or read a book (normally watch a book, since the room can remain dark while doing so, and he doesn't normally make it the four minutes through "Pete the Cat" anyway.) I hold him, I pray over him, I breathe in his youth and his innocence, and then I put him to bed.
It is by FAR my favorite time of the day. Not because I put my son to bed, but because for about 30 minutes, my day stops and nothing else matters. He remains an infant in my arms because he's not moving or running or throwing tantrums or eating kitty food... For a moment it's as if he's back in my belly where I can keep my arms around him and nothing can get to him.
Normally Liam wakes up in the middle of the night. It's normally around 4am. In the past I tried to rock him and then put him back. And then the rocker broke. So now I bring him into bed with us. Sorry, it's out. We co-sleep.
Last night it was around 11:30 and the cry was completely different. Instead of a whiny, I-need-security cry, it was a brutal, heart stopping scream. Andy and I both shot up in our bed- I ran over to Liam. He was sitting in his bed and he wouldn't come to me. I picked him up and he made his body stiff. "Daddy, daddy daddy!" He screamed over and over again. I got Andy's t-shirt out of the crib, thinking that's what he wanted. He kept screaming. "Okay! I'll take you to daddy!" He made himself so stiff I nearly dropped him.
Andy took over. "Honey, Daddy's right here. Shhh, what's wrong???" Liam stopped and looked at him, eyes glassy, and then stiffened his body out again, letting out another crazy scream. That's when Andy checked out on me and started to panic. "Call the doctor!!! I don't know what to do for him!!" I started to dial while unzipping Liam's PJ's and feeling around his belly for signs of gas, leg cramps, whatever I could think of.
He stiffened his body out over and over again, the phone rang forever. I tried to explain to the on call service what was happening- she patched me through to our doctor.
"This is Hannah."
"This is Liam George's mommy." Almost immediately I felt power in that statement. I'm the mommy. I'm Liam's mommy. I'm in control here.
I explained to her what happened and with every word, Liam started to relax. By the end of the conversation he was sucking on his pacifier, fast asleep on my chest. Hannah spoke a phrase we hadn't heard in relation to our child before; night terror. "Sounds to me like he had a bad dream or you caught him in the middle of a night terror. Try to put him back to sleep gently and he should be fine."
Andy and I laid with our arms around our son and around each other. Our sweet baby boy, asleep again. I gently took him back to his bed and laid him down. Andy and I sat awake for another 30 minutes, almost waiting for it to happen again. Andy was furiously Googling everything he could about the "night terror" phenomenon, which by definition sounded just like what we had experienced.
For whatever reason, Andy felt he needed to post about it on FB. Maybe he was caught up in the emotion of it all? But BOY, did the feedback come in from everywhere. Some wanted to know how much he napped. Some wanted to know what our bedtime routine was. Some wanted to know what he slept with/on/in. And then came the posts I KNEW were coming:
I think you're doing it wrong.
Here's what the book said to do.
Here's what worked for ME.
Here's what you're doing wrong.
And that's when I started to sob at my desk. How do they know my child? They don't. They made it sound like he's a restless sleeper just throwing a tantrum. He wasn't. This one was my favorite:
Catch that? Be tough with your one year old. I've never been in your home at bedtime, I met your son once when he was a few weeks old. But I certainly know best.
I don't want your advice. If it is constuctive, caring, and spoken in love? Bring it on. IF you have had a significant impact on my life, my pregnancy, and my child- sure, I'll lend an ear. But this is CRAP.
Don't ask advice on FB. End of post.