Last night, about an hour after she went to bed, Matt and I heard Maddie crying loudly. We ran up the stairs to discover her sitting up in bed reaching for something and yelling "I want it! I want it!" all the while bawling. She doesn't respond with any kind of clarity when we speak softly to her, reassuring her. Eventually we convince her to lay her head down on her pillow. Then, we tuck her in. She has gained some clarity now - enough to respond with a yes when asked if she is okay, and an "I love you too." She is asleep again in seconds and doesn't remember anything in the morning.
This is the second time this kind of thing has happened this week.
These episodes come and go from time to time and Maddie never remembers. It is a strange thing to watch her have night terrors. Mostly because of the hallucinating - the weird space between dreaming and wakefulness where she doesn't seem to know what is going on and communicates in nonsensical ways. When a child has a night terror, they seem to be awake - but aren't. They may be found sitting, standing, or walking out of bed (Maddie has sometimes). Sometimes though, I have to admit, it is kind of funny the things she says and I have to try very hard not to chuckle out loud. Most of the time I find dealing with a person who looks awake and isn't a little bit creepy - there is a weird blankness to the eyes.
Apparently, the symptoms of night terrors can differ between children and adults. They are most common in children between the ages of 2 and 6 and can be triggered by things like being overtired, stressed, or high fever. They also tend to be inherited. Matt walked and talked in his sleep as a child, occasionally still talks.
Luckily Maddie's episodes aren't too intense. It took me a few times to realize what was really going on. It isn't often enough that we really worry. Most of the time her sleep is healthy and uninterrupted.