If you are the parent to more than one child, you are well aware of how two children who were both conceived by the same people can be completely different in a multitude of ways.
It doesn’t take long to figure that out.
And just as your children have different personalities, they will also have different bumps and bruises and illnesses and hurdles with which to deal.
With each child you will become familiar with a growing number of medical and psychological conditions.
There will be rashes and croup and fifth’s disease and allergic reactions and teeth coming in at all sorts of fucked up directions. There will be broken bones and lice and anxiety and OCD and fevers and strep throat and flu and RSV and bronchitis and pneumonia and lots of other stuff.
The more kids you have, the longer it takes for your blood pressure to increase, because you have most likely been there and done that.
We have seen a lot after seven kids.
But every once in a while, one of your kids will get sick or demonstrate some sort of condition that you haven’t experienced before.
We are having one of those situations with Number 4.
And I could use your help.
Number 4 has been experiencing night terrors for the past few days.
This isn’t the first time she’s had them.
But this last round is lasting a little longer than usual.
Tonight she was supposed to sleep over at a friend’s house, and we had to cancel the sleepover part of the get together.
Poor Number 4 was very upset, and I feel terrible for her.
If you’ve never experienced a night terror, they are much different from a nightmare.
Your child often appears to be completely wide awake and coherent. But also completely panic stricken or terrified.
It is not uncommon for kids to get out of bed. To flail their arms. To talk to you very clearly. To attempt to leave the house.
And these night terrors are usually more upsetting for the people witnessing them than they are for the people having them.
Number 4 has no recollection these episodes in the morning.
But Number 3 was pretty freaked out by the one he witnessed two nights ago.
And I knew if Number 4 slept over at her friend’s house and her friend saw her in that state, she’d likely be a little traumatized. And it could be upsetting for her parents, too.
We talked about it this morning.
Number 4 told me she was embarrassed. She started crying.
What’s wrong with me?, she asked through tears.
And that’s when I told her why I write about stuff here on the blog that people don’t always talk about.
How lots of people are scared to talk about things because they are under the assumption that they are the only people experiencing them.
I told Number 4 how when I write about them I feel better because lots of people tell me how they are going or have gone through the same thing.
And then I don’t feel alone or embarrassed at all.
I did my best to convince Number 4.
You are not the only person who is going through this. And this is not your fault. Sometimes it just happens. This is a phase you are going through, and just as it has come on without warning, at some point it will also go away.
She looked at me like she wanted to believe me.
But I don’t think she really did.
It sucks going through something like this as an adult, feeling like you are fucked up and the only one in the world who is.
But when it’s your eight-year-old daughter, it’s heartbreaking.
So I asked her if I could write about it today.
I promised her that if she let me, I would hear from other parents whose kids are going through or have gone through the same thing.
That other moms and dads would share stories of their kids who also have night terrors.
That if she shared what was going on with her, she wouldn’t feel like more of an outcast.
She would feel like less of one.
I assured her she would go from feeling alone to feeling like lots and lots of other people could understand what she was going through. That she would feel supported. And know there are many kids out there just like her.
Number 4 looked at me and she said, “Okay, Mommy. You can write about it.”
And she looked a little bit relieved.
So if you’ve got any experience with this shitty issue, I’d love to hear about it. And so would Number 4.
I’d love to show her that she’s in good company.
And even more importantly, I’d really love to teach her the lesson that while it can be terrifying to put yourself out there, that when you do, not only do you realize that you are helping yourself, but you are helping tens, hundreds, or sometimes even thousands of other people.
And that feels pretty awesome.