Things That Go Bump in the Night or Do Your Kids Ever Walk Around the House Like Zombies in Their Sleep?
April 14, 2010
Since Wanda was born last fall, I've gotten used to nocturnal children who randomly wake up in the night. In Wanda's case, she usually just needs to eat or be re-binked or cuddled for a few minutes. It's pretty easy, mess-free, un-scary, and she usually goes right back down when her needs have been met.
Around the time she was born, Magoo also started waking up randomly in the night. Usually he has a bloody nose, which he has finally learned to get control of before walking all the way down the hall and climbing into our bed, leaving a trail of bloody carnage in his wake. He also occasionally does the not-really-awake wake-up where he wanders downstairs talking gibberish and we gently guide him back up to his bed where we position his Gumby body into as cute a sleep position as possible. He sleeps on the bottom bunk.
This week, Dan and I were downstairs at about 10:30pm when Laylee marched into the kitchen clothesless, her eyes open and unseeing, a vague smile on her face. She marched straight over to the baking cupboard and pulled out a plastic lid from a 9x13 Pyrex container, turned and started walking out of the room.
We called her name. No response. She wandered aimlessly around the main floor looking agitated. "Do you need to use the bathroom, honey?" I asked, touching her shoulder. She shook her head and almost looked at me through her glassy eyes.
I guided her to the toilet and set her down. Yeah. She had to go. She shlumped over and put her arms around me as she went. I then proceeded to march her around like one of those magically animated suits of armor in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, washing her hands, dressing her and putting her into the guest bed. Her own bed was inexplicably wet, although I can guess how it got that way considering how deeply she was sleeping.
We told the story the following morning and everyone laughed but I have to admit – there's something sort of creepy in watching your sweet 7-year-old girl wander around like a zombie deer in headlights, allowing you to move her around, completely oblivious to what's happening. It would not have surprised me if she had suddenly started shrieking or babbling like a person possessed. I really appreciate her subconscious restraint not to do those things. It may not have surprised me, but it definitely would have freaked me out.
I hear that this kind of sleep walking is completely normal. My mom even has a story about me as a kindergarten child wandering around the house in the night and suddenly stopping and using the baby's rocking chair as a toilet before she had the chance to stop me. Has this kind of thing ever happened to one of your children?