Our children went back to school on Tuesday. They were not that keen on the holidays ending, like any normal children, but certainly not anxious about it.
Since stopping wearing night time nappies 4 months ago, our 6 y-o has, like clockwork, got herself up, usually around 10.30 or 11, to go to the loo. We don't even help her, she is so used to it & literally 'does it in her sleep'. Even when in Bosnia, in a ski chalet, with a very steep narrow attic staircase & no lights on, she would get herself up, negotiate her way successfully down the stairs, through the living room & into the bathroom & then retrace her steps, quite happily. In the dark. She never remembers doing any of this.
On Monday night this week, I heard the familiar creak of her door opening, a pause of roughly 'visit to the bathroom' length & then she came into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. I talked to her, telling her what a clever girl she was & suggesting we 'go back to bed now'? She nodded, & I led her back to bed, tucked her in & kissed her, closing the door as I left. Less than a minute later she was back in the kitchen beside me saying “I can't do it. I just can't do it.” I was a bit confused until Mr Ngo suggested maybe she hadn't actually 'been' to the loo. When asked if she needed to go she nodded, so we walked out of the kitchen & she went ahead of me straight of me &.....into the spare-room.
No, it's this way.” I said. She sat on the loo, eyes closed, feet dangling. Once finished, again I led her out & pushed open the bedroom door, turning to speak to her, only to discover she was no where to be seen. I called “Where are you?”
“Here.” she said. She was in the sitting room. “What are you doing in there?” I asked. She didn't know. Of course. Next morning she had no recollection of this whatsoever. She is also convinced we make up these stories for our breakfast amusement. She is very sensitive to being 'laughed at'.
Later that same night, around midnight, I saw the children's bedroom light on, so I went in & found our 10 y-o sitting on the floor in nothing but his underpants rummaging through his drawer looking for socks.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting dressed,” he replied “But I don't know what to wear.”
“How about pyjamas?” I suggested. He looked at me as if I was mad, so I explained it was still night time & he still had quite a few hours ahead of him. He checked his watch, gave a little smile & put his pyjamas back on.
They say sleepwalking is not indicative of any psychological disturbance,but you do wonder what's going on in their little minds.
It normally occurs between 11 & 1 in the 1st third of the night, only usually occurs once a night & is hereditary. It is also most common in children aged 4-8 & also commoner amongst bed wetters. My daughter isn't a bed wetter, since abandoning nappies. If she didn't sleepwalk, she would be though...
It is also supposed to be hereditary. I know my mum used to tell me I would engage her in conversation at night or sit bolt upright in bed when she came in to tuck me in saying “I am awake you know” (Strange child that I was.) It also doesn't have to involve actual walking but more often repeated or routine behaviours.
The only 'sleepwalking' I've known my husband to do once in 20 years was when he got up for his customary visit to the bathroom, but mistook the landing for the bathroom. Fortunately, having been disturbed, I often get up too, & on this occasion followed my husband out onto the landing. Let's just say spotting the characteristic stance, I got there in the nick of time & steered him into the bathroom.
Of course he is convinced I made up the entire incident for a joke. Like father, like daughter.
A former colleague of mine had a husband who had a severe sleepwalking problem, he had got out of the house, tried to drive the car on several occasions, & , more helpfully, when they were moving house, was taking pictures off the walls & packing boxes in his sleep. Seriously though, that would make me lose sleep. What a worry.
It has always been something of a mystery & wasn't even seriously investigated until the 20th century. It seems the reality is much more mundane than all the literary & musical allusions make it out to be. And indeed there are some interesting cases of people who have committed murders whilst sleepwalking & been acquitted. Legally it's called temporary insanity.
Do you have any experience of sleep walking?