Our son has been sleepwalking ever since he was two. The doctor tells us that he’ll eventually grow out of it. The first time he did it, he scared the nightlights (coz it was night time, duh!) out of us. We were living in-transition in an apartment when we moved to Austin. He was two and sleeping in his own room across the living room that was cluttered with unpacked boxes.
My wife awoke in the middle of the night and as she opened her eyes saw our son just standing next to her bedside silently. His eyes were half-opened but looking at us. She nudged me awake and we briefly had glimpses of Chucky. We soon realized what was happening and gently walked him back to bed. He dozed back off. We had no clue how he navigated around those half-opened boxes across two rooms to make it ours.
He has slept-walked occasionally and although we don’t have a definite answer on why he does, we have a tentative theory. It usually happens when his sleep routine is off or he has had an unusually busy or active day. It’s almost like he doesn’t want his day to end and goes to bed reluctantly. Perhaps his brain is thinking that his parents are partying downstairs when in fact, we are simply reading or watching Netflix just like most boring parents do.
In any case, his sleepwalking happens in the earlier part of the night; usually before midnight or before we head upstairs back to bed. It is concerning enough that he can walk downstairs to our family room. It usually happens when we’re still down there but became more serious when over the holidays, he walked downstairs after we went to bed and went to sleep on our couch for the rest of the night. We shuddered to think of what else he could’ve done. For one, we don’t want him walking out the front door.
We’ve deadbolts put on couple of our doors but more urgently, we don’t want him walking downstairs at all. We had a baby gate (is that also what a scandal involving a baby is called?) at the top of our stairs that we used until recently but we had to remove it as it was falling to pieces due to overuse. We really didn’t want to get a new one. So over the holidays, we tried out something new.
We bought a motion sensor. It’s a non-smart one that’s not connected to the Internet coz paranoia. We’ve installed it at the top of our stairs so it’ll not go off if he goes to the bathroom but will alert us if he starts going down the stairs. It has a variety of sound alerts and thankfully, quite of few of them are pleasant. We don’t want to be awakened with a fire alarm-type or a flash-flood-type alarm that will send our hearts pounding (that has happened before). We’ve had it for a week and so far, it has worked great and no false alarms yet. We just have to remember to turn it on and off each night and the following morning.
Just before we go to bed I tell my wife that we haven’t thought about this scenario - The almost-ice-cream-truck-like alarm goes off. My wife wakes up hastily and goes to his room to check on him. But he’s soundly asleep in his bed. She’s puzzled but only for a second. She hears a soft rustling sound behind her. She slowly turns around. Screams heard across the neighborhood. Good night, I tell my wife and turn around to sleep with a grin.