“It’s okay. It’s okay. Mommy’s here. You’re okay.” I’m standing dripping wrapped in a towel trying not to drip on her too much because I don’t want to change her p.j.’s. My late night – sneak-a-long-hot-shower has been interrupted by another bad dream.
I carried her to my bed and set her down while I hurried to dry off and add clothing. She started screaming when I tried to take her back to her own room, so in the interests of peace (and rest) she spent the rest of the night snuggled between mom and dad.
When I tried to turn out the light she screamed. She seems to be developing a fear of sleeping in the dark, though she’s just fine if she wakes up and it’s still dark out. Then the dark is cool, and “Wow! Amazing!” Falling asleep and being vulnerable in the dark is scary.
For me, this is challenging. I’ve been suffering with insomnia for a couple of weeks. There’s nothing in the world to make a body decide that it doesn’t need sleep anymore as effective as waking it up every hour for several weeks. It becomes a habit and then your body decides that it’s not worth the trouble of falling asleep.
Add that I’m a in-the-dark sleeper, and we have a very restless night for Yours-Truly. I like the dark. I like the fact that there’s less random crap that I can see for me to think about. My brain is one that runs on when I lay down, so anything I can do to make a stimulus free world is a good idea.
By midnight they were both blissfully asleep. And snoring. A symphony of illness induced sound. Ah, a symphony of illness induced sound. Lovely. I eventually fell asleep enjoying the rhythmic sound.
So, last night I slept, interrupted and kicked, through noise and light and, oddly, I don’t feel all that rested. If nightmares were infrequent, I probably wouldn’t mind much. They’re not.
We see at least one a night. Her two biggest fears are fire (a couple of kids movies, a Sonic video game, and a couple of firefighter books), and Mommy is missing. I can see where both fears come from, but I don’t see how to fix them. Apart from limiting the scary movies.
It’s a stage. Kind of. It will last from now until forever. It’s the curse of having a good imagination combined with a fairly anxious personality combined with vivid dreams. It’s genetic.
I get why she’s crying because Mommy is missing and everything is on fire. After all, the other day I had a dinner part with human eating zombies, while we all watched the news and were surprised that other people hadn’t come to similar peace treaties with their “local infected populace”.
Nightmares, bad dreams, are just a part of life. You learn to wake up, shake it off, and remind yourself that watching Being Human on Netflix just before bed is a bad idea. Then you check on your family, check the locks on the doors, and go back to sleep.
In her case, we walk through the house, and I tell her that “I’m right here” until she drifts back off. Eventually, she’ll be able to reassure herself. It’s just a stage and she’ll outgrow the terror that the bad dreams bring with them as she grows into a better sense of reality vs. fiction.
Right now though, the same imagination that lets her pretend to be a butterfly-stegosaurus, also causes me to be missing and the house to be on fire. It’ll get better eventually. The only question is, will I get any sleep in the meantime?