|bear, blankie and daddy. All you need for sweet dreams.|
Friday, August 20, 2010
It’s been a rough one. And by one I mean three. And by three I mean weeks, not days. bug is having some nightly behavioral um... “issues.”
Now you will tell me that he’s just being a two year old. That all two year olds assert their independence. That all two year olds have tantrums. That all Two year olds tell you they “don’t go to bed” because they are “too busy” and then throw their car in the toilet and run away screaming. That all mom’s wish they could lock their two year old in their room until they stop screaming, kicking the closet and pounding on the floor without being considered a bad mom. Ok, maybe you won’t tell me that last one. But I wish you would.
I think he has nightmares. And I can relate. (warning: here comes an unplanned digression).
I dreamt about Death. Not death as in dying, but death as in the super tall, black cloak, scythe carrying guy. I was about 4 when it started. Not kidding. I don’t even know where a four year old gets that image, but there it was in my subconscious. The dream was always the same, but took place in different locations. I would be standing there with Death. He’d give me to the count of 10 to run and hide in the best spot I could find. The unspoken but clearly understood rule was that if he couldn’t find me, I won and if he DID find me, I lost. Lost big. In my dream, I could only imagine what he’d do if I lost. Then the frantic part of the dream started. The part where I would search and search for a perfect hiding spot, but find nothing suitable. The part where I somehow knew he’d reached the number ten and I was in trouble. The part where I would panic and try to run and, of course be weighted down by some invisible force. The part where I would get into some randomly placed elevator only to discover it didn’t work/took me right to him/plummeted to the ground/was a top secret elevator I wasn’t supposed to be on/turned into swiss cheese. The part where I suddenly thought I’d done it, I’d escaped, I’d beaten him... then felt my heart drop to my feet when he found me. And he ALWAYS found me. And right when he found me, just like magic, I would snap awake with a jerk.
I hated those dreams.
Once in a while I still have them. I’m in a musty attic...I’m stuck in the back of a closet... I’m hiding in the wall behind a bookshelf like Anne Frank. Why do the bad guys always win? And why was I dreaming about bad guys when I was FOUR?
So I can I totally commiserate with bug on the “I’m too afraid to go to sleep” level. The trouble is, when he doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep. I hate being awakened by his screams, and I have to admit that at 2:00 in the morning it’s hard to remember that I was little and having nightmares at one point in my life. I’m not my most agreeable self when sleep deprived. And it’s even worse the next morning.
Put much more eloquently than I ever could, JoJo Jensen said: “Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.” Which isn’t pretty.
What have I learned?
Sleep is important. For him and me. We’re crabby without it.
I love him, but I’m happier than happy to get him to sleep - especially after a drag out battle.
I can’t protect him from those nightmare-ish images that stick in the mind and fester. I wish I could. I wish I could take the scary Death images and the monsters and the growling animals and anything else his little two year old brain can concoct and pack it away under lock and key. Then we’d both get the sleep we need, and more importantly, he wouldn’t be so scared at night.
But then I consider: Those scary nightmares make the soft and pleasant dreams that much more lovely. Sure, they’re hard to get through and uncomfortable and downright awful. But when you know the fear and the sadness, the bad and ugly, you can really, truly appreciate the happy, calm and peaceful fantasies. And, when it comes to dreams OR reality, isn’t that the point?
I wouldn’t deprive him of those experiences for the world.
So for now, I’ll have to try my best to be patient in the middle of my quiet night, when it’s broken by a terrified cry. I’ll have to shuffle more quickly to his side and swallow my annoyance at being interrupted mid snore. I’ll have to hold tighter and sing sweeter so he will come to know the importance of opposition and the beauty of dreams.