Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bad Dreams

As a parent there are many things you want to spare your children. Bad experiences you may have had, may have heard about or just may imagine could happen. Broken bones, broken dreams, broken hearts, and so on. And in the early years, when they can't talk to you, you spend an awful lot of time trying to decipher crying spells. Is she hurt, physically or mentally? Is he wet, uncomfortable, achey? Is she frustrated, angry, irritated?

My children are no exception. Some of them cry more than others. One in particular, J, seemed to have nightmares right from the start. Terrifying ordeals of him screaming and yelling and thrashing, inconsolable, unreachable in his terror. Sure, we read about night terrors and how they don't remember them in the morning, but how the heck do they know that when the kid can't speak?

And the other thing you have to wonder about is what is a nightmare to a 8 month old? Being hungry and no bottle in sight? Having to take a nap when you don't feel tired? What are they having nightmares about?

The older you get, you figure the more things they can have nightmares about. And, unfortunately, with triplets the language comes later. Mine are just starting to put two words together at 29 months. Singleton children are stringing sentences together at this point. But regardless, in the middle of the night they're mute. You go in to the screaming, crying child and ask them what's wrong. You soothe and hug them and they remain mute. They just stare at you like they don't even recognize you, and then they go back to sleep again quieted for a moment.

So you're left with the question. What are the nightmares about? Has someone done something inappropriate to or with them? Is someone or something scaring them regularly? Is there something you should be protecting them from that you aren't?

And then you lay in bed at 6:20 am in the morning, listening, and find out what the nightmare is about:

"No, no, no, NO! My bucket. My bucket, MY BUCKET!!!"


  1. My best sleeper is the one who has been waking several times a week shrieking in the middle of the night since they turned 2. No clue why or what to do. Asked the pedi and she said it is very common at this age and then suggested Benadryl. Um, no.

    I hate to rush stages of their babyhood/toddlerhood by but I do look forward to the day when he can articulate what it is that is waking him up in terror. :(

  2. I had two sons who were silent for quite a while. I spent thousands of dollars teaching them to talk.

    Now they won't shut up. Can I get my money back???

  3. Oh my gosh! First, long time no see! They are soooo big! Wow. Second, funny I came here now to find this post because I just came out of #3's room quelling a bad dream. He was crying and yelling, "No #2, NOOOOO! No touch me. NOOOOO!" Of course he used his name, but you see what I'm saying. These are run of the mill dreams I can deal with. #1 had horrible night terrors when he was little. Screaming, thrashing, even standing up and running into the wall above his bed. Very spooky. Glad those went away. Good luck with yours!