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!!!"