Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I Must Be Dreaming

Growing up I had four vivid nightmares that haunted me.  Two were generic dreams featuring snakes and witches (sometimes both).  One was about having to decide between two routes to get somewhere and always selecting the "wrong" route which always had an unknown monster that I never saw but always knew existed at the end of a long, dark tunnel.  The fourth one involved being abducted by a stranger who used puppets to lure children into his trap, whenever I ran for help and knocked on a door of a house it always seemed to be the home of my abductor.  Puppets still make me a little uncomfortable, cause they're creepy even in the light of day, but for the most part nightmares are generally stress or anxiety dreams in my adult life.

A gorgeous photo of Sleeping Beauty that a friend took on a hike last summer.

About a month or two ago Molly and Jack both became interested in talking about monsters at bed time.  We weren't sure what brought it on, but they wanted reassurance that there were no monsters in the closet, none under the bed and wanted to know what actions Chris or I would take should monsters try to invade their fortress of solitude.  Our standard answer is: There are no monsters allowed in this house, there are no monsters allowed in your room.  When answering the question, "What are you going to do if monsters try to come in?" Dad's standard answer (that I and our babysitters have also been using) is "I will punch them in the nose and say, go away monster!"  I don't know if I entirely agree with dad's stock answer, but it seemed to be working so we just sort of went with it.  The Cruelty to Monsters Association (patent pending) is sure to come knocking on our door because Chris is uttering threats surrounding trespassing.

The other night Molly told me that a monster ate her hoodie and that was why she was cold. Jack is also convinced that my brother's dog, or monsters, are going to eat him.  I guess now is not the right time to bring out the Cujo pop-up story book.  Monsters have been constantly on their minds lately.

Sidebar: I don't really believe in telling my kids that monsters aren't real, because they are very real in two distinct ways.  They are very real in the minds and imaginations of our children and an abstract knowledge that they don't exist doesn't exactly help when you're three years old and see the horrific shadow that your Frozen poster is casting and are convinced that it moved. They are also very real in the sense that humans (or puppets in the case of my childhood nightmares) are capable of doing unspeakable and monstrous things.  I'm not going to launch into that conversation in the middle of the night with a scared toddler, but I'm not going to deny their existence.

The other night curiosity about monsters bloomed into a full blown nightmare with a very upset Molly at 3AM causing the entire house was awake for about half an hour.  We know that this is just the beginning on the next stage of preschool development.  Yay?

Here are some interesting facts about children and nightmares:

  • I once read somewhere that toddlers/preschoolers live magically, not logically which is one of the reasons why nightmares seems so real.  They have very active imaginations and that is one of the most amazing (and sometimes frightening) things about being a kid.
  • Nightmares are most common in preschoolers (kids aged 3-6).  This is also the age when normal fears develop.
  • Some research indicates that as many as 50% of children in this age group have nightmares.
  • It is perfectly normal for children this age to experience nightmares 1-2 times a week (so much for sleeping through the night).

Now that we understand that this is normal, it's time to come up with a nightly game plan...Check in later this week to see some tricks and tips we'll be testing on dealing with nightmares in a way that is 50% less cruel to monsters.  Monster safety not guaranteed.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

No comments:

Post a Comment