Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Nightmare Chasers

One of the reasons why as parents, we are often sleep deprived is the 'monster under the bed' that wreaks havoc and causes nightmares. The other reason and possibly more real reason for nightmares is the overstimulated child before bed. There is some truth to not getting them over excited before bed or in the seemingly ridiculous words of my mother 'don't laugh so much before bed.'. And sometimes, there really isn't any reason for the nightmares, they just happen.

Whatever it is, we have to deal with the nightmares and that requires us to get up and soothe said child. It is often why I end up with at least one child in our bed.

As babies, it was much more difficult to figure out the nightmares or the disturbed sleep and there was much of it.

But now that they are older, they are able to vocalise their fears and describe their nightmares. Bad dreams, as they put it, that send them scurrying between our covers and firmly wedging themselves between us, the parents. As a means of self-preservation, we've come up with ways of helping and soothing them of the threat of bad dreams. And that helps us. 

Evan has taken to asking us to pray for him before he falls asleep. He asks specifically for us to pray that he won't have bad dreams. He also doesn't like being the last to sleep because that spooks him out. 

Jordan went through a spate where her nightmares would spook her out in the day. So what we did,  in broad daylight was to ask her to draw her nightmare (Her drawings were always more explicit than her verbal descriptions). Then we told her to crush it up and throw it into the rubbish chute. After that, we told her that her nightmare was destroyed. 

We do the same thing with Muffin, except we 'pluck' the bad dreams out of his head. He tells us that he has been having bad dreams and we tell him we pluck it out of his head, actions and all, and toss it out of the window. Beware bad dream 'killer litter' being hurled out of our windows. He thinks it's funny and he joins in; we stop him when he becomes over-enthused and over-excited doing it because then it defeats the purpose. 

On top of that, there's the usual shushing, rubbing of backs and legs to calm them down. Packrat has realised how turning on the air-conditioning seems to miraculously also chase bad dreams away. 

And when all else fails, climbing into bed and cuddling Mommy really tightly seems to do the trick, despitethe fact that Mommy looks like she lived through a bad dream the next morning. 


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