When my son was tiny I used to stare in to his eyes wondering what he was thinking. I wanted to know which parts of the day had made the most impact, what he remembered and what he had enjoyed. I imagined profound thoughts and wished he could talk and share them with me.
Fast forward almost 2 years, I am beginning to get an insight. Because in the past few weeks, my son has been having vivid dreams. He wakes in the morning and immediately begins recounting them –
“Cat, tractor, bicycle” he shouts, only half awake.
He must be going through some kind of developmental milestone, perhaps a growth spurt, as these dreams are becoming more regular and more intense. The past few nights he has been waking over and over again, talking about what is going on in his head.
Sometimes it is something lovely –
“At beach, at beach!”
And other times it seems to be a way of releasing frustrations –
“V do it, V DO IT!!”
Last night he became very upset, repeatedly waking asking for his hat on.
I wonder if I would have missed all of these conversations if he was in his own room rather than the family bed. I love listening to his sleepy one sided conversations, being able to comfort him with a reassuring touch of the hand, a warm sleepy cuddle and drink of milk, bringing him back from those scary dreams to reality.
It is important to me that I provide him with a feeling of security and safety throughout the night. As a child I had a very fearful relationship with sleep and would occasionally experience night terrors and frightful nightmares, which I still remember to this day. It seems to me, although I can not find many studies confirming this, that my presence and quick reactions to his unsettling dreams catches him just in that moment before he would find himself inconsolable or even lost in the half way house of a night terror. Could it be that co-sleeping children may be less prone to night terrors for this very reason? Perhaps time will tell, but I am happy to be providing him with comfort through these uncertain times.
And of course I get the bonus of snuggling up to a warm baby as I drift of in to my own dream world…
I look forward to hearing my sons dreams change throughout the years, the stories becoming more involved and deeper. I hope I am always privileged enough to be invited in to his thoughts and dreams.
What dreams does your toddler recount? Have you found the story lines more inventive and emotional as they have gotten older?
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