Dylan has a nightmare at least once a week, often more. They used to be scary to observe—if you’ve ever read the description of what it’s like for a small child to have a night terror, that’s exactly how he would behave, and the first couple times I saw him in the throes of one I was nearly convinced he was having a seizure of some kind.
Now they seem like regular nightmares, whatever that means. He usually wakes up sometime before midnight, sitting upright in his bed and sort of squawking unhappily, and one of us goes in to check on him. We ask if he’s having a bad dream (he says yes), we ask if he can remember what it was about (he shakes his head), we tuck him back in and whisper soothing words and he falls back to sleep almost instantly.
He can never remember (or articulate) his dream the next morning, and he never mentions them or seems negatively affected in any way. I suppose it’s just a stage, his imagination lighting up like Roman candles in the middle of the night and taking his brain for an unpleasant ride.
Still, it makes me sad. He’s such a happy little guy who seems to live in a world of perpetual sunshine. If he had a soundtrack, it would be a cheery, silly Pomplamoose song. What dark unfriendly dreamscape is unraveling in his mind when the stars come out? Why should such a trusting, joyous little boy be sent somewhere like that?
Like I said, he seems no worse for wear, and I’m sure it will pass. But it’s maddening, in a way. We all want so badly to protect our children, and yet when they close their eyes, anything can happen. Anything at all.