Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What dreams may come

I think Sophie might have had first nightmare last night. Or maybe her first conscious dream, if there's such a thing. For about a month now, she's finally sleeping through the night (it's been a long time coming and you have no idea how much we appreciate it...) and even if she wakes up whining a little, she'll always go back down in a few seconds. But at about 11.00 last night, she woke up with a screech, calling out plaintively. I knew it wasn't her regular middle of the night whine after which she would go back to sleep- it actually sounded panicked.

When I went into her room, the poor baby was sitting in the corner of her crib, her face streaked with tears within the few seconds it took me to get upstairs. As I picked her up, she nuzzled her face into my shoulder, clinging on for dear life, saying over and over, "scared, scared..." I didn't even know she knew the word! After cradling her and singing to her for a bit, I gave her her teddy bear and she promptly calmed down and let me put her back in the crib. All was well again and she slept soundly till the morning.

Our poor baby... I can only imagine how petrified she must have been if she really did have a bad dream or just a dream. That itself must be strange and frightening for an 18 month old, even if it wasn't a bad one. How does someone Sophie's age process the experience of dreaming? And while she does understand what we're saying, it's not like we can talk to her about it after, at least not in a way that's going to help her comprehend what her mind was doing. I'm guessing that as she gets older and as cognition and imagination become more complex, dreams in general are going to become more common. But until she gets old enough though, Mama, Dada, and Dodo (her teddy bear) will just have to be there to let her know that everything is going to be OK after.

[Sophie at 11 months]

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