Monday, October 12, 2009

Bad Dreams

Molly has been having bad dreams.

I don't know this for certain, of course, since so far the extent of her vocabulary is, "meh," which can mean all sorts of things (cat! dog! Declan! fire hydrant!), but not, as far as I can tell, "Mommy, I just had a really bad dream."

But there are signs. The most obvious? The scream in the middle of the night. Yes, I have been blessed with a super baby, and can count on one hand the number of times she has woken up in the middle of the night since passing the three month mark. Seriously. And 95 percent of those times, she woke up because she had pooped, which, I can only imagine, makes her not so comfortable. As soon as she's changed, she's reaching for her crib and snuggles herself right back to sleep.

That's right, she snuggles herself. Which brings me to the second sign that she must be having bad dreams: she wants to snuggle. With her parents.

This may not sound so odd to you, but consider Molly's bedtime/naptime routine: Change diaper (hers). Kiss on cheek. Place in crib. Leave the room.

This isn't my choice, mind you. We tried for months to sit with her on a glider and read stories, or rock her gently until she was close to sleep. But it was always a struggle. She wanted to hold the book herself. The amount of time she would allow us to hold her grew shorter and shorter. Eventually, she began to cry out if we walked to the glider rather than the crib.

"For Pete's sake," I imagined her thinking. "Can I please just go to sleep?"

So we let her. We lay her down in her crib, where she wriggled herself into the mattress (I guess she was allowed to snuggle herself), stuck her thumb in her mouth, and closed her eyes. That was it. She didn't even open them when we opened the door to leave.

So when Molly woke up crying, and actually wanted to be held, we knew something was up. We rocked her for a few minutes until she calmed down, then lay her gently back in her crib. She was asleep again instantly, the dream quickly forgotten.

Of course it makes me sad to think of my poor Molly suffering through nightmares. But I can't help but savor these brief moments, when my fiercely independent daughter is cuddled up against me, happy to be safe in my arms. And it warms me to know that even though she now shuns my assistance in any endeavor (with a resounding, "meh!"), it's still me she calls out to in the middle of the night, my heart she snuggles up against as she falls blissfully back to sleep.

1 comment:

Anna said...

To know what fears they have at this little tiny age. I have too experienced bad dreams within my own. We co-sleep together; which, wakes me up as soon as I hear their heavy breathing followed by a whine. I quickly lay my hand upon their chest to comfort a precious mind. Now I lay awake and think what in the world could be possible be so scary for a baby. Could it be a fallen pacifier left on the floor or maybe mum walking out of sight?