I normally joke about my kids’ nightmares. Adriana went through a phase about three years ago when she would wake up hollering at us not to take away her eggplant. What kid has nightmares about someone trying to take her eggplant? When Lyra talks in her sleep, her bad dreams seem so fitting for a toddler and a younger sister: “It’s my turn!” she shouts before settling back to sleep, or “No, that’s mine!”
They have each gone through a brief period of night terrors--they awake screaming wordlessly, and nothing I do can wake them or comfort them. Fortunately, the individual terrors and the phase have both passed quickly. In Adriana it seemed to be caused by chocolate desserts before bed. In Lyra we never found any potential triggers.
But then they grow up a bit more and they have bad dreams that don’t seem funny to me at all. It breaks my heart to have them so scared. Last summer Adriana became terribly afraid of house fires. Any loud noise might be a fire alarm, and she woke early one morning and insisted on being taken to peek at Brian asleep in bed, because she didn’t believe me when I told her it was a dream that a fire had “gotten” him.
Lyra had her first break-mom’s-heart nightmare last night. I woke to her screaming from her room, “Don’t touch me! Stop hurting me! Mama, they’re hurting me! Make it stop, Mama!” I ran to her and picked her up, and she continued screaming while I tried to talk to her. I told her it was just a dream, and asked her what was happening. All she could do was beg me to help her and cry. I stopped trying to talk to her, and laid down beside her. She wound her hands through her hair, found my breast, and nursed back to sleep. It didn’t take long before she rolled away from me, sound asleep. I stayed there beside her, trying to calm myself down after the adrenaline rush that her screaming had brought on.
In the morning we spent half an hour cuddling in her bed after we woke up, until she declared that her name was Nom-Nom McEat-a-lot and she needed her breakfast. She devoured a scrambled egg, a bowl of oatmeal, and half a basket of strawberries, washed down with a few ounces of cow’s milk and two oranges worth of juice. I didn’t ask her about her bad dream, and she didn’t mention it. I seem to be the only one with any trauma. I hope she forgot about it. I also hope it doesn’t happen again tonight--I'm not sure I can take it.