Bad Dreams – Parenting Plights & Delights

Dreams are hard for young children to understand. Experts tell us that children under five years old can’t tell the difference between reality and dreams or nightmares.

Years ago my Aunt Clare shared a humorous dream that my cousin Nikki had when she was about three years old:

“She awoke in the middle of the night, crying. I rushed to her room. She’d had a bad dream. I inquired what the dream was about, and she replied that Jeff’s (her 5-year-old brother) cowboy boots were chasing her–minus Jeff in them. I had to chuckle when I pictured it in my mind.” 

A spread from an altered art book I made with photos 
of Jeff and Nikki when they were little on the page on the right,
Aunt Clare in wading pool with the kids, bottom left.

My sister Cindy told me about one night when her daughter Ballerina was two years old and was “crying and freaking out.” Cindy rushed into Ballerina’s bedroom and found her kicking and trying to push at something as she yelled, “Get them off! Get them off!” 

Cindy didn’t see anything. “Get what off?” 

“Joker (nickname) put lizards all in my bed,” Ballerina said, now sobbing. 

Cindy laughed and told her, “Joker didn’t put lizards in your bed.” 

“Yes, he did,” Ballerina said. Cindy tried to explain that it was only a dream, but Ballerina couldn’t be convinced that there wasn’t anything in her bed. 

“So, I ended up sleeping with Ballerina and the lizards the rest of the night,” Cindy said. 

Ballerina and her older brothers, 
Soldier and Joker (nicknames)

Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you’d like to share? 
If you’re not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I’d like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn’t be the same without your input.

If you don’t want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here’s my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

(A version of these stories appeared in the Highland Community News in July 1999)
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9 Responses to Bad Dreams – Parenting Plights & Delights

  1. Old Kitty says:

    I guess dreams feel more real the younger you are – the lines get blurred a little more!Aww but I think the best is how the adults are there to comfort the children! Yay! Take carex

  2. Old Kitty – Yes, the younger you are, the harder it is to figure out it's not real. I agree that the best part is the parent being there to soothe the kids.I think my comment settings are messed up now. I had changed it to "Anyone" could leave a comment, even Anonymous, and I got some strange messages, so I changed it back and now I think something isn't working. Every time I make a change, it screws things up. Sheesh!

  3. Hey Lynn!I still remember a dream I had when I was 5–it was about a purple witch that was trying to kidnap my sister. I never forgot it!

  4. My daughter is in high school, and thankfully, has never had really bad, wake-you-up dreams. But boy does she have some weird ones – great conversation for driving to school!

  5. Coleen – That sounds like a picture book! Isn't that something that the dream was so strong that it left a life long impression? Jennette – Yes, great conversation when our kids have a strange dream and want to tell us every detail. Some are so funny, aren't they? I'm glad your daughter didn't have bad dreams. Did she have a big brother? I noticed that both dreams in this post were about the big brother doing something to the little sister! LOL!

  6. Those first dreams seem so real to little ones! Aww, great stories!

  7. I used to dream that I was caught in a fisherman's net with thousands of fish! You were so brave to sleep with all those lizards. What an awesome grandmother you are! :)Where is the url option?

  8. Now that my grandaughter is no longer with us, every night I wake up and check the gate as I heard her crying on the gate in my dream.

  9. Dreams are so very real, especially when we're young. Great stories, pal. I love you. You are so wonderful to have these stories up on your blog. Smooch!

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