Thursday, November 17, 2005

Little man's nightmare

I always look forward to quiet evenings at home. After the kids are in bed, calmness descends on the house as my wife and I enjoy an all-too-brief respite from the craziness of the day.

Last night was no different. We were in the living room. My wife was reading and I was rearranging words on my laptop. As the clock struck our almost-bedtime, we heard stirring from upstairs. As we have done countless times since we became parents, we looked at each other and wondered who it was, and why.

Little feet pattered their way down the stairs. It was our youngest, clutching his blanket, and he didn't look happy. He wasn't crying, but his face was pained.

He: "I can't sleep. I had a bad nightmare and it woke me up."

The last words weren't out of his mouth before he buried himself in my wife's arms.

We: "What did you dream about?"
He: "I dreamed that I died."

After my wife and I recovered from the kick in the abdomen that hearing something like this from a five-year-old can deliver, we scrambled to say the right thing to him.

Although we don't actively encourage them to sleep in our bed - not even the world's best sleeper would be able to handle it next to little people who flip themselves over almost constantly and steal the blankets - we felt an exception was in order this time.

So we trooped upstairs and tucked him in between us. Many hugs, kisses and calming words were shared. He drifted off to sleep in minutes and woke up the next morning with his usual cheery face.

Parenthood...

46 comments:

Plumkrazzee said...

My eyes get teary just reading this! Tonight my son, was cleaning up his toys, and he came in running and clapping, " mommy! Look! I cleaned it all up, it looks so sparklish!" What a livin' doll. I must go write this down before I forget! Happy weekend!

Dak-Ind said...

what a horrible dream! thankfully we havent gotten to the night terror stage with the little one yet, adn my older one seemed to not really dream at all. Indy slept with us for a while (oh the first month when i was sooo tired!), but he transitioned into his own bed pretty smoothly. in fact it was easier on him than on me! You are SO right, though, its VERY VERY nice to have a little couple time at the end of the day.

Karen said...

Oh man, that is a touching moment and definitely deserving of a night with mom and dad.

My 13-year old daughter actually woke up last week and wanted me to talk to her because she was having nightmares after having watched "Lost." It made me yearn a bit for the days when she wanted to be tucked in. Cherish this time.

Michele sent me!

utenzi said...

Michele sent me your way, Carmi, to sympathize with you over this cold spell that is hitting our coast. Brrrr!

Parenting is a constant balancing act--but moments like that, having your very young son talk about dying, must make it very difficult to hold that balance.

tommy said...

We've been very lucky that way, if our son has had nightmares he has never confessed to them really. I'm going to ask now thought I think. I had a lot of them growing up.

Here via Michele.

buffi said...

Poor fella! I'm glad he knows he can count on Mom & Dad for the yucky stuff like that.

puremood said...

Oh no - what a horrible dream for a little guy.

I haven't checked in in a few... miss seein' ya around but don't have the time to play at Michele's as much - and yes, I sent myself. I see you enabled comment moderation - hopefully not because of some pest.

Anyway - I'm sure the little fella slept well with ya'll. We don't often have to deal with those bad dream nights but they do happen - and when they do - we do what ya'll did. I have two - age (almost) 8 and 3.5 :)

jane said...

I think Dad's have definately improved with time. It used to be that kids, especially boys, would be told to toughen up & marched back upstairs by their father, only for the mother's heart to sink.
While you may think I'm making more of it than I should, stay with me a sec.
Men throughout have been known to have more heart attacks than women, I believe that's greatly due to life's pressures they're told to carry.
what you & your wife were did was so right-on. You're teaching your son that it's alright to cry, to be afraid, to ask for help & know he's not alone.
I sincerely applaud you both.

Danb said...

Yo Carmi! Thanks for sharing this story... It takes a big man to paddle down the hall and say "i'm scared" it takes a bigger man to scramble for answers and try and find a way to comfort him... hats off to you and your wife... you seem to make a great team!

Catch ya on the flip!

Dan

JoeC said...

ahhh, the life and times of a parent... i tell ya, kids growing up nowadays is exposed to all sorta stuff, gotta watch over them real carefully. cheers!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I feel for him. I've had dreams like that and dreams that something happened to my parents...and even at 31 I still want to run and make sure they are ok.

Ms Mac said...

Awww, the poor little love. Nightmares are always scary, I let my boys in our bed after a nightmare because I remember how awful they made me feel as a child.

phoenix said...

My son still has his moments at 12, but he doesn't want to sleep in bed with me, just in the same room. He will bring blankets and pillows and camp out on my floor. I let him on the rare nightmare nights. Who can say no?

Jamie said...

Age 5 is a major age for morbid thoughts. I myself was quite obsessed with death. My death. My parent's death. What it felt like. What it was like afterward. The finality of it. I thought about it every night. I'm told it's quite normal, but sheesh, it bothers me to think any of my kids are going through it!

I'd have made an exception, too. And usually, would have ended up on the couch, anyhow!

Aginoth said...

I always find it amazing just how much Bed a person that small can take up...

Michelle Send metoday :o)

craziequeen said...

Good move. Little man needed to be near mummy and daddy after such a horrible nightmare.

Good job, Levys! :-)

MSM :-)

cq

Sandy said...

Ahh, the poor little guy. I don't look forward to when dreams go this route. Right now, the worst nightmares my son gets invovle me ticking him off. I tend to get scolded some mornings for doing things I never did. Nightmare for me if not him. ;)

Michelle Pessoa said...

AWW! Poor thing. Hopefully it won't be a recurring dream.

Visiting from Michele's.

Maggie said...

awwww that is so sweet. It can be very scary even as an adult to dream u died.
Maggie
Michele sent me

Maggie said...

awww it's scary as an adult to dream u died.
Maggie
Michele sent me

Jennifer said...

Poor little man!! I'm glad he's in a mmore cheery frame of mind today.
Michele sent me, but I already have you bookmarked. I will come back again :)!

Dlynne said...

AWWWWWWWW - the absolute joy of little ones snuggling next to you! And, the absolute joy of some free time with the love of your life at the end of a busy day. You are blessed!

Zephra said...

Awww poor baby.

Here from Michele's.

mar said...

Nightmares are the worst thing. How lovely to have mom and dad to rely on. My kid wouldn't wake up, would just cry in bed and all I could to to calm him down was to hug him tight and whisper in his ear. Michele sent me your way this evening. Have a nice one yourself

Dlynne said...

Good afternoon - again - Michelle sent me this time, but just a note to let you know I enjoy reading your blog.....

mooalex said...

Such a sweet story...
LJ
P.S. Hello via Michele's!

Thumper said...

Poor little guy. I think I would have let my son sleep with us under those circumstances, too. Even risking the bed wetting... I hope he doesn't think about it too kuch and wind up having a hard time sleeping tonight. That's just too uch for a little brain to absorb, I think.

Peri said...

ohhhhhhhh that is so scary to hear from your child.
Hi, michele sent me by today.

THink i'll look around

Pearl said...

Poor little guy. I bet all of you were comforted to be piled together. Such a precious time of life.

Surcie said...

Your little man broke my heart a little! What a sweetie.

Trillian said...

Ahhhh. As a parent I would gladly exerpience all of the pain and worry for my child if it would mean they didn't have to!

ribbiticus said...

how truly scary that must have been for him! being tucked in by mom and dad must have done him a whole world of good, though. sometimes, just being there, can soothe the worst fears. :)

Chatty said...

Aw, poor guy. I hope the rest of his night was restful!

Leanne said...

Heart wrenching Carmi :(

Glad to hear morning was better for him.

RC said...

The last time I slept between my parents when I was young, I got squashed! Maybe that's why I sometimes hear dad screaming at night for help!

Hi, Michele sent me.

Have a nice weekend, Carmi!

An Extraordinary woman in a mediocre life said...

Awww poor lil guy - dealt with very well in my humble opinion.

Great blog too

xxxxxxxxx

Charles (Canadian in Hong Kong) said...

HOLD ON A SECOND HERE... YOU DON'T GET OFF THAT EASILY... You told him the right thing and you won't share what that was with us? WRONG! Please, please enlighten us... what do you say to a five year old in such a situation?

On another note, really enjoy your blog and writing. I'll be back for more!

Christine said...

We, too, don't encourage our children to sleep in our bed, but we also find exceptions to this rule. They are only little (and cuddly) once, and it makes for some wonderful, cozy memories. Hoping your little man has nothing but sweet dreams...

netchick said...

That's a horrible thing for a five year old to dream about... How quickly parents must deal with a little loss of childhood, when kids have to think about adult things. Glad you made an exception with the sleeping arrangements, as it sounds like it made a big difference... Happy friday by the way!

Yaeli said...

What a dreadful dream for anyone to have, let alone a child. You and MM sound like such wonderful parents Carmi! I don't think parents ever stop making exceptions to the bed sharing rule. When I was 20, I was staying at my mum's place and I was really unwell during the night. So my mum tucked me into her bed with her and because I couldn't get out of work the next day she got up at 5 to drive me to work so I could get there in time to make my important meeting. :o)

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

J is working through his understanding of death - pretty scary for the little ones, really scary for us who fully understand it.

Bless you all!

Plain Jane said...

Poor little guy.

WendyWings said...

Poor little guy, our four year old still does not go to sleep alone easily but thankfully usually stays asleep once we finally get her there.
Michele sent me today :)

margalit said...

I just had a horrible dream where my daughter disappeared at a school function. Nightmares are really terrible. Good for you for nuturing him and letting him snuggle in with you.

Michele sent me. Shabbat Shalom!

deputyswife said...

Sometimes, sleeping with mommy and daddy makes it all better. I am not big on sharing the bed with my kids, but sometimes I let the boys sneak in with me when the Deputy is working. Those little cuddles are the best!

panthergirl said...

Wow. That really took me back, because my son went through a death-obsession phase when he was about 3 to 4 years old that just ripped our hearts out. I'd be driving him to preschool and he'd suddenly start to weep in his car seat and say "I don't want you to die."

We finally got him a book called "What Happens When Someone Dies?" (I think...I can check and see) which was GREAT. WE read it together and at the end he said,
"Oh, I get it! When you die, your organs stop playing!"

I'm with you on having him sleep in your bed that night. It was probably more for YOU than for him... ;)