I am tired today, as I have been all weekend. Our nighttime schedule has returned to what it was when Number Two was an infant, with multiple wake-ups during the night. But now it’s both kids, ages one and five, who are waking up throughout the night.
I sometimes say I’d love to know what goes on their little minds but if I could truly be exposed to their nighttime thoughts, I’d likely be terrified. I imagine the brains of children are like the Earth in its infancy, full of furious volcanoes, wild electrical storms, elements brewing in a primordial sea under a sky of fury. Consider the busy thoughts of an adult mind then add in explosive growth of intellect, comprehension, and physical growth, and you have the tempest that is the child’s mind. These little ones are absorbing experiences and charting neural pathways through undiscovered cerebral territory, their brains crackling with electrical impulse.
Which leads me back to nightmares. While The Boy is waking up from teething or night disturbances, Child Harbat is spinning demons from raw wool, creating scenarios and clawed creatures in the darkness. During the day I can tell when she’s forming the drama out of a need for attention but at night she can’t help but scare herself. This leads to multiple visits to our bed and I have to admit I’m the worst person to beseech for comfort at three in the morning. I just want to get her back into bed and back to sleep but some nights I feel like a caretaker at an Alzheimer’s clinic, ushering guests back to their rooms after they shuffle out, bleary eyed and confused. Usually CH’s footsteps and whimpering wake up The Boy, so we have two upset children. Repeat this several times a night and you have a rough time getting up in the morning. Funny, CH was bright and cheerful this morning when she once again approached my bedside and demanded breakfast. At six AM.
As there is a darkness to define light, so must there be happy moments to understand nightmares. I can only hope to keep them happy, healthy, and to be compassionate when I’m woken up by them, whatever nightmares come.