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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The 'Tairy Lion

BB has now had a major nightmare. This is the first one whose effects have lingered, the first one that she's talked about with us. And boy, has she talked about it.

There was a lion. "A 'tairy lion, Mommy!" What did it do? It roared, apparently. And was scary ("tairy") not friendly ("frenny"). It really freaked her out when she had the dream two nights ago, poor dear.

I remember having nightmares as a child. I can still bring up a single image from one of the most vivid ones. I think I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had this nightmare. (So we're talking 30 years ago now. Yikes.) It seems a bit ludicrous, writing it out now, but I confess that the image itself still makes me shudder just a bit: a painfully green Kermit the Frog surrounded by bloody red vampire creatures. Trust me, it wasn't silly at the time.

I remember thinking it grossly unfair that the world was made such that my mind could play these terrible tricks on me at night, when I was asleep, when I was most vulnerable. I remember being paralyzed with fear in the middle of the night, waking from yet another nightmare. So I can definitely relate to BB's distress -- and I pray that this does not signal a trend for her.

I have to say, much as I tend to mock the licensed character books for their lack of literary qualities, she has taken great comfort from Blue's Bad Dream, which we have checked out from the library multiple times. (God bless the library.) In the book, Blue has a nightmare about a scary dragon. When she wakes, she goes to get help from Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper. (I will admit, I always smile a bit at the parental stand-ins here -- it is inspired to have a Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper pairing, not to mention the feminist angle of mismatched last names.) They get Blue back to sleep by telling her a story about a friendly dragon, and so Blue dozes off and dreams about the same dragon as the one in her nightmare, except this time they play together and have a great time.

My mom always swore she could do that -- control her dreams. I never did get the hang of it. But it's a good message. And around here, almost anything having to do with Blue and her companions will get the kids' attention. I have mixed feelings about that. (Though on the whole I will say that IMHO Blue's Clues is a sight better than much of the licensed character stuff.)

Anyway, as you have probably guessed, BB keeps telling us that maybe she'll dream about a "frenny lion." It hasn't happened yet, that I know about, but it's clear that she finds great reassurance in the possibility. (She also hasn't had a repeat of the nightmare, thank goodness.) The idea came up immediately after her bad dream, and she's clung to it since. And when you're dealing with a terrified toddler at 2 a.m., you'll take what reassurance you can get; this is no time for literary snobbery.

Wish us luck that the 'tairy lion stays away from her dreamscape tonight!

1 comment:

tierramor said...

Noooooo tairy lions, frenny lions only! Good luck BB and J!