Sunday, December 21, 2008

Night Fright

Being able to put Peter to sleep quickly and without incident is no longer a luxury. With Charlotte to take care of (and her evening fussiness), it's a necessity. Yet it broke my heart to leave his room last night.

"I want you to lie with me longer," he had said.

"I can't," I said. "I have to do my chores."

"I don't want to fly in the sky," he said.


"I don't want to fly in the sky," he repeated, in a pitifully small voice.

I realized that he must have had a flying dream recently, and that it scared him. Weissbluth warns that at this age, when kids have a developing imagination but an inability at times to distinguish fantasy from reality, bad dreams can be a true source of terror.

But I don't need Weissbluth to tell me that. I remember it vividly. Between the ages of three and four, I used to lie in bed practically trembling with fright. I wouldn't admit my fears to anyone, not wanting to be thought a baby, but many nights I'd seek refuge in bed with one of my brothers.

Peter has no big brother to crawl into bed with.

"Did you know that Jesus is with you, all the time and everywhere?" I asked. "We can't see him, but he is here, and he is watching you and taking care of you. He will watch you while you sleep. Would you like to pray to Jesus to help you sleep well tonight?"

He did, and we prayed. I also told him that Mama and Daddy were watching over him tonight, and Daddy came back to give him an extra goodnight kiss.

Peter woke happy and well-- and said that he did not fly.


But I've got an extra crib mattress in the garage, and I'm ready to put it on my floor if his fears overwhelm him. Solitary sleep is fine when my child knows he is safe, but when doubts creep in... I'm just not going to force the issue.

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