Thursday, December 16, 2010

My son's dreams

I have been curious about my son's dreams since he was old enough to have them, since I watched him sleep in my arms as a warm, milky infant, his eyelids fluttering wildly as they do when the dreamer has entered his fantasy.

I wondered of course what fantasy infants could have when their whole world is new and fantastical, filled with giants and ephemeral faces moving in and out of view, unknown beasts and unexplained lights and sounds. How would an infant even know the difference between dreaming and waking?

And then when he was three, he started to recognize dreams for what they are. He had a terrible nightmare about a bunny rabbit who sat on top of his head and wouldn't get off. I spent days trying to imagine this dream and what made it so terrible, trying to envision the reality that his fresh little mind had created.

Fearful of more nefarious rabbits, Fain requested that I do something about his dreams, so I began to "make" dreams for him over his head before bedtime, throwing in pinches and dashes of things that he would like: candy islands, pirates, sea monsters, skies raining impertinent bunnies. When he would complain about a nightmare, I would assure him that I had checked on him in the night and that the dream that I'd made was playing out smoothly in the air over his head. I could see him there, and he was having a great time, fighting pirates and eating candy. It really did seem to convince him, and for a while, a few years, I didn't hear anymore about nightmares.

Until Tuesday night. The night before the school Christmas play. He woke Wednesday morning to tell me that he'd had a bad dream and that I was in it. I'd ruined his Christmas play! I asked what I had been doing to ruin it, and he told me that I'd been blowing kisses everywhere, kissing him in front of everybody.

Well, it's pretty clear to me that kisses and bunny rabbits are bad news to a young boy, and I suppose that's natural. I'd really like an opportunity to see this dream in which I am so sorely indicted of heinous public displays of affection, but in the mean time, I recognize a growing boy's need for his mom to back off, so I promised him that I would never kiss him in public again, to which he replied, "But you'll still kiss me, right? When I ask?"

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A Mirror, A Summer, A Street by Autumn Crisp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.