Dreams are a funny thing, aren't they? I find that, over the last few years, I don't remember most of my dreams . . . maybe because I am constantly being woken mid-sleep by three little munchkins - and one big ogre who, for some reason, needed to know at 2 AM what ever happened to our daughter's science fair last week. (It had been cancelled due to inclement weather - aka. snow in Austin, TX)
But, I have remembered an unusual number of my dreams over the past week. Two days ago, I had to email a friend to tell her that if she and her family were planning on taking a family hiking trip in the near future, they should cancel it. (I'd had a nightmare about that one!) And, last night, I was apparently snorkling with Dr. Oz. (Don't ask.)
As adults, we understand that our dreams are just dreams . . . except of course, for the hiking one. (I wasn't taking any chances on that one coming true.) And, I have generally given very little thought to how children (particularly, my kids) perceive their own dreams.
Until the other night, that is...
My four-year-old son, Bennett, woke up screaming in the middle of the night. I went into his room and, through his sobs, he kept saying to me, "You said I lied! But, I didn't lie!"
I told him, "I didn't say you lied."
"Yes, you did!"
"No, honey. You must have just had a bad dream. I never said you lied."
He continued to cry, though, so I told him he could come into our bed.
The next morning, when he and I and Daddy woke up, I said to him, "Why were you crying last night?"
"Because you said I lied and I didn't!"
Once again, I explained to him, "I didn't say you lied."
"Yes, you did!"
"No, you just had a bad dream. I didn't say you lied. I wasn't even here last night when you went to bed." (My inlaws had babysat for us.)
"You said I lied! I know you did! I saw you! You said I lied!"
At this point, Daddy couldn't contain his laughter.
"Yeah, Mommy. It's logical. He saw you say he lied, so you must have said it!"
There was really no point in continuing on at that point. There is just no way to explain to a four-year-old (who is mad at you for what you did in his dreams) that just because he saw something in his sleep, it doesn't mean it really happened.
It was best to just apologize.
"Okay, I'm sorry I said you lied."
"Don't do it again, Mommy."
"Okay, I won't."
"Good. Then I forgive you."
How gracious of him.
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