Pretty much any sleep these days is good sleep. My party
girls hate to go to bed and I don’t blame them—who wants to miss a minute of
the possible fun reserved for grown-ups? And daytime naps? Heck, even the toddler knows those
are for suckers. She pushes through her sleepiness like a champ.
So on most nights my husband and I end up passing out with
the kids at 9 or 10 p.m. Then, I’m up a few times during the night to tend
to the toddler, who may or may not go back to sleep. The next morning, the 3-year-old
heads to preschool with deep red grooves under her eyes, looking like she’s
been on a bender, and I drink a coffee so huge my husband quips, “Do you think
four espressos is enough? Maybe try five.”
I know and believe in the importance of a good night’s rest, and I love it when I actually get one. Even more so, I love it when my kids
wake up happy and recharged instead of haggard and moody.
So I’m trying really hard to get everyone to bed earlier and
last night I actually succeeded. But here’s the rub: though the kids and I all
fell asleep at 8:30 and even the baby made it all through the night without
waking (we count 5 a.m. as sleeping through the night, FYI), I had a night full of
nightmares. And so, apparently, did the 3-year-old, who (yes, I’ll confess we
co-sleep) slept right next to me all night. When we woke up, we compared notes.
If she can see my dreams, what else can she find that I’m hiding?
“I had a bad dream,” I said.
“What was it?” she asked. I didn’t want to tell
her because my horrific dream was that I’d lost her at a party—I spent all
night, trying, unsuccessfully, to find her. It was awful.
“Someone was mean to me,” I lied.
“I had a bad dream, too,” she said.
“What was it?”
“I couldn’t find you anywhere!”
Cue the freaky music because it seems we both had the ultimate
in mommy anxiety dreams: losing your child. Is shared dreaming possible? I don’t
know, and I’m not about to get all new age about it except to say that, yes,
goose bumps did appear on my arms. How scary to have my kid in my head! If she
can see my dreams, what else can she find that I’m hiding? The brownies I hid in
the highest kitchen cabinet? The Halloween candy that’s still around? That I
wasn’t “really tired” the day after Thanksgiving but rather suffering the
effects of one-too-many a glass of wine. How far back is this knowledge going
to go? When she gets older will she intrinsically know all the horrible stuff I
did in my teens? I hope not.