Awhile ago, Phillip woke up in the night, crying. He had been dreaming that I put Thomas out on the back step and was going to leave him there. He wanted me to take care of Thomas.

The night before last, Phillip yelled out in his sleep.

"Don't go, Dadoo! Don't go, Papa!"

Last night, he woke up screaming at the top of his lungs and crying hysterically. (Thankfully, T didn't wake up. I'm still not quite sure how that's possible, but it's true.) When he finally could get words out, Phillip was telling me not to burn his book, that I shouldn't burn his book, and that we had to put the fire out. I had to reassure him several times over that it was okay, and that the fire was out. It did not work at all to tell him that it wasn't real; knowing how I feel in the middle of the night having just had a very realistic dream, I can understand that. Apparently, in his dream, I had taken one of his books and it was "halfway burned up" and he was really, really upset about it. He was wide awake for a long time, and kept asking me to stay there with him. Which, of course, I did. I thought that after a few minutes, he would give in to sleep, but he didn't - his little eyes were wide open and he was hugging my arm fiercely.

Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, it's fire prevention week, and when we were in Saint John, a firefighter was at Home Depot and gave Phillip a fire prevention card game with safety tips. This morning at preschool, they did fire safety activities.

It makes me so sad that all of these horrible things are happening in his little mind while he's sleeping - that he's being abandoned and people are doing terrible and frightening things. (Goodness knows, if there's a home where book-burnings would never take place, it's here.) I wish that I knew what to do to reassure him.


  1. Anonymous10/18/2010

    Poor P! I don't know what advice to give since my boys have never had nightmares (or at least none that have woken them up). I hope they won't continue so you can both get some sleep.

  2. Anonymous10/19/2010

    does he remember in the morning? If he does, I would remind him that that that was "make believe" and it didn't really happen. I have nightmares if I eat too close to bed time, I dream weird, insane stuff. It sounds like you are doing a really good job, given the tuff situation. How about a little dream catcher? Raegan

  3. Poor little guy! I don't have any advice but do give him a big hug for me and tell him that Diego and I say hi!

  4. Thanks, guys! He did fine last night, so hopefully it's over with for awhile. No, he doesn't remember in the morning, either - I thought for sure that he would after the fire thing, since he was awake for so long. I asked him about it, though, and no, he didn't remember.

  5. I have tears in my eyes as I read this. Poor Mr. P. It's so sad to see a child suffering in any way. You're right, it could be the Fire Prevention Week activities.

  6. I remember Joe having night terrors occasionally when he was about that age. He didn't remember them in the morning and they didn't have any ill effects. It seems very traumatic at the time, though.

  7. Joanne MD-B10/19/2010

    That is heart breaking :(


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