Dream Komodos have a nasty bite
Justin was at a conference in Washington DC during his birthday week. He had a lovely private dinner in the Smithsonian on his actual birthday, which was probably better than anything I could have done for him. Meanwhile, Soren spent several days being a complete grouch at home. It started with him waking up in the middle of the night, asking to come into bed and cuddle with me, and just screaming when I asked him to go to the bathroom first. He yelled and yelled and yelled, then came back and yelled directly in my face a little bit more, and stomped off back to his bed and went to sleep.
The next day he yelled about everything. It’s time to get dressed. WAH! Would you like to put on your pants on yourself, or would you like me to help you? WAH, and flail about on the ground. What would you like to eat? WAH! Time to go pick up Claire and Ronin from school. WAH, and had to be dragged out of the house eventually, as he was frantically throwing his shoes as far as possible. That day he showed up at first grade pickup with one shoe on, one shoe off, and no socks. WAH!
Soren refusing to pose for a picture in front of the new stained glass window cover I put up in the bedroom. WAH!
It was a pretty miserable day. That night, after everyone was asleep, I heard little footsteps in the middle of the night and once again, Soren was standing near me asking to cuddle. I didn’t want a repeat of the night before, so I said “YES!” first but then added that I’d like him to go to the bathroom before he cuddled with me. It took a little time to get the story out, but he said that he was too scared to go. He said that a Komodo Dragon was biting his finger, and it was still in his bed. I reassured him it was just a bad dream, and dreams can be really scary sometimes but they’re not real. I told him there was no Komodo Dragon in his bed or in the house.
Soren emphatically waved a finger and said, “No, I KNOW what a Komodo Dragon bite feels like, and my finger hurts just like that, so I know that’s what was biting me! It was NOT a dream!” I soothed him a bit more and then told him I’d watch him carefully while he went to the bathroom, to protect him. He made a wide circle around his bed, warily tiptoeing away from his attacker, and then dashed back to me. He fell asleep and slept soundly the rest of the night, and was so sweet the next day.
Soren sulking sleepily in the sunlight
I told Justin about it the next day. He was still out of town, but I thought it was interesting enough to share. We figured that maybe Soren had a nightmare the night before as well, and just couldn’t communicate to me well enough at the time to let me know he was scared. He just yelled and cried at me. Justin also suggested that he was holding a grudge against me with his behavior the next day, but it could have been that he was just feeling out of sorts from the nightmare and that he didn’t get help when he needed it, so he was mad.
I apologized to Soren. I told him I didn’t understand what he needed and I would have helped him more if I had known. I added that it would help both of us, if he could, to try to use his words, even if he’s really upset, because look how much better it all worked out the next night? He patted my knee, then gave me a quick hug, and said, “It’s all about communication, Mom.”
I said, “WHAT did you say?” He repeated it. “It’s all about communication, so we can understand each other better.” No wonder I expect him to be able to tell me he’s having a nightmare instead of screaming at me, if he can come up with that kind of sentence, used appropriately and in context.
Soren playing Jenga and trying to grow up quickly
I mentioned the Komodo Dragon-nightmare-communication lesson to his preschool teacher, and she said that they’d been discussing communication in school lately, so I guess he hasn’t been reading self-help books behind my back. Still, the entire episode had this somewhat unreal quality to it.