Thursday, May 11, 2006

#66 on nightmare deterrents

Current mood – coming down (just listened to Brentford get 1-1 draw in play-offs)
Current music – ‘Blackbird’ by Sarah Mclachan from the soundtrack ‘I am Sam’

N has been going to bed with his socks on lately.  This is the standard Romanian technique for ridding children of nightmares.  According to B, a native of Romania, it’s impossible to have bad dreams if you are wearing socks.  N went for it and we’ve not had a middle of the night visit for over week now.  I’ve started pulling them off when I kiss him goodnight – when he told me that he’d found them in the bed I told him that good dreams cause your socks to come off.  He went for that too.  There’s such beauty in that kind of gullibility.  

(By the way, is it me or is pulling off socks one of the most satisfying feelings going, not the sticky tug of war or the squash of the fold over method but the smooth swish of the toe end yank.)

Last night, N hurt his finger and cried for a plaster and I thought we would be in for a night of bad dreams – it’s the standard precursor.  So I reached for strategy number one – the brush off – I told him it was nothing.  Then he said his ears hurt and that he was falling apart and the sobs and the tears.  He really meant it.

Choosing strategy number two I scooped him into my arms and told him that it was all going to be fine and that I’d never let anything happen to him (oh if only I could really make that promise) and then it came, the silver bullet, straight to the heart…

Daddy I don’t want to die.

Can you remember the first time you considered your own mortality?

No wonder he wept.

No wonder I wept.

[subtext translator on]

Daddy I didn’t want you to die.  
Daddy I wanted you to make me extravagant promises you couldn’t possibly keep.

[subtext translator off]

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