Last night was the first night in several days that Namine didn’t wake up in the middle of the night crying. We used to suspect that she has nightmares, but our suspicions are confirmed and we wonder no longer at the subject of those terrible dreams.
When Namine was little (well, littler), she had night terrors. As any parent with the experience can tell you, it is absolutely awful. You can’t wake your child up; you just have to ride it out, comforting and holding, speaking soft, loving, soothing nothings, waiting for the terror to pass. Thankfully, most kids outgrow it, and Namine did. But occasionally, Namine still has nightmares – you might think that these would be normal, too. After all, every child has nightmares, things they are afraid of*. But Jessica and I have long thought that there’s more of a pattern to Namine’s bad dreams. Almost like they happened after each doctor visit.
This past week, Namine had been to the pediatrician’s office time after time. She’s still got this cold, or whatever it is – although finally, it seems to be going away – and the potential for a deeper infection (especially an ear infection) was enough to merit frequent visits.
One night at the end of last week, Namine started crying in her sleep (I wouldn’t even say that she woke up). The first night, she just cried. I thought she might have been saying “No, no!” – but I wasn’t sure. The second night, however, she woke up enough to open her eyes, but not enough, I think, to be aware of where she was. She started out by crying, but this time, she used words that I had no trouble making out – “No, gockor! No, no pain! No hurt!”
In all of her crying, there was only one word that wasn’t perfectly enunciated. That word is one that, when she’s calm, Namine has little trouble with. But when she’s stressed, or angry, or in pain, she doesn’t pay as much attention to being precise with her words. (And really, would any of us?) That word is “doctor.” This confirmed what we had previously only suspected, that she has nightmares about doctors. (I can’t really blame her, with as much as she’s been through.) It seems to happen after she sees a lot of doctors in a short time – like a stint in the hospital (either for surgery or a trip to the ER) or, in this case, frequent visits to the pediatrician because she’s sick.
* Adults are known to comment, “What kind of stress do [with an air of disdain] children have to deal with? Their lives are easy. What do they have to worry about?” I can’t speak for every kid, but Namine has plenty of stress – and despite our every effort, there is no escaping it. Between appointments (both clinic and hospital), ER visits (with her small airway, she still gets sick easily), and surgeries (I’m pretty sure we’ve topped a dozen, but I lost count long ago), yes, I’d say there are stressors a-plenty. Thankfully, Namine handles it like a pro and keeps her amazing optimism and cheeriness through it all.