“It will be several years before he can distinguish between dreams and reality.”
This statement is widely accepted as common for 15 month olds.
It really puts in perspective how traumatic a bad dream can be and why, at times, Cash can wake up screaming. Meghan and I are horrified to think what frightening image or scene played out in his little head.
I’ve never been an alarmist or someone who wants to micromanage every minute of my child’s life but this concept should remind parents what they should and shouldn’t expose their kids to.
Sometimes I turn on the morning news show-when Cash is in the living room with me-to get the weather and some “light” interest stories: an upcoming city festival, construction projects, sports stories. As it shifts to the background of my attention, the show cycles through the national news and images of terrorist attacks, explosions, and protests flash across the screen. I lunge for the remote worried what Cash may have seen. Even though he doesn’t really pay attention to it, it worries me that these human pains reach his little mind without us being able to filter it or explain it to him.
We’ve now made it a point to have the TV on much less in our household. Instead of slowly waking up, coffee in hand while Cash plays with his toys in front of me, I now get off my lazy butt and turn off the TV (I can get weather reports from my phone), get down the floor and play with him. Apparently, I grunt often when my tired body plops on the floor next to him because now whenever Cash bends down, he makes grunting and straining noises. Sounds like daddy needs to get in better shape.
Anyway, this is a win-win, he gets more exposure to daddy and less to the atrocities of the outside world that our news is all-too-happy to berate us with.
Cash is going to have night terrors but if we can minimize them, we will. When we cap the night with a “sweet dreams” wish, we mean it.
One of our most important jobs as parents is as primary protectors. We aren’t going to consume the sensationalized negativity from our media and neither is Cash.
Sometimes taking a stand, means getting down on the floor.