Owen has recently had his first recurring nightmare, in which a big monkey grabs him and Stewart. He said that sometimes the monkey says "No no no!", first.
It must be pretty scary because he got up at night to put his little toy monkey in the bathroom and shut the door on it, and said to Kyle and I, "A monkey not scare me!"
His recurring dream got me thinking about some of mine and how the older I get, the more I see patterns in my dreams that directly reflect my state of mind.
Like, for example, I have this recurring dream where I am in a flooded room, trying to capture all of these sea creatures and get them into tanks. The water is pouring in at a pace I can hardly keep up with and the fish are floating out of their tanks faster than I can get them in.
Another variation on this dream is that I have a beautiful fish tank, but the fish keep flipping out, no matter how hard I try to keep the lid on. A similar variation is one in which the fish don't flip out of their tanks but simply swim through the glass and out into thin air, and I just can't figure out how or why.
I have noticed that this dream often accompanies a frazzled state of mind in which I feel I have lost control of something, whether it is my temper or just all of the threads of my life that I feel are coming undone. I haven't had it for a long time now, probably not since I was teaching, which I guess shows that I have either been able to let go of some control issues or that I am much less stressed.
I think it's so funny, though, that it would manifest itself in a dream where I am literally trying to force these little fish or sea creatures back into their boundaries and somehow or other they keep escaping! I have had a variation of this dream with hamsters and mice, but ordinarily it's fish.
Another pattern I noticed is when I feel I am unprepared for something, I always have this dream that I am packing up all of my possessions for a big move, but for some reason I have waited until the last minute and have to pack my entire life in like an hour. I am just throwing stuff in garbage bags hoping it doesn't break.
Sometimes instead of moving, I am performing in a play but I never bothered to learn the lines and so I am onstage on opening night trying to secretly read from a cheat sheet and failing utterly.
I had dreams like this a lot during both pregnancies, and I'm sure I felt I wasn't ready for the changes both kids would bring to my life.
Immediately AFTER both pregnancies, when I was trying to get some sense of balance back into my life between the kids' needs and my own, my most common dream was that I was going back to school or else on vacation, but had just left my kids someplace with no supervision.
I remember after Owen was born, I dreamed that Kyle and I flew to London and just left him at home with no babysitter, not even any baby formula.
Or I would dream that I was taking a class in socioeconomics or something random like that and had just left Owen sleeping in his crib in my dorm, hoping he wouldn't wake up.
It's funny how those dreams directly align themselves with the issues I was dealing with at that time such as- will I ever have a normal life again where I can take a vacation, or go back to school without feeling guilty? Without always having some niggling worry in the back of my mind?
I always like to hear about people's dreams and ask them questions about what's going on in their lives- you'd be surprised how many of them aren't just random, crazy, surreal images but examples of your mind working through and coming to terms with the issues you're dealing with in your waking life.
As for Owen's dream, I would have to guess that the issue is parental authority. After all, the big mean monkey did say "No!" to him. And whenever I try to correct Owen's behavior, his trick is to run away instead of staying and listening, so I often grab his arm and make him look into my eyes so I am sure he is hearing what I'm saying, whether it's "don't hit Stewie" or "Don't run away when I am talking to you." And there's nothing Owen hates more. Now, before I can touch him, he yells "Don't hold me!"- but at least he doesn't run away anymore- much.
So it's obvious to me that I am the big mean monkey that says "No!" and grabs Owen, even though he would never associate it with me.
So who else has had a good dream?
Amy Ultch had a hilarious one the other night symbolizing our political differences. We were both getting tattoos and the artist offered Amy an American Eagle. She said no, and then I showed her mine which turned out to be a peace dove. She said I was totally pissed because I had wanted the screaming eagle. Haha!