July 1, 2003 - Tuesday
Last night at something like 3:15am, Harry came into our bedroom. His mother, closer to the door, got up and brought him back to bed. She came back saying he'd had a nightmare. A spotted backhoe had been outside his window digging a big hole and preparing to knock down our house. We're pretty sure that this terrorizing vision was the result of Harry's somewhat surprising anxiety about Aunt Alison's old house being torn down by a backhoe. We've not seen it yet, but we have been told, and told Harry, that the old house is now gone, demolished last week just days after Alison finished moving into the new house. We're guessing that just the idea that a house can get knocked down back a backhoe lead Harry's young mind to the idea that houses in general, and his house specifically, could be knocked down as well. I might further guess that maybe Harry's knowledge of cartoon characters like Scoop, Bob the Builder's taking backhoe, and any of his many Thomas the Tank Engine trains all with independent thinking minds and personalities may obscure the fact that a backhoe needs a human driver to make decisions. But, maybe that's overanalyzing it. Either way, it seemed to be a genuine nightmare. Harry looked out his window at bedtime again this evening just to make sure there was no backhoe lurking there.
I did try to use this nightmare to teach Harry a little about dreams, that frightening dreams are called nightmares, and that being able to remember dreams, good or bad, was rather exciting. I tried to explain that dreams are a way of helping his brain learn and work through things. But, mostly I was trying to reinforce that it was a dream and that dreaming is good, even if the dreams weren't so much fun at the time. I don't know how much he got from that.