It’s 8:07 p.m., and my kids are eating a bedtime snack. The conversation goes something like this:
MOMMY: You have to stay in your own bed tonight, Lily. Daddy is pretty sick with a cold and we can’t have you coming in our bed again.
LILY: Well, can you at least put a sleeping bag down on the floor??!?
MOMMY: (*Sigh!*) Kiddo, you’re six years old…you need to be able to sleep in your own bed at night!
LILY: But last night there was a spider in my room!
MOMMY: But why were you even awake at 4 a.m. to SEE the spider in your room??
LILY: (Pouting) I get bad dreams…I need a dreamcatcher.
Moments later, I’ve sprung into action. I’m in the garage…rummaging around in the frigid recycling bin for a plastic lid (where the heck is the ricotta container from last week’s lasagne?). If the dreamcatcher works…if it makes her feel safe, thus preventing a middle-of-the-night wake-up call (*again!*) it’ll all be worth it.
Container lid located, washed and cut. I proceed to dig up some plastic string from the craft cupboard; our stuff might be a jumble, but at least I know exactly where to find it during these moments of dream catcher crisis!
I ask Lily to think up three things that she’s had bad dreams about; she comes up with: scary dinosaurs, vampires and zombies (she seems to have to think pretty darn hard to come up with vampires and zombies, but I let it go). We pick a different colour of string for each scary thing – red for dinos, yellow for vampires (she tells me it represents the garlic that repels them) and green for zombies (natch!).
Several frustrating minutes later, I have an ugly, tangled mass of string wrapped and taped around a piece of bendy red plastic. Perfect! I ceremoniously tie it up with a piece of gold Christmas ribbon, explaining that the good dreams will “slide down the sparkly ribbon, and sprinkle gently over her face in the night.” (Damn, I’m good!).
I can’t say this is totally off the top of my head…last year, Lily’s older sister studied Native culture and they made dreamcatchers as a project. I seem to recall Elissa’s dreamcatcher looking a lot better than this…but we’re closing in on 9 p.m. here, so this will have to do.
Miraculously, Elissa offers to help put Lily to bed – and tell her the full story of the dreamcatcher (hey…is it working its magic already??).
A few minutes later, I shoo Elissa to her own bed and snuggle in to say a final goodnight to Lily.
“Mommy, does the tooth fairy come to my room every night?” she asks, staring up at her new dreamcatcher.
“No sweetie – only when you’ve lost a tooth,” I reply, cuddling up to her.
“But Elissa says that all of the fairies will come into my room at night to take the bad dreams out of the dreamcatcher, so that means the tooth fairy would come, too.”
“Oh!” I say, clearly caught off guard. “I didn’t know about that part!” It seems the ability to extrapolate on the stuff of legends and dreams is being passed along quite nicely to my first-born child…perhaps we should compare notes next time we team up.
Moments later, Lily’s breathing deepens and her eyelids droop, as her dreamcatcher sways gently over her head. Sweet dreams, little one…sweet dreams.