I had dreams last night of the children as babies again; at the same time. Granted, they are only 20 months apart, but there’s a huge difference between a 2-year-old and an infant. Regardless, in my dream, they were both fuzzy-headed, gurgling babies.
As the no-real-plot saga unfolded in my sleeping mind, I was faced with trying to attend to them both, and figure out which one needed my attention more. Although I was undisturbed by their sudden reversion in age, I was overcome with panic about keeping them safe. It was a constant battle to determine which one was more in need of my rescue.
They were–in the dream, as they’d been, years ago–so very different in their ambulation. Watching them simultaneously (rather than watching Monkey become mobile long after Chickadee had mastered it) was disturbing in a way that I couldn’t quite grasp during the dream.
I have a series of pictures of baby Chickadee lodged under various items of furniture. She began to crawl at about 7 months, but backwards. Her little arms and legs would twitch and flail and her brow would furrow in concentration and after a few minutes she would’ve backed herself underneath something and be hollering in indignation. The object she’d been aiming for would be further away than before and she would be livid with the injustice of it all.
Eventually, of course, she learned to crawl forwards. But she didn’t walk until she was almost 14 months old. We joked that she refused to even try until she was sure she could get it right. Trademark Chickadee, that.
In contrast, baby Monkey mastered scooting himself along by 5 months of age, was climbing furniture and attempting to fly by 7 months, and running at 9 months. He would land *SPLAT* on his face on the tile floor and scream once, accept a kiss on the burgeoning knot on his forehead, and then climb right back up to do it again. Whenever I caught him in the act of sure peril and admonished him, he’d flash me his huge, two-tooth grin as if to say, “But that’s the point.”
So, in last night’s adventure: both of them were infant/toddler age. I was running myself ragged after Monkey, pulling him down from one counter or bookcase after another, as he giggled and dashed away from me. Chickadee was walking, but somehow still backing herself into things in that weird accidental-retreating method she’d had as a crawler. Her cries were so pitiful each time she found herself trapped, but my attempts to lure her forward were met with suspicion and staunch refusal to budge. Meanwhile I couldn’t stay there and give her the time she needed, because Monkey would again be teetering on the brink of disaster.
I woke up panicked, then relieved to realize it was a dream.
A friend told me yesterday that I’m not very good at moderation. (Then added that it’s “one of my more endearing traits,” to which I wondered when “endearing” had become synonymous with “dumbass.”) I think that conversation somehow sparked the dream. There I was, trapped between two extremes. Move backwards (or refuse to move), or throw caution to the wind and go full steam ahead? Where is Option C–find a way to move forward safely?