It Made Sense to Him

Josiah can be silly. But at 11pm? No, it made sense to him.

I play the saxophone in our Church’s praise band a few weeks out of the month.  Tonight’s band practice was a little later than normal, but that was okay.  I had everything worked out.  I would get home around 9:30pm sit down at the computer and write out a post and go to bed.  Lets just say it didn’t work that way.

I got home around 9:45pm (not bad) just to discover the wood-burner (we heat our house and water with wood) had gone out.  I spend 30 minutes making sure it was all set so we can have warm showers in the morning and came in to write my post.

After being at the computer for about five minutes I hear Josiah start to cry loudly and call for momma.  Well, momma was asleep in bed so I went to check on him.  What followed was another 35 minute glimpse into our three year-old’s half-asleep thoughts.  Brace yourself, it can be a little shocking, a little, unnerving, and a lot confusing.  It can also be quite the ride…

After calming him down some and convincing him to use words and talk to me instead of moaning, we had the following conversation.  Well, I am guessing you would call it a conversation.  Anyway, I could be slightly off, but I think I have most of it word for word.

  • ME: Josiah, what is wrong?
  • JOSIAH: I need something.
  • ME: What do you need?
  • JOSIAH: I need something, why won’t you give me something? (starts to cry again)
  • ME: What do you need?  I have Elmo, do you need Elmo? (offers stuffed Elmo)
  • JOSIAH: No, I need something bigger.  Can I see something bigger?  Is it red?
  • ME: I don’t have anything bigger.  It is almost 11pm you need to go back to sleep.  Lay down and I will rub your back.
  • JOSIAH: Your not helping!  Why won’t you help?  It has to be red! (sits back up and starts to cry)
  • ME: Lay back down buddy, what is red?  Are you awake?  Do you need some water?
  • JOSIAH: I am awake and I don’t want water.  I want to see.  Can I see the truck Mom uses?
  • ME: We don’t have a truck Josiah, lay back down and go back to sleep.  Let me tuck you back in.
  • JOSIAH: I want to see mamma’s truck!  Is it a raspberry?  I think I need a raspberry.  (starts to cry again)
  • ME: We don’t eat our raspberries this late.  We will have some for breakfast.  Lay back down before we wake up your sister.
  • JOSIAH: I can’t go back to sleep.  You not helping!  Why won’t you help?  I can’t get it off.
  • ME: Can’t get what off, how can I help?
  • JOSIAH: My nose!  I can’t go back to sleep if it won’t come off.  Why won’t it come off?  (rubs nose and starts to cry)
  • ME: ……..

You get the picture.  So, for 35 minutes I tried to calm a little boy down enough to go back to sleep, or at least let me leave the room without him screaming again. After a lot more random interactions (it is hard to reason, or argue, with a half-asleep three year-old) I finally got him quiet and I sneaked out.  I am not sure I can really claim victory here though.  I am pretty sure nothing I said to him made much of a difference.  He just finally calmed back down.

So, instead of the amazing solution to all of your parenting problems, what I was going to write about, you get this; an expose on my son’s sleep ramblings.  He has done this before.  We do it once about every two weeks or so.  The funny thing is that he remembers it.  I can ask him in the morning and he will remember most of the conversation.  He won’t be able to make any more sense of it than I can, but he will remember it.  Josiah can’t be the only little boy that wakes up crying because he can’t fly in a pink dump truck or see the train papa parked in the living room.  Does anyone else out there have a child that gets their logic wires crossed when they wake up in the middle of the night?  If so I would love to hear.  I know Josiah can’t be the only kid that does this.  How do you handle it?

3 comments to It Made Sense to Him

  • Jordan Groody

    While Victoria is too young to have these half-asleep conversations, I have been known to wake Amber up with random questions from my alternate universe. I believe it is tied to my sleepwalking as a child. Bits and pieces of my dreams would remain in my head, but the things I would do and say made no sense according to my parents. I once woke up about three steps from our neighbor's porch, my dad following behind me trying in vain to muffle his laughter with his hand. You might want to keep an eye on him, vivid dreamers tend to be sleep walkers.

  • kid WHYs

    I do not have experience with this coming from my children, but I suspect I probably did something similar to my parents as a child. I had and still have VERY vivid dream. I will spend an entire day trying to get out of the dream that I keep reliving – this still happens to me. My first big experience was at the ripe old age of 2. I do not remember this, mind you, but I get to hear about it all the time. I was sick so my parents put me to sleep in the living room while my parents had guests over. While they are talking, I get up, walk across the room, and run into the wall, saying "I gotta get out of here." and repeating this over and over. I have had many conversations with people while sleeping and many sleepwalking experiences throughout my life – most of it has been outgrown, but I do still have very vivid dreams. Sometimes, throughout my life, I would remember conversations, and sometimes I did not. Because of this, I spent a lot of time in college studying dreams, and heard that it is possible to control them. So, I went through the steps to try to gain control. I was never able to "gain control" but did manage to make them even more vivid. (Not the goal) Anyway, Jordan is right, vivid dreamers do tend to be sleep walkers. There may not be a lot you can do to prevent the vivid dreams, except help him to appreciate his gift. Dreams are still an elusive thing, and many scientists are fascinated by them. However, in your situation, my best suggestion is to provide comfort – not reason. Do not try to discuss, just comfort and agree with whatever is being said. If he asks for a motorcycle, just say "okay." If he is upset, hug him. If he pushes away, give him space. If he starts to walk, which is likely (ages 5 -12 are the most common ages), guide him back to bed. It is hard to wake a sleepwalker, so it is best to help guide them to bed. There are a lot of theories about dreams and some things work for some people and not for others. Probably the most important thing for you to understand is that these are most likely dreams. While in college, I had roommates have complete conversations with me – I looked awake and was able to respond to questions relatively normally – but they were dreams. Also, for me personally, when I am not getting enough sleep or am exhausted (like when I have a cold) the dreams are much stronger and sleepwalking is more likely. It might be a good idea to start journaling about your days and the amount of sleep to see if you can find something that correlates to the nights when this happens. Good luck!

    • I was a sleep-walker myself as a child. My dad caught me getting on my bike in the garage once. So I guess he gets it honestly. "Provide comfort – not reason" This is great advice and we use it when we can. Unfortunately, he has enough reason to know he isn't getting what he is asking for. Wanting to see the train in the living room for example. He didn't want to see it in the morning, be wanted to see it then. Much of the time agreement works. When it doesn't it get interesting. :-) Thanks for the comment!

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