I was a very stressed out, sensitive and observant kid. My mother was raising us on her own and never received a dime in child support from our absent father. She did the best she could, but the wolves were definitely at our financial door on a regular basis. Our living standard went from bad to worse over the years.
I had a lot of nightmares. Some would recur for weeks on end. At times I would be afraid to go to sleep. My mother, at her wit’s end, consulted our pediatrician about it. It’s one of the earliest memories I have.
He told her, quite simply, to “solve” the nightmare. If I wake up screaming that there are spiders all over the bed, then brush them off and stomp on them. If I think we’re on a sinking boat, then bail the water out and plug the hole.
That was one smart doctor. He realized that what I needed was reassurance. I needed to feel safe and protected. Unfortunately that was not my mother’s forte, but again, she did the best she could.
Did the nightmares go away completely? No. But I became less fearful of going to sleep, because I knew that there was always a solution for that monster in the closet. Just shoot him with your finger gun. It’s good to know you have one of those.