His First Nightmare?

Two nights ago, the Monkey awoke at 9:30 p.m. (two hours after his bedtime). He was screaming.

Not yelling. Not calling. Not even shouting. SCREAMING. It was one of those blood-chilling screams that makes parents turn white, look at each other for a split second, and run for the room. At the same time.

It’s a “something is terribly wrong” scream.

So imagine our surprise: When we got there, nothing seemed to be wrong. The Monkey was safely ensconced in his crib. He was still lying down — which was odd, since usually whenever he’s crying in there he will at least sit up and wail at the camera monitor. All his limbs were inside the crib — nothing was stuck or trapped.

His eyes were buggy. He had one hand gripping a binky and another gripping his blanket. He was trembling.

I leaned over the crib and touched his cheek. “What’s wrong, baby?”

Tears spilled onto his cheeks. “Mama. Mama. Mama,” he whispered, raising trembling arms.

Once safely wrapped in my arms, he came alive. Both hands grabbed fistfulls of my shirt and pulled me closer. His little legs tried to wrap themselves around my waist. He started chattering — I have no idea what he was saying, but man was he agitated. The only words I recognized were “Mama, muh, nuh, and nai.” So … something to do with me, boobies, and two things he didn’t like. The rest was jibberish. His eyes were darting around the room, he pointed to the door at one point, then to the closet, then to the window, and grabbed my shirt again.

“You’re OK,” I cooed. “Its OK now.”

“What is wrong with him?” the Hubbs wanted to know.

I said the only thing that made sense at that point: “I think he had a nightmare.”

And I think it scared the bejeezus out of him.

He woke up nearly every hour on the hour after that — with the same scream and the same shaking/trembling. He’d fall asleep in my arms, clutching onto my shirt in his sleep, as if keeping me close would keep the bad things away.

At 2 a.m. I gave up on him sleeping in his crib. We moved to the rocker/recliner in the living room. He snuggled close, putting his little hand on my cheek.

“Mama,” he whispered, snuggling closer until we were nose to nose.

“I love you too, sweetie. Go to sleep, OK?”

“Yeah.”

We were still asleep at 7 a.m. when the Hubbs came out to check on us.

And in the days since then? There have been no more screams or trembling.

I wonder what it was.

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