Dream Catcher – Part One

13 Apr

My oldest daughter is a few months away from turning six.  She has a vivid imagination and lives to play pretend.  Despite my best efforts to provide her with a safe, peaceful environment, with limited electronic exposure, she has nightmares from time to time.

I’ve been reading up on nightmares and I understand that it’s completely normal for a child her age to wake up with nightmares from time to time.  Her brain is working overtime during the sleep hours, rapidly developing.

The question for me is more about what to do about it.  When my daughter wakes up, she cries, comes and gets my husband or myself, and needs to be hugged and put back to bed.  We don’t ever press her for information about the dreams because that seems to make her more nervous and she doesn’t want to talk about it (I’m sure for fear it will seem more real or like she’s reliving it again).

In the mornings, I often ask if she can remember what she dreamed about.  Most of the time, she tells me no.  Occasionally she will want to tell me.  It usually involves a wild animal chasing her (thank you, Ranger Rick)!!

I’ve talked with some of my friends about the issue and several of them have mentioned putting a “dream catcher” above her bed.  According to Wikipedia, dream catchers were first introduced in the Ojibwe Nation.  Infants were given protective charms sometimes in the form of a dream catcher, which were round and had webbing in the middle.  It was said that the webbing would catch and hold anything negative or harmful, like a spider web catches and holds anything that comes into contact with it.  I figure I have nothing to lose!

A good friend of mine wanted to make one for her daughter, so we are in the process of working on them.  We went and hiked at a nearby park to find things from nature that the kids could pick out and place on their dream catchers.  Along the way we explored trails, saw a variety of insects, and learned about poison oak!  We picked out sticks to use as the base.  We found some feathers and beads (not really part of nature, but apparently some unlucky child must have lost a beaded necklace in the recent past!)

The next step: let the kids string the webbing around the sticks and decorate the dream catchers.  Stay tuned to find out more about how we make our dream catchers and whether they will keep the nightmares at bay!

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