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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>My 22 month old DD woke from her nap yesterday screaming for me, and came running from her room before I could get to her, she was in that much of a terrified rush.  She was hysterical, crying and clamboring to get into my arms and then clinging to me and then looking and pointing nervously at the ceiling.</p>
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<p>Me:  What is is, baby?  What's wrong?</p>
<p>DD: Birds flying up there!  Staring at me!  Flying!  I scared!</p>
<p>Me: It's okay, love.  You had a scary dream, but you're awake and safe and there are no birds. </p>
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<p>I turned on the light, we cuddled, I showed her that there were no birds.  She nursed, but kept on popping off to tell me more about the dream.</p>
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<p>DD:  Lotsa birds, flying up there.  Round and round.  On my head.  I scared.  Scared me.  Baba chase them.  More birds!  Scary birds, Mama!  Up there.</p>
<p>Me:  Hush, baby.  There are no birds.  It was a scary dream, but you're awake now, and there are no birds.</p>
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<p>She kept wanting to talk about it, even when my partner (her Baba) came home.  Without any suggestion by me, she told her all about it, and got newly scared all over again.  She wanted to talk about it to my mom on the phone, and kept mentioning it when we were outside on our walk.</p>
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<p>Do you indulge in the dialogue, or do you try to steer away?  Which makes it worse? </p>
<p>DD is a very imaginative, somewhat anxious, very verbal child, and so often talks at length about things that disturb her.  This might be other toddlers, people, noises, toys, what have you.  Let her talk freely?  Or gently steer her mind onto other things and resist her attemts to discuss frightening things?</p>
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<p>We talk about it. Of the two, the only thing I would suggest avoiding is saying things like "there's nothing to be scared of". But it doesn't seem like you're doing that. If she's trying to talk about the dreams it means that most likely she needs to talk about them. Even if it does upset her. I would definitely keep agreeing that the dream was scary, and even a little scare when awake and that it's ok to be scared.</p>
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<p>Some people can work through things by considering them internally and moving on soon after, other people need to talk them out and and work through them with others. It sounds like your DD is the second kind of person.</p>
 

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<p>We definitely talk about it. I validate that she is scared and try to empathize with her. When she feels like I "get where she is coming from", she is then ready to move on. I tried saying, it's just a dream once or twice. Her reaction was basically, "NO! You don't understand!! It was real!". Now, after listening to her I say something like "Oh wow, that must have been scary!" Sometimes I feel scared too. How about now? Have the scary feeling passed yet?" She will usually pause for a minute, search her recollection and say. "Yeah, it's gone now (the feeling)". It's tough for a two year old to conceptualize dreaming, I think.</p>
 

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<p>We talk it out also.  Normally DD will just nurse back to sleep but sometimes she talks a bit about it during the middle of the night.  Normally I just tell her that I'm here and will protect her from whatever it is.  Sometimes I also need to show her that it's not there.  We get a lot of nightmares/nightterrors when she's teething so you definitely have my sympathy!</p>
 

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<p>In the middle of the night ds will just nurse back to sleep, and he hasn't had any during nap time yet.  If he needed to talk during the middle of the night, I think I would just reassure him that I was there, and agree that it must have been scary.</p>
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<p>DS definitely sometimes needs to talk about things, he got a tickle me elmo as a gift from someone, and when elmo laughed it scared him.  This was when he was first becoming verbal, and so all he could say was "scared elmo", but he meant that he was scared of elmo - he went to the grocery store with my mom and that was the only thing he would say the entire time they were there.  He just kept repeating it over and over and over again.  She just agreed, and said it was ok, that elmo was laughing and it was ok.  He got over it eventually.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>Thanks for your responses, folks! </p>
<p>It's great to hear that talking it out is good.  I did worry that doing so would cause her to cling to the fear, but by the sounds of it, not so. </p>
<p>She's still bringing up that dream a couple of days later, but not in a way that suggests that she's still frightened by it.  She's talking about it in a more exploratory way now. </p>
<p>I didn't know that nightmares had anything to do with teething ... that could certainly be what's going on right now.  She's working on her eye teeth.</p>
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<p><strong>MusicianDad</strong> ... You're right, DD is most definitely a processor!  She watches, thinks, talks, questions ... and that's all before she'll even consider a new experience. </p>
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<p><strong>SuperSingleMama</strong> ... One of DD's grandma's brought her a singing snowman, and DD is still talking about how scary he is.  She made us take him out of the house!</p>
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<p><strong>tjlucca</strong> ... I like your way of asking if the scary feeling has passed.  I'm going to try that.  Thanks! </p>
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<p><strong>physmom</strong> ... I'm going to look into night terrors.  I don't know anything about them.  Do they manifest as nightmares, typically?</p>
 
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