Ever since my daughter, Thing 1, was old enough to talk, she’s periodically had nightmares. She couldn’t always tell me what they were about, but the fear was always there. My solution: run interference. If you’re thinking about something else, then you tend to forget the scary.
(I also told her that angels like to bowl and lightning and thunder were their strikes. I’m sticking to that one.)
When she was old enough to make up her own distractions, she settled on rainbow lollipops and unicorns. Now that she’s seven, I still go to her bed if she wakes up with a nightmare, and I sit there and ask her what she’s supposed to do. She tells me, “Think about rainbow lollipops and unicorns,” smiles, and closes her eyes. One of these days, she’s not going to call for me after a nightmare. I’m certain I’ll be both proud and sad when that day comes.
Lately, she’s been obsessed with the color of unicorn poop.