We're into a good (by our standards) sleep routine right now with Eloise asleep by 7:30 without a fuss, the result of a child who really needs an afternoon nap but won't. But by 10:30 or 11:00 she is up again, whimpering as she recounts whatever she has been dreaming about in the early stages of sleep. Sometimes it's entertaining and she easily goes back to sleep, and other times we have to comfort her for some time in order to erase whatever it was that left her so afraid.
After a slightly traumatic trip to Maplewood Farm - my girl is unfortunately developing fear of fowl - and an influential afternoon at Science World all in one weekend, Eloise was left with some pretty vivid memories. The experiences she took away from both outings had an impact on her imagination and have unfortunately resulted in a recurring nightmare about hairy (not feathered) chickens and giant eggs that hatch in both her bed and ours. She woke up screaming one night and again the next, but was calmer the third night as she explained throwing things to get the chickens to go away. This nightmare has occurred probably half a dozen times now and it's so frustrating that there is absolutely nothing I can do from stopping it from happening again.
We talk to Eloise about her dreams and nightmares to help work out what they mean and why they are scary, but they are ultimately something she needs to figure out on her own. For now all I can do is be there and do my best to fill her mind with nothing but positive images.