I recently had a very tense standoff with an angry 4-year-old regarding what she considered to be an important life event. The wife was working that morning and I was in full Daddy Daycare mode, which meant that my main mission for the day was to make sure my kids didn’t die and, if they were lucky, to make them at least one meal. Well lucky for them I was ready to cook the shit out of some cereal and/or pop tarts to make sure my babies started their day with a meal of questionable nutritional value. 

We sat and ate our Cuisine Dé Noisetopia and talked about what to do that day since we were without adult supervision (my wife). I looked over at my middle child and noticed her thousand-yard stare. This usually indicates that she’s either trying to form a question in the sweetest way possible in order to ensure I give her the answer she seeks, or she’s plotting ways to make one of her sisters’ impending injuries look accidental. Lucky for her sisters, the look on her face quickly translated into a verbal request for the day’s activities.

Prepare yourselves. This is a direct quote from my child. She said she wanted to go to “the rainbow fun slide place with the magic frog place when we got sonic and I guess we killed it because it was a cheetah……”

Go ahead. I’ll wait for you to process that.

Welcome back. Now, my memory isn’t what it use to be, but I’m like 94 percent certain that that string of events has not yet occurred. At least not while the kids were under my semi-watchful eye. I’m guessing I took too long to answer because my middle daughter let out an impatient sigh, letting me know that she was STILL waiting for a response. So, I told her that I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about. You would’ve thought I told her she had more boogers than usual on her face. She threw her hand face-up on the table and stared at me with an open mouth and raised eyebrow, as if to say “how can you not remember this magical event?”

So she restated her request, this time more aggressively and in a manner that, honestly, made me think that I was about to go fisticuffs with a four-year-old. And I’m not entirely confident that I could have won. When I met her repeated request with a similarly-repeated blank stare, she offered some clarifying information. She let me know that the place she was talking about was in her dream.

I must be some kind of monumental dumbass. How could I, a Certified Professional Child-Taker-Carer, not have realized that the place she was talking about was an entirely fictional product of her imagination that I had never actually heard about or seen? I should be ashamed of myself.

It’s funny how kids can so vividly intertwine their dreams into reality. I think it’s something that we lose as we grow up, which makes me hate growing up even more. Then again, it might be both a blessing and a curse to be able to rip your dreams from the confines of your own mind and bring them forth to active consciousness. And that’s something I can explain with another story about a kid having a dream.

Our friends have children that are just about the same age as ours. Their 5-year-old woke up recently to find that she had an accident during the night. Our friends were mildly concerned because this particular child had a very easy time potty training and there had been no accidents since switching from her Disney Princess Pull-Ups to her “big girl panties”. On occasion, our friends had even noted the sound of their daughter’s bedroom and bathroom doors opening consecutively in the middle of the night when she felt the urge to go. So, good mom that she is, our friend asked her daughter why she thought she had an accident. To which she replied “I had a dream that I peed in the bed and when I woke up, there was pee in my bed.” That’s it. It was that simple. Dream translated to reality.

This recent turn of events led to my own dream-versus-reality event. A few nights ago, I had a very complex dream where I was kidnapped by an upstart sideshow and forced to fight bears. Not one bear. Bears. Plural. And MAN could these bears fight. Wave after wave of these furry bitches charged me. Halfway through the battle a team of pandas tried to flank me. I squared up with both of them and did the “come here” hand gesture– you know, the one that Morpheus does when he’s fighting Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Well, while these crafty bastards had my attention, OUT OF FREAKING NOWHERE, a big ass polar bear puts me in a headlock from behind. Completely helpless, the Panda Brothers began pummeling me relentlessly. And the whole time all I can hear is their vicious growling and snarling and snorting. Just as the walls closed in, the larger of the Panda Duo got in a solid shot to my ribs, which jolted me awake. At two-thirty in the morning my eyes opened, and I could feel my wife staring at me. I could also feel the anger rays that she was directing my way. I started to tell her about my crazy-ass dream when she interrupted me with “do you have any freaking idea how loud you were snoring?” To which I informed her that I did not, in fact, know how loud I was snoring because I was too busy fighting bears.  To which she informed me that she had yelled at me several times trying to wake me up when– her attempts unsuccessful– she elbowed me in the ribs. Upon gaining this new information, I realized that the snarling of the bears was a combination of both my snoring and my wife yelling, and the final vicious blow by Panda Brother Alpha was, in fact, a cleanly placed People’s Elbow to my rib cage by my loving wife.

I’m almost certain there’s some bullshit inspirational message in there somewhere, but it escapes me at the moment. So, for now, I’ll leave you with this– “If you want your dreams to become reality, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”

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