Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barley the Pragmatist (Dreamcatcher Story)

Barley is a classic "S" for Sensing on the Myers-Briggs personality tests. His love of mathematics is reflective of his "facts" and "figures" orientation toward the world. His older brother, Teddy, is all passion and enthusiasm--a fun-loving kid who uses his seemingly limitless energy to get the most joy out of life. Show him a fun flashy commercial for a new toy, and Teddy is all over it, wanting whatever the next cool thing is.

Barley can watch the same commercial, and come away saying hmmm, that doesn't make sense. How does that work?

Tonight, at bedtime, Barley was distressed about several nights of bad dreams. It has been ridiculously hot around here, and is supposed to top 100 tomorrow, so it's been difficult to sleep at night. Their room is the hottest in the house, and we have 3 fans on, trying to cool the room to be habitable.
In an effort to ease his worry about having a bad dream, I took Barley's dreamcatcher from the wall above his bed, blew the dust off it, and turned it around. I also removed the soccer medal hanging off of it. Good as new, no more bad dreams! This is a strategy that has worked with his older brother for YEARS. Whenever plagued by bad dreams, repositioning, etc. always did the trick. For those not familiar with the dreamcatcher story, here is a link.

We even had one hilarious (in hindsight) trip to Tahoe, where I was alone with the boys (DH was sick at home). We arrived to discover Teddy had a fever of his own, and we had left the dreamcatcher at home. I was rummaging through the hotel kitchenette, trying to persuade a feverish Teddy that a round metal colander was "just as good as" a real dreamcatcher--honest! Uh-huh. Teddy wasn't buying either. I was really desperate that night. I kept digging through the rest of the kitchen tools looking for anything vaguely promising, vaguely round, when Teddy decided the square metal cheese grater would work. I guess the sharp edges of the holes looked like they could shred some bad dreams into tiny little bits--perfect for your salad the next day!

That worked, and peace reigned...for about 10 minutes. His brother Barley, who did not feel sick at all, and had lots of energy to burn off after the 5 hour drive, was running around the hotel room like a maniac. He bounced against Teddy's bed and knocked the cheese grater cum dreamcatcher off the bedpost onto the ground. A great WAILING ensued, and a long, sleepless night for me.

Actually, there was more hilarity (in hindsight) the next day. I'll blog about that tomorrow maybe.

So, back to today's tale. Barley wondered out loud how this whole dreamcatcher concept can even work. Barley is 7. His 10-year old brother, sat up and politely explained that the good dreams are usually short, so they are smaller, and can fit through the holes of the dreamcatcher. The bad dreams, which are bigger, get caught in the netting.

Barley's response? "How do the dreams get OUT there? I mean, they're just in my head, aren't they? Dreams are in my brain, they are just like THINKING, so how can a dreamcatcher hanging on the WALL do anything to bad dreams?"

Biting my tongue hard, I tried to let Teddy handle it alone, but one glance at his face, and I knew he was outgunned by Barley's logic. I tried to say, "Well, maybe the dreams start in your head and they come out and get caught. Or maybe they start somewhere else and come into your brain..."OK, it sounded lame even to me. I tried a more surefure tactic, "JUST GO TO SLEEP, IT'S BEDTIME NOW."

I think Santa is in deep ... snow come Christmastime.


  1. This is beginning to sound like Jack and I more and more everystory. You try and figure which one is which! :) I can't wait to hear the other hilarious story.

    For the heat, I used to put a humidifier (if you have one) behind the fan. It blows a cold every so slight mist for a while. Not sure if it is too humid for that trick to be practical...I should visit to find out for myself.

  2. Yes, you should definitely come visit!


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