Donkey Punch

February 12, 2009

Hoping my daughter isn’t psychic.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — t4toby @ 3:57 pm

As I rode the city bus to take my daughter to school this morning, she told me she had a really bad dream last night. Here’s what she described:

There was war in our neighborhood. Guns and bombs could be heard, and she knew the fighting was near. Then she, her sister & I were together. A strange man came into the room and I told the girls that he was going to take care of them now because I had to join the fight. She cried for me not to go, but I left. we were living in a communal house and she went into the kitchen, where some ladies were making food and doing domestic things. She kept asking them how they could just act like nothing was wrong when there was a war going on just outside, but they wouldn’t answer her. Then she saw the guy that was supposed to take care of her, and she started to yell for him to get away from her because he really scared her, and then she woke up. She said she was convinced it was real until she woke up and realized she had been dreaming.

Why would my eight year old daughter intuit this situation so clearly? We certainly don’t talk about guerrilla warfare or war in Seattle, or war in general, for that matter. I do not own a cache of guns or rail against black helicopters. But she seemed acutely aware of what it would be like if war did come to White Center.

I asked her what she thought people should do if there was a war going on, and explained that even in war people have to keep living life.

This reminds me of the The Blue and the Gray, a TV miniseries I remember from when I was young. I was pretty into war and strategy and such when I was young. I started playing Dungeon & Dragons when I was six, and I was fascinated by all that was feudal, so a show about the civil war was right up my alley.

There was a scene in the series where there was this horrific battle occurring on a hill at the top of which stood a big, old gray house. The house belonged to on old woman, and as the battle raged on, she just sat in her rocking chair on her porch knitting and singing to herself. All hell was breaking loose around her, and she was just doing what she always did, carrying on with life despite the chaos. That is until a cannon ball landed in her lap.

The other scene I remember was this guy who fancied himself as the Angel of Death who roamed the battlefields after the fighting was over, bayoneting anyone left alive to put them out of their misery. I was 8 when this miniseries came out, the same age my daughter is now.

But I digress. Why is my daughter dreaming about this? Is she seeing into the future? Where else would she get the helplessness and chaos of living in a war zone. She doesn’t watch shows about war, or fighting. She is not into role playing games or the history of martial engagements. She is more into Tokio Hotel (yes, those are all boys) and skinny jeans and Club Penguin.

I don’t know what to make of it. It was a creepy thing to hear her describe. It seemed prescient. I actually felt the wrenching in my heart if I would have to make the decision between staying with the girls or fighting to keep them safe. And I had the worst feeling that I would choose to fight, and would give my life in an attempt to keep them safe, and they would never see me again.

Ah, the joys of fatherhood.


  1. I hope my daughter isn’t psychic. She dreams she’s being chased by a big piece of cheese.

    Comment by Righteous Bubba — February 12, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  2. I should be so lucky.

    Comment by t4toby — February 12, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  3. I think she’s been watching the news. I have the same dreams, but then again I’m not 8 years old. Still, I think she hears and observes the news of the world . It’s everywhere….

    Comment by grindchopblend — February 13, 2009 @ 2:38 am

  4. Then again, she could just be worried about her life at home…. war being a metaphor…

    Comment by grindchopblend — February 13, 2009 @ 2:40 am

  5. Do you read what you’ve written before you hit the submit button?

    Comment by t4toby — February 13, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  6. What? It’s a valid point. Not saying you make a bad life for her but there are stressors for children living in divorce or co-parenting situations, which could be internalized… although i’d guess it was more a case of absorbing the news that’s out there….

    Comment by grindchopblend — February 13, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  7. Comparing the life I am attempting to provide for my daughter to the horrors of war seems a little hyperbolic.

    Comment by t4toby — February 13, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  8. Maybe. Didn’t mean to offend. You are an awesome dad to her, we both know that. And it shows in her brilliance.

    Comment by grindchopblend — February 13, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  9. i have had totally bonkers crazy dreams for my whole life. the first one i remember, right around second grade or so, was long and convoluted, but the main point was that my mom and i had to go to the center of the labyrinth to kill the minotaur (because she lost a coin toss with her identical twin [who does not actually exist in real life]—the twin got to play the organ for a wedding.)

    the minotaur almost got me, but i woke up in time. i still remember nearly all the details of this dream. (a tiny grey villager picked me up and stuffed me into the minotaur’s laundry room to try to save me. the minotaur had sun brand detergent.)

    sometimes kids dream crazy stuff. i’m glad that she can tell you about her dreams and you can listen. this is a scary time to be alive, for all ages. keep doing your best.

    Comment by sarah — February 19, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

  10. Boring troll is boring.

    Comment by t4toby — May 8, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  11. That is a piece of public art from the Kansas State capitol building.


    Comment by t4toby — May 8, 2009 @ 7:56 am

  12. Weirdly I’m having deja vu right now reading this.

    I had a similar experience when I was 17, the dream lasted three weeks, as in I would go to bed and the dream would pick up from the night before. In the dream I was much older and there was a massive civil war going on in the US and it was crossing over the border into Canada. 25 years after the fact I now look like I did in that dream sequence. Otherwise after the dream i read up on everything and anything on dream metaphors and meanings for about a year then like all things in childhood I let the idea go and continued as an adult obtaining my degree, working jobs, having a family and building businesses.

    Maybe about two year ago the dreams came back. Every night now for two years. Nothing really triggered it. I don’t drink, life is fairly busy and happy. Family is good, no one has died. But the dreams are very annoying when they pop up once a month. usually involves people getting put into box cars and slaughtered some place, in the dream I’m working with a groups of people to make sure the trains don’t run because if we delay the human shipments then we can buy time for some of the platoons of troops that defected to fight whoever is running the show..

    Most of the dreams involve being cold or hungry with this group of people I don’t know doing war time engineering or fixing anything that’s broken. Time frames are strange.

    In the three week long dream when I was 17, the last dream was more of a wrap up, i still don’t know what it means. Hundred thousand people are surrounding this stage and there is a old black man on the stage. Only thing that comes out of his mouth are the words “this is the time when young men dream and old men prognosticate.”

    Then the dream ends and it’s repeating like a stuck bluray once a month.

    Comment by CPL — February 7, 2012 @ 6:46 am

    • Intense. I would certainly give my life to stop that kind of horror. Let’s hope we all just have overactive dream worlds…

      Comment by t4toby — February 7, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

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