Last night I had the strangest dream… Henry could turn into other animals, but only any animal he knew. So, he spent most of the dream as either a cat or a beetle. In the dream, I was really worried about him getting lost outside in either of those shapes, especially the beetle. We might step on him by mistake! Also, when he was a cat, we could see his eyes and they were exactly like his eyes when he was human, so we were sure it was him. When he was a beetle, we couldn’t do this because the eyes of a beetle are so different.
One of our tasks as parents was going to be adapting to each new animal he discovered, because he would always be able to turn himself into any animal he knew. There was this tension during the dream, of not wanting him to learn any more animals but realizing that would never work and wouldn’t be fair to him.
When I awoke from this dream, my head was spinning. It seemed so wacky, so unreal, so completely off the map. Now that I’ve thought about it on and off all day, it actually seems quite analagous to what parenting is like in reality. Children don’t transmogrify into various animals, but they change so fast (day to day, minute to minute) that they can seem like different people. I feel so proud and excited when Henry learns new things, but sometimes there is also a tinge of wistfulness or even a wave of panic as I realize that he is no longer a baby and that I can’t protect him from all the dangers in the world. Also, there must be fear. What will Henry become? I can’t control that, ultimately.