Drifting off into Dreamland

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We have our bedtime story memorized. It's fun. I say a line and then Katie says the next one.

Even Nikki shocks me by chiming in with the correct -- though barely discernable -- words. I've been trying to get them to do it themselves, with Katie saying a line and then Nikki saying the next, but I think I'm overestimating their level of comprehension.

I keep doing that -- overestimating -- and right now it's really coming back to haunt me.

I developed a new strategy for bedtime. I started telling Katie about a magical place called "Dreamland." I told her if she went to sleep, she could visit Dreamland.

"Does it have angels?" she asked.

Of course it does!

"Does it have fairies?" Her eyes were big and her voice full of wonder.

Yes!

Dreamland, I told her, can have ANYTHING.

Our visions grew. Katie loved the idea and dressed herself in "beautiful blue fairy wings so she could fly with the clouds."

It was very elaborate and very effective.

She fell asleep almost immediately (by almost, I mean that I only had to go back and yell "go to sleep!" twice).

She was in my bed when I woke up the next morning. She opened her eyes and said "Are we going to Dreamland now?"

I was speechless. And, I felt terrible.

Katie, evidently, took me literally and thought if she went to sleep like a good girl, I'd take her to Dreamland.

I'd built up this incredible, magical world and all of her dreams centered around going there. Physically.

I tried every way I could think of to explain the concept, using words like "pretend" and "imaginary."

The next night when she went to sleep saying "I'm going to Dreamland," I thought she had it. I was thrilled. And, I was off the hook.

That is, until the next morning when she woke -- again -- asking to go to Dreamland.

That was a few days ago and still, every morning she asks to go to Dreamland.

I don't know what to do or say. I could offer DisneyLand, but that pales in comparison to what Dreamland is like.

To be honest, what Katie really wants is to be able to fly. She's enamored by airplanes and has begged to ride in hot air balloons. But wings, wings would be the best.

I try to tell her, the only way to find that is in her dreams.

Maybe I am expecting too much.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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