Wednesday, May 07, 2008

When you dream

Increasingly, Jacob likes to vocalize. I suppose it's only natural, given who his parents are, but it really is astonishing how much he likes to "talk" when the mood strikes him. And the mood strikes at the oddest times. I mean, he always tries to sing along with The Wheels on the Bus or Do Your Ears Hang Low (an oldie but a goodie that he especially likes), but lately he's also started making a lot of purposeful noise in the morning when he first gets up and, my personal favorite, as he puts himself to sleep. Whether he was crying first or not, when he gets very sleepy, he starts a little whine, a sound that gets slower and slower as he gets closer and closer to sleep.

Then, he's also started laughing during his naps, just after he's closed his eyes, as if something from his dreams is always amusing right at first. Both his parents have a lifelong history of talking in their sleep, so he appears to have inherited this from us. Finally, he "talks" all night long, whenever he slips from deep sleep into something less profound. And he can keep that up without waking up for hours at a time, as I have learned so convincingly recently via the baby monitor right by my head. Sadly, his mommy is not so lucky and his nighttime jibber jabber wakes me every time and often tricks me into making a bottle and going to feed him, only to discover he's still fast asleep and not at all hungry.

Actually, all this talking while sleeping got me thinking about sleep, for lack of a better word, disorders. As I said, I have talked in my sleep forever, and I have always had extremely vivid dreams, to the extent that if I dream I am hiking (which would only happen in a dream), I wake up with sore muscles as if I actually had hiked. The husband and I share a tendency toward elaborate dreams we can often remember parts of in the morning. My mother walked in her sleep until she got married and a sister had strange night terrors for years. Right after I got married, I began to have night terrors too, during which I would jump out of bed or yell to the husband about some man in the bedroom or something on the wall or behind the curtain, carrying on in terror, all while sound asleep. Sometimes I remembered something vague in the morning but often not. So I wondered, are similar sleeping issues hereditary? A quick check of some reputable websites (such as the National Institutes of Health) tells me that only narcolepsy has a proved heritable component.

Aw shucks, there goes that theory. Back to washing bottles!

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