Monday, December 3, 2012

Dream a Little Dream

Nothing cuter than a sleeping baby!
A very exciting development occurred over the past week for little Piper, she now goes into REM mode whilst sleeping. If you remember all your science classes, REM stands for rapid eye movement and this is the stage of sleep in which we dream. In other words, Piper can now dream!

Got to love this song!

After learning of this new development, my mom and I got into a discussion about what a fetus could possibly dream about considering they have no life experience as of yet. This question led to quite an interesting flow of hypotheses.

My mom and I have always had a bit of a strange relationship when it comes to our dreams.  Over the years we have discovered that we have many dreams that are if not identical, are very similar in nature.  We both have dreams about our teeth crumbling, we both dream about the dirty or occupied bathrooms when you need to pee, about forgetting our locker combinations or not being able to find our classroom, we even have shared a dream about chocolate covered English peas.  That last one was the most bizarre of all!  I was casually telling my mom about a dream I had about eating chocolate covered English peas, this dream occurred back in my mid twenties, and as I was telling her the dream her jaw just sort of dropped and her eyes grew real big in disbelief.  After I was finished, she went recounted a dream she had once about her younger brother feeding her chocolate covered English peas.  Remembering the dream still gives her the icks.
Yeah, that'll haunt you at night!
I mean seriously! What are the odds of both of us having such a visually detailed dream, and one we could both remember so clearly, about such a strange topic?  That was the day we began discussing our dreams with each other and realized how many similar dreams we actually shared.

Now I do realize some of our shared dreams might be the result of common experiences and are shared by multitudes of other individuals.  I have spoken with others who have had the crumbling teeth dream, which is not surprising since we all have teeth.
The horror!!!
The dreams about locker combinations and impossible to find classrooms, well that is probably a result of our education system so not surprising those dreams are alike.
Do you feel its taunting?
The needing to pee dream and can't find a clean or unoccupied toilet, that one usually occurs when you really have to pee and it's your body letting you know you better wake up before you piss your sheets!
We've all done this dance!
So yeah, that's another dream not surprisingly shared.  But the English pea dream, that is one odd unexplained coincidence.  It is one dream that I have never been able to wrap my head around...until now.

So little Piper can dream now, and we are back to the question of what could she possibly have to dream about.  So here is my hypothesis...her dreams come from me.  Think about it.  We share the same body in a sense, we share the same DNA, blood, nutrients, etc.  She is part of me and I am part of her.  Why wouldn't we share the same subconsciousness?  Perhaps during her REM sleep at this point, she is pulling dreams from my own subconscious database.  If so, wouldn't this explain the shared dreams between my mother and myself?  At some point when my mom was pregnant with me, she had that English pea dream, or it was there in her memories from whenever it was that she dreamt it.  Then as a fetus, us sharing oh so much while I'm nestled comfortably in her womb, I pulled that memory into my own subconscious and it became a part of me as much as it was a part of her.  Years later, as I lay dreaming, that memory surfaced and resulted in me also having a dream about the chocolate covered English peas.  Her dream became my dream.

I really don't think it's all too much of a stretch for this to occur.  It seems quite logical in a strange way, but it kind of makes perfect sense to me, and to her, once I put the idea forth.  As for the other dreams we share, the ones that are not a part of the mass collective conscious (aka the locker combination dream), they would also be a part of this connected dream circuitry.  It would explain every bizarre coincidence we have encountered through our dream discussions.  And as far as the mass collective conscious dreams, maybe they are also formed while in the womb and that is why not only are they similar in nature, but also similar in circumstance within the dream.

For example, let's take the needing to pee dream.

Sure it may be that in the collective human conscious the need to pee while sleeping triggers a dream about needing to pee and not being able to find a proper spot.  You can't find a proper spot because your body and mind are keeping you from satisfying that urge while still asleep.  The purpose of the dream is to wake you up so that you can then really go pee!
My Star Wars fans won't like this one!
But in our shared need to pee dreams, my mom and I share a similar experience within a similar circumstance...the bathrooms are dirty and/or occupied.  Since we're talking dreams here, it is hard for me to describe these circumstances and have them make sense, but when we discuss them, the similarities between the circumstances and locations in these dreams is, to say the least, eerie.  Why are they so damned similar?  There are a billion and one different ways your brain could incorporate the real need to pee into a dream, so why are our dreams the same?  It's because as a fetus, when I went into the REM stage and had no life experiences of my own to dream about, I tapped into my mom's brain and drew from her subconscious.  Therefore when I now have the need to pee dream, the circumstances of her dream are hardwired into my own.

Have I hurt your brains yet?

You may all think I am completely bonkers by now, or you may be contacting your mother to see if the hypothesis rings true in your own life.  My inner anthropologist so wants to delve into further research on the topic.  Had I thought of this back in grad school, I probably would have completely changed my direction and went cultural anthropologist instead of archaeologist.  I'm admittedly fascinated by shared dreams and now am even more curious based on this thought of a mother-child inherited subconscious connection.  I have absolutely no way of proving any of this rambling, but sometimes it is just fun to ponder the possibilities that are out there.  Stranger things have been pondered before!  And this sharing of subconscious information could very well serve as not only a teaching tool but also as a bonding method between mother and child.  Who knows?  That is just my 2 cents of crazy for the day!

Especially you, Bill Nye!
My niece also came up with an interesting answer to the question about what babies dream about.  Her idea was that they dream of their past lives.  For a twelve year old I thought that was very deep and insightful.  Once again, why not?  Before you can draw on this life for dreaming, you draw on another life before this.  Ponder that for a bit.

I read another study where some scientists were trying to figure this out.  Not having a whole lot of anything to work with, it's not like you can ask the fetus what's going on in their little fetus head, they determined maybe the REM stage for sleep in a fetus was not actually full of dreaming as it is in older children and adults.  They suggested that when this young, the body simply uses the REM stage to grow and develop, yada, yada, yada!  My question to them would be then why REM sleep for this?  There are other stages of sleep where growth and development could occur, so why think that dreaming is not actually going on?  Then I would drop my hypothesis on them and watch them get all flustered knowing at this point they couldn't prove me wrong! Bam! Take that science dudes!
I say this tongue in cheek, of course, as I am a science geek myself.

Well, I hope this has given you all something to think about when you can't sleep at night.  I would love to hear other people's ideas on this matter, and I can see me bringing this topic up at dinner parties and other such gatherings.  Dreams are fascinating things no matter how you look at them, and this is just one more way to look at them.

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Thanks for reading and come back soon!  Oh, and sweet dreams!



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