On Dreams

This morning my 4-year old daughter Emma reported that she had a nightmare last night. We’ve talked a bit about nightmares, I’ve told her how I used to have really bad ones at her age. She asked me what dreams I had last night. I couldn’t remember any specifically.

The professor-voice took over and I started to explain that dreams are a way your brain sorts through its experiences and organizes them.

Emma interrupts the dry explanation with a useful metaphor: “…So your brain is like the kids at school putting away toys after playtime”.

Me: “Yeah! Exactly!”

Emma: “And it’s like your brain decides to turn on the TV set while it puts away the toys.”

Me: “So, your neurobiology classes at preschool are going well! That’s great!”

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3 Responses to On Dreams

  1. ebehren1 says:

    Oh, lordy, this one’s going to give the teachers a run for their money.

  2. bbenzon says:

    In Sydney Lamb’s Pathways of the Brain he tells us about his daughter (p. 1):

    Some years ago I asked one of my daughters, as she sat at the piano, “When you hit that piano key with your finger, how does your mind tell your finger what to do?” She thought for a moment, her face brightening with the intellectual challenge, and said, “Well, my brain writes a little note and sends it down my arm to my hand, then then my hand reads the note and knows what to do.” Not too bad for a five-year old.

    Lamb’s point was that lots of professional neuroscientists talk in pretty much the same terms. How does it feel to have a daughter who understands the brain as well as, e.g. Antonia Damasio?

  3. ebehren1 says:

    I was just thinking about the funny counterpoint of reading this on the same day that I had this utterance from my son to report.

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