Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection

Parenting – “When Robots get me”


Its 4.30am and I roll over. Fresh space and a stretch. The daylight is slipping under the blinds.

But as I turn – Whoa! – I can see our boy is in bed with us. Trouble.

Hey, whats up?

“Nightmare…. Wont stop…… I always dream of Hogwarts….. Not this.”

What is it?

“Robot. He’s getting me!”


“In the garden. A transformer. So big. He’s got an axe.”

What is he doing?

“He’s chasing me. Hes got an axe. Hes really big”

Mmmm… Shall we put roller skates on him? He’ll get stuck in the mud and on the gravel.

(My boy thinks)

If he’s got muddy feet he cant come in the house. Mum wont let him.

(He thinks some more)

Why is he chasing you anyway?

“He’s big. He’s a black transformer. He turns into a car and can go fast”

Why dont we say he is a “Chicken transformer” – he can only turn into a chicken. A funny chicken. That lays easter eggs

(My boy smiles)

Why dont we ask him why he is grumpy? Would he like a hot chocolate? One with marshmallows on top? Robots love marshmallows and they love hot chocolate. Maybe he can come and chat in the kitchen. If he takes his muddly robot shoes off…

Hot chocolate is a favourite in our house – my boys eyes are wide open and the frown and fear has gone.

But its 4.30am and I need to sleep. I tell him to roll over and form a cuddle. My face is against his back. My thumb is in one of his hands and his other hand is hooked back over my head and he holds onto my ear.

His shoulder blade against my face is sharp – not soft like Fran’s. Do shoulder blade wear smoother with time. Like molars wearing down with too much chewing. If we use our arms a lot through life will the motion smooth us down? (Elephants have 4 sets of molars in their life – when the final set wear out its time to give up status and lie down with some dignity.)

My thumb feels the shape of his hand wrapped around it. Strong hands – the five year old is built for climbing, wresting and hunting. This boy will be strong when he grows up. His torso is skinny and lean – he is like one of those rubber bones that dogs chew – no fat, no soft fleshiness, just firm. But he’s warm and I love him very much.

Some memories you can take pictures of – but these memories I never want to loose.

And I become aware that these moments are moments I take for granted. Because life with kids is hectic and distracting but they wont be like this forever.

The photos on my iPhone are great keepsafes. But warmth, connection and love like this doesn’t get stored on a phone too well.

And so Im writing it down becasue I dont want to forget.


Author: jameslramsay

Practice director at the ShelfLife project - digital by day, campfire by night

11 thoughts on “Parenting – “When Robots get me”

  1. Beautifully written.

    Clever handling of the nightmare – I am taking notes here 😉

    PS – Such a familiar feeling, too (the one about memories and the sharp realisation that one day you are going to miss these moments…)

  2. Thanks Ana

    Sometimes its hard to realise that being woken up is the best thing that can happen to you in a day

    I was thnking of your question – do we really live it if we dont write about it – so Im exploring

    (I think I have managed to save this moment slipping by)


  3. Excellent post! It put a smile on my face. Well written, James.

  4. lovely indeed!

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  6. Thanks James for sharing.
    I managed to associate my daughter the ideia that fox or wolf plush toys protect her from bad dreams. She never goes to be with them for some reason, and that is good, because when she has nightmares I just go nad pick up the foy and wolf and tuck them in bed with her, she goes back to sleep fast.

    • Hey Alexandre – good to see you here!

      My son – now 7 – has a bear called Henri (a French bear). Henry is very loved and very needed. He is also very flat as the stuffing has no umph left after too many washes and too much rough-boy-living.

      He is now past nightmares but does have the strange behaviour of ‘choosing’ his dreams and he very purposefully goes to bed to live the dream he has selected. He lives in a magical world. Id like to be part of it – but only for a short while!

      Thankfully even though the nightmares have stopped he is still very huggy and we still get an in-bed squeeze a few times a week.

      I think being a dad is the best thing ever. For us big people their nightmares are gifts. But we have to write them down so we dont loose them.

      Happy New year!


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