Ghostly nights and the things children do in their sleep | Kid Wisdom

Sleep, oh the lost sleep. Sleep is something that instantly becomes a precious, longed for commodity once you become a parent. Maybe that’s not true for everyone. But I was blessed with incredibly active, bright children who hate sleep with all their heart and soul for about the first three years of their lives.

While a solid eight hours of sleep is still elusive, it does get much better as they grow. Most parents find sickness, bad dreams and restlessness frequently cause interruptions in the quest for shuteye. Those 3 a.m. wakeups are hard, but by this point in parenting, we’ve all learned to take them in stride. It’s the creepy wakeups that give parents pause and make the hairs on their neck stand up. It’s funny how those precious little cherubs can get really creepy, really fast.

My first experience of finding my child slightly terrifying was when my son was about 4 or 5. I woke to my son, Dawson, staring at me with his intensely blue eyes, inches from my face. It was pretty creepy. I asked him how long he’d been like that. ‘A while,’ he said.

He used to sleepwalk frequently, wandering around with a vacant look in his piercing blue eyes. At 9 he’s a much better sleeper but will occasionally still sleepwalk. It’s less creepy now, at least.

However, my daughter, Violet, 5, has a gift for scaring people like she’s a ghost out of a horror film.

One night my husband was awakened, but he didn’t know why. He suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. In the hallway he saw a little girl in an old-fashioned nightgown, her long hair falling on her shoulders. This apparition was backlit from the light coming down the stairs.

“Violet,” he said tentatively, the hairs on his arms standing up and a prickly feeling starting on the back of his neck. “What are you doing?”

As soon as he called that out, the little figure took off at a run. He got out of bed followed her and found our Violet, who was about 3 or 4 at the time, back in bed and asleep already.

Last summer we had guests at our house. We all sat out on our porch in front of the big picture window in our dining room. We were having a great time, laughing and talking, when one of our guests gasped loudly, screamed and pointed at the window. One of the teenage boys was sitting right in front of the window. He turned around to see what she was screaming about. He yelled, “Hey” and jumped out of his chair backing away so fast he almost fell over.

I looked to see what was scaring them and there was my sweet Violet standing in the window like a very convincing little ghost. She was wearing a vacant expression and her long, old-fashioned nightgown that made her look like she was straight out of the 1880s.

“Oh yeah, that’s just Violet,” my husband explained. “She’s kind of ghostly when she first wakes up.”

I found this funny and laughed maybe longer than I should have. But, then I got my own Violet scare session. I wrote about it on Facebook last year:

“So here’s a terrifying way to wake someone up, invented by my daughter at 1 a.m. today: stand silently next to their bed and trace random designs on their hands with your finger. When it slowly and gently wakes them from a deep sleep, they will probably scream to see a dark figure standing silently by their bed, especially when they realize that figure was touching them. After they scream then you laugh. Good stuff.”

In the middle of the night, Megan Greenlaw, of Silverdale, was tossing and turning when she got a creepy feeling she was being watched. Megan opened her eyes, and approximately two inches from her face was her 3-year-old son Sam, his chin resting on the edge of the bed, his huge eyes staring blankly at her. She screamed. He didn’t even flinch. Then he opened his mouth and yelled “panpakes!”

“Apparently he had a midnight craving for pancakes,” she said.

One night, Candace Mangold of Port Townsend, heard her son, Holland, 3, cry out for her. She went into his room to comfort him back to sleep. When she hugged him, he said, “I want to play on that. I want to do that.” His eyes were closed, and he was pointing at the wall, she said.

Candace asked him what he wanted to play on.

“This,” he said.

Then he got up on all fours and proceeded to crawl onto a horse or something and then flopped down on his pillow and went back to sleep.

“It was comical,” she said.

Candace and her family were driving home late at night and her son, Halen, 5, was talking in his sleep. When she went to get him out of his car seat, he said, “Stop, I’m outta weapons.”

Amy Ash, of Sidell, Illinois, wrote that her son Jack, 10, frequently sleepwalks. One night she heard his door open, so she came out of her room to guide him back to bed.

Jack was standing at the end of a dark hallway. With no expression and in a monotone voice, he asked, “Where’s Jedediah.”

“Who’s Jedediah,” she asked a little shaken.

“The little boy,” Jack said in a monotone voice. “He was here. I can’t find him.”

Amy got him back to bed and then began to feel a little nervous.

“The day before we received a picture from 100 plus years ago of our Farm and the family that lived here,” Amy said. “There was a child in the picture. At this point I convince myself that it’s Jedediah, he’s haunting our farm, and don’t sleep.”

The next morning, Amy told Jack about his sleepwalking. She asked who Jedediah is and Jack started laughing hysterically.

“Mom,” he said. “He’s on my baseball team.”

“I had a dream last night we were playing, and then I couldn’t find him,” he said.

“I laughed so hard,” Amy said. “He still makes fun of me for that.”

“I should note, Jedediah and his twin Jeremiah are very sweet boys and are not scary,” Amy said.

I would love to hear your funny kid stories, so please send them my way. Parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and people who love children, please send your stories and cute kid photos to I look forward to hearing from you.

— Quinn Ward is a former journalist living in Poulsbo. She has been recording the amazing and outrageous things her kids say since they have been able to talk.