Grandparent Says Toddler Is Convinced There's a Ghost Lady Who Visits Him at Night

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We've all had our fair share of nights spent searching for a ghost or a monster hiding under the bed. But one grandparent was worried that maybe their grandson's recurring nightmare was a sign that something deeper was going on. Concerned, the grandparent recently wrote in to the Care and Feeding column looking for a little advice.

  • It's pretty common for 2-and-a-half-year-olds to have nightmares, but this one even has the Letter Writer (LW) freaked.

    As they explained in the letter, the LW's grandson kept waking up saying that there's a lady in his room.

    "When asked if she talks to him and why he thinks she is there, he says that she has to get something from his room, and she wants to put something on his foot," the grandparent wrote. "This has happened at least five times."

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  • Things are so bad that now their grandson is afraid to go to bed.

    The grandparent has a few theories about what's going on:

    1) Their daughter is potty training their grandson.

    2) He has a 4-week-old sister.

    "I know that these life changes can cause children to have nightmares, and I understand that imagination is vivid at this age," the LW wrote.

  • But to the grandparent, these nightmares feel so specific "and kind of creepy."

    "We are all at a loss as to how to handle it and, of course, upset that our sweet little boy is dealing with this. Any suggestions?" the LW asked.

  • In the comments, people had some spirit-repelling suggestions.


    "If you are the slightest bit religious, why not put a religious symbol over his bed and explain its symbolism as protection," one commenter suggested. "I had great success with a scented squirt bottle of water that I allowed my child to squirt around the bedroom to scare away monsters. She slept with the bottle on her nightstand and in a few months didn't need it but once in a blue moon."

    "We bought our kids $3 foam swords from Walmart and gave them to the kids as 'something to sleep with, so you can fight off any monsters in your dreams,'" someone else advised. "Worked like a charm. On the very rare occasions that they did wake up with nightmares, we'd ask, 'Did you get a chance to get them with your sword? No? Well, don't worry, you're fine now and you'll get them next time.'"

    A third commenter shared that after trying "basically everything," she decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

    "Was it a big pink monster with green eyes and silver horns?" the mom asked her daughter. Her reply when the daughter said yes? "Oh, that’s Pinky." She continued:

    'She looks scary, but she's really nice. She plays bass for a rock band and volunteers at a cat rescue, and loves to try out new vegetarian recipes in her spare time. Don't worry about her, I told her she could crash in your closet because the band is doing a gig here. In fact, I bet she'll be so grateful that she'll leave you a present in the morning.'

    Now every time that Pinky is in town for a "gig," she leaves her daughter a piece of candy and a note, the mom wrote. If her daughter mentions other monsters, the mom comes up with a nice backstory for them too.

  • A few people weren't so certain the situation was just the result of the child's imagination.


    "Regarding the toddler, don't be so sure he isn't telling the truth. It skips generations in my family, and my mom and my son semi-regularly see ghosts, sometimes at the same time. They are always doing benign activities such as what is described here. ... After so many times that they've had the same experience, I've learned to accept that I simply can't perceive what they see. The ghosts usually have a reason why they visit and then stop appearing after a few weeks."

    "I'm pretty sure I don't believe in 'ghosts,' but I've had some very, very odd experiences that just aren't … explainable."

    "Get a nanny cam so we can see the ghost! This letter 100% needs a follow-up column on Halloween. Good luck with the old lady demon who’s trying to steal a toddler’s foot, LW1."

  • Columnist Nicolle Cliffe wasn't convinced that this was a friend of Casper.

    Although some of the LW's story is sort of spooky, Cliffe figured that this was most likely the result of new baby plus potty training.

    "Now, I do not know if you live with your daughter's family or not, but it's pretty clear that your daughter (and her partner, if she has one) is ultimately the person who will have to handle this," she continued. A week-and-a-half isn't too long to become too worried about a recurring nightmare "though I'm sure it feels that way (unless he has managed to invent a truly creepy story to rebel against bedtime, his new sister, and potty training)," she wrote.

  • If the LW's daughter really is concerned, she can try to create rituals that will help ease the grandson's mind before bed.

    "Which include a night light, leaving the lights on entirely, a 'weird lady spray' that renders any weird ladies harmless, and, again, reassurance that it's just a dream," she advised.

    Cliffe also suggested that they pause potty training for now. 

    "Two of the biggest upheavals in a toddler's life are potty training and the birth of a younger sibling, and if I were your daughter, I would hit pause on the first until he's more used to the second," she wrote.

    "Best of luck! Also, if it continues, get a nanny cam so we can see the ghost."

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