Posted by: Kathy | August 10, 2010

Bedtime Routines and Questions of a 4 Year Old

I’m sure we’re like many families in that we have a bedtime routine, although parts of our routine may be a little unconventional. There is the “Nite, Nite” song that we sing as we all walk up the stairs. This song was made up by my husband years ago. Our cats and dogs also come upstairs with us – it’s as if they have to be part of the routine too. We often read Nikki a story or just talk. She always has to count the number of stuffed animals in her bed. There can never be more than four and a certain elephant she’s had since the day she was born always has to be there. Bedtime for Nikki is often complete chaos at first, but then everyone leaves the room, and Daddy sits with her for a few minutes. 

Every once in a while I put Nikki to bed alone. Nikki knows that when it’s just us, the bedtime routine is different than what she does with her father and it’s never the same each time. But she doesn’t seem to mind. This past Saturday, it was just Nikki and I at bedtime. After counting her stuffed animals, getting all the pets out of the room, and turning off the light, I pulled the rocker next to the bed and asked Nikki what she wanted (sometimes she wants to sing or asks for a specific story). She told me she wanted the snowman story, something I had made up a few weeks ago. So I continued my story about a snowman, making it up as I went along, with Nikki laughing and adding details.

Nikki in bed

After the snowman story, we started talking about Grandmom Angel, which is what Nikki calls my mom. I don’t think Nikki has any real memories of times she spent with my mom. But she’s taken the stories I’ve told her about the things they used to do together and made them her memories. Although I do believe that Nikki’s heart remembers my mom’s love and that is a true memory for her. When Nikki says that she misses Grandmom Angel, I believe that she really does miss her.  

Nikki asked a lot of questions about my mom. Nikki knows that her grandmom died and is in Heaven. I told her about God and how Grandmom Angel is now with her parents. Nikki asked why her grandmom died and I told her because Grandmom was sick and couldn’t get better, so God took her to Heaven. Nikki asked if her grandmom would come back her once she got better and I had to tell her no. But I told Nikki that I believe her grandmom is always watching over her and if she wants to talk to her, she just has to talk and Grandmom will hear her. As I was re-checking the room for cats, I heard Nikki say “I miss you, Grandmom, and I love you.” 

Before she went to sleep, Nikki asked to see a picture of Grandmom Angel. I went into my office and started looking through boxes of pictures I just brought home from my dad’s house. I found one, a picture I’ve never seen before. Nikki looked at the picture and then kissed it goodnight. That was our bedtime routine last Saturday night.  

Picture of "Grandmom Angel" I shared with Nikki



  1. Thanks for your lovely story. It made me cry. I lost my mom to cancer about 3 months ago. She was 66 years old. I love the photo of your mom.

  2. What a beautiful story! Thank you, Kathy. My son will never have any memories of my mother, but I talk about her quite often.

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