This past weekend, I overheard my almost 4 year old toddler chatting away with someone. A proper conversation, which may or may not have included Commands. The dog was with me, the cats ignore him, so who was he talking with?
Alfred, he said. Mateo has a good friend at school called Alfred – was it the same boy? Mateo blushed, “No, mummy.” Okay…cue demonic music or eery silence.
Now, I’ve seen Paranormal 1, 2 and 3. I know they were films, every scene shot with 100 people in the room, magic done with editing etc. However, it doesn’t help when my son, out of the blue, introduces an invisible person into the family. Every bit of common sense goes out of the window, and all I can remember is the time my then just 3 year old pointed to a part of the wall in his bedroom and told me he didn’t like the woman standing there looking at him. I’ve never moved so fast in my life.
I believe in spirits, or perhaps I just want to believe that there’s something else after life rather than a blank void of nothingness. A scientist (a very respected man in his field) told me a long time ago that whenever a human dies, its energy has to go somewhere. It cannot exit the planet Earth, so it must be somewhere in our world. Although most scientists are supposed to pooh-pooh the idea of the supernatural, this gentleman was open to the idea of the spirit world. Nobody could disprove the theory that ghosts/spirits were the leftover energy of the deceased. Heh.
Back to Alfred. Mateo continued chatting away with him, as I read the paper some 10 feet away. I spied a mini chocolate egg on the table and shoved it into my mouth.
“You’re eating Alfred’s egg, mummy.”
Chocolate spat out faster than you can blink and I believe I may have uttered a “Sorry, Alfred!” out loud. If you’ve seen Paranormal…remember the part where the girl points out that her babysitter or dad (can’t recall) was sitting in the ghost’s chair? Then the scene where the invisible ghost yanks the girl 4 feet off the ground by her ponytail? Yeah, that’s EXACTLY where my mind went. DO NOT UPSET THE GHOST OR YOU WILL DIE.
“Where is Alfred right now?”
“There, watching you, mummy.”
Then one of the cats brushed past my bare leg – I screamed, which made Mateo scream and it was all really very awful. They say that when you feel fear, your child feels it too. I well and truly failed that parenting moment.
A child psychologist that I know says that it’s not only very common, but it’s healthy for young children to have imaginary/invisible friends. This, from Psychology Today, supports what he believes:
(Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D) … In fact, compared to those who don’t create them, children with imaginary companions (either invisible friends or personified objects) tend to be less shy, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and do better at tasks involving imagining how someone else might think.
Oldest children, only children, and children who don’t watch much television are more likely to create an imaginary friend. This probably reflects opportunity. Children need unstructured time alone to be able to invent imaginary friends.
Mateo is an only child, is a sociable little fellow and has always equally enjoyed playing alone or with friends. So, this is normal and nothing to do with the supernatural or my impending death at the hand of a disgruntled coven.
The piece goes on to say:
If your child has an invisible friend, relax and enjoy it! Ask questions to find out more about the friend. You may learn something about your child’s current interests, wishes, fears, or concerns. You may even want to write down and save your child’s adorable answers!
My response on reading the above: ARE YOU BLOODY CRAZY? Why would I encourage years more of tiptoeing around my own home in case I upset Alfred? And he kills me. This, you see, is the problem with an overactive imagination and why I almost had heart failure watching The Blair Witch Project. You never actually SEE anything bad, you just have all the props and hints to imagine your worst nightmare coming true.
So, because the piece says it’s usually an only child and/or those who don’t watch much television that have these ghosts, sorry, imaginary friends, my plan of action is to park my son in front of the tv for 8 hours a day, every day (my homemade exorcism is more important than school) and/or to have another baby. Now.
Tonight, I shall be sleeping with every single light on in the house.