Children

I’m Gonna hold a Ghost Pizza Party and See What I Learn About Myself

You gotta love children’s imagination. They live in such a crazy, wild world in their heads. I have only one child-a son. I intend to keep it that way. The number of couples that have just one child (or intend to just have one child) is at an all-time high. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s the fact that we are tied to our jobs, maybe it’s that we don’t need child labor as much anymore (namely farmwork), maybe it’s the new world order; but one kid it is!

The one issue with having just one kid is that they seek a lot of attention.  A lot! As a parent you are not only the guidance counselor and the supervisor, but you are also the constant playmate. So, I encouraged my son to develop imaginary friends. I figured it will stir his creative juices and will provide me with some small reprieve.

I am happy to report he now has his own entourage that consists of a teddy bear, elephant, cat and a ghost. And that ghost loves pizza. My son spends hours each day baking  pizza for the ghost who is quite picky. It’s very silly indeed but it got me thinking: do kids actually see ghosts?

Growing up, I was always told that children under seven were both innocent and susceptible to otherworldly experiences (which is why according to my Puerto Rican mom kids had to be baptized by age of seven). Because of their supposed innocence they can see things that others cannot. So, who is to say that my son’s ghost who is super into pizza is not real?  There is a reason why in horror films or tv shows like Supernatural  kids take on a slightly more sinister, creepy role, through their ability to commune with ghosts. There is some research out there that states that children’s disposition to see ghosts and otherworldly apparitions tends to dissipate by age of 5; which does coincide with when children are fully engaged in the educational system and their brain and cognitive development is accelerated by outside forces (i.e. teachers).

My mom believed in ghosts and we even fed the ghosts through weird egg-yolk rituals. So, I was hyper aware of possible otherworld/paranormal events. I recall that as a kid,  I tended to hear Native American drumming  and see shadows that danced across my walls.  I thought my doll Delilah (that names says it all, no) embodied some creepy spirit. I felt highly attuned to these dynamics. But slowly, I became skeptical and laughed at the suggestions of said possibilities. And now that I have a child who breaks bread with ghosts, I have to revisit my skepticism.  Can he actually converse with this ghost? Is this ghost just an apparition but silent? What does the archetype of ghosts mean to children? Kids didn’t come up with the concept of ghosts on their own. We (us adults) must be feeding that concept to children in some way.  Thus, what does that do for us? What do we get out of having kids believe and see ghosts? I have to make sure that I listen to him carefully and see what tips he can provide me before kindergarten takes hold.  I have to carefully analyze my response to his ghost discussions because that will tell me a little bit more about what I get out of encouraging him. Does it give me hope in some way?  Is it comforting to me?

At the end, I think I’ll arrange a pizza party for my son’s “entourage” and set a plate at the table for ghost pizza.

I welcome your thoughts

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