Kids say the funniest things. That's what they say. Whoever 'they' are. And yes I quite agree. So when I had my own children I expected them to say funny things. I wasn't, however, anticipating the amount of creepy stuff they say. Kids say the creepiest things. One day 'they' will be saying that too. You wait and see. Well unless it's just my daughter. Oh crap, is it just her?
Anna first freaked us out when she was about 20 months old. We had been staying with friends in London for a couple of days during the Olympics. As we were leaving we were all stood in own friends bedroom collecting up our stuff.
- Anna, say goodbye to Kath and James
- And to the little girl?
- What little girl?
- The little girl over there. At the end of the bed.
At this point the four of us look at each, a mixture of amusement, bemusement and terror on our faces. I'm pretty sure we all double checked the room, just in case we could see her too. Anna just stood there. A face of innocence. She seemed to have no understanding of why we all looked so confused.
- Bye Kath. Bye James. Bye little girl.
A quick wave to the end of the bed and off she trotted.
Around the same time Anna started acting weird whilst in our downstairs toilet. This isn't to say that she didn't act weirdly in other places too. Obviously she did. All the time in fact. What was odd about the downstairs toilet was that she was noticeably weirder there than anywhere else. Which was an achievement.
We noticed she spent quite a lot of time whilst sat on the toilet staring at one particular corner of the ceiling. It was odd, but she was a toddler. They are all odd. But then she started smiling at the ceiling and this in turn led on to saying hello to the ceiling. We asked her what she was doing and tried our best to do this without making her feel like she was a lunatic. We said things like "Who are you talking to Anna?" or "What are you up to?". We didn't say things like "Stop talking to the ceiling you freak." We are good parents. We know what is acceptable.
She didn't really give us a straight answer. But then one day ...
- I can see Nanny's eyes. Hello Nanny.
And that was that. From then on she would sit on the toilet and wave to Nanny whose eyes she could see in the ceiling. We have moved from that house now, not because of the downstairs toilet but I can't say I miss it.
For a while Anna settled down on the freaky comments. She was two and everything she said was odd. So all was fine until she maxed out on the scary.
I had picked Anna up from nursery and she was riding her bike along the footpath, chatting away as usual. She was talking about anything and everything. Whatever seemed to cross her mind.
- Grandad Rod is dead, isn't her daddy?
Ok, we are going there are we? Fair enough.
- Yes Anna he is.
- That makes you sad. But you are happy now aren't you?
- Yes Anna. It is sad that he died but I am happy now. I have you and Iris and you always make me happy.
It was nice. A soppy Friday afternoon chat. I have always been open with Anna about death, explaining it to her in very basic terms. So it was nice to see that she had taken it all in. Anna does understand that my dad is dead. I know this because she once told me "Daddy, your daddy is dead. Like Granny's chicken. And the cat in Balamory." Yes Anna, sort of.
So the conversation continued...
- What made you think of Grandad Rod Anna?
- Last night. He spoke to me through my monitor. It was quite scary.
- I don't think he did Anna. Grandad Rod can't talk to you because he isn't here anymore.
- Yep. It was him. I heard him on the monitor.
I left it at that. Until Anna heard me telling Carolyn about our conversation later that evening. Carolyn asked her what Grandad Rod had said to her. Anna briefly held a straight face before giving a cheeky smile and saying in a funny voice "Help me Anna. I'm trapped... I'm trapped in this chocolate bar. Aaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhh".
I think we are safe in the knowledge that a three year old child is more likely to be listening to their own imagination than dead people. Or me for that matter.