As if it was obvious, Ian told us, “When I was a meerkat, I lived in a cave.” Being a parent means fielding strange tales from tiny people. We were driving when Ian made his announcement, and he regaled us for several blocks.
After the cave, he lived in a cage on a farm. He lived with lots of other meerkats. The meerkats fought “all over each udder.” His name wasn’t “Ian”, it was something closer to “Baseball Sandwich.” (I’ve forgotten exactly what it was.)
“What did you eat as a meerkat?” I asked him.
“Um… um… um… I just forgot.”
Stumped him, I thought, feeling too proud of my dubious victory. Of course, Ian embodied this animal identity well before he was born. He was born a human boy, but anything is possible before that. Why not a meerkat?
After all, I very distinctly remember telling my parents about my past life: as a college student.
Whoever was the first to declare it, I don’t recall. What I do remember is telling my parents about how Bryce and I went to college before we were born. It was just a fact. Before we were born, we went to college.
I’m sure any well-placed question regarding my major or dorm would have foiled my tales, but that sort of detail didn’t matter to us. Looking back, I wonder if we must have overheard our parents talking about how great life was, how awesome and full of promise it was, before they had kids.
“Life sure was spectacular back when we were in college,” my dad would say.
“Things really went downhill once we started having kids, but college was the best,” my mom would respond.
Stuff like that.
I think the root of these “pre-birth lives” is the difficulty with perspective that a young mind has. Life is a constant honing of perspective. Every experience sharpens our picture of everything. Those amongst us considered “visionary” are called such for their more expansive perspective on things. Perspectives expand unwillingly, preferring to stay the smallest concentric circle around our knowledge and experiences.
For a child, there is no beginning or end to their life — at least not one they can recollect. The child has always existed, and there’s no reason the child shouldn’t always exist. To hear others talk about what happened before the child was born, the child has to construct some way for that to be possible. I must have been in college like my parents. I must have been a meerkat like those meerkats, and, also, I love meerkats.
(Note that this is all speculation on my part. I tried to do a search on this as a psychological phenomenon and only came across sites treating it as a religious or paranormal phenomenon.)
Somehow related to this is Ian’s assertion that he has created everything in existence (and that is only a slight exaggeration). Regularly, he’ll explain how he “just made that” building or laptop or car. Whether this is the skewed perspective of a tiny god, or a white lie designed to impress the people around him, it makes for interesting conversation.
Sometimes, there’s a little story to go with it. “I just made that shirt for you. I made it and put it in a present for you.”
“Oh, thanks. I like this shirt,” I said.
“I know,” Ian said. “It was really, really, really, really, really a hard one to make.”
“Well, I like it a lot. Thank you.”
“It took a lot a lot of time.”
“Finish your supper.”
I try to commend his craftsmanship, particularly when he mentions something we use or appreciate. Ian made our house, for instance. Of course, he didn’t just make our house; he made all houses. Ever.
He also made some restaurants. “Where are we going?” Ian asked when he noticed I wasn’t driving the usual way home.
“We’re going to Taste of the Big Apple. It’s a restaurant where we’re going to meet mommy for pizza.”
“Oh. I just made that restaurant.”
“I just put it over there,” he said, gesturing in the rough vicinity of our destination. “It was very, very heavy. The fireworks just helped me put it there.”
Many turns later, Ian suddenly pointed out his sister’s window. “Dad! I just put the restaurant over there!” His relocation was decidedly not in the correct vicinity.
“Oh, well, maybe somebody moved it,” I attempted. “We’re not going that way right now.”
“But that’s the way to the restaurant!”
There was probably a graceful way to handle the situation, to maintain the façade, but I was weaving my way downtown through after-work traffic.
“No,” I said, “that’s not where the restaurant is. I’m not driving that way, Ian.”
Ian met my response with some pouty sulking which let up only when we parked. “Where’s mommy’s car?” he asked as he climbed out of the car.
I gestured toward a far end of the lot. “It’s over there.”
“I can’t see it.”
“I know. We’ll see it soon.” I freed Ainsley, and the three of us trudged to the eatery. When Ian spotted Holli’s van, he yelled, “There’s Mommy’s car!”
“Yup,” I answered, leading my two tiny gods.
“I just made Mommy’s car.”
“I know, kiddo,” I said. “I know.”
Do you have a child with a god complex? Are you a child with a god complex? Do you remember being a child with a god complex? Are you a complex god-child? Leave a comment.