The other day I was at the library, waiting for C. to make her selections, when I picked up a copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Indigo Children.” Thinking it would be a laugh, I tossed it in our book bag.
I first heard the term “indigo child” a few years ago and thought it was pretty woo-woo even then. Children born with blue auras, raised consciousness… part of a generation meant to “usher us into a new world of integrity” (to quote from just one website) . “Cellular memories of Lemuria…” I mean, c’mon. Did people really believe this stuff?
And yet I picked up the book because many of the traits used to define Indigos happen to jibe with exceptional giftedness: Sensitive, intense, determined, strong sense of self, bored easily, creative, love to read. The lists of “famous Indigos” include names like Bill Gates, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Bono, Emily Dickinson, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Anne Frank, Albert Einstein and many other names one usually associates with extreme intelligence and creativity.
Curious about what it might have to say about parenting these kids, I took book home. The girls were in the room while I was flipping through it and I read aloud the list of Indigo characteristics:
- Your child resists conformity. She doesn’t want to be like any other kid.
- Your child resists authority. Sometimes he can be rebellious.
- Your child responds to discipline better if she is involved in determining the consequences, or if she has been allowed to talk about how she feels about it.
- Your child seems extraordinarily emotionally sensitive. You sometimes wish you could protect him from feeling things so deeply.
- Your child seems highly empathetic. She seems to know what others are feeling without being told.
- Or on the other hand, maybe your child is cold and callous. Sometimes you wonder if he has shut off a part of himself.
- Your child is intuitive. She seems to just know things.
- Your child is wise beyond his years. You sometimes think he has a lot to teach you.
- Your child is physically sensitive or fragile. She has a lot of food allergies, or she seems to respond extraordinarily to sensory input.
- Your child struggles to be patient. Waiting in lines is torture.
- Your child carries himself with a sense that he deserves to be here.
- Your child resists overly structured situations that require little creativity.
- Your child often thinks of better ways of doing things at home or at school.
- Your child doesn’t respond to guilt trips.
- Your child gets bored easily with assigned tasks.
- Your child is wildly creative. Sometimes you wonder what she’ll come up with next….
“Wow!” M. exclaimed. “That’s freaky. Every single one describes me or C.” Then I told them about Lemuria. It became a humorous and non-threatening bonding moment in which we were able they were about to talk about overexcitabilities and some other traits of giftedness. M. brought the conversation up several times that day.
[Aside: Now when I ask in exasperation, "What planet are you from?!" they'll have an answer, lol.]
In all fairness I have to say that amidst all the la la la there actually was actually some sound parenting advice and support in the book. But it was odd to stick a nose over the fence, so to speak, and discover that there is a whole vibrant, thriving…belief system… celebrating and validating kids like mine that I wasn’t previously aware of. Very odd. I’m rather more used to being part of an invisible and misunderstood minority. One doesn’t find understanding in many places, so in a strange way it sort of makes me feel better knowing that there may be these people out there that “get it.”
But it’s still a lot of hooey.
In a funny coincidence over the weekend I literally became the mother of an Indigo child. Or close enough. M.’s formerly blond hair is now dyed a vivid, deep purple. (That’s her actual hair pictured up above.) Why? Well just as C. was fixated on getting her ears pierced from the age of four, M. has had a fixation on dying her hair. Every Halloween she begged me for that nasty spray-on stuff. Wacky Hair Day during the last week of school was a major event, with M. (and me) coming up with ever more over-the-top creations (complete beach scene on her head anyone?). I looked in local stores for some kind of temporary hair dye, but had no luck finding anything other than boring brown shades.
Then last summer we stopped in at an oh-so-self-consciously-iconoclastic, wonderfully named Blue Monkey salon and found a whole wall of temporary hair dye in every shocking color imaginable C. chose purple. In the intervening months we’d done a streak of purple a la Susan Sontag a few times, but she wanted to go all the way. So on Saturday we did. The stuff stains anything it touches, making dying her hair rather complex: garbage bag over the shoulders, plastic bags on my hands, silicone brush to work it in, and rinsing in our stainless steel kitchen sink. All that and we still managed to get a spot or two around the house.
However the result is dramatic. Very, very cool. C. looks like a cartoon character. Her hair looks a bit like the snap-on hair of a Polly Pocket. And it really makes her blue eyes pop.
Naturally making her debut with her friends and at school was fun (and made me think of the recent case of the little boy who was kicked out of school for wearing mohawk). It definitely draws attention–among adults too. One man at the supermarket asked which of her parents has purple hair. An aghast mom at the gym asked my husband how we could let her do that. He shrugged. What is the harm really? It will all wash out in six weeks or so. And by not freaking out we may avoid worse forms of rebellion down the line.