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How to freak out a five-year-old son

I'M sure I won't be the only parent for whom our report this week that one in five children "hears voices" rings a few bells.

But here's a thought: perhaps it's just kids being, well, kids.

I still shiver at the recollection of finding myself alone in the house with our creepy second-born boy when he was no more than five years old.

He appeared in front of me like a pale little ghost -- but his problem wasn't voices, it was the lack of them.

"Why does the other Jonathan never talk to me," he said, adding matter-of-factly, "the one who lives in the walls."

"Is he here now?" I inquired, stifling a scream. "Can you show him to me?"

Off we toddled to the first-floor landing, where he duly pointed out his reflection in the mirror, showing me how, when he moved to one side of the mirror or the other, his image "disappeared" into the wall.

Relieved almost to the point of hysteria that I wouldn't need to check outside the front door for any demonic ravens quite yet, I explained, as any good father would, that what he was seeing was merely the lost spirit of the twin he had absorbed while still in the womb.

See? It's healthy to talk to your children and they should know that there is nothing that dad cannot explain.


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