Somebody Send an Exorcist

I had a major mom-win this week: Ghost Repellent Spray.

It’s a spray, because I couldn’t get my hands on one of these.

Let me explain.

Ever since the Kraken could talk, he’s been talking about the ghosts that live in his bedroom walls. He throws them into conversation matter-of-factly, the same way that he mentions there’s a dog down the street. When this happens we work really, really hard to keep a straight face and an even voice, even though I know I, at least, am FREAKING THE FUCK OUT INSIDE.


Is this my future?

Oh sure, we’ve gone through all the reasonable explanations. The light on his baby monitor (which we unabashedly still use, because creeping on your three year old while he sleeps is just as satisfying as creeping on your three month old) was our first thought. It’s infrared so we can check on him in the dark, and we thought the red light might be his “ghost.” But no, he clearly understands that’s the camera Mommy and Daddy use to spy on him.

The phrase “nanny state” un-ironically springs to mind.

Then, we thought it might be after he was staring at the light. You know how a camera flash will leave you seeing stars for a couple of seconds? Like that. (Wait, do people even use cameras any more? And do they use flash either? Am I a dinosaur, making outdated references, like rotary phones, or integrity in the media?) But even when we turn the camera off, so there’s no way he’s got residual lights on his cornea, the ghosts persist.

I only trust comedians. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT US?

We live in an apartment building with no insulation, so our next thought was our neighbor’s habit of rearranging his furniture at 3am was to blame, but it turns out you don’t really hear him in the Kraken’s room. Our bedroom, of course, is a different story that I won’t go into.

Basically, we’ve systematically tried to think of every single explanation for the ghosts, and every single time he’s looked at us the way you watch a three-legged dog hopping down the street. So cute, trying so hard, bravo for the effort!

All I want in life is to adopt a tripod dog. Our one-eyed cat can ride him into battle!

Over the years we’ve separately tried to convince each other that sure, he says he’s got ghosts in his walls, but who are we to say they’re not terrific, friendly ghosts who’ll teach him to read by four? Maybe he thinks the ghosts are his best friends!

“The ghosts are outside, and we are inside. We are safe in here, they can’t get to us. They can’t get in. We are safe.”


Finally, I gave up trying to figure this out. Instead, I thought we could make a Ghost Repellent, to keep the ghosts away. Don’t be too impressed, I stole the idea from the internet, and just added some essential oils to make it smell like it was Obviously A Real Thing That Would Work. And to give him things to mix together, so he could see that this is a very specific, very effective magical recipe, handed from generation to generation.

We come from a long line of enchantment.

I wasn’t sure how it would go down – would it would just get him more agitated thinking, about how his entire bedroom is apparently filled with the undead? – but he was THRILLED. “Yes! Now? Can we do it right now? Let’s do it right now!” he hollered, launching himself through the air into the kitchen. He mixed all the ingredients carefully, then proceeded to spray his room until it smelled like the inside of a massage parlor, aroma therapy-ed until the inside of your nose started burning a little.

The he re-applied it later in the day.

And again that night.

And the next morning.

You get the idea.

Unfortunately I left my hand fan in my other girdle.

Honestly, I don’t mind so much; the first morning when he woke up he had a big grin on his face and said the spray worked, and as long as the creepy little poltergeist child is happy I’ll put up with any amount of essential oils.

But seriously you guys. I’m pretty sure my kid is haunted.

In case you’re curious, here are the steps to making Ghost Repellent:

  1. Spend a long time in Whole Foods, sniffing different essential oils until you lose the ability to use your nose. Wind up picking one blend because the label looks like it could be about getting rid of ghosts. Also pick up one of their spray bottles. Not the cheap plastic ones; the blue glass bottles that look like they came out of an olde timey apothecary. Packaging is everything.
  2. Track down a tupperware container, jar, or something else with a good top on it, some water, and that old bottle of witch hazel at the back of your medicine cabinet that Pinterest convinced you to buy four years ago.
  3. Discuss with your goblin how you’re going to make a special magic spray together, to keep the ghosts from bothering him. These are magical ingredients, so we have to be really careful with them. (Don’t be like me, and mention witch hazel is a good toner for your skin. Nothing kills magic quite as effectively as practical skincare advice)
  4. Measure a tablespoon of witch hazel into the jar/tupperware/whatever, and talk about how it’s called WITCH hazel because of all the magical things it can do. Unless your kid is upset by witches. Then… maybe it’s called that because it also keeps witches away? Or maybe just don’t mention that whole witch thing. The Kraken thought something called “witch anything” was obviously proof that Mamma knows magic.
  5. Pour 10 – 15 drops into the witch hazel. If you’re conned into letting the child hold the bottle, then assume at least triple that will make its way all over the table.
  6. Put the top on, and have the wee sprog shake it for all he’s got. If it’s done, it should look weird and milky – that’s good, it means the oil is in suspension! (I should mention that the witch hazel isn’t actually there just to convince the gremlin that you know about magic potions, but because it keeps oil & water mixed together)
  7. Add three tablespoons of water, shake it like a polaroid picture, then pour it into your obviously professional spray bottle.
  8. Watch as the combined joys of being allowed to spray water inside and getting rid of ghosts shivers its way through your tadpole’s tiny body. Let him go to town.
  9. Suddenly hope to god that he doesn’t have any hitherto unknown allergies to aromatherapy. But you live in Berkeley, so you’d probably have noticed that by now.
  10. Gloat.

And finally, please remember that essential oils are potent, so clean it off your skin right away if any spills!

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