It was a typical kids’ birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Pizza, games and noise.
But when Carolyn Kaufman was getting her daughter, Ariel Carreno, ready to go, Ariel had an unusual request.
“Mom, we need to take an orange,” Ariel said.
“Why?” Carolyn asked.
Carolyn explained that this was a pizza party, and that an orange would probably be out of place.
But when Ariel insisted, Carolyn grabbed an orange and took it to the party. For Carolyn’s family, what seems odd isn’t odd at all.
Kaufman believes Ariel can see the future.
So Ariel carried her orange into Chuck E. Cheese. The party went just as planned. The kids ate pizza. The kids played games. The parents endured the noise.
Then, the birthday girl asked for the strangest thing.
It’s moments like this that has Kaufman convinced. She’s a mom – like so many other parents – who believes her children are different than other kids.
Carolyn Kaufman believes she is the mother of three “Indigo children.”
Indigo advocates believe that many children born after 1975 possess an Indigo-color aura around them and unique almost supernatural traits. To the rest of the world, these kids may appear to be unruly and their parents may have gone overboard in the coddling of their children. Indigo kids bristle at authority and have little patience. Their advocates say they act like royalty and have no guilt. Simple acts, like waiting in lines, drive them crazy. Their parents are sure they can see the future and talk to angels.
In January, the documentary “The Indigo Evolution” will premiere around the world, coinciding with the World Indigo weekend beginning Jan. 27.
The phenomenon has spawned dozens of Web sites and two independent films.
“(Ariel) is very psychic,” said Kaufman, who counsels parents on how to raise Indigo children, like her own: Ariel, Tomy Carreno, 4, and Rueshaun Ghaemie, 10.
Kaufman offered another example. One day, Ariel found out that a family friend had died. Without knowing the cause of death, Ariel speculated that the friend’s blood was sick. As it turns out, the friend had died of complications from lupus and problems related to her blood.
Skeptics say some parents want so badly for their kids to be special that they may mischaracterize their children’s behavior.
“You have to be careful about this stuff,” says Dr. Robert Butterworth, a child psychologist in Los Angeles.
“Don’t create some cosmic chip on their shoulders. It sounds very cute, but there could be other problems that these kids need help with, like hyperactivity.
“It’s OK if you think your kids have special talents, but don’t … think your kid is the next Dali Lama of Orange County. That’s gonna create problems.”
Kaufman grew up among a hodgepodge of faiths and beliefs. Her mother was a nun who left the convent to marry her father, who is Jewish. She developed cancer at 23 and lupus a year later.
Traditional medicine didn’t have an answer for her illness, she says.
“I started asking what is this (illness) all about?” she said. She read a book called “You Can Heal Your Life” and devoted her time to learning about positive energy and natural healing.
About eight years ago she learned about Indigo children after reading a book on the subject, while caring for Rueshaun, who was 2 at the time. She attended and worked at psychic fairs, co-owned an alternative healing center, eventually opening her parental counseling service for parents of Indigo children.
She charges anywhere from $15 for a meditation class to up to $400 for Rainbow Touch workshops that explore healing and energy among other things.
“I don’t want people to see me as an airy fairy. I go to PTA, we go to movies.”
Kaufman isn’t alone in her beliefs.
Retired psychotherapist Doreen Virtue describes Indigos as “little Joan of Arcs.”
“They are highly sensitive individuals,” said the Laguna Beach, Calif., resident. “These kids have a temper, but the temper seems geared toward philosophical and existential issues. Everyone I interview says (Indigo children) are angry at the state of the world.”
Virtue wrote “The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children” and is an associate producer of a movie about Indigo kids.
Indigo kids like Ariel and Tomy also have a lot of energy, said Kaufman.
After fights with his sister over what to watch on TV, Tomy has broken five VCRs in the family home using only his energy force, Kaufman said.
In some families, kids might get grounded for breaking expensive electronics. Not in Kaufman’s house.
Energy like Tomy’s can make teachers pull their hair out and parents throw up their hands, seeking perhaps, a medical alternative, Kaufman says.
That’s where she comes in.
Kaufman teaches parents techniques like visualization or having kids blow air – all the bad negative things – into a balloon and release them into the air.
“They want to put labels on them – ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder),” she says. “One day people will say ADHD is a big gift.”
She understands some people find her claims dubious. She shirks it off.
“We are all intuitive. We all have energy,” she says. Knight Ridder