I'm a fairly level headed person (most of the time. I mean, unless you eat the last cupcake which is so obviously mine. Or call me "mom" or ask me a question past 6pm). Okay well maybe level headed is not the right term. I am practical. Very practical. I see things plainly in black and white. So the whole imaginary friend concept is lost on me. I was so confused and worried that I had to do some research on the topic to make sure this wasn't a sign of loneliness, depression, or further proof that I'm failing as a mom. (And by research I mean I went to the Google and read 2.5 articles on the subject.)
This hasn't really come up in the lives of my first 2 kids. My oldest, as I believe I have pointed out here, is possibly more literal and practical than her mother. There is no room in her life for fluff or flare. It is all function over form for her. If fact, I never saw her pretend as toddler. Probably because she never really needed to since she had her parents undivided attention. That is, until #2 came along.
Middle man is not necessarily (or at all) that rational, as his imagination is on turbo speed all. the. time. He, however, seems to have a very firm grasp on the difference between imagination and reality and can flip back and forth between the two worlds without any overlap.
|Manicure for this fancy pants' first day of preschool.|
Gotta look your best when you are working that play-dough.
So she did.
There are actually 2 imaginary playmates that she spends her time with and they function very differently. First, there is her Grandma. This was is a little confusing as it took us a while to figure out that Grandma is someone totally different than either of her actual grandmothers. Teachers at school started talking to us about how nice it was that Louisa's grandmother takes her on such fun adventures.
I thought it was weird so I asked Lou, "Did you tell your teacher about spending time with Grandmommie?"
She looked at me like I was the weirdo and said "No. I told them about My Grandma!"
Me: "Do you mean Gram (Steve's mom)?"
Lou: "Uh No! MY GRANDMA! You know the one with pink hair and a pink and purple car and unicorn at her house."
Say what? I'm going to need you to back that up and start again.
So that was the beginning of the MANY Grandma stories. They are super detailed and always involve the color pink and lots of sparkles. She talks to Grandma on her phone constantly about all kinds of random yet serious things. (her phone = the plastic Barbie smart phone that she received in a Happy Meal more than 2 years ago. Happy Meal toys have some serious longevity at the Summy house.)
Interestingly, Grandma isn't ever actually present. She apparently lives somewhere else (in her pink house) and Louisa has visited her a lot. All the stories are memories. According to my super duper research, this is pretty non traditional. And probably is less of an invisible playmate, but a way to lie about all the cool things she wishes she were doing. I'm hoping Grandma goes away before her teen years and she starts telling stories "about that time Grandma and I were SO WASTED." (As I typed that I actually started to panic a little.)
Anyway, for now Grandma seems pretty harmless although It's still a little awkward at church when we have to explain that, "No she really isn't talking about her actual grandmother. Just some imaginary lady she calls Grandma."
Imaginary friend #2 is a little more "normal". She is invisible and is always hanging around the house and her name is Blobby. Blobby is pink and always seems to be sitting in the chair that I want to sit in. There aren't many good stories about Blobby. She must be kind of quiet and her job is to follow Louisa around. Silly Blobby also seems to get herself locked out of the house an awful lot.
I know, thanks to my extensive research, that this is a sign of creativity and should not be discouraged. I also know I need to just enjoy this time because soon Lou will grow out of the Imaginary Friend stage and I will be sad. But, guys, I lose my patience really quickly with these friends.
Case in point... The other day we were rushing (always) to go somewhere and Louisa was classically dragging and refusing to put clothes on her body.
Lou: "Mom I can't wear THIS dress! My Grandma wants me to match her today!"
Me (in a moment of frustration and low blood sugar): "Well, your Grandma isn't real so I don't really care what she thinks."
GASP. Silence. Then the tears come... "She is too real! She is not a fake. She is my GRANDMA! Why are you so mean to me? Say she's real Mommy! Say it!"
Well let's add that to the list of ways I am screwing up my children. I'm sure that is Child Psychology 101. Never Ever Tell Them Their Imaginary Friends are... Imaginary. It's simple. Just try not to destroy your child's hopes and dreams. Class dismissed.
I will just add this to my prayer list. The one where I pray that my kids will not be broken by my actions and words. That the Lord will comfort them when their Mom loses her mind and use those moments to show them that we are all imperfect (gross understatement) and our sin can get the better of us sometimes. In those times, Mom gives in to her emotions and lack of caffeine, but thankfully she can run to Jesus and He will forgive and forget her sin.
I seem to pray this a lot.
In my defense, it is a proven fact that dealing with drama before 10am is impossible for Mommy. And should be avoided at all cost. Just ask Amelia how she learned the truth about the tooth fairy after one of my early morning "fits of honesty".
FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
It's a surprise every night that we have to put on pajamas and brush our teeth before we get in bed. Every night.