I think lots of kids have an imaginary friend (or friends) at some point in their childhood. I've read that it is healthy and normal for children to create a fictional character to "hang out" with. I know that I had my fair share of imaginary friends growing up. One in particular that I can remember is the one that I named Katie, my sister's name. Although I'm pretty sure that my reason for having that imaginary friend was just so I had yet another way to annoy my sister growing up. I would constantly call out, "hey Katie," and when my sister would reply I was then able to yell at her about the fact that I'm was not talking to her, I'm was talking to my imaginary friend, Katie. (Yes, I truly was a horrid sibling!)
Joey has had two imaginary friends so far. About a year and a half ago Joey's first imaginary character came into our lives. It was a cow who lived with us in our Raleigh apartment, and Joey was often found feeding it (imaginary) soup or (real) goldfish crackers. The cow stayed with us for probably 6 months or so, and was usually hanging out in the hallway.
Recently Joey started talking about his friend Emily. Emily has red hair (coincidence? um... no.), lives with her mom & dad, does NOT have 2 sisters, and is always on her way to our house. Emily has never actually come over to our house as of yet, and I'm wondering if she ever will. Today she went to school, but not the same school as us... a different school. The funniest thing I've learned about Joey's imaginary friend Emily is when he told me that she has her own room, but she sleeps in her mommy's bed because her bed is "all messed up."
Lately we've been having an issue with Joey staying in his own bed all night, so the boy is clearly living vicariously through his imaginary friend's privilege of being able to sleep in her mommy's bed. I'm wondering if he is going to do something to "mess up" his bed in hopes that he'll get a free ticket to sleep in my bed one of these nights. I sincerely hope not. I'm not a happy mommy when I get awoken in the night, so this getting out of bed thing has got to come to an end soon. And his damn friend Emily is not helping the situation with her stupid messed up bed!
Aside from the fact that I don't want my kid picking up any bad habits from his imaginary friend, I have to admit that I think that this is one of those really neat things about childhood. I love having conversations with Joey about his imaginary friend. I love the way his little mind is working to think up random stuff about a person (or cow) who doesn't even exist. It's one of those things that is cute for little kids to do for a certain amount of time, and then it's gone forever. I mean seriously, I couldn't just come home one day from the store and tell Ron all about some woman that I met & became friends with who has wonderful, well-behaved children, a magic wand to make them disappear whenever she wanted, and a money tree growing in the backyard. Oh, and she's going to come over tonight and cook for us & do all the dishes and clean up too. Well I could try to tell him all of that, but he obviously would just know that I've now completely lost my mind & that it is time to begin looking into group home options for me. So I won't do that. But I will continue to talk to my kids about their imaginary friends because I think what they have to say is so creative, funny, and innocent all at the same time.
How about you? Do your kids have any imaginary friends? Do you?