Saturday, March 04, 2006

Imaginary Friends

So, the kid has an imaginary friend. We seem to have picked him up somewhere on the way to daycare today. He said, "my friend, Yoko, is sitting here next to me. He's invisible." Yoko became more and more real on the trip, and by the time we got to our destination, it was "hold the door open for Yoko," "come on, Yoko, it's this way," and "Mommy, can you pick Yoko up? He's heavy."

Most of us have had an imaginary friend at one point, I think. But I'm kind of impressed by how real this one seems. Actually, to be honest, I'm kind of freaked out by how real this one seems. When I asked the kid to move over in his bed so that I could sit on the edge of it while I played and sang for him tonight, he had a fit because he didn't want to squish Yoko. A full-on fit. With tears. I had to threaten to make Yoko sleep in the top bunk (which was a useful strategy, by the way). So I said, "Look, I know that you enjoy having an imaginary friend, but we're not having you be naughty because of your imaginary friend." And he said, "Yoko is invisible, not imaginary. He's real." And I said, "No, he's imaginary. All invisible friends are imaginary."

Here's the part that gives me the creeps. He said, "Maybe other invisible friends are imaginary. But Yoko is invisible and real." And I could not get him to admit that Yoko was imaginary.

Next, the kid complained that Yoko wanted covers, and he got very upset because he himself did not want covers, and since he was lying next to Yoko, he didn't understand how this could possibly work out - how could he, himself, remain cover-free if Yoko was to have covers? Using my special mom powers, I covered Yoko as best as I could - without being able to see him - while carefully keeping the covers off of my son. But the kid insisted that this was not good enough: it was something about where Yoko's knees where and where the covers needed to be. So I said, "well, then, you do it." And he said, "I don't want to." So I said, "Well, let Yoko do it, then."

And then I half-watched to see if the covers would move.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it's that important to insist on the real vs. not-real distinction at this point. Kids that age often blur the lines between reality and fantasy, and I don't know that playing along does any harm.

Anonymous said...

Can't you just use pretend (or invisible) covers for the pretend friend?

Plain(s)feminist said...

Anonymous 1, yes, you're right, it's not important to distinguish between real and imaginary. However, we were moving into the realm of "invisible-friend-is-becoming-a-nuisance-and-disrupting-the-bedtime-routine," and I was trying to nip that in the bud.

Anonymous 2, that is a most excellent suggestion!

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