I never had a consistent imaginary friend. Oh sure, when I was acting out one of my award-winning (I have had my Oscar speech all ready since age 6) pretend plays, I would recruit some extras from the imaginary friend actor's guild, but as soon as the story was over, they all went home. They certainly didn't hang around long enough for me to catch their names. In fact, most of my knowledge of imaginary friends comes from Drop Dead Fred and Moone Boy. Both good, you should take a peek!
Super Kingergartener, who is like me in more ways than I would like to admit, is the same way I am. He'll bring in hordes of soldiers to help him with some pesky dragons or call upon a gaggle of princesses to host an epic ball, but at the end of the day, everyone goes home and he is perfectly fine with that. Maybe it is because he has so many real friends; the child is a serious social butterfly. That wasn't exactly the case with me, or Awkward Dad for that matter, who also didn't have any imaginary friends. I think the 2 of us were so awkward that even the imaginary friends didn't want to hang with us, but whatever the reason, no one in this house had any experience with imaginary friends until Super Preschooler started introducing us to his.
This is totally unfair of me, but I never expected this from Super Preschooler. After a jump in the deep-end introduction to parenting with unconventional and highly unique Super Kindergartener, Super Preschooler seemed so gosh-darn normal. He is the little boy to end little boys; a mop-topped angelic urchin who would be right at home in Our Gang. He is mischievous, and he is strong. He loves cars, trains, and legos. He could barely talk when he started quoting Star Wars. He was the first of our children to make a pretend gun with his fingers. He is semi-wild and the definition of confidence. He has a grin a mile wide. He fits the prototype of All-American Boy down to his love of dirt and bugs:
We are really lucky he didn't decide to eat any.
Not knowing much about imaginary friends myself, I always assumed they were the companions of loners, misfits, and children who the spirit-world decided to use as vessels. This misconception brought on some serious worry; was my cheerful, completely well-adjusted, darling little boy about to serve as a portal to the netherworld? Or more importantly, is he unhappy? Is he lonely? Does he need more real friends? Maybe I didn't enroll him in enough classes. Maybe I don't spend enough time with him. Is his diet lacking in protein? Is he getting enough sleep? Should I put him in therapy? I was at a loss as to what to do. And when I am at a loss as to what to do with one of my kids, I usually just ask them what to do. I have found that this saves a lot of time and worry. Super Preschooler was more than happy to introduce me to his growing family of imaginary friends:
His first imaginary friend to make an appearance was Invisible Grandpa. Invisible Grandpa is just that; an invisible version of my father. No one can see him except Super Preschooler and, on occasion, Super Kindergartener. Super Preschooler has a very close relationship with real Grandpa, so this imaginary friend came as no great surprise. We just figured that he was missing Grandpa and wanted to spend more time with him. Nothing seemed amiss until Invisible Grandpa starting acting in very un-real-Grandpa ways. My father is witty and wonderful, but he is rather sedate and dignified. He is certainly no prankster. Invisible Grandpa likes to encourage all manner of tom-foolery, including, but not limited to: ransacking the cabinets, stealing underwear from Mommy's closet and wearing it as hats and/or skirts, drawing on the walls, attempting to write the alphabet on the bathroom mirror in toothpaste, breaking the printer to find the people that live inside it, throwing ice, sticking crayons in Daddy's guitar, trying to get Super Cat to fly, and last, but not least, riding the ceiling fans. In fact, it was an attempt at the last one that got Super Preschooler his latest goose egg. It also seems to be Invisible Grandpa's favorite thing to do. He often just hangs out on the living room ceiling fan and laughs. At least, that is what I am told.
Invisible Grandma (who is an invisible version of my mother) first made her appearance about a month after Invisible Grandpa moved in. At first, she seemed to show up and yell at Invisible Grandpa for his antics before leaving, which sounds pretty true to life actually. But before long, she was hanging out, mostly in the kitchen, where she encourages clandestine snacking and playing in the sink. Invisible Grandma is much less likely to be involved in dangerous antics, but she always seems to show up right before dinner to help the children ruin their appetite. Which again, isn't too far from something that real Grandma might do.
"Girlfriend Baby" showed up one day during a rousing game of house that Super Preschooler was conducting with some fairies and Star Wars characters. Awkward Dad and I eavesdropped on this one for awhile because anytime your 3-year-old is pretending to have a girlfriend who has a baby, you might want to take a listen. Turns out that Girlfriend Baby is an actual, or rather imaginary, baby that likes to ride around on Super Preschooler's back, when she isn't sitting next to him or perching on his knee. She is roughly the size of an action figure and he likes to pretend to kiss her on the head. He says that she loves him very much and he takes care of her. Her real name is the same name as his actual little sister, which is incredibly confusing, so he refers to her as Girlfriend Baby, so we know who he is talking about. I actually got to hold her for awhile yesterday, while he was getting some books from the bedroom. She was remarkably well-behaved for a 2-inch-tall invisible baby.
Finder Stick is an anomaly, as far as imaginary friends go. I can actually see him. He is a stick that Super Preschooler found on a walk one day. He used to have a leaf attached to him, but it fell off and all of Super Preschooler's attempts to reattach it haven't worked so far. He keeps the leaf in the hopes that someday he can render Finder Stick whole once more, but Finder Stick seems to be doing OK leafless. Finder Stick is called Finder Stick because he supposedly finds things; he often guides our way home from the store or from church. Apparently, he can find his way anywhere, according to Super Preschooler. Anywhere in the world. He also can turn into a car, a gun, a truck, a plane, and a helicopter. I, naturally, have not witnessed any of these transformations, but Super Preschooler assures me that they are amazing to behold. All I have really witnessed Finder Stick do is hang out by the front door. Super Preschooler says he is there to "guard the house" but admits that Finder Sticks spends a lot of time napping.
Finder Stick likes to hug almost as much as he likes to nap.
I don't know who is going to show up next, but I don't think that they are here to drag Super Preschooler to the other side. And I don't think Super Preschooler is lonely or sad or working stuff out. Well, maybe he is working stuff out, but if he wants to do that with some naughty Grandparents, a baby, and a geographically-advanced stick, well, there is nothing wrong with that. And if Super Preschooler wants to defy all my expectations and be an all-American little boy and creative and amazing and mind-blowingly unique with a huge dash of fabulous, well, there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all.
Super Toddler is pretty fond of Finder Stick herself.
I am waiting for her first imaginary friend to show up;
probably be a rock or something.
Anything she can throw....