The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Friday, September 17, 2004

The pretend friend

We have a new member of our household as of today. Julia got up from her nap talking about her new imaginary friend, a young boy of 2 1/2 who apparently doesn't have his own Mommy. Her nameless friend (referred to only as "the pretend friend") was sick today and she spent a good deal of time wrapping up a special gift of books to give to him so he would feel better. I'm told her care package worked and he's now feeling pretty good.

As with any new stage in Julia's development, no matter how minor, I watched her launch into this new game with mixed feelings. The overly competitive part of me immediately speculated whether she was advanced for her age in creating an imaginary friend so young. My paraniod side wondered why her friend doesn't have a Mommy and whether that might signify some burried inner conflict inside of her. The part of me that's always ahead of myself contemplated a future of setting seats at the table for "the pretend friend" and being careful not to sit on him or shut the door in his face. And the proud Mommy in me delighted in her funny ideas and took pleasure in this latest gem from the child who inherited my creativity and love of storytelling.

Mostly, though, I just marvelled at the fact that generation after generation of children seem to naturally grow and develop in almost exactly the same way without anyone actually telling them what to do next. I'm sure many of Julia's ancestors created imaginary friends to help themselves process the world and their place in it, and someday her children and grandchildren probably will too. It's nature at its finest and I think it's pretty darn cool. No doubt my own imaginary friends would have agreed.


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