Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

August 9, 2010 at 1:19 am | Posted in Lollipop | 22 Comments
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We’ve had two extra seats at the dinner table these last few weeks. Only, like the guests who sit in them, these seats are imaginary.

One belongs to a red-headed, freckle-faced spitfire with black and white chaps. Her name is Jessie. The other belongs to a loyal milk-chocolate-colored colt named Bullseye.

Yes, Toy Story 3 has seeped into every corner of Lollipop’s mind. (Score one for Disney.) She first imagined these new friends a few weeks ago when she put together her own cowgirl outfit. “To match Jessie’s,” she told me.

“Who?” I asked.

“Jessie. From that movie Daddy took me to. She’s my friend, and she’s going to school with me today.”

“Oh, um, okay … Does she have a car seat?”

“Yep. And Bullseye is riding in the trunk.”

“Oh, um, all right then. Off we go.”

And off we did go … with Jessie and Bullseye not far behind. They bathe with us. Eat with us. Sleep on Lollipop’s bed. (She prefers the floor.) They grocery shop with us and remember the thing we’re supposed to get at Target but forgot to put on the list. They read books with us. They swing and swim and scrub the cars. They use their quiet voices when the baby is sleeping.

I have to admit, they’re pretty good house guests. They’re tidy. They don’t eat much. And they don’t track in dirt.

If only they’d vacuum and take the night shift once in a while, I’d invite them to move in. Permanently.

But since I didn’t dream them up, I have no idea of their intentions. How long will they stay? Are their accommodations satisfactory? Should I start charging rent?

I suppose I’ll look to Lollipop for the answers … and the names of our next guests. But I already have a feeling where her mind will take us. To infinity and beyond.

Did your children have imaginary friends? How long did they stay? Were they tidy, too?



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  1. My children had Dancing Star and his sister Dancing Rainbow. They lived(live, I assume they haven’t moved) in the rocks behind our house and they are TEN years old and do STUFF that only ten year olds can do. There is also Dancing Builder, their brother, but he doesn’t visit much.

    The difference for these imaginary friends is that my children assume the characters and put Mr Potato Head glasses on. We have entire afternoons in character and if there are peas on the menu, Dancing Star is sent into dinner to eat the peas (which he loves). Very funny.

    Oh the imagination of children!!

  2. My daughter had Juva and Shaniqua, babies that she carried around. Then later, a host of storybook characters moved in. The Little House gang was first, followed by the Boxcar kids. For awhile Harry Potter games were played, then imaginary games were left behind, but a potion kit she maintained for years remained.

    My son told me tales about his two imaginary friends for quite some time. I don’t have any clue where these guys were born but they were adventure freaks and just couldn’t die because they went on boats, climbed mountains and had guns. Horrid things happened to them but they always rose to do it all over again.

  3. Kate has an alternate personality — really. Sometimes (I notice it seems to happen when she’s feeling down or her big sister doesn’t want to play with her) she becomes Tuma (Tooma?). She has blue hair, and a yellow coat, and lots of friends. Tuma is a superhero, and she has lots of work to do.

  4. Cute!
    No, my kids haven’t had imaginary friends (as far as I know). My daughter treats her toy doll like she’s real and wants to bring her everywhere, but that’s about the extent of it.

    I had imaginary friends. But I don’t think I ever told my parents about them. I usually talked to them in the bathroom. There were many of them, all girls and all had names starting with the letter S (like me) and we played a lot of games. And I always won. 😉

  5. Miss D. had an imaginary friend named Bella. My MIL thought this was incredibly alarming and twisted and told us to take her to a psychiatrist immediately. No lie.

  6. My daughter’s not quite there yet but me? Plenty. Well, when I was little that is. I guess it’s not just an only-child syndrome. However, I don’t recall having the same specific character as my imaginary friend. I usually made them up uhm…from scratch depending on what I was playing at the time. Monopoly? Probably someone not as cunning as me. School? Probably docile types who don’t mind that I often play the teacher and they, the students.

  7. My sister had an imaginary friend that moved to Mexico when I was born. My nieces (her daughters) both have had MANY I.F.s with extensive family histories and adventures.

  8. My son doesn’t have imaginary friends, yet. He’s just getting to the stage where he plays with his toys, like Elmo driving a car, or talking to Grandma on the phone. But I can see it coming soon.

  9. Oh yes! Grace had a whole class of IFs last summer. They disappeared when real friends were around, and had to wait with me while she did her Karate class. I could never remember their names though, they kept changing!

  10. It’s nice of you to include your guests on all the activities. :=>

    My sons’ had imaginary friends when they were younger, but my daughters’ haven’t… they’d rather dress up our cats as their friends.

  11. So cute! My oldest had three imaginary friends at once. They were named Mike, Mike, and Nick. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep the names straight because obviously that Mike doesn’t like to take baths while the other Mike is the one who doesn’t do chores. Nick was a keeper, though!

  12. I don’t remember my kids having any, but my imaginary friends seemed to come in two’s. My first ones were Nancy and Sassy. Nancy was nice and polite and obedient. Sassy, on the other hand was, well, sassy. (I think she was my alter-ego) I’d make my Mom set two extra places at the table for them.

    The other two were Casper (the friendly ghost) and Wendy (his cartoon girlfriend). Once my dad opened and shut the car door as he was driving and I said, “Thanks for letting Casper and Wendy out!”

    I think Jessie and Bullseye and keepers!

  13. I think it is wonderful and your daughter I know has a fabulously creative imagination. We don’t have independent imaginary friends at our house but as you know we do have feet and hands that are characters my daughter loves each with their own very unique personalities and voices. Ord, Cassie, Minnie and Toodles get up to lots of mischief and any car journey is always very full of conversation, dancing and more. Now my feet and hands and also my husband’s have somehow joined the fray too!

  14. Mine isn’t quite old enough for imaginary friends – he’s still learning about actual friends! – but he is often delighted and occasionally frightened by an imaginary dragon my sisters introduced him to. Often, the dragon is invisible; other times, it takes the form of a toy, or a shadow, or Will Farrell on the cover of Wired (last month).

  15. Woody is a favorite figurine/friend at our place. His hat always falls off though, causing my two year-old to repeat “Woody hat. Woody hat” until you are willing to drop everything to find the darn hat and stop the refrain. My four year-old is big on imaginary friends and imaginary parties and imaginary recipes. I can barely keep up. I had imaginary friends as a girl–Dandy and Shusha and their dog Dummy. Good times. We attempted a family outing to Toy Story 3. I will just say that the parts of the movie I saw were great, but that we are not quite ready for such outings yet.

  16. DuckyBoy has one main imaginary friend — Ducky — but there’s also Glad Duck and an assortment of substitutes that come trhough the door when Ducky takes off on one of his invariable, unplanned jaunts to New Zealand. We call Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and they send a sub… and some of them stick around.

    We had a major crisis earlier this summer when the tree in the next-to-school playground that housed the entryway to Ducky and Glad Duck’s underground laboratory was cut down. He must’ve dealt with it on his own, because by the time it clicked with me, DB matter-of-factly told me Ducky had built a new entrance in a nearby tree.

    Um, think I buy in?? I still miss mh imaginary friend Ghee-Ghee. (That’s the phonetic spelling.)

  17. No imaginary friends yet, but I suspect that’s just a matter of time. I hope its someone friendly and clean like Jessie and Bullseye.

  18. I wrote a similar post about my daughter and her imaginary friends. When we moved she had two friends that did everything with us (bathe, eat and sleep). When she started making new real friends, her imaginary friends left. I asked her “Where did they go?” She replied, “They went home to their Momma.” I haven’t heard from either imaginary friend since that statement.

  19. Mine doesn’t understand the concept of imaginary friends yet. I don’t know if he will given PDD and all, BUT, he does pretend to be a different person every week. One week he was the daddy. Last week, he was “mike” and this week, he’s “JJ.” I told him, I don’t care who you are, pick up your shoes already.

  20. Wow. I have never experienced this. I can only think of Charlie and Lola and Soren Lorenson.

  21. We loved that movie too! How sweet you have two new guests. I think it’s a great way to enter your child’s mind, to see her imagination at work. My son had imaginary twin brothers when he was about 3 or so. Their names were Jit and Jot and apparently they walked out of my tummy hand in hand when they were born. They were a hoot, but sadly they didn’t stay too long.

  22. Canna is the “cool” sister around our house for O. She seems to have all the things that we’re lacking — a dog named Henry that actually chases sticks, and bunkbeds for example. Sometiems, though she’s just along for the company and to corroborate fanciful stories.
    N. has just recently acquired a friend named Emmy (sometimes Amy). They mostly talk on the phone.

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