I am fascinated by imaginary friends. I decided with my first child that imaginary friends indicate deep intellect and creativity. This belief was preferable to believing my child was weird.
We first became aware of imaginary friends after an episode of Sesame Street. Our two year old daughter suddenly developed a friend shaped like an "X" that talked to only her. Only she could see "X." At dinner we were instructed to set a place for "X." She would ask "X" if he wanted more soup. And cry if anybody sat on her friend.
You can see why I choose intelligent and creative as opposed to disturbing.
Next came Basket. This little friend was something we could see. It was a blow-up rendition of a basketball hoop. It could actually sit at the dinner table and we could witness conversation between the two. It was still one-sided but somewhat more socially acceptable. Except when we went to restaurants. That was a little awkward.
In retrospect, I am glad we chose the first belief. Last semester she took two science classes and two A.P. classes amid her other classes. She got a 4.0 and scored 29 on her ACT. I am very proud.
My oldest son is still developing, bless his heart. He also had a couple of imaginary friends. This fact was brought to my attention when he was 3 or 4 years old and we were wrestling. He pinned me down with all of his 45 lbs. and we had a conversation while he sat on me.
"Who are you going to wrestle with when you grow up?" I asked. "Are you going to grow up and take care of yourself without me?"
"I'm going to have a dog and a cat," he answered matter-of-factly.
"Who is going to cook and clean?"
"Bob and Fred," he dead panned. "The dog and cat."
That's when I lost it and laughed so hard I cried. He then lost it and laughed so hard he peed his pants. Note that he was still sitting on me.
Now he's 12 years old. We haven't heard much about Bob and Fred for a long time. "Whatever happened to Bob and Fred," I asked one day.
"Well," he said with a glint in his eye, "Bob died and Fred was so disturbed he just gave up and disappeared one day."
"How did Bob die?"
"It was a game of Ultimate Patty-Cake that went wrong. Very, very wrong."
I am sticking to my earlier beliefs. The boy will be a freaking genius. He has to be. The alternative frightens me.