My daughter has a very active imagination. As a father—and a creative person–I could not be happier about this.
She loves to pretend, play, and make up games, and sometimes it even feels like she is my little improv partner. I’ll say some jokey little comment and she’ll just roll along with it and play off my words.
She is very good at yes anding!
Recently, she has developed imaginary friends. Thats right…Friends…as in plural. Gaga and Googins to be more specific. And if you ask her who Gaga and Googins are, she will respond, “My hands.”
Yep. My daughter talks to her hands. Some real, The Shining, type shit.
Danny’s not here, Mrs. Torrance.
Though I am happy about her imagination, her imaginary friends are a different story; at least at first. The first time I notice them, I was sitting on the coach, engrossed in a book when I heard my daughter say, “I don’t know, what do you want to do Gaga?”
I looked up from my book to see my daughter talking down, to her open palms.
After she asked the question, she responded back to herself, but in a higher pitch voice, not unlike an old woman’s voice, “Let’s play in my house, Meadow.”
I put down my book and summoned my daughter to me. “Who are you talking to, sweetheart?”
“It’s Gaga and Googins.” she said matter of fact, as she put her left hand closer to my face, “Say hi Gaga. Hello!”
“…riiiiighhhhhtttt…” was the only word I could muster.
I won’t lie, I panicked. I did the only thing, in that moment, I could think to do. I scooped up her invisible friends, and pantomimed throwing them, as hard as a could, against the wall.
…I know, I know…
I’m not going to be winning any Father of the Year awards, but I PANICKED. If you were worried my daughter was scarred for life, do not worry; she is fine.
Without missing a beat, my daughter walked to where her invisible friends lay, scooped them up, and turned to me, “I picked d’em up daddy. P’wease don’t throw d’em again.”
…I know, I know…
It crushed me too. I didn’t throw them again; and I never will.
What I have found out since, is that a lot of kids have invisible friends and that it’s quite normal. Also, having an invisible friend doesn’t mean my daughter is going to chop me up into a ton of tiny little pieces, in my sleep—it doesn’t mean she wont either, but I can sleep a little more comfortably. I think.
And, according to psychologytoday.com:
“It seems logical that children who invent invisible friends might be lonely or have social problems, but research doesn’t support those assumptions. In fact, compared to those who don’t create them, children with imaginary companions (either invisible friends or personified objects) tend to be less shy, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and do better at tasks involving imagining how someone else might think.”
So now I bask in my child’s imagination instead of being frightened by it; it makes for hilarious banter asking her questions about her friends! Her imagination actually has made it easy for me to work with her in creative ways too. In my spare time, I’m also a video/filmmaker, and I have had the pleasure of making some adorable videos with my daughter; she loves the attention.
“will you please record me.” is a phrase deeply embedded in her three year old vocabulary. She loves to make movies and she’s very photogenic. Here are a few photos from our Halloween session I did with her.
I may have been a bit freaked out by GaGa and Googins at first, but no more, because I know now it’s just my daughter being a kid. A smart, funny, adorable, and pretty well adjusted, kid.
Check out the video I made with my daughter, Directors are Babies, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
AUTHORS NOTE: DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND? HOW DID YOU RESPOND? IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ON IMAGINARY FRIENDS AND HOW TO HANDLE IT, HERE IS AN AMAZING ARTICLE: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/growing-friendships/201301/imaginary-friends
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