BB has a group of imaginary friends, they first appeared about six months ago, just in time to join us for our holidays, and they show no sign of leaving anytime soon. Much of the time it is quite sweet, she plays in her room chatting merrily to them all, sharing her toys and sending them to the naughty corner if they get too raucous. At other times they can be a real pain in the backside, namely when we are hurtling out of the door, late for pre school and school and BB insists that all three are strapped in to ensure they don’t go through the window when ‘mummy does scary driving’.
And there was the time when BB stayed in the north with my mum for a few days. She stupidly left the three of them at nanny’s house instead of bringing them home. The tears continued for three days until she one day emerged smiling, telling me she had just seen the three of them jump off the bus and they were waiting at the door to come in.
It is like having six kids, I fasten BB’s shoes, then each of her three invisible, completely fictional friends. At one point I was feeding them all as well, until I managed to convince BB that because they were pretend then they should eat pretend food. So now, while I knock up a healthy beans on toast for my pre schooler, she whips up a play doh feast for her little pals.
Yesterday, BB brought her friends to collect the twins from school.
We were early, which is a rare occurrence, and I lifted BB from the car and bumped the door shut with my backside. This caused my daughter to started emit a loud, wailing noise on behalf of her imaginary girl friend. I had closed the door on her fingers, so I spent two minutes apologising to no one and rubbing thin air, which didn’t look strange to the other mothers, at all.
Finally we made it to the playground and BB spotted a leftover skipping rope and squeaked with delight.
‘Look,’ she told her trio, ‘we can skip,’ and she pointed to imaginary friend number one and said, ‘Ellie, you can turn the rope with Mummy.’
Have you ever tried turning a skipping rope with a fictional being? It is exactly like you would imagine, and BB got very frustrated with Ellie for not pulling her weight. Another mother smiled in amusement and I mouthed ‘imaginary friend’ and heard her sigh with the cuteness of it all.
BB took the rope, and spoke to imaginary friend number two, ‘c’mon Emma, you jump, Ellie go play.’
We swung the rope happily whilst imaginary Emma jumped forward and back, the other mother beamed, but I began to worry, because if Emma and Ellie were here, that meant the third imaginary pal wouldn’t be far behind, waiting to put in an appearance.
I wasn’t wrong.
Three twirls of the rope later and BB ordered Emma to go play with Ellie, and then she summoned her loudest calling voice to gain the interest of imaginary friend number three, who was apparently frolicking at the other side of the playground.
‘Michael Jackson, oh Michael Jackson, it is your turn to skip.’
Yes, my daughter’s third imaginary friend is named after a dead pop singer who was rumoured to have odd relations with young children. The other mother stopped beaming at the cuteness of it all and starting choking back laughter at the deep rooted strangeness of it all
If you are wondering, BB tells me that Michael Jackson is an excellent skipper, I wouldn’t have expected anything different with those dancing feet, would you?