To be honest, I never expected to have imaginary friends living in my house. I mean, I had kids, so I always knew it’d generally be a possibility. But, apparently, it’s now a reality.
About a year ago, George, who was obsessed with the U.S. states and capitals, started having regular play dates with the states. As in, “Come on, Arkansas! Let’s go play on the slide!” For real.
Then we moved on to the periodic table of elements. And with all of the memorization and constant organizing and re-organizing of element flash cards, we met George’s “element kids.” I never got a grip on how many element kids existed, but I’m assuming around 118, as that’s how many elements have been discovered. His element kids slept in his bed, of course, because Mama isn’t willing to donate space to 118 potentially combustible and likely radioactive guests. As George called them his “element kids,” they’re sleeping with their daddy, thankyouverymuch.
And now, as we’re almost to year four of sweet George’s life, we’re up to our eyeballs in U.S. presidents. I spend a lot of my days hearing, “Mama, do you want to talk to the presidents?” Unfortunately for my firstborn, my knee-jerk response is always a resounding No! However, that unconditional love patch the docs sewed on when George was born kicks in–with a smidge of guilt–and I, of course, talk to the presidents yet again.
Now, here’s how I “talk to the presidents.” George hands me a flash card with James (NOT John!) Polk’s face on it. I hold the card up to my ear, answer imaginary questions, then inform George where former President Polk wants to go, what he’s has lost, or what he loves doing. Apparently, I’m now a POTUS whisperer. Add that to my résumé.
George received his new favorite toy, a whiteboard and dry-erase markers, from his grandparents as an early birthday present, so if James A. Garfield lost his hat (as told to yours truly), George can furnish him a new one via whiteboard doodles. I’m a fan of games that make my children work but allow me to lounge on the couch a safe distance away.
We have three sets of U.S. presidents flash cards, numerous non-fiction library books, and a place mat or “map” of the presidents. Oh, and a 300-piece puzzle that takes far too much concentration and involvement from the parent who would rather be sitting on the couch.
Side Note: Author Mac Barnett wrote the picture book, President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath. I have no idea how he got away with a picture book featuring an overweight naked man, but he pulled it off so well! I love the ending, where President Taft is reassured that no one will remember this embarrassing incident, but rather his great presidential accomplishments. But does anyone remember anything other than the bathtub catastrophe? Poor President Taft…
But, hey, what can you do? Well, if you’re in my shoes, you keep talking to the presidents. I don’t let him (or them) guilt trip me too much, because I don’t want to set his expectations too high. However, I realize he’ll only be this little with this big imagination for a short blink. And I’m learning something too.
Now, if only he’ll take the bait and move on to planets…
Tell me about your kids’ imaginary friends! How long did this stage last?