Who wants to talk about imaginary friends? No one? Well, this is my blog, so that’s what we’re talking about today. Trust me, it will be fun! (Famous last words….)
I had what my parents called an “imaginary friend” when I was a kid. They loved to tell people how cute it was that I was so imaginative and had an imaginary frog named Frog Dorgan. For those that don’t know, that was my maiden name. Well, Dorgan was my maiden name, not Frog. But I digress.
So my parents thought it was just precious that I carried Frog Dorgan around in a little wooden box. What I TRIED to tell them, but they couldn’t comprehend was that I had actually caught a little tiny frog and kept him in that box. Of course, the little dude died shortly after, so I buried him in the back yard. But when my parents looked in the box it was empty, so of course they assumed I was creative and using my imagination. Well, they were wrong. But it made them so proud, so I carried on with the whole “imaginary” Frog Dorgan charade.
Fast forward about 27 years, and now I have a daughter (Miss Smarty Pants, aka MSP for those of you who are regular readers here). When she was about 2 MSP decided that she had an imaginary friend named Jerry. Now Jerry, as it turned out, was a mouse. (What is it with my family and the tiny, gross animals?)
Jerry got blamed for all manner of problems and accidents at our house. “Someone” threw a roll of toilet paper in the toilet. Guess who MSP blamed……you got it! It was Jerry! Then “someone” dumped an entire bag of Cheeze Puffs on the carpet and stomped on them. Yeah, that was Jerry as well. And you’ll never believe who dumped an entire bottle of shampoo (the expensive kind!) out in the bathtub. It was that damn Jerry again!!!
Apparently, I am very glad that MSP has outgrown the whole Jerry phase, but there are some things I miss about the little imaginary guy. For one thing, my daughter knew Jerry’s birthday (October 10th, for those of you who are curious). The week before the fictional birthday, my daughter reminded me that Jerry’s birthday was next week. Then she reminded me when it was only 3 days away, and then when it was the next day. Man, she was really keeping up with this! So I decided to play along.
I went down to the bakery and picked out a little round cake, and had them write “Happy Birthday Jerry” on it. Well, as I’m leaving the store, I see a gentleman that I know from a radio program that I was a part of. He sees the cake, and says, “Oh, is it your husband’s birthday?” I realize that he’s mistakenly assumed that my husband was Jerry, and I was getting a cake for his birthday. So I replied, “Uhhhhh, sure.” He told me to tell my husband “Happy Birthday,” and I again replied, “Uhhhhh, sure.” I’m a whiz at dialogue, in case you haven’t noticed. I guess that was easier than explaining about the whole imaginary mouse scenario. Perhaps I was a tiny bit embarrassed to be having a party for my daughter’s fictional vermin. But to this day, the gentleman from the bakery still thinks my husband’s name is Jerry.
The party went very well. Of course, we also served little blocks of cheese with the cake for the guest of honor. You may think that I am some sort of awesome parent for taking the time to encourage my daughter’s creative behavior. However, the truth is, I was really just craving cake that day. Sorry to disappoint you again, fine readers!
Now I did a little research to make sure this whole imaginary friend thing was normal, and that my kid wasn’t going to grow up to be a serial killer or something. Turns out that children that do this are thought to be superior in intelligence, language skills, and knowledge retention. Makes me wish Frog Dorgan had been a "real" imaginary friend. But for my daughter's sake, I was totally bursting with pride when I read that….and then I had to go clean Cheeze Puffs out of the carpet.