Saturday, May 1, 2010

Your Invisible Friend Did What??

Invisible friends... a right of passage for many younger kids, sometimes the bane of a parent's existence.

When Olivia was about 3 she had an invisible friend named Hotolita. Hotolita didn't talk much, do much, but she did have a book that Olivia needed to keep around at all times. The book was an old leather bound day planner that was given to me by my old job. At the beginning of each year we were given new ones and I kept the old ones to compare sales and promotions from one year to the next. Olivia found one of the older planners and liked to draw in it, so I let her keep it. One day she started to talk about her "Hotolita book" and was devastated she couldn't find it.  I asked a bunch of questions... hot book? hot to where book? what?... luckily Taylor was there to translate for me and from that point on that is what we called that particular book, The Hotolita Book. Taylor never had an invisible friend, she just translated for Olivia's invisible friend.

Actually neither Chris nor I had invisible friends, although Chris told me he used to wish he had one.  His complaint is that he was never cool enough to have an invisible friend.  I didn't have invisible friends, but then I had a healthy social life with my very real stuffed animals.  Each one had it's own personality and all of them had to sleep with me at night.  The animals used to fight over who got to sleep next to me, so I would rotate them so no one would get jealous.  Don't tell, but I did have a couple of favorites shhh... 

Fast forward and now Dee Dee has an invisible friend named Nicholas. She has had this friend for a couple of years and Nicholas is much more developed as a personality compared to Hotolita.  Nicholas, Dee Dee's friend is a little girl, just a bit older than Dee Dee and Nicholas gets to do and have everything Dee Dee doesn't. If Dee Dee wants a toy and we say no, Nicholas will be sure to have the coveted toy at her house. If Dee Dee complains we need a new car and we laugh, Nicholas' family gets a new car... you get the picture.  Taylor and Olivia love to talk to Dee Dee about her invisible friend, even going so far as to help make things up about what Nicholas does, lives and even how she looks.

Lucas realized he needed to make up invisible friends to combat Nicholas, Nicholas was just one too many girls in the house for him.  He first decided he wanted to be friends with the firemen down the street... he didn't have a really good grasp on "invisible" at that point. When I wouldn't drop him off for a sleep over at the fire station, Lucas threw a big fit and then he made up Boy.  Boy isn't really well developed in personality, he mostly just wants to go to all the parties that Nicholas has. Occasionally Boy gets a cool toy, but for the most part Boy is only around when Nicholas is mentioned. 

Nicholas lives in a big house and moves around a lot.  Dee Dee lives in a small home, shares a room with her brother and doesn't get to travel past the state line all that often. Not only does Nicholas often live in nice neighborhoods we drive by (usually in a McMansion), but she also sometimes lives in Africa, India and occasionally China.  Lately, Nicholas has been moving farther and farther away... I'm hoping she moves to the moon and stops talking to Dee Dee soon. As it turns out, Nicholas is a little bit evil, sometimes she draws on the walls and signs Dee Dee's name.  Or she encourages Dee Dee to brain her brother with a doll.   Nicholas  is a trouble maker, an instigator and has caused some big arguments in the family. 

For example, a couple of months ago, I'm driving down the road, listening to the radio and I hear some screeching coming from the back seat. Being the awesome mom I am, I turned up the volume to drown out the screeching. Then the screeching turns into arguing and I hear the names, "Boy" and "Nicholas" an awful lot. Realizing that I wouldn't be able to solve the problem by drowning Dee Dee and Lucas out, I turn down the volume of the radio, stare at them in the rear view mirror, swerve into on coming traffic, swerve back, stop staring at them and ask, "what the HELL is going on back there?" At this point I'm regaled with the tearful story from Lucas about how Boy can't go to the Halloween party Nicholas is having that night.  OK, first, this happened in January which makes me wonder what Nicholas' mom is thinking having a Halloween party in January.  Second, my thoughts were... "Seriously, how the hell am I supposed to mediate an argument between invisible, unreasonable people?"  Since the screeching was about to start again I picked a plan that involved me playing along with the whole Nicholas debacle.  I tell Dee Dee she can't be friends with Nicholas anymore if Nicholas isn't going to invite Boy to the party.  I then wonder if that is the most insane thing I have ever said, or if "Don't put your finger in your sister's butt!" edges it out as being a wee bit more crazy. 

That wasn't the first argument Nicholas has caused and it wasn't to be the last or even the best! Just the other day Nicholas turned out to be a huge problem when she turned Boy into a girl... Oh yeah, the one invisible friend gave the other invisible friend a sex change, out of the blue and while we were in the car. That time I deliberately swerved into oncoming traffic.

Sometimes Nicholas likes to cause trouble with the older girls too. After school the girls like to tell me about their day on the way home. In second grade Taylor had a teacher named Mrs. Bohm. At about this point in time Nicholas started going to school and her teacher was named Mrs Bones.  It was amazing, every day Nicholas did all the same things in school that Taylor did during her day. Boy also went to school, but Boy just did all the stuff in school that Lucas did at home. Unless Taylor or Olivia had a really funny story to tell and then both Boy and Nicholas had the same funny story to tell. This would sometimes cause the girls to argue with Dee Dee and Lucas about what Boy and Nicholas did during the day and Dee Dee and Lucas would then have to defend their friends... oh look oncoming traffic.

So at this point I'm thinking of developing some sort of 12 step program for invisible friends... some sort of IFA (invisible friends anon).  The meetings? A planning session for how to ummm... eliminate those pesky personalities.   The twelve steps? For the invisible friend... off a short pier.  Perhaps there could be some sort of "Strangers on a Train" scenario.  One person backs over another child's invisible friend with their mini van,  someone else flushes the other kid's friend down the toilet to sleep with the fishes... all accidental like.  I'm not sure if killing off the invisible is a legal issue or not, but I'm keeping the alleged scenarios general, just in case.   There might be moral issues about killing off nonexistent friends, but its gotta' beat the immorality of driving into oncoming traffic.  Or the health issues involved with keeping your sanity by drinking copious amounts of vodka.   Speaking of which, I seem to be out of vodka... I wonder if Nicholas' mom has been visiting...

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