When I was a preschooler, I had an imaginary friend. Her name was Dina (Deena? I don't know. I am sure I never wrote it out.) My mother will tell you, without hesitation, that having an imaginary friend is a sign of great intelligence.
Anyway. Dina was around for a while, several months I think. This was when we lived in New Orleans and one day as my mother came up to Canal while we were in the car I said something to her about how Dina needed to get out and this was not an altogether unusual request. I often told her about things Dina needed or wanted to do and because she is a good mother she played along.
Mom mumbled something like, "Hrmm, okay then". (As you do.) I was more insistent and told her that Dina needed to get out of the car and HOW was she going to do that if you don't open the door, MOM?
At a stoplight, she opened her door briefly and then shut it.
I never brought up Dina again. It appears I kicked my imaginary friend out of our car somewhere on Canal Street in 1982. (I have always wondered what Dina said or did to prompt such a harsh break-up. Canal is not the plushest of streets to be abandoned on.)
Claire doesn't have an imaginary friend (yet?) but I wonder if this sort of thing doesn't happen all that much these days? Is there something about the new millennium that prohibits imaginary friends? I don't know anyone in real life or on the internet that has a child with an imaginary friend. Or, are imaginary friends now frowned upon? I have no idea.
Anyway, Claire is showing signs of a very active imagination. It's fascinating to see what she comes up with and how elaborate she can make it. Perhaps most startling is how ACCURATE she can be sometimes, about things that she's only seen or heard mentioned once.
It started a few months ago with small things ("My baby's name is Addison." At the time, it was the name of the only other baby she'd ever known.) It has now developed into full afternoons imagining a play tent as a carousel with stuffed animals inside (all with names) and then leading a parade through the house with her baby buggies.
There's an episode of Sesame Street that involves someone having a Muppet chicken in his shirt and Claire has taken to making a very sad face and telling me that something is wrong and when I say, "Oh, no! What is wrong!?" with mock terror she responds with a sly grin and tells me, "THARS A CHICKEN IN MA SHIRT! GET IT OUT!" Then we play a game of where is that pesky chicken in your shirt and now that I have him where should I put him and so on and so forth.
Chicken-in-my-shirt is good for at least a half hour of entertainment. Living with tiny humans is so much fun.