If you’re anything at all like me, you’ve often wondered: when does a child’s imaginary friend cross the line from cute to maybe a little crazy? Today – I officially know where that line is – and it’s way, way back in my rearview mirror.
Very soon after my daddy passed away, when Luca was only about 2, he started seeing a “girl” with a “mustache” who often scared him to tears. He eventually told me the “girl” with the “mustache” was playing peekaboo with him and he did NOT want to play and that the “girl” kept laughing. So, naturally, I convinced myself this was my daddy’s way of visiting with Luca. It seemed very much like the sort of thing he’d do: torture my baby with unsolicited games of peekaboo and then laugh at Luca when he cried. My dad and I share a sometimes slightly sinister sense of humor.
Soon, either the visits stopped, or Luca grew accustomed to them and was no longer afraid. I’m not sure which because it can be challenging to gather that kind of info from a toddler. But – the “imaginary friend” bit was just beginning. Luca soon started talking endlessly about his friend Amaheeka, who lives in the clouds. He would tell us about Amaheeka’s house and his friends (one of whom was Superman). And, when I asked Luca to try a new food – his response was quite often, “I HATE that food. I tried it in the clouds with Amaheeka!!”
When we fly – which is not often – Luca will look out the window to try to find Amaheeka. I think on our last trip he was confident he saw him (Amaheeka is a boy.).
But – most recently, Luca has declared his newest and bestest imaginary friend: Poopie. Luca spends hours upon countless hours telling me stories about Poopie and throwing parties for Poopie’s birthday/other special occasions. He even gave me an in-depth description of Poopie. Poopie is in fact a poopie, but he is NOT a stinky one, I’ve been reassured. He is a small brown circle, with green eyes and a straight smile. He has black arms and legs with cartoonish circles at the elbows and knees. He just turned 5.
Poopie has a girlfriend. Her name is China-bay-ah (I hope Luca will forgive me if I’m spelling these wrong – I’m going with phonetics). China-bay-ah is 14, and is also made of poopie, but she is very tall because she has multiple small poopies piled on top of each other. You can’t make up sh*! like this (see what I did there?). Apparently, this May/December romance is not unusual or frowned upon in Luca’s imaginary world. And – here’s where it starts getting good:
Last night, Luca declared to the whole family over dinner that “Poopie’s mommy is having a baby tomorrow!!!” You can surely imagine our unabashed excitement. Mostly. Big Daddy did not take the Poopie news very well: “Luca, I liked it much better when you had your friends in the clouds.” That was the wrong thing to say. Luca gave his angriest pouty furrowed brow face and shouted, “I still have my friends in the clouds!! My friends in the clouds live FOREVER!!!”
Anyway – back to Poopie’s mom’s new baby. This morning, Luca dressed himself excitedly and then came to me carrying a clip-on tie. “Mommy, can you help me put the tie on? I need to wear it because today’s the day that Poopie’s new baby sister is coming. I need to be introduced.” So, I did what any good momma would do. I clipped that tie right on to the Texans t-shirt he was wearing, I gave him a kiss and a squeeze and said I couldn’t wait to hear when the baby comes!
Well, Poopie’s mom works fast. By the time Luca came down for breakfast, Poopie’s family had welcomed a new baby girl – named “Bows to her necklace.” Hearing Poopie’s new baby sister’s name made me ask about the other names in Poopie’s family – and Luca even shared more detail about China-Bay-Ah’s family too. Please see the picture below to fully grasp the extent of my 5-year-old’s imaginary world (but then keep reading!):
I took Luca to school, in his fancy pants, Texans t-shirt and clip-on tie wondering how the other moms and kids and teachers might respond. As we came to his classroom, one of Luca’s teachers whispered to me, “Look at Luca! I see he has his “Ts,” because the class is working on the letter “T” this week.” Oh, how wonderful if that had in fact been the driver for my sweet boy’s ensemble.
No, Ms. Bradley. No. Luca didn’t wear his tie for T week. He wears his tie for Poopie.