My three-year-old has an imaginary friend. Her name is “Mom.” The imaginary friend, not my three-year-old. Obviously. It’s really confusing.
Over the weekend Sadie started calling me Robin constantly. It started when I slid a sandwich under her nose while she was coloring at the kitchen table. She glanced up at me and said, “Thanks Robin.”
“Uh… you’re welcome. I guess,” I muttered.
Things escalated from there. When she brought her plate to me after she finished eating I bent down to kiss her squishy baby cheeks. She held up her hand to stop me.
“You can’t kiss me. My mom said no.”
“Your what? Why?” I asked.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Let me call her Robin.”
Sadie held her left hand up and with her right index finger pressed imaginary buttons on a phone only she could see.
“Doot, doot, doot,” she said providing the sound effects for her phone. She put one hand up to her ear and the other on her hip and paced the floor.
“Mom,” she said into her pretend phone, “we gotta talk about dis. Robin wants to kiss me. Okay. Bye. Doot, doot, doot.”
Sadie threw up her hands, “She said no. I can’t kiss you. I’m sick. Sorry Robin.”
I stifled a giggle and shrugged.
We picked figs, made jam, took naps and Sadie ended up back in the kitchen with me while I cooked dinner. I dished up some flank steak with snow peas and rice for her and put it in front of her.
“My mom said I don’t have to eat that.” She announced.
“Really? Because she told me you did.”
“Well, my mom said that is not my favorite.”
I raised my eyebrows. I had an abundance of gelatin from a weekend of making strawberry fig jam and blackberry fig jam, with a little extra Jell-o I mixed up a bowl just for the girls. Sadie watched with interest.
“My mom is outside and she said I could have some of that…” she tried.
“She told me you couldn’t have any unless you ate your dinner.”
“Oh. Well, it’s just not my favorite but I’ll do what she says.”
I’ve heard it said that living with children is like living with a bunch of short drunk people. But with Sadie’s imagination as of late, I’d say it’s closer to someone on an acid trip. Sadie changes her name several times a day and has a pretend voice she uses when she’s in character.
When she’s “Mary” whoever she is talking to is “Tom.” I blame this on introducing her to the old Frankie and Annette movie, “Babes in Toyland.” This is also the explanation for her marching around the house in circles chanting, “THIS is the forest of no return! THIS is the forest of no return!” At least I hope that’s the explanation.
Sometimes she’s “Eleanor” and I’m “Medinia,” I have no explanation for this. Then there are the elaborate games of “House” she plays with her sisters. Ninety percent of the time when Sadie yells, “MOMMA!” She’s not even talking to me.
“What Sadie?” I yell back across the house.
“Not YOU, Momma! My ‘nother Momma!”
It’s gotten to the point when she actually calls me Momma, I don’t even respond the first time. I assume she’s talking to someone else. Which may explain why she now has an imaginary friend named, “Mom.” At this point I’m so confused that I have no idea who her mother is, where she is or why she left her at my house. If y’all see her tell her I need help.