So today I have to discuss my strangest parenting moment to date. This is so strange Google wasn't even able to help me. I'm sharing my story today in the hopes that if anyone else has come upon this problem you can come find me, bring me whiskey and we'll discuss how weird our children are together. For any of you who follow me on Twitter, you may already know what I'm about to discuss because I mentioned it this morning, so you can just sit back while I fill you in on the rest of the story that I couldn't fit into 140 characters.
Miss K made some imaginary friends recently Mario and Baby Mario. These
friends have been named after Mario Kart for two reasons, 1. Miss K is absolutely nuts about Mario Kart on the Wii and 2. She is terrible at coming up for names for her toys and imaginary friends. I was first introduced to Mario and Baby Mario one night as I was getting Miss K ready for bed. She simply informed me that they were very tired and were also ready for bed. This was all fine, I probably made some small comment about them putting their pyjamas on and going to the toilet before bedtime (I don't like cleaning up wet mattresses during the night, not even imaginary ones).
Mario and Baby Mario made several guest appearances with us during the next few weeks, sometimes they'd show up while we were playing, or they'd accompany us to kindergarten, the usual imaginary friend stuff. I was never asked to lay extra places for them at dinner time, and they never asked for biscuits or snacks when Miss K was eating, so I have to commend them on their excellent manners.
One day while I was brushing Miss K's hair getting ready for kindergarten she started throwing one of her daily "I don't need my hair brushed today mum, I'm happy looking like a hobo" tantrums. Everything was going swimmingly until she started yelling at no one to STOP LOOKING AT HER!!!! I asked her who she was yelling at and she told me Mario and Baby Mario were staring at her while she cried. This has always been one of Miss K's buttons, and she's never liked having an audience when she is having a bad moment. We usually combat this by getting Miss K to remove herself from the audience until she is calmed down and ready to act reasonably. Unfortunately given the audience this time was all in Miss K's head, I had no solution at the ready, other than to tell her it's not nice to yell at her friends just because she's having a bad moment. I gave the usual lecture about treating our friends nicely, while wondering to myself that if Miss K is the one who controls the actions of her imaginary friends, why not just stop them from staring at her, or don't imagine them staring at her in the first place.
But today things took a turn for the bizarre. We had a bad morning today. Miss K was feeling tired and grumpy, she didn't want to put her own shoes on, she didn't want to carry her bag to the car, and she tried (unsuccessfully) to slam the door in my face when we were leaving the house. She rushed ahead of me to the car, and tried to open the door. Usually I unlock the door by remote so that she can run to the car and get in while I'm locking up, just to save time, but given her behaviour at the time I decided she needed a lesson in patience and controlling her temper, so I didn't unlock the door until I got to the car. This just resulted in Miss K getting embarrassed when the door didn't open immediately for her, and we got the fifth tantrum of the day. This tantrum included her throwing invisible things around as well as the usual stomping and other fun kid stuff I get to witness that no one else believes me when I say my kid does these things. I didn't pay much attention to the throwing at the time, but when we finally got into the car she informed me that her friends were dead. Clue the light bulb going off above my head as I realise her imaginary throwing was her chucking Mario and Baby Mario onto the road. When I asked her why she killed her friends she told me it was because she was sad. Cue the obligatory lecture about treating friends nicely when we're dealing with tough emotions and the extra lecture about if she isn't nice to her friends they won't stick around just to be abused. This again was weird because I'm still aware we're talking about figments of her imagination.
The big thing about Miss K killing her imaginary friends and then telling me about it was she was implying their deaths were my fault because I was the one who had embarrassed her by not opening her door, and by always ruining her life in general. Given I am not that easily manipulated her plan to make me feel bad for pulling her into line failed, but to add insult to injury I then used my super magic powers to bring her imaginary friends back to life, at which time I claimed them as my own imaginary friends, because people don't like hanging around with anyone who kills them, imaginary or not. So now, not only has she lost two friends, she has to hear about me bragging about all the awesome fun we have together that she is no longer privy to.
What gets me the most about all of this is that Google was totally unable to help me sort through everything I'm dealing with right now. 99% of the posts on imaginary friends told me that either my daughter has schizophrenia or she is possessed by demonic spirits. I highly doubt the first one, and considering I already call her my little hell beast I'm not totally surprised by the second one, but am still ruling it out as an explanation given how quick she was to dispose of them in the most Looney Tunes way possible. Is it just an unspoken rule of parenting that we're not meant to discuss when our children straight up murder the figments of their imagination? Are there underground support groups for mums who have had to hide imaginary bodies or field questions from imaginary police officers about the whereabouts of these suddenly missing imaginary friends? Are there imaginary milk cartons out there with photos of these people? Can I call the imaginary crime stoppers and report my daughter for this?
I've spoken to Miss K's dad about today's events and his only response has been to tell me she is most definitely my daughter, and to congratulate me for making new friends for myself. So no help whatsoever. He couldn't even give me the number of a good imaginary lawyer just in case we end up going to trial. I can't be held as an accessory to an imaginary crime, what will the neighbours think?
So I guess the purpose of today's post is to give other parents who are dealing with their children killing off their imaginary friends a different place to land that isn't going to tell them their child is possessed or mentally unstable. Can I offer you a solution to your problem? Probably not. I can't promise that my solution is really effective as I'm still waiting for the therapy bills to start piling up and that could take years, so consider this a work in progress. If any of you have come upon the same problem and solved it differently to me I'd love to know what you did and if it worked. Did they make new imaginary friends? Did they also kill these imaginary friends? Did they end up in imaginary jail with a cellmate called Big Daddy? Do I need to start daytime drinking?
Well that's all from my crazy corner of the world for now, I'm sure Miss K and I will be back to make you all feel better about your own families very soon.