Posted by: coachingparents | July 13, 2009

Childhood Imaginary Friends: The Imaginary Lizard


None of our children has ever had imaginary friends…until now. Mason (age 3) has suddenly acquired a pet that nobody else can see.
Last week, Mason came into our room, with his tiny hand outstretched, and said, “See my lizard?”

I looked, eyes wide, and said, “Oh! He’s so cute! Can I pet him?”

Mason shook his head and I reached out my finger and gently petted the air about a half inch above his palm.

A few minutes later, Mason ran back into our room, and frantically asked, “Where my lizard? Where’s my lizard!?” I thought he was kidding but he was getting increasingly upset. I was trying to figure out how to find an invisible lizard, wondering in the back of my mind how badly Mason would be scarred emotionally if we never found the lizard.

I figured the best way would be to help Mason spot his own lizard. I mean, if I said, “Oh, here he is!”…and he wasn’t really there, what would Mason think about me? About himself??

So, asked Mason, “Is he behind the chair?”

Mason looked, turned around with his arms raised, palms to the ceiling, and howled, “No!”

I knew tears were imminent. I said, “Okay, is he under the bed?” Mason looked, and then again cried, “No!”

I was starting to panic, and quickly listed off other locations. “Under Daddy’s desk?”, “In Max’s room?”, “Next to the TV?”, ACK!!!!

Just as I was about to think that I’d have to give Mason the old “your-lizard-went-to-Heaven” talk, I got an idea. I smiled, and said, “Is he on your head?!”

Mason smiled back at me, reached up on top of his head, and grabbed something I couldn’t see. He then pulled it down, opened his palm, and shouted, “Here he is!” He then walked happily back to the playroom.

Shwew! Permanent psychological scarring avoided!

Lizard has gotten lost a few dozen times since then and he always seems to be hiding somewhere on Mason…so I think I’m getting the hang of this imaginary friend stuff.

On Monday, Mason ran in our room, crawled on our bed as fast as he could, pointed at Max’s room, and said, “Mouse! Mouse!”

Our cat, Mittens, is an avid hunter and, unfortunately, we find mice, chipmunks, and body parts of both in and around the yard and, yes, occasionally in the house as well. Nothing ruins my appetite for coffee more than stumbling over a tiny piece of intestines in the kitchen first thing in the morning. Anyway, when Mason yelled “Mouse!” the entire house mobilized. After a thorough search, no mouse turned up. A few minutes later, Mason was sitting on Max’s bed, where I’d moved him during the hunt. He was looking toward the playroom, and he yelled again, “Mouse! Mouse!!” Well, at least we had him cornered now! There’s only one way out of the playroom. Problem is, there are all kinds of toy tubs in there for the little creature to hide in.

After several minutes of looking over and under everything, we gave up once again.

Then, Mason was hollering again, “Mouse! Mouse!!”

Richard yelled for Frank to get Mittens. I was starting to have visions of that mouse crawling on me in my sleep (violent shudder!!!).

Mittens didn’t find anything, either. After a few more minutes passed, we all felt a bit foolish when we realized what had been going on. Mason climbed down from Max’s bed, came in our room, and calmly announced, “Mouse go downstairs and outside. Mouse go bye-bye.” He then, smiled, held out his hand, and said, “See my lizard?”

My new job this week is to babysit Lizard while I’m working. Mason brings him to me and says, “You hold it, okay?” Lizard sits on my shoulder and…well, he’s watching me type about him right now. At least “Mouse” hasn’t returned. I’m not sure how Mason would react if Mittens ate him.

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is one of the top-rated POD publishers in the industry.

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