Over the past few days we've had a little, tiny guest in our home. Here he is:
Isn't he cute?!! :) Maggie (my 2 year old) is carefully holding him between her finger and thumb. His name is 'Gumby', inspired (I'm guessing) by the old clay animation show. And just in case you're wondering, I can't see him either!
Last Saturday morning we were at the shops with my mum, and Maggie started talking about him, and suddenly he was on her shoulder! Since then he's been a bit of a fixture at our house, especially when Ana (Maggie's little sister) is asleep. When we're eating breakfast, Maggie carefully puts Gumby down on her high chair tray, and pinches her other little hand to pass him 'an apple' for breakfast. Gumby loves apples, as far as I can work out, that's all he eats!! No wonder I can't see him! :) When it's bath time, I hear Maggie telling Gumby "It's time for our bath now Gumby, isn't that exciting?!!", and when it's nap time, she carefully places him on her little pillow, and covers him up with her blankets. Yesterday it was really hot when she was going down for her nap, and she had her big doona covering her. I asked her if she was too hot and if she would prefer a lighter blanket, but she whispered to me that Gumby was cold. On Monday night after Family Home Evening with the girls, James and I were playing a game in the family room, and we could hear Maggie chatting non-stop to little Gumby. I finally had to go in and warn Maggie and Gumby that if they didn't stop talking and go to sleep, I would have to take Gumby out to sleep somewhere else. After that there was silence, and they both went straight to sleep. Sometimes Maggie brings Gumby to me for a little cuddle, or to hold him while she's doing something tricky. He's really become one of the family.
James is a little worried about Gumby. He seems to think it's totally weird that Maggie seems to have invented a tiny person/thing(?) to be her friend. So far he has at least eaten Gumby, and squashed him flat. Fortunately, Maggie - Gumby's little defender - has no patience with that kind of behaviour, and ordered Daddy with small hands on hips to "Spit Gumby out, right now!" - and Gumby seems not to have suffered too much, except that Daddy made him 'very dirty' so we had to give him a little rinse. Since then James has received stern warnings about attempting to damage little Gumby.
I on the other hand am kind of delighted with Gumby :) I'm not crazy either - I know I remember from studying early childhood development that imagination is important, even if I can't be bothered dusting off any textbooks to give it to James in writing. Albert Einstein himself said, that imagination is more important than knowledge. How else do you make plans and hopes and dreams, aspire to your goals as you get older?! You have to be creative.
So tell me, imaginary friends are okay, right?! Imagination is a big tick in the 'important for development' box, and doesn't need to be curbed, right?! Your children do this too...?! ... I'm not crazy.....?!