My “Only Child” And His “Pretend Friends”

April 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm , by 

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Something I’ve heard grown “only children” tell me about their own childhood is that they always had “pretend friends”. I am seeing that concept in action every day with you.

At the grocery store, in the car, at school, at church..

You have three favorites: “Ellie” the purple elephant, featured in The Nose Book, from the $5 section at Kohl’s; “Cheetie” the blue cheetah from the discount rack at Kroger; and “Panda” the red panda you created at Build-A-Bear for your 3rd birthday.

This past week the three of them were anointed as VIPs when you provided them their own t-shirts, to make them more like real friends.

I should point out that two of those shirts are actually mine from circa 1983, but hey, I don’t mind.

One of my favorite parts about your pretend friends is how you call out to them throughout the day, not speaking to them further until they answer you.

And by “they,” I mean Mommy or myself.

By default, I have learned that I provide the voice for Panda and Cheetie, because apparently they’re boys, while Mommy is the voice for Ellie because she’s a girl.

However, you call out to Ellie (the girl) far more than you do Panda and Cheetie (the boys).

What’s funny is that the voices Mommy provides for the female friends are in falsetto, so you have difficulty figuring out whether it’s really Mommy responding… because at least half the time it’s actually me, trying to trick you.

“Hey Ellie?” you call out to the next room.

Yes?” I reply, in a falsetto that sounds pretty much identical to Mommy’s.

“No, Daddy! You’re not a girl!” you always explain.

Yet, sometimes, even when Mommy answers you in her “Ellie” voice, you still wait for me to try to “trick” you just so you can reprimand me.

Your three friends have been so good to you, that Mommy recently had to run them through the washing machine, then set them out in the sun to dry.

(Mommy and I explained that your friends have to take baths just like you do.)

I think it’s fun that you have three pretend friends that wear my old t-shirts from when I was your age.

At least I can see your friends… so much better than imaginary friends.

We keep asking you if you want a brother or sister, but you insist on a  real dog instead.

Eh… I think we’re better off with a purple elephant, a blue cheetah, and a red panda… all of which wear t-shirts. Plus, I don’t have to feed these animals like I would a real dog.






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