‘Rosie’. Her name is Rosie. And she’s not just Fidget’s invisible friend, she’s Fidget’s invisible sister. Apparently. This was a revelation to me that came out of nowhere, this morning.

Whilst getting ready for school, Fidget, who will be five at the end of March, decided to disclose that she has an invisible sister. The conversation went something like this:

“Daddy, this is Rosie. She’s my invisible sister.” Fidget looked at me expectantly, smiling. Now bear in mind that as a parent getting two kids ready on a Monday morning, I wasn’t quite ready for this declaration, which alluded to the fact that I had a third child. A third child I couldn’t see. I stopped in my tracks, looked at Fidget with several ‘we’re-going-to-be-late’ comments springing to the tip of my tongue, but the look on her face spoke volumes. This was more than just a throw-away comment; more than just a quip or a joke designed to deflect from getting ready for school. This was something new. This was something intriguing.

Notes to Fidget: Fidget’s Invisible Friend

So I went into collaboration mode, which tends to get the best results and answers out of Fidget. I settled myself on my haunches in front of the sofa where Fidget was sitting so that I was at her level, and asked gently, “Who is Rosie?” I know, it wasn’t the best question as she had already told me who Rosie was, but I had to start somewhere.
Fidget sighed, looked at me as if I was stupid, cocked her thumb at the space on the sofa to her left as if pointing someone out and said, “Rosie is my invisible sister, daddy. She’s five.”
Okay, so this was different. But I thought to play along, no matter how weird it felt. And it did feel weird. “Is Rosie ready for school?”
“Yes,” replied Fidget with a smile.
Questions weren’t coming easily. I mean, what questions do you ask on the spur of the moment about an invisible child you never knew you had. “So, what colour is Rosie’s hair?”
“Rosie has pink hair?”
“Yes, daddy.”
“Okay, go to the bedroom and tell mummy about Rosie.” For some reason, I needed time to process. Fidget left the room and trotted off to speak with mummy, who was getting ready for work. I gave them a minute and followed, with Little Man in tow. Luckily, Little Man, who will be two in just over a week, hasn’t mentioned any invisible friends. Well, not yet.

We entered the bedroom and Fidget was in full flow with mummy listening intently. “Rosie is in Octopus five.” Octopus five is an advanced swimming lesson, two groups above Fidget, who is in Octopus three.
“So Rosie can swim like a dolphin,” smiled mummy. They were talking about Rosie like she was a neighbour’s child we had known for ages. This was getting weirder.

A thought suddenly sprang to mind of a conversation I once had with my grandmother, who said that her deceased mother, my great-grandmother, would sit on the end of her bed in the middle of the night from time to time and just chat. Why were these memories flooding back to me? Why am I thinking about ghosts? I didn’t believe in ghosts then and still don’t believe in ghosts now. But, as I said above, Rosie came out of nowhere. And according to Fidget we’re related. According to Fidget, Rosie’s my daughter! Was this a horror movie in the making? I needed coffee. But mummy was taking it all in her stride, and Fidget seemed quite happy with her new imaginary sister.

We had to leave it there because it was time to go to school. It was raining, so everything was heads down and go, with no time to discuss Rosie further.

So I waited till I returned home and did a little light reading. And according to an article I have read in Psychology Today by Dr Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D

“An imaginary friend is a unique and magical expression of your child’s imagination, …”

Well that sounds okay. Doesn’t it? And according to the study, about 37% of children up to the age of seven create imaginary friends. Who knew? However, once the dust settled this morning and I had returned from the school run and was sipping my ‘post-Rosie’ coffee, a more serious questions came to mind: has Fidget created an imaginary sister because she is troubled about something? I read further:

“It seems logical that children who invent invisible friends might be lonely or have social problems, but research doesn’t support those assumptions. In fact, compared to those who don’t create them, children with imaginary companions (either invisible friends or personified objects) tend to be less shy, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and do better at tasks involving imagining how someone else might think.”

The above statement was a relief to read. Fidget is definitely imaginative and extremely sociable, she is expressive and extrovert when she wants to be. So as I don’t believe in ghosts and Fidget doesn’t seem at all troubled about anything, where does that leave us? Well, I suppose it will depend on Fidget. If she decides that her imaginary sister is staying, then who are we to deny her that friendship?

Looking back on this morning, it was quite a weirdly fun exchange, albeit a little unexpected. But I am happy to go with the flow, because with Fidget’s imagination, it will definitely be fun. I wait with baited breath for the school day to be over to see if Rosie comes home with Fidget.

I’ll keep you posted about Fidget’s imaginary friend, Rosie, or if I hear the rattle of chains echoing through the night. Although at this stage I’m a little worried that I may have to change the name of the blog from ‘Tales of Two Children’ to Tales of Two Children and Rosie. Or worse still: Tales of the Children of the Corn.

Do your children have imaginary friends? How do you interact with them? Let us know in the comment box below

Twin Mummy and Daddy