Thursday, 4 June 2009

Hilary

Celeste has an imaginary friend.

Not her friendly PINK monster, Hammer. I think he's still staking out the cupboard in Nanny and Grandad's house. No, this friend is altogether more serious. She's looking at her reflection in the glass oven and talking to it, talking to me.

"This is Hilary. He's a boy." She prefers boys, they're more rough and tumble.

"Hello, Hilary."

"Hilary's got black hair."

"Black? What colour hair have you got?"

"White. Hilary is 2."

"The same age as you, Celeste. What's Hilary's favourite game?"

"He likes playing on the scooter. With me."

And off they go, whizzing around the front room, banging into all that mess, those toys on the floor that I've already told you about. I suppose it was inevitable that she was going to need a playmate with whom to share all that stuff - and who better than someone she can boss around, someone who will do anything she says? Her mirror image; a boy with black hair, a trusted and adaptable friend who has similar interests, who is the same age?

Only Child does have real-life human friends too: she goes to pre-school three mornings a week, I get together with other mums who have children of similar ages and I take her to toddler groups sometimes, though we both prefer the outdoors. That is, I hope she prefers the outdoors, I know I do! And at least once a week, I borrow one of the children from upstairs - they can spare one, they've got six, yes, 6!

Supernanny says that imaginary freinds are totally natural and promote a child's creative and social development but, having grown up with an only slightly younger brother, who I'm still close to, I can't ignore the guilt that's creeping in - should I have had more than one child? Should I have started popping them out before I did, at 37? I mean, it's unlikely to happen now, isn't it? Even if I had the energy for it all over again, which I don't think I do, I'm now 40 and, more to the point, I'm single. So it's looking very doubtful. But then you can't have kids just to keep the one's you've already got happy, can you?

And, anyway, these two are trouble enough:

"Mummy, look!" Celeste is pointing a big wet patch on the carpet. "Hilary spilt my juice."




Illustration by Claire Manning
Supernanny advice on imaginary friends @ http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Health-and-Development/-/4-to-13-years/The-magic-of-imaginary-friends.aspx






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