Friday, 28 August 2009

Hilary. Again.

You know about Hilary, don't you - boy, short black hair, 3 years old, always there, invisible? He's still very much around and, although He can be quite naughty (He spills things, He mashes banana into places it shouldn't be mashed into, He turns the music up very loudly), I've welcomed Him into the house and I haven't perceived Him to be anyone I should be concerned about.

The other day, My Girl was adding her colourful markings to our bath with her new bath crayons (thanks to a couple of twitter friends for alerting me to the absolute mess these can make when used away from the tub - especially by someone as inventive/invented as Hilary - never fear, they are outta reach when not being used in the proper manner) and she asked me to write her name, then my name, then the names of those close to her. Like this:

She was the brains behind this, her own Family Tree, I was simply the executor following orders. A few details, however, grabbed my attention:

  1. Her second Grandad, who she calls Grampa, made it onto her bath list of important people, right down there at the bottom. He is also invisible. But 'My Other Mummy' - yes, the imaginary one - wasn't important enough to make the Tree, which lifts my heart. 'My Other Mummy' has a PINK computer and PINK toilet roll and My Girl sometimes prefers that Mummy's company to this one's. No words of comfort, please: I'm SO over it!

  2. Her cousin, Joel, has been pushed right over to one side of the Tree (the left hand side) - he's the same age as her and they only see each other every couple of months or so because my brother and his family live in the East Midlands. They play together and they fight: he's the only person who seemingly lashes out on her for no reason - though I'm sure he does have his reasons and, underneath, she is fully aware of what these are and pushes all the right buttons. Anyway, in this Bath Life, he is somewhat alienated from the rest of her loving family!

  3. Hilary is, or was, there - you can no longer see Him because His name has been nigh on erased due to the pure practicalities of having to use the bath to wash off all that Weston Woods' mud from her delightful little body most every day. He had pride of place above everyone else on the very top of the bath, the ledge if you like. He is Overseer, He is God, He is her sub-conscious ....? Sexy Older Man pointed out that Hilary could well represent My Girl's absent Father and I was shocked to realise that this had never even occurred to me, that her innocent invisible friend is a substitute for someone deeply important to her whom she has never met. Am I in denial? Am I deluding myself that she is OK just with me? Am I failing her? Is she being deprived of something that not I nor anyone else except that one person can give her?

And how long will we need Hilary for?


  1. Hi, very interesting and insightful blog.
    I think your sexy older man could well be on the right lines.
    My middle son's father is absent (yes 3 boys belonging to 3 dads...ouch!! Didn't see that one coming!) He sees his big brother visit his dad and he sees his little brother with his Dad who lives here, yet his own father has no contact with him. He's nearly 8 and very aggressive and I think that's because of dear, departed dad. Be thankful for Hilary, it's probably a comfort to her and mashing bananas has got to be better than lashing out and hurting others.

  2. Ohhhhh, gotta love kids and their artwork xx

  3. I had an imaginary friend (Sam) and so did my little sister (Pouta). We had a mum and dad, though we were sort of only children (my sister is 12 years younger than me, so I was an only child until she was born and I wasn't really present as a sister when she was little - left home when she was 5, but also being a busy teenager before that), so we thought it could be something to do with that.

    But I think some children just have rich imaginary lives and it's probably nothing to worry about. She'll grow out of it eventually (think I stopped around 4 or 5 and my sister around 6).

  4. First of all I must say Rebecca that from what I see on your blog and the way you write about Celeste and what you two get up to together, you are a fantastic Mum.
    I have seen the negative side of a man being there because he was the father (I was just about to start my ranting but decided not too).
    It is possible that Celeste see's her family life being different than some other families that she sees, but she has a very special relationship with you. You do lots of things together, more than a lot of children receive from two parents.
    Both my daughters had a stable home with a mum and a dad and both had imaginary friends, I think that lots of children do, I did myself, it is a common thing and one day Hilary will simply disappear.
    Please do not think that you are failing her, or are depriving her, just continue to love her as you do.

  5. I have to agree with woodpecker, I think you need to step back and be proud that your gorgeous little girl has such an great imagination. Don't project your own guilt on to her, you do a fantastic job, she's obviously a very happy and healthy little girl and she's got you - what more could she want?
    Your a great mam and that shows.


  6. Thanks everyone for your comments, they're much appreciated.

    Hilary is here for the time being (although I haven't heard about Him yet this morning)and I know that he is feeding her imagination so that must be a good thing.

    And you are right Rachael and Woodpecker, she is a happy child (currently making Shepherd's Pie out of Play Dough!) and we will always have each other.

    Thanks again x