So, lately the three year old has been front and center in this family in terms of sociopathic behavior. She may have oppositional defiant syndrome, she may have split personalities, she may have visions, and she might be delusional. The jury is still out.
I don't think any of my older kids ever had imaginary friends. I think the three year old does. The friend's name is Elisa. Here is what I know about her: she is "like a princess," she lives in a castle, her parents are never mean, her parents never spank her, she can eat cookies and candies whenever she wants, she spends a lot of time on the Wii, she is around five years old, she has a brother (sometimes), and she goes to school (sometimes). Here are the details that are sketchy: how my daughter met Elisa, where Elisa actually lives (What is her castle near?), whether or not anyone else in our family knows Elisa, and whether or not we could sometime in the future meet Elisa.
Currently Girl 3 plans parties for Elisa, she talks about her like she was alive and real, she obsesses on Elisa's family, and she often spends more time talking about Elisa than about us (her real family).
Because I was mildly concerned about this new obsession, I extensively researched imaginary friends (via status updates on Facebook), and here is what I have learned: imaginary friends are common and quite hilarious, I'm frankly surprised this is not more stand-up comedy fodder, some kids have gone to great lengths to give their friends fascinating details, in the history of man imaginary friends have taken the rap for everything from eating the last cookie to skipping school, having imaginary friends may be psycho-babble for sorting out issues within your own family (blech), and kids who have imaginary friends *might* have significantly higher IQs than kids that don't. All in all my research showed: Good news? I guess? Don't analyze my family? My last kid is clearly a genius or if anything WAY smarter than the others? I should be happy? Right?
Well, here is where I am skeptical. Let me take you back a few days ago when baby and I were in the grocery store check-out line. A delightful older gentleman was in line behind us and was chuckling as baby was loudly belting out B-I-N-G-O while asking me a million questions far beyond her level (one of them being the purpose of Feminine Products). This tolerant (possibly hard of hearing) older man asked her her name and how old she was to which she responded appropriately and with remarkable gusto. He then asked her if she knew her ABCs. She belted out a good 19 out of 26 letters and he clapped when she was "done." He then commented to me, "You have a smart cookie on your hands."
Trust me, I did not get excited. I was born at night, but not last night. Plus, I have three older children. So, I know better than to get excited when someone compliments my childrens' intelligence or behavior. The compliment only means that they will immediately do something so ridiculously stupid (pick their nose and eat it, loudly ask an incredibly nonsensical question, slug their sibling in the nose, fart and then laugh, etc.) that it will cause you to leave them behind at whatever public place you happen to be. Therefore, I just smiled silently.
He then turned to baby and enthusiastically said, "YOU ARE SO SMART! What are you going to be when you grow up?"
To which baby (grinning a wildly psychotic grin) equally enthusiastically shouted, "I AM GOING TO BE A UNICORN WHEN I GROW UP!!! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP???"
Kids with imaginary friends *might* be smarter? Someone save us.