Invisible Friends

One of my daughters had an invisible friend named Amo Fotebaum (no idea of the origin of that name) and Amo was a good buddy. She went everywhere Katie wanted her to go and basically was there when she was needed. I remember reading at the time that kids who had invisible friends were frequently gifted. I decided right then that Amo was a very welcome whatever-she-was in our home. I think with our daughter’s experience in mind one day, my husband suggested invisible friends as a topic for GG Sprinkles. I liked it and decided to expand it to cover friends of all kinds.

Now that I could Google invisible friends (not an option in my daughter’s childhood), I researched the topic a bit. I didn’t see a reference to gifted children, but I did see that children with invisible friends clearly have active imaginations. And I read something else that was interesting and that made total sense: Invisible friends allow kids to have some control. The invisible friend says and does what the child commands it to. It sits where it’s told and plays whatever the child wants to play. This made so much sense to me, especially these days. Adults currently are feeling like they have no control: they can’t go many places they would usually go; they have to observe protocols to stay safe; food and supplies they would normally buy without a thought may not be available. Can you imagine how unsettled little ones must be feeling? Nevertheless, my goal of this recording wasn’t to encourage kids to have invisible friends, but rather to acknowledge their existence (if that word works here) and talk about their place in kids’ lives.

I wrote a poem called ‘Emmaline’ about an invisible friend who goes to school, plays, eats lunch with her human friend, and is basically a friend the child has all to herself, even as the child acknowledges that her buddy Emmaline is a friend ‘only [she] can see.’ I also wrote a poem called ‘Different Friends’ that covers school friends, neighborhood friends, animal friends (both real and plush) and, of course, invisible friends. I was able to locate two animals I played with as a child and used them as examples. I even sang a bit of a song Katie learned in preschool called ‘Germs the Invisible Dog.’

I think wherever we can find good friends, whether real or not, two-footed or four-footed, we value them and we need them. And children are no different. So if your child tells you not to sit somewhere because their ‘friend’ is already sitting there, just move on down a seat or two. And be glad that your little one has a friend they believe they can always count on. Because the truth is, they can. ❤️

Author:

I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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