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. ❤️