Olympic Timing with Imaginary Friends

My 6 year old granddaughter, Katherine, spent much of our recent vacation in her new pool. It is only about 30 inches deep and 10 feet across but a welcomed prop for our steamy week. We were at our woodland camp, so the Summer Olympics were watched by generator power as recaps on the morning news.

She played alone most of the time during our one week stay but the Olympic theme saved those days. Katherine was an Olympian and I played the role of her diving coach. Her imaginary friends, Zabby and Alodda, made a surprise appearance out of retirement (from Hampton Beach) and participated too. (See my Zabby Eight Update category for more adventures.)

Katherine would stand a little more than waist deep in the pool. I graded her leaps and dives according to the least splash and best form. Zabby and Alodda would try to keep up but Katherine seemed to have the most natural ability. I was really impressed by her progress. She learned to keep her feet together and managed to have her fingertips, top of her head and body enter the water in that order. If she did not leap high enough a belly flop would disqualify her.

This weekend she is going to her other grandparents’ place where there is a much deeper pool. I’m excited to find out how she uses her new skills.The 2012 Summer Olympics were well timed indeed and I’m sure she’ll never forget them. Wonder if Zabby and Alodda will be traveling with her?

Zabby Eight Update 2/13/12

Well, it’s official. Zabby and Alodda  are giving up the imaginary friend business.

“Katherine, where have Zabby and Alodda been?”

“Oh they retired.”

“So where are they?”

“They retired to Hampton Beach.”

“Aren’t they going to be imaginary friends for other kids?”

“Nope. They just want to retire so they can visit now and then.”

“Where’s Arthur these days?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Did he have an accident?”

“Grandma, he was at deep-sea diving school and now he’s at the bottom of the ocean.”

“Oh my. At least he was doing what he loved best. How did it happen?”

“I DON’T WANT TO Talk about it!”

Katherine says that she’ll see Zabby and Alodda once in awhile but the demise of Arthur will forever remain a mystery.

Zabby Eight Update 7/22/11

Katherine is five and five sixth.That is what she’d tell you.

Zabby and Alodda have not completely disappeared.They have spent more time together away from Katherine though. I find this very interesting!

Two days ago:

{Knock,Knock,Knock}

I was in the bathroom. Katherine’s voice, full of excitement, comes from outside the door.

“Grandma! You can never guess what happened!”

“Katherine, can it wait until I come out?”

{door bursts open}

“Grandma! Zabby and Alodda went to a JUSTIN BIEBER concert!”

“Really? Tell me more.”

“They sat in the front row too!”

“Wow! Was anyone else there?”

“No, just them!!!”

“A private concert? THAT’S Cool!

“They were SO excited!”

“Why didn’t they invite you?”

“They thought that I was too busy, that’s why.”

“It’s nice that they are doing fun things on their own Katherine…I thought they had left and didn’t stay in touch.”

“No, they still visit but I am busy you know.”

I guess that imaginary friends don’t just fade away. They go to public events. I think they have some impressive connections too!

Zabby Eight Update 5/25/11

Katherine is 5 and 1/2. Zabby ,Alodda and Arthur are still around her but have grown mature enough not to” butt in” very often.

After Kat registered for Kindergarten, she announced that Zabby was also registered to ride along with her.

The day after Katherine got her own ATV she was zooming around with Alodda riding on the seat behind her. She couldn’t see how an imaginary friend violated the no passenger rule. She was right. Zabby got  her own 4-wheeler and follows Katherine everywhere. (When Zabby is not at the bowling alley. She always loved bowling.)

Katherine now sports a twisted smile and a sparkle in her eye when she talks about her old friends. Soon they may be off on their own searching for another place to play…

Zabby Eight Update 2/18/11

Something very cool has happened! I was never able to actually see Katherine’s imaginary friends but now I can catch a flash of color if they are around.

I asked Katherine if she noticed a purple streak pass through the room.

” That’s Zabby all right Grandma. Watch.” Katherine turned off the kitchen light and pointed to the floor. ” See? There are her purple footprints on the floor. They glow in the dark.”

” That is so cool! Why is Zabby here today Katherine?”

” The bowling alley is closed on Wednesdays. She has the day off. Look Grandma, there’s a green streak.”

” I’ll bet that Alodda is here too! Green is her favorite color.”

Katherine turned out the light again and pointed to the floor. “Yup, you’re right Grandma. Alodda came over.”

Then I asked,” Where’s Arthur?”

“His swimming class isn’t going very well so he may come by too. Watch for a silver and gold streak and that will be Arthur.”

You can’t imagine how much fun it is watching for colors.

Meanwhile, Kat told me something else that I hadn’t considered. She said that real people read stories about imaginary people and imaginary people read stories about real ones.

I wonder if I leave a glowing color? I’ll ask the expert named Katherine and get back to you.

Zabby Eight Update 2/15/11

Zabby and friends aren’t mentioned as frequently lately. Don’t know if I’ve stopped asking about them or if they have busier lives.

According to Katherine, Zabby is back on the bowling circuit and Arthur is taking swimming lessons. Arthur’s lessons are part of his old diver training. I wonder how he passed deep-sea diver without them before?

Alodda spends most of her time with Katherine. She had the stomach bug last week. Kat came down with it yesterday. Alodda MUST have been the one who shared it with her.

When Katherine talks about her imaginary friends, it is still with the same enthusiasm. I don’t believe they are moving on just yet…

Zabby Eight Update 12/17/10

Zabby called Katherine on the play phone yesterday. Kat was happy to hear from her. Zabby was five strikes into her bowling tournament and she called to tell us how well that she was doing.

“Grandma, Zabby wants to tell you that she has five strikes!”

“Hello Zabby! This is Grandma. I’m so glad that you called to share your success with us. Katherine and I are very excited and we are cheering for you. Remember, even if you don’t get any more strikes, Katherine and I are so proud of you. We know you are trying your best.”

Katherine smiled while closing her eyes and hugging herself. She liked that message.

———————

Ellen(Katherine’s Mom) just completed a very interesting paper about imaginary friends. It has only been deemed a positive thing for a child to have an imaginary world in recent years. The famed pediatrician, Dr. Brazzleton, thought a child should not be disturbed in their imaginary play. Ellen and I beg to differ. Katherine clearly knows real from imaginary. She practices scenarios about socialization and is thrilled to share them with us. Kids need to know what the adults in their life think about all sorts of issues. What better way to explore than in the imagination?

The sharing of virtues seems easy when we can interject them while playing. I’ve started encouraging imaginary friends with all my day care kids too. They love this idea and embrace the times that I can talk to them without seeming to lecture. It’s been a joy opening my eyes to this childhood ability and to document it for others.

Zabby Eight Update 12/10/10

I had the pleasure of talking with Alodda on the play phone yesterday. As soon as we finished talking, Alodda arrived at my house.

Kat explained how she’s able to get around so quickly.

“Alodda got fast shoes at K-Mart Layaway.”

“Katherine, that’s amazing. How much do they cost?”

“One pair are two dollars, two pairs are one dollar and you can buy a dozen pairs for fifty-five cents.”

“That’s the best bulk item deal that I ever heard about!”

“I’m giving everyone a pair of fast shoes for Christmas.” Then she demonstrated how well they worked 🙂

A little later…Kat was arguing with her cousin. She told Maddie that she was talking to Santa on the play phone. Maddie really screamed to get a chance to talk. Kat was enjoying the power and with an evil smile held on to the phone. I asked her to share with Maddie and why was it taking so long?

“Grandma, please, these things take time.” She took a deep breath prolonging Maddie’s distress and said, “Everyone knows that you need air in your belly to talk. I’m ready now. Here you go Maddie.”

What a stinker!

Zabby Eight Update 12/1/10

The Eight family had a miracle over the weekend! Kat discovered a “back to life” potion and injected Zabby’s parents,who happened to be lying on my living room floor.The potion works ONLY on imaginary people and brought Zabby’s parents back to life!

At first, Katherine injected Zabby’s mom and she popped back to herself. But when it came to her Dad, Katherine accidentally picked up the syringe filled with the “super grow” formula that Kat had also developed. He filled the room . After the reanimation of Zabby’s Dad, Katherine had me give him an injection for “average size”. She lifted his pant leg and told me to just inject his leg since I could not reach his shoulder. It worked!

Zabby’s parents are staying with me now and actually look pretty good for all that they have been through. Kat has decided to keep her medical miracle syringes better organized. I’m still wondering what killed Zabby’s parents in the first place AND why they were on my living room floor? I’m just too afraid to ask!

Zabby Eight Update 11/22/10

Zabby brought her magnificent trained cat over. Ladeen is white ,fluffy and can do the high dive into a pool. She wears pink goggles too.

Seems Arthur has a fever until Thanksgiving. Katherine says, that his good friend Dadala, is taking over for him at astronaut training. This is wonderful that Arthur will be home for Thanksgiving and he ,some how, won’t lose ground in his training.

I am glad to have all three of Katherine’s imaginary friends home for Thanksgiving.  Since Zabby and Alodda’s parents are deceased, they now live with Katherine everyday. They are such lucky girls to have Katherine to take them in. In trying times, friends can make ALL the difference. I haven’t asked the details of the accident. We aren’t dwelling on it.

There is much to do for housework and preparing a feast. Kat says that the girls will stay over the night before Thanksgiving to help me out. She will be home treating Arthur so he’ll be well enough to come to dinner.

Today, we will be making candy treats that we’ll share the instructions for.

Alodda has a very special pumpkin pie recipe that Kat says she’ll share also.