Thursday, March 17, 2011

A boy and his real-imaginary friend

We never did get Max’s name legally changed to Purple Max, or Purple Car Wash Spaghetti Max, which is just as well because he has a new name:

Max and Caleb.

Caleb is a kid in Max’s class, some of you may recall. Like a longtime married couple, Max talks about the two of them as if they are one person (there they are above, at a Valentine's dance). Anytime you write Max’s name on a piece of paper, you have to write “Max and Caleb.” Even at the top of his homework sheets. When my shower steams up the bathroom window and Sabrina scribbles her name with a finger, she also writes “Max and Caleb.”

Max and Caleb go everywhere together, in Max’s imagination. We read a book about trucks the other day, and on every page Max would point to one truck and say “Ax!” and to another and say “Ayleh!” (aka Caleb). When I draw buses for him—he always wants me to draw buses—Max points out where he sits (he likes the last seat, as all cool kids do) and where Caleb sits (right in front of him).

We now have a permanent blue plate at the table, for Caleb, right next to Max’s purple one.

It’s been fascinating to watch Max's imagination at work. It’s also come in quite handy:

“Max, it’s time for you and Caleb to take a bath!”
“Max, Caleb wants to go to sleep NOW!”
“Max, can you and Caleb make dinner?” (As if.)

This morning when Max woke up I said, “Max, you’re going to Florida today!” It’s an escape I planned last month, before everything happened.

Max said, “Ax and Ayleh!” 

I said, “You want Caleb to come with us to Florida?

Max said, “Yeah!”

Although we neglected to buy Caleb a plane ticket, he was with us in spirit.“Ax and Ayleh!” Max said as he settled into his seat and pointed to the empty one next to him.

Max was extra psyched because I’d packed spaghetti, and he and Caleb fully enjoyed it.

What sort of imaginary activities has your child been into lately? Does he or she have an imaginary friend who’d like to come clean our house?


  1. I have been fascinated that my youngest child (the one with neurological damage) has more imagination than my older two put together. I have wondered if there is a connection, or if maybe she is just less inhibited, as long as she is happy, what the rest of us think is irrelevant.

    I hope you guys have a good time, a bit of a break may be good right now.????

  2. My son ihas the priviledge of being the "sometimes" imaginary friend to another sweet child. His mom reports every toy is named after my son, every outing includes a special seat left open, and at the dinner table he is included(in thought). At school, this little fellow holds my sons hand to his heart during the pledge( since my Jake is unable). This little fellow tells me what My son wants( since Jake is non verbal)it's so endearing and loving, it can turn any bad morning around! It IS the little things.

  3. Ashley had a constant companion during his first year at school.
    "ASWEE!ASWEE!" resonated around the room every morning and the boys would sit together on the rug. Little chap left after a year but he's never been short of friends since. They flock to him. Inclusion was definitely a good idea.

  4. My oldest had an imaginary gerbil for over a year. He had an involved life with this imaginary pet--he'd talk to it, pet it, give it lettuce and keep it in a shoebox. I wouldn't get him a real one because he might be too enthusiastic and squeeze it to death. Plus, I'm not into gerbil care--and that's what would happen.

    I recently (xmas) got him a couple of plastic gerbils (they're molded and solid and look pretty real) at one of these goofball gift/speciality/stuff for geeks stores in town, and he loves them. He makes them talk and squeak and he has a little pen for them with shredded bedding and a water dish and so on.

    My youngest wants to be a girl. He likes to play Miss America and Barbie and "dress/make up" and stuff of that nature. Hey, whatever floats his parents are fine with his direction, too, but I will say there are a few acquaintances and relatives who want me to "beat the girly" out of him, as if that works. That's not happening, of course. Que sera, sera.

  5. I'd love to come and clean your house - if it meant I could also hang out with Max and Sabrina. Max might get a kick out of that - having two people with the same name in the same house! It would be like Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat and the Hat. ^_^

  6. I found your blog through BlogHer and your twitter against the R word. I had my own battles with the word last week and like you, won't ever give up in trying to gently remind people that it is a word that demeans. I've spent a little time perusing your blog and I really love what you have to say. And recently you've been able to say it even while grieving the loss of your Dad- I'm so sorry to hear that, but am very touched by the memories you've shared of him here. ((hugs)) from cyberspace

  7. I would add, Max yeled maxsim - in another language that means Max is a wonderful,enchanted and pronounced like Max) great kid. I also have a large piece of purple velvet and would send it to you if you want it.


Thanks for sharing!

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