As I was standing at the bottom of the stairs one day last week during naptime, I heard Atticus talking in his room. It sounded like he was having a conversation with someone.
He's just starting to get more heavily into make-believe, and it's not unusual to come across him creating various scenarios (usually with his cars, rather than dolls like Adelaide did), complete with differing characters. This sounded like one of those times, and I paused to listen to what he was saying. Oddly, all I could hear was a one-sided conversation: Atticus, speaking in his normal voice, addressing someone named Linda.
After naptime, I asked him, "Hey, Bud- who's Linda?"
"She's my friend."
"Yeah," he confirmed.
"Do you like playing together with Linda?"
"Yeah. She's so silly."
I was pretty intrigued: Atticus had an imaginary friend! I never had an imaginary friend when I was a kid, nor did any of my sisters. Everything I've read talks about how children with these friends are creative and awesome and stuff. And here was Atticus with his very own Linda.
Over the course of the next couple days, I learned more about Linda, either via Atticus volunteering information: "Linda doesn't like Cheerios," "Linda's favorite color is pink,"; or when I asked him questions: "What does Linda want for lunch, Bud?" "Probably grilled cheese." "So why do you like playing with Linda?" "'Cuz she's pretty."
That last answer gave me some pause. If Atticus thinks Linda is pretty, then he must have a pretty clear image in his mind as to what she looks like. What constitutes "pretty" in the mind of a three-year-old boy? And should I be worried that the reason he likes playing with this "friend" is because she's attractive?
I didn't have much time to mull it over or worry it to death (as I am wont to do), because the next day, as Atticus and I are picking up his room, I move several items onto his bed so that I can vacuum, and Atticus protests, "Mommy, be careful! Linda might fall!"
"Oh, is she on the bed, too?" I ask.
He looks at me like I'm stupid, and points, saying, "Mommy, she's right there."
Oh, where are my manners? Everyone, this is Linda.
Linda, this is everyone.
Linda likes grilled cheese sandwiches, she doesn't like Cheerios, and her favorite color is pink (for obvious reasons).
Oh, and she's a rocking horse. A rocking unicorn. Whatever.
And while "pretty" isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I gaze upon Linda, I realize maybe Atticus does know what he's talking about- after all, linda does mean "pretty" in Spanish.