Caring for Your Imaginary Friend
One morning, Greta was coloring. She had two hands and wanted to color on two papers at the same time. But the rule was only one paper at a time. Greta had an idea. “Mom, my friend Rose needs a paper.”
“Your friend Rose?” Mom looked around. “I think you’re the only one coloring here today, Greta. And you don’t have a friend named Rose.”
Greta stood up and stomped her foot. “I do so. She’s right here, and she wants a paper, too.”
Mom looked to Greta’s left and smiled. “Oh, I’m sorry. Rose, would you like a paper?”
Greta turned quickly to look to her left. There was no one there. Of course there wasn’t. She made up Rose to get another paper. She forgot for a moment. But then who was Mom talking to? Did it matter? Greta held her hand out. “I’ll give her the paper. She wants me to put it next to mine.”
“Well, if that’s what Rose wants. Here you go.” Mom handed Greta the paper.
Now Greta could do her two-handed coloring experiment. She set the papers next to each other and started coloring. She had a red crayon in one hand and a blue crayon in the other. It was a lot harder than she thought it would be.
Mom came closer to watch. “You’re coloring on Rose’s paper,” she said.
“She wants me to color on it,” Greta said. “She wants it to look just like mine. See?”
“But they’re different colors,” Mom pointed out.
“She likes red. I like blue. The drawings are the same.”
“Okay. Would you like a snack?”
Greta put the crayons down. The lines were starting to not look quite the same, and the papers kept scooting around. It would be good to take a break. “Rose wants a snack, too.”
Greta was thrilled when Mom set two little bowls of pretzels and apple slices on the table. She ate the first one, and then started on the second bowl. She ate the apple slices and some of the pretzels. “All done.” She took the bowls to the sink.
“Didn’t Rose like the pretzels?” Mom asked.
Greta shrugged. “I think she was too full. Maybe she had a big breakfast.”
She went back to her crayons, but she didn’t feel like coloring anymore. She took the papers to Mom to hang on the fridge. Mom hung them up high so everyone could see them.
“Wait, you need to put our names on them so everyone knows who made them.”
“I thought you drew them both.” Mom looked confused.
“But the red one is Rose’s picture. It should have her name on it, because it’s hers.”
“All right.” Mom wrote the names on the papers with a pencil. “Now go play.”
Greta went upstairs to play with her dolls, and forgot all about Rose until the next morning. At breakfast, she saw the pictures and remembered her pretend friend. She felt a little guilty for forgetting about Rose. She needed to be a better friend.
She remembered Rose for most of the rest of the day. She asked her what she wanted to do when there were choices. Then she interpreted for her, because Rose spoke too quietly for Mom to hear. It was pretty easy, though, because Rose always wanted the same thing that Greta did, because they were friends.
Greta asked for two of everything. Chairs, pillows, snacks. She couldn’t convince Mom to let them watch two cartoons though. Mom said they could both watch the same one and share it. Even stomping didn’t make Mom change her mind. Instead, she said, “Greta, if you keep stomping, Rose and I will watch this show together and you will go to your room.”
Great was horrified. “But Mom, she’s my friend. She doesn’t want to watch the show without me.”
“Then you’d better sit down and watch it. No more stomping.”
Greta sat down with a huff. Mom needed to make up her own friend and not try to take Greta’s. She turned to her left. “You wouldn’t watch the cartoon with Mom instead of me, right?”
Of course she wouldn’t. Greta smiled. Having a friend was nice. She told Rose all her favorite parts of the cartoon, and Rose listened. Rose was a great friend.
That afternoon, after eating two snacks, Greta was practicing her two-handed coloring again. Rose was admiring how well Greta could color. Greta wondered if Rose got lonely when Greta fell asleep. Greta had an idea. “Rose, I think you need a pet dragon.”