No, really, what do you do?
Last year, when her baby brother was born, Scarlett befriended someone named Katie. All of a sudden, she started talking about this great, awesome little girl she knew. There was no one with that name at her school, swim class or gym. I went through friends’ kids’ names in my head, but no. Katie was straight-up fake.
A couple of other moms I talked to assured me that was normal. Scarlett started to talk about Katie a lot, and pretended to call and text message her. (Apparently, Katie’s mom had really loose rules when it came to the amount of time her five-year-old spent on the phone.) Whenever I was changing a diaper or spending time with the baby, Scarlett brought up Katie. Katie could do triple somersaults in a fraction of a second. Katie had won special badges for helping the government with some child spy work. Katie’s laughter had been made into an official iPhone ring tone. Hell, I wanted to be Katie!
Of course my mom was over once, and she, upon hearing all the shenanigans Katie was up to, suggested we splash some holy water all over the house. Yeah. She’d seen too many blockbusters where the imaginary friend was actually a ghost clinging to the world of the living. Listening to my mom go on and on about all the scary movies she’d seen made me realize that (1) that one with Robert De Niro was a flop. What were they thinking in casting Rebecca Romijn as his wife? (2) My mom is a rock star when it comes to remembering movies’ synopses, even if they are forty years old. Her age, though, she can’t ever recall.
So. Katie claimed even a seat at the dinner table. According to Scarlett, not only was Katie cool, playful and outgoing…but her mom also let her do tons of stuff I didn’t let Scarlett do. Of course.
A light bulb was finally lit. One day, as a jealous Scarlett was whining over all the attention her brother was getting (as if!), I said, “You know, Katie has a baby brother and she’s very sweet to him. I know that for a fact.”
Scarlett folded her arms and said, “Katie doesn’t exist. I made her up.” And just like that, Katie was gone from our lives. Weird, isn’t it?