Bobby’s House

Have I been imagining my daughter’s imaginary friend?

She came out with ‘Where’s Bobby?’ a couple of days ago, and this meant nothing to me. This is a two-year-old girl whose imagination usually stretches to naming things after herself (we have two snowmen named in her honour, but mine is currently headless and likely to remain so). When I asked who Bobby was, Lily wanted to talk about Bobby’s house, where you could eat chocolate, do colouring and sticking. These are three of her favourite things, and have not all happened recently together in any one place.

Further questions at different times have indicated that Bobby is a cat, Bobby is a little boy, Bobby is blue, Bobby has yellow hair, Bobby likes peas, jam on toast, cereal and chocolate and Bobby loves colouring and sticking. Bobby is not at our house, but may be at Bobby’s house, when he has one. I’m fairly sure he’s a he now. Lily is getting a lot better at the boy/girl difference. Bobby’s house contains all her nursery friends and some friends that were round my friend Margaret’s house the other day. When I had to return there to help fix something on her computer, I discovered that the origins might be a book called ‘Poppy Cat’, which Lily thinks is fantastic. However, the whole idea has definitely grown since then, and Lily is adamant that Margaret’s house is not Bobby’s house.

If it is a real imaginary person, the timing fits in with seeing lots of family members and having to say goodbye to them all. Not only that, but Lily is getting used to the idea of having a new person in the family soon and asserting her own independence and waiting for Bean to arrive. Maybe she is wondering what it is going to be like.

Well, as long as we don’t have to decorate a third bedroom, Bobby is welcome to stay at our house, but he’d better not start asking me where everything and everyone is. I’m having a hard enough time finding the square root of minus 1.

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