Sunday, August 15, 2010


"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" -Dr. Seuss

I wonder where she gets it from. My daughter. She has friends. Lots of them. Imaginary friends. Lots of them. And they all have names. Crazy names and not-so-crazy names. Made-up names and names you've heard before. She named them herself, of course.

They're her crew. And there's a hierarchy. Her own little caste system. And they all have names.

I wonder where she gets it from.

Penelope now considers all of her little Lammies as her "babies." There are four of them. So as I see it, my daughter is pretending to be a single mother of four with no job or income to speak of. The father of these children is out of the picture as far as I can tell. But she does take exceptional care of her "babies."

She feeds them, bathes them, clothes them, reads to them, disciplines them, and puts them to sleep.

As for the names: First, there's Giada. She's the unquestioned leader of the group. She's the alpha Lammie. No mother should have a favorite, but they all do... and Penelope is no exception. Giada is number one. Giada goes everywhere, does everything with us. If something happens to Giada, we're in trouble. Giada is named after the baby sister of  one of Penelope's classmates. That is because in Penelope's world, baby = Giada.

Naturally, Giada's brother, and Penelope's friend, share a name with Lammie number two. Marco. Marco has a wild streak, likes to cause trouble but is very playful and lovable. In taking care of her babies, Penelope even sometimes pretends to be "Jennifer," the name of the real mommy of the real Marco and Giada. She has at times taken this little exercise so far, that she even introduces herself as "Jennifer" when someone asks her what her name is depending on whether she is pretending to be Jennifer at that particular time.

One day, during daycare pickup, Penelope and I ran into the real Jennifer, who was picking up the real Marco and Giada. So we played along. "Look, Penelope, it's the real Jennifer."

"No," she answered, "I'm Jennifer." Hilarious, yet, awkward at the same time.

After Giada and Marco, the names get kind of crazy. And we have no idea where she got them from. You ready? They are: Lonnie and - wait for it - Volvo. Yes, Volvo. All I can say about Volvo is that he is safe and dependable. He isn't flashy, and will get you where you want to go in one piece. You will be very happy with Volvo. Lonnie likes to mix it up. She's unpredictable. She disappears from time to time. Once, Lonnie was hiding in the couch cushions for a good three days. They were a tenuous three days to say the least because all Penelope kept saying was, "I hear Lonnie crying." That was rough. I eventually found Lonnie and was bestowed all the honors a hero deserves.

There you have them: Giada, Marco, Lonnie, and Volvo. You'll notice that I used "she" to describe Lonnie and "he" to describe Volvo. Penelope confirms this. Again, we don't know how or why she decided these things.

I wonder where gets it from.

No surprise... she gets it from me. When I was growing up, I had no fewer than four imaginary friends myself. Count 'em... four. These friends were in addition to my stuffed koala bear ("Koalie") and Smurfs that I would jam into my Tonka trucks and send flying down the stairs much to my mother's dismay. These four friends were named - and I kid you not - Millie, Mayzay, Max, and Louie. Like father, like daughter... because I have no idea where I came up with those names either. Mille, Mayzay, Max, and Louie. Random and ridiculous.

Giada, Marco, Lonnie, and Volvo. They're part of the family now. Random and - I don't believe I'm imagining this - adorable too.

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