Anna invented Silly Mad John a few months ago. He is an imaginary friend she refers to as her 'pretend Grandpa'. Stories about him have become so common I have started documenting him. They are often quite consistent. For months now we have heard how he lives up a tree in a forest inside a leaf, for example. None of my other children has ever had an imaginary friend so I've been trying to analyse the psychology behind him.
The three older children go to visit André (my ex-husband) twice a week at around 6pm. When they leave Anna becomes quite sad in their absence, asking if she can go too sometimes, asking when they will return. She tells me how much she misses them when they are away and she wonders if they miss her. Two nights ago she asked me if I thought the biggies missed her whenever she went for dinner or sleepovers at Silly Mad John's house. Léon went to great lengths to explain to her she didn't go anywhere and that SMJ didn't exist but she was quite dismissive of him.
Last night André turned up in his brand new marker-pen green Fiat Qubo (that he'd bought the day before). Anna was at the gate when he drove by. Ten minutes later, she told me SMJ had bought himself a new green Fiat Qubo too. Suddenly the penny dropped. I think Anna is trying to invent herself an André equivalent. It will be interesting to see if Anna goes on holiday with SMJ in three weeks time when Marcel, Charlotte and Léon go to France to visit their Oma.