Monday, April 17, 2017

Little Sunshine, the imaginary friendly isopod

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I love my children's imaginary friends. I recently reread my post on Silly Guy to Mikko, now 9.5 years old, and we were both tickled at the details we'd forgotten as Silly Guy faded from our lives. To that end, I record: Little Sunshine.

Little Sunshine originally was, I believe, an isopod, or roly poly, that Alrik spotted one day as we walked along the beach a couple years back. Alrik already had established a habit of naming tiny critters we passed, often ants, and telling me their given monikers were things like Rainbow and Cutie. He's never seen the movie with a related title, so I'm assuming Little Sunshine is just something else his brain came up with.

We watched the real-life Little Sunshine crawl along the sidewalk and then disappear down a sewer grate. Isopods, I've learned, are crustaceans and need damp environments to breathe through their gills. In case you were interested. Your call.

But Little Sunshine's disappearance was not his departure from our lives. Oh, no. Alrik, then about age 3, kept talking to him as we continued our walk, and I was obliged to keep up Little Sunshine's end of the conversation.

Not being a voiceover artist, my go-to character voice is high and squeaky. Would I had put more thought into how often and how long I would be voicing Little Sunshine and brought the timbre down into my register! Hindsight, my friend.

From then on, any walk along the beach meant Alrik calling out to Little Sunshine along the way and asking if he could hear him.

"Oh, hi!" Little Sunshine would squeak enthusiastically in reply, and off we would go, Alrik chattering in his own high-pitched child's voice and Little Sunshine squeaking back. People always glance at us curiously, probably wondering if I should see a voice therapist.

You can see why I so often choose Alrik as a walk companion,
even without Little Sunshine's further company.
 Anywhere we passed a grate was fair game for Little Sunshine popping out. For instance, there was a drainage grate in front of the community center where Alrik took ballet class, so Little Sunshine would throw a hello to him on his way in and then come out to play on the playground with Alrik after.

Dance like Little Sunshine is watching.

It evolved to not even needing a grate. Little Sunshine could be summoned whenever and wherever he came to Alrik's mind. "Little Sunshine, are you there?" Of course, always. "Jump on my hand, Little Sunshine! I'll put you on my shoulder."

Little Sunshine tells Alrik all about his parties in the sewer with his fellow creepy-crawly friends and answers Alrik's questions about his favorite party foods. Alrik fills him in on his own days and asks for details comparing their lives. What does Little Sunshine use for money? Coins are too big, Little Sunshine tells him, so they use a barter system. Would Little Sunshine like to come to our house? Sure, but only if you protect him from the cats.

A favorite game is to toss Little Sunshine in the air as we walk along, keeping him tethered like an invisible isopod kite. This necessitates Little Sunshine (me) making squealing sounds of mingled fear and delight as he is thrown high into the air, floats for a bit, and is then caught safely in Alrik's palm. "Again!" he squeaks, even as I shake my head at myself.

One day — one extraordinary day! — we saw him again, at the same sewer grate next to the beach. The Actual Little Sunshine. How did I know that particular isopod was the same one, you ask? You unbeliever. We stooped down to oh-so-carefully pet him with one finger each. He "enjoyed" our attentions on his scampering way back down the sewer grate.

I have to suppose Little Sunshine is friends with Silly Guy and often goes to his 7-Eleven for free popsicles, and that they will keep each other company in the future, along with whatever special companion Karsten invents. Till then, Little Sunshine will squeak along!

What imaginary friends do your kids have? Did you have any of your own?



Unknown said...

Oh, Lauren. This post was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes (and made me ever-so nostalgic for my grown boys' imaginary friends). Definitely sharing on the SHS networks, tonight. Bravo. <3

Lauren Wayne said...

@Kerry Jones: Thank you so much, Kerry! I love getting peeks into my kids' beautiful brains.

Shelbey said...

My 3 year old daughter has Squirrelly Squirrel. He's always up to something. He's usually around, and she loves to push him on the swings. Sometimes when trouble is caused, he is to blame, not her. She will say "That crazy squirrla" all the time and it is hilarious. We all love Squirrelly Squirrel.

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