Maybe I watch too many horror films, but when your 14-month-old ignores her favorite TV show and all of her toys choosing to instead sit in front of a bookshelf repeating "Hi Rory" as she smiles and waves at nothing but books, it's a little unnerving. Sure, it's not like she was staring at the snow on a blank TV screen (ala Poltergeist, 1982) but it's still a little odd, especially when you consider she wasn't addressing a photo, or a stuffed animal or even a picture on the cover of a children's book. She was staring at a row of dictionary spines with words she couldn't possibly read (obviously).
This was just the other day. So I threw my wife, who seemed unfazed by it, a questioning look. "Oh, she's been doing that all week," she said. "It's perfectly normal." "Is it?" I said, and proceeded to call the city to make sure our house wasn't built on some sacred Indian burial ground. Is it normal for a child (barely old enough to string two words together) to pull a name out of thin air and use it to converse with a friend she conjured up out of nothing? Of course it is. Kids do it every day. But at 14-months of age? I looked it up on-line and had a hard time finding reference of children with imaginary friends under the age of 18 months. In fact, most of the research I read suggested imaginary friends most often appear between two and four years of age. So my initial reaction stands: am I dealing with an imaginary friend, or something else entirely?
According to experts, imaginary friends are perfectly normal amongst first born children and early talkers. In fact, in most instances, if your kid has an imaginary friend, he's bright (i.e. he's smart enough to have created a scapegoat for whenever he does something wrong). And, it's true that my daughter is both a first born child and an early talker, but she's not old enough to need a back up plan??? So until somebody tells me differently, I'm either going to call her Sybil (click name for pop culture reference) or assume that she's talking to a relative of Casper the Ghost that I can't see. I've asked my mother, my wife, my daughter's daycare provider, almost everybody she's ever come in contact with if they've ever tried to teach my daughter a name that even remotely resembles "Rory," and the answer is a resounding no. Hell, even the women at daycare thought it could be a ghost! MY DAUGHTER SEES DEAD PEOPLE! Great...
So I'm gonna keep researching this, but the first time she utters "RED RUM" on the change table, we're moving. I've got enough mouths to feed.
Here's more on Imaginary Friends, Babies and Poltergeists, and Schizophrenia in Babies. I watch Fringe- anything is possible!