Simone has an imaginary friend. Actually, this is not her first. Her first imaginary friend, Jumping Girl, wasn’t around for long.

(When I inquired as to her whereabouts one day, Simone replied: “Jumping Girl got MARRIED.” So.)

After that, there were no more imaginary friends for a while, until Kristin showed up. He (yes) seems to have staying power. Kristin is a constant presence, now. And as you’d expect, I’ve learned quite a bit about him.


Has 100 teeth

Is stronger than Simone

Has more bones than Simone

And do you know what KIND OF BONES Kristin is made of? Dog bones.

Kristin is NOT a dog. Kristin is a person.

Kristin is 67 years old.

He doesn’t have a car yet. He will have a car when he is 100 years old.

He loves to play in the leaves when it is fall.

While Simone can’t play in WET leaves, Kristin can, because he is older.

He can jump as high as a giant (Ed.: Whether this means as high as a giant can jump or as high as a giant is tall remains unclear)

Kristin came from a farm when he was a baby, a long time ago.

His birthday is Valentine’s Day.

Funny Face

Is a 67-year-old man with extra bones the imaginary companion I would choose for my daughter? Perhaps not. But Simone seems to expect us to include Kristin in our daily lives. At this very moment, she is setting a placemat for him at the table.

However. I recently left Simone to spend the night at my mother’s, and as I was departing she sent Kristin home with me, so that I wouldn’t be lonely without her. Besides, I was carrying two bags and Twyla, and he’d be an extra set of hands. “He can carry a bag for you,” Simone said, pointing.

When I spoke to her on the phone before bedtime, she asked after Kristin, and I assured her that we’d both made it home safely.

“He was a BIG help,” I enthused, “Kristin carried that bag for me all the way up the stairs!”

For a moment, there is silence at the other end of the phone. Then, slowly:

“Mom? Kristin isn’t real.”


“Kristin is pretend.”

And yet: here she comes, asking for another napkin and a set of silverware.


  1. Margaret says:

    Did you know that I read a study years and years ago that theorized that people with imaginary friends had twins in utero? I found that fascinating, maybe Simone is responding to Ames all these years later. What a lovely imagination she has!

  2. Jane says:

    Adam Gopnik has a great story in his book “Through the Children’s Gate” about his daughter’s pretend friend. You should read it!

  3. Juli says:

    K had Franklin, who had orange eyes and green hair. He had a father, Big Franklin, and a mother, Mrs. Franklin, both of whom lived in far away California. One day, K’s Daddy SAT ON FRANKLIN. It was not a good day.

    I preferred the brief appearance of the Fairy Family: Isabel and Gary. Gary Fairy.

  4. Martha says:

    My daughter had an imaginary friend name Leesha. Some of particulars about her occasionally changed, but her “realness” grew with details such as, “There’s Leesha’s house,” and “That’s Leesha’s Mom.” (an old woman in a fur coat at the grocery store). We played along as well as we could, but it became difficult when she begged to call Leesha on the phone. I told her we didn’t know Leesha’s phone number, but that didn’t sway her. She said she knew the number, and rattled off a list of digits for me to dial, sigh. My daughter is 28 now and still remembers Leesha, but not with much clarity. She enjoys the stories as much as we do.

  5. Amy says:

    I love it! I truly believe they think they’re smarter than us! My daughter would have said it with her signature eye roll that I could HEAR through the phone. oy!

  6. Rachel says:

    Well, sometimes what we need is real enough in the moment. If an extra place setting is needed, then so be it. Comfort is what we make of it. :-)

  7. Kristin says:

    Oh, I got so excited at first, that I (!!!) was Simone’s friend… but unfortunately, besides the name, we have nothing else in common. Oh well. :)

  8. Kristin says:

    As another reader named Kristin, I am extra-tickled by this one. I am clearly inferior to pretend Kristin in many ways: I only have the regular number of teeth, can only jump about18 inches off the ground, and find wet leaves disgusting. BUT I would definitely carry a bag up the stairs for you, so there’s that.

  9. HereWeGoAJen says:

    If Kristin can carry bags, can he unload my groceries for me? Elizabeth’s invisible friends (they are not imaginary!) are not as helpful. They mostly run away from me at the mall.

  10. Pamela G says:

    My son (5 on Sunday) has had an imaginary mouse friend named Pooper since he was about 2 1/2. POOPER. Pooper has an large extended family that sometimes lives in our house. He’s invisible and very tiny. He drives a flying car next to my son’s window when we’re driving, but only sometimes.


  11. allison says:

    One of our children had “Pretend Buddy”. When the child got split up from his brother and a new room, and we asked where Pretend Buddy would sleep, our child said, darnit! I still don’t have my own room!

  12. A'Dell says:

    I had an imaginary friend named Deena that I made my mom treat in a similar manner. It was a very ongoing thing, me and Deena. One day my mom was driving around and I told her to stop the car because Deena needed to get out. So she opened her door at a stoplight, paused, and then closed it. We were in New Orleans, on Canal Street, in the early 80’s.

    Mom says I never brought Deena up again. She’s probably still wandering around the French Quarter.

  13. Deborah says:

    Like Jen’s daughter, my son refers to his friend as “my invisible friend”. He’s NOT imaginary. But I love the level of detail he makes up, and also the way it changes from one day to the next, depending on what’s going on in our lives.

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