Burrito the Tiger and Other Imaginary Friends

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article for Montana Parent magazine about the importance of imaginary friends for our children.  I believe that, within this topic, fits the common practice of children bringing their stuffed animal friends to life.  Does the Velveteen Rabbit ring a bell?

Today, while eating lunch with two-year-old Gabe and four-year-old Landon, I was reminded of why I wrote this article and, more importantly, why it is so fulfilling to stop and notice the vibrant creativity swirling through our young children’s’ minds.

Landon’s stuffed bunny rabbit sat on the counter top, “watching” us eat our lunch: chicken burritos, yogurt with fresh raspberry preserves.  When it came time for dessert–chocolate chip cookies made yesterday while watching the Super Bowl– Landon proclaimed that Bunny needed a cookie too.  Thinking I would be able to outwit him, I suggested,

“Well, honey, why don’t you just share yours with Bunny?”
“No,” Landon proclaimed thoughtfully.  “Bunny needs his own.”

How can you argue with that?

Bunny was (gratefully, I’m sure) bestowed with his own cookie while the boys and I ate ours.  Landon, considering the stuffed animal in front of him, started in on a litany of familial dynamics that were responsible for Bunny’s presence in our home.

“You know, Mom,  I’m Bunny’s Mom and Dad.”
“Oh, really?”
“Yeah.  I mean, Tiger is Bunny’s Mommy.  I’m Bunny’s Daddy.”
Oh, yes.  I know.  You are Bunny’s daddy.  And you’re a good daddy, aren’t you?”
Landon nodded confidently while chewing.
“What’s Tiger’s name, anyway?”
Landon gave some thought to the question before answering.  Glancing at the remains of his lunch, he finally answered.

“Murrito.  I mean, Burrito.  Tiger’s name is Burrito.”
“Aaahhh…Burrito.  That reminds of Taco, the rocking horse we have downstairs.”

As the three of us continued with our meal, I could see it happening: Landon’s bunny child was becoming more and more real for him as each moment passed.

“You know what, Mom?  Bunny’s allergic to milk, juice and water.”
“Really?  That’s a lot of things to be allergic to.”  (if you’ve read A Dozen Invisible Pieces you will recall that Landon went through a time earlier in his short little life when he was allergic to LOTS of food…seventeen, to be exact.)  “So, what can Bunny drink?”
Without a beat, Landon answered, “coffee.  He can drink coffee.  He’s only five-years-old, but he can still drink coffee.”

I have to admit, with full disclosure of bias, I absolutely ADORE the creativity and imagination I witness in my children!


– Taco the rocking Horse

– Burrito, the stuffed tiger (Burrito is mother to Bunny, along with Landon who is, of course, the father)

– Bunny who is allergic to “milk, water and juice but can drink coffee.  Even though he’s five.



Filed under family, Kids

2 responses to “Burrito the Tiger and Other Imaginary Friends

  1. Glad to see Bunny loves coffee…just like Landon’s real Daddy!!!

  2. I refuse to give my kids any stuffed animals or dolls that say phrases. As soon as there is sound coming out of them, the imagination is shut down. If there is no mechanical voice box, then the little character can say ANYTHING! 🙂

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