Mini has an imaginary friend. His name is Marv and he is approximately 3 inches tall - I assume this measurement due to the fact that he spent the day in a Smarties tube last week. Marv arrived out of nowhere sometime after Christmas, possibly induced by one of our Charlie and Lola viewing fests!
Now Marv is apparently not your average imaginary companion in that he does not engage Mini in lengthy conversation...he does, however, occasionally get into someone else's trolley at the supermarket, which causes Mini to shout at him and me to pretend I don't know either of them.
At times, Marv's presence can be irritating. Just today, for example, Mini refused to go into the toddler area of a soft play centre simply because "Marv didn't want to", which led to her father saying something along the lines of "bloody Marv". His existence does have upsides, however. There have been times when Marv has read Mini her bedtime story. I am not proud of this, but I cannot be in two places at once and if Sunshine is screaming for milk downstairs and Mini wants another story, then why shouldn't Marv read it to her? She is happy with this and actually falls asleep a lot quicker when she is "alone" in bed than when settled by a parent.
On a more serious note, I have done the classic parent thing of worrying that this imaginary friend business is an indication of an unhealthy child, one who cannot socialise normally or communicate their feelings or something like that. But I needn't have worried at all, it seems. Having done a little research (thank you, Mr. Google) I stumbled upon the article below.
It says, amongst other positives, that imaginary companions are part of the "natural development process", which is obviously encouraging, and that children with invisible friends often learn language and creative thinking more quickly than their peers.
So enough of being wound up by Marv! He could actually be doing my daughter a favour.
Mini and Marv (probably)