I think most children go through it – that time where your best friend exists in your head but you’re pretty sure they’re actually real.

I remember having one who was not very good at stopping my shots when we played football together – surprisingly – but any other details have long since faded.

As parents it’s important to go along with the pretence, encouraging your child’s social development and including the imaginary friend in everyday life until they get bored with them.

Which may have to be soon for us as with Sophie’s army of pretend pals we’re going to need to do some dramatic upsizing!

She started this journey by adopting two of Disney’s most appealing characters as her imaginary friends – Anastacia and Drizella aka the ugly sisters from Cinderella.

(If I’m honest I think Sophie believes that she is Anastacia’s mummy but I’m not entering into questions of her friends’ parentage).

These two characters have been a formidable duo for Sophie to hang out with, often finding themselves on the end of her sharp rebukes when she parrots her parents’ vague attempts at parenting, for instance:

“Anastacia’s not using her listening ears”

“Drizella’s not being kind to Anastacia”

“No pudding for Anastacia” and such like.

However, Harry’s arrival pushed Sophie’s imagination onto the next level as A and D were swiftly joined by Kitty and the wonderfully named “The Baby”. They don’t feature as often but they are certainly around.

Now, aside from having to have serious conversations about needing a bigger car to incorporate these new additions to pur family, they have had quite an impact on our lives.

Only last week I found myself in a game of Duck Duck Goose where Anastacia was chasing me – and caught me.

I’ve been required to tell Drizella that she wouldn’t be getting her iPad time because she was not doing good turn taking.

The Baby beat me at musical statues- guess that was predictable.

They have all squeezed round our dinner table to have some food.

Sophie even told off a girl at the park for getting on the swing when Anastacia was already sat there.


The girl has some imagination – over to you nursery teachers…