Fibs, lies and fantasies, the radio show hosts are asking listeners to write in about their childhood memories. One told her friends that ‘Mr Men’ characters lived in the house next to them and when they rang the doorbell no one answered because they were too small to reach the handle. Another made up a story about his aristocratic upbringing and how the family aircraft crashed in Kettering leaving him an orphan. The stories kept coming in. Lakshmi has a wild sense of imagination. It caused a bit of consternation recently when she spruced up her tale as she received her first merit certificate (truth) to being treated to a hot chocolate with the headteacher in her office (fib). The hot chocolate was delicious with sprinkles of coconut flakes she described smacking her lips as I drove her home from school. It sounded like the truth, although I did wonder why the teacher chose to show favouritism by offering her a drink in private. The certificate in itself was enough wasn’t it? Her mother wasn’t satisfied. She pried and was upset when she realised that Lakshmi had made it up. She made Lakshmi ring me and apologise.
I looked it up and found that it is normal for children that age to have an imaginative mindset and tell stories where the boundaries between fiction and reality gets blurred. Part of growing up, the different websites concluded and now the radio show confirmed how far the imaginations can run wild. She has always been imaginative. Role playing and putting on shows for an audience is her favourite pastime. A little while ago she told me about her friend Naina. She was going to have a sleepover at Naina’s place. Her mother was going to drop her off after school and her dad was going to pick her up the next morning. Naina was adamant that she couldn’t stay the day and her dad had to pick her up in the morning. She was excited about the sleepover. Naina is scary she told me but her sister on the other hand, who is three, is lovely. They live far away and so the drive to their house is a long one and her mother was happy to take her and that too on a school night. It all sounded very convincing that I had to text her mum to ask if she was actually sending her child to a stranger’s house for the night. Kavitha laughed asking how I believed it especially in these times of the Corona virus when everyone was extra careful, not to mention the obvious worries. And yes Naina is her imaginary friend who is eighteen one day, thirty eight the next and then was two the other day. Today Naina had an accident and was poorly. She cut her leg, there was blood everywhere and had to go into hospital.
Regarding the merit certificate, it came two weeks after she and her friends received red cards for deciding to go walkabouts without telling her teacher. The first red card in the family. I was happy. Being prim and proper children who follow the rule books never got anyone anywhere or so I feel. A bit of an adventurous streak and rebellious nature never hurt anyone. She tells me that one of the boys in class kept calling her baby and says he’s going to marry her. Seems like they start very early these days. Before ‘baby’, it was ‘doughnut’ and yesterday it was ‘chick monkey’. He seems to be someone else with a wild imagination. He received a yellow card for being disruptive in class, Lakshmi tells me with glee. So the Snakes and Ladders board game continues from red card to merit certificate and then down the slippery slope to the bottom of the barrel. There is only one way from here and that is onwards and upwards. Till the next time.
( I later find out that there is actually a hot chocolate award, which Lakshmi gets and has it in the Head teacher’s office at a later date. However on this occasion there was no hot chocolate and she had made it up)