Do you know what a "Cowpants" is? Or what Cowpants look like? Or who he is? Or she? Or how to Cowpants? Or where Cowpants is?
It all started one day when Madelyn came home from preschool and I was battling with her to go potty, wash her hands and head up to take a nap. She was being sillier than usual and kept making faces at herself in the mirror and that was the first time she uttered the word "Cowpants" (pun intended)
She kept saying it over and over and when asked what it was, she had no answer. She just kept giggling. I asked at school to see if maybe there was a story involving Cowpants? Nothing. I asked if that was her name for Colin? Nope. I even tried to figure out if she was really saying something else, and it just sounded like she was saying "Cowpants." Whatever the case may be, she loved saying it and over the next couple months she would use this term in so many different context, we were baffled as to what it could possibly mean. Finally a few months ago she told me Cowpants was indeed a girl and said she wears pink pants with cows on them and as far as we can tell it is her imaginary friend.
A child's imagination is a curious thing. I think initially Madelyn was just babbling and being silly, but she ended up creating this image of her friend as time progressed. Why? We aren't really sure. We are hoping it is just a phase, but for now we play along and even go so far as to come up with Cowpants favorite part of the day at bedtime per her request.
I can relate to the whole imaginary friend thing as I had one when I was little. His name was "Amer" and it was a boy with reddish hair and freckles. I was about 4 or 5 when I created him and I knew full well that he was fake, yet I had a clear image of him in my mind. I used to sit at the kitchen table and put my foot on the chair next to me and swivel it making believe it was Amer sitting there. I would also yell at people who tried to sit there because they would crush Amer. I can't really tell you why I created this friend, but I am sure a psychotherapist would have a field day analyzing based on my childhood!
I certainly hope there is nothing more to Cowpants than Madelyn's active imagination. She is constantly pretending to be something. For a long time now when I call her Princess, she retorts, "I'm not a Princess, I'm a baby kitty cat." And just the other day we were playing at the park and she told me I had to pretend to be an angel. Then I called her an angel, she informed me she wasn't an angel. "Oh, you're not? Then what are you?" Her response? "I'm God." Active imagination indeed.