There is an invisible kitten in my house.
This little thing (it is really very tiny and "soooooo cute") appeared unexpectedly on Ava's lap one day after we had all eaten lunch and were reading a book before nap time.
After stroking it and tickling it under the chin for a couple of minutes (to the complete bemusement of her sister Ruby who was squinting in an effort to see what we were seeing), Ava got a bit bored and made me hold it.
But when I had been cradling it for a couple of minutes myself, and thought I might put it down to resume reading, I wasn't allowed to. Ava turned the pages for me so the kitten could go to sleep in my palm.
Three books later, Ava, Ruby and the kitten (whose name, she has since told me, is Cat) went for a sleep. I assumed that when the babies woke up, Cat might have gone.
But Cat was still there.
Now, there is nothing wrong with having an invisible kitten per se. It eats invisible food, which is very easy on the wallet. It also only has imaginary illnesses and therefore only requires imaginary pet insurance. And I suppose that, if at any point we manage to organise ourselves enough to go on holiday, I can leave it with my friend Katie who has a real cat called Henry (I have fed Henry on a few occasions, so I'll be owed a feline favour). I shouldn't imagine Henry's nose will be at all put out of joint by an imaginary, invisible playmate.
But I reap few rewards for all the holding, stroking and feeding. This kitten does not, for example, catch the mouse which visits my kitchen several times a week while managing to elude all attempts at capture. What's more, Dan and I keep squashing it – I can't recall the amount of times we have collapsed into our chairs (exhausted) to be met with Ava's wails and utterly horrified expression as she digs the poor, flattened, invisible creature out from underneath our buttocks.
There was even a time it suddenly appeared in the bath. "It's WET mummy!" I had to get out and get it a towel.
So I am pondering my best course of action. We could get Ava a real kitten – but then lose all the benefits of having an invisible one, and knowing our luck the real one would probably be rubbish at catching mice.
I have daydreamed about ways I might send the invisible kitten happily on its way. I could 'set it free' in the garden or the park, but I have a feeling it will just come back. I worry that anything more permanent, though, such as attaching it to a helium balloon and letting it fly to the moon or leaving it on a train so it can go to the seaside, could have lasting damaging psychological effects.
So I think we'll live with Cat for a while longer and see if it goes one day of its own accord. Many cats end up moving down the road into a neighbour's house where they give it nicer food don't they? I'll feed it invisible dog biscuits and see what happens.
Catch up with more Terrible Twos here
Has your child has an imaginary friend? Any advice?