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Pretend friends

What made me think of Thomas today???  I truly don’t know!

Back in second grade, Emily convinced her teacher that she had a brother named Thomas who was in 3rd grade.

To us, Thomas was the tank engine who happened to be Emily’s pretend brother…..

See, Emily doesn’t make friends easily, to be honest, she doesn’t make friends….. so she has pretend friends.

Apparently, these conversations about her brother went on for a little while until the day I had to review the information on file at the school.  The school send you a copy of the information they have on file and you need to let them know if it is still all the same.  Parents living together still?  If not which house does the kid live in…. contact number, address, siblings….

Emily doesn’t have siblings…..

I truly believe that her teacher clued in on the fact that Thomas didn’t exist the day I returned that form to school.


I have mentioned in another post that I used to take Emily to school every morning, I walked her to class and got her set-up for the day.  I would leave once her teacher or T.A. would come in.

That morning, as I walked Emily in class, her teacher asked me about Thomas, so I answered that he was the tank engine and Emily’s pretend brother….  Made sense to me!

The teacher admitted that Emily had them believe that she had a brother.  I had to confirm again that she doesn’t have a brother….  I wasn’t sure where that conversation was going until she told me that the school psychologist wanted to meet with me to discuss Emily’s telling lies…..

I call it imagination but that’s not how they saw it!

I agreed to call the school to make an appointment.  As I walked out of the class, the school psychologist was waiting for me and introduced herself…. I had been ambushed!

🙂  LOL!!!  OMG!!!  I was in the school system for years and that never happened to me.

….. I was never ambushed and walked to the office before but here I was on my way to the psychologist’s office to discuss my daughter’s imagination.




The discussion started with Thomas, the brother.  I once again explained that he doesn’t exist…  the psychologist said that Emily now needs to say pretend brother…  Ok, I can live with that.  She played them and they are obviously insulted so I am not going to add to it.

I got up to go, I had to get to work but she wouldn’t let me leave.  WTF?

Now, we had to discuss Emily saying that she plays with horses at recess….  She should say pretend horses….  Now, that bothered me and I had to say something.

There are no horses around the school, it is obvious that they are pretend.  If the school was doing a better job at helping her make friends, she wouldn’t have to play with pretend horses.  The psychologist didn’t seem to like this.  I also had to add that when I was in elementary school we used to go to the moon during recess….  we never really made it there and we never had to specify that we were pretending…


She disagreed, Emily had to say pretend before anything she said that was not real… otherwise Emily was lying.

Fine, I wasn’t going to win this argument and I had to get to work.

One more thing needed to be discussed, Emily told the class she had a pet snake named NoFeet, the psychologist wanted Emily to admit that she didn’t have a snake, Emily needed to tell the class that she lied about that too.


That one, I disagreed with all my heart and I had to make this psychologist understand.  Emily wasn’t a liar, Emily had and still has a great imagination. She doesn’t quite connect with kids her age, her speech was not great and most kids wouldn’t take time to listen to her…  So it was easier and less lonely to revert to her imagination, to cope and get through the days…

Emily wasn’t going to do anything about her pet snake………..  she wasn’t going to tell them she lied because she DID NOT LIE!!! She had a snake named NoFeet…

With that I got up and left the psychologist’s office.

I have seen her from away after that but she was never someone I felt like I could go talk to about my daughter.

I was hoping she would have suggestions on how to help Emily make friends but instead, she told me my daughter was lying and needed to say pretend before using her imagination… That was disappointing!!!


That night I had a chat with Emily.

Me: Emily, at school when you talk about Thomas, you should say he is your pretend brother

Emily: OK

Me: And when you go outside to play with horses, you should say they are pretend horses

Emily: OK

Me: Do you understand?

Emily: Yes!!!  Preeeeeteeeennnnd……!!!!  she stretched the word to put some serious emphasis on pretend.

As the days go by, I kept reminding Emily to say pretend.

As the days go by, Emily kept saying pretend.

I haven’t had to be called in to the psychologist office again and once in awhile Emily would say something at home and I would ask her:  Emily if you were at school, you would say…..?

Emily:  Preeeeeteeeennnnd……!!!!  I know!!!!

Over the years, I have seen Emily “play the game” on various occasion where depending on who was interacting with her, she would change a little something here or there and made sure she had them in her back pocket….  🙂

For example: Made her newest TA open and set-up lunch for her (anyone who would like to do that for me, please let me know!) she would change how she answered questions to give the speech therapist what they wanted so she could get out of there faster….\

🙂  Brilliant!!!

Pretty impressive for a little girl who wasn’t supposed to communicate or understands emotions.

How would have reacted to the lovely psychologist point of view and theory…?

Halloween and Special Olympics fall 06 003




5 thoughts on “Pretend friends

  1. I find it horrible that Emily is required to say “pretend” at school. These so called professionals are sometimes so out of touch with the people they serve it’s mind boggling. I often wonder whether they are worth their salaries.

  2. I have a daughter named Emily with autism and a neurotypical adopted son. Without a brother to play with, my son had two imaginary friends: Timmy and Todje. Not sure where the names came from. I told his pediatrician and he said not to worry. It is a common thing with children who are very intelligent and have a good imagination. I think the psychologist’s point of view is ridiculous. I think you are right that that they were embarrassed that she fooled them, and I loved how you responded to the psychologist about imaginary play on the playground.

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