"Amikick kicked me in the face because she's a mean girl and I said, 'no, Amikick, don't kick me in the face' and then I was crying." Or so reports Bea. Other things we know about Amikick: she prefers snacks to meals, she is "not a nice girl," she has a shit-ton of opinions about how we parent, she lives in the apartments at Sunset and Vine above the old Borders (we wave to her every time we drive by), and she has yellow hair, yellow eyes, and yellow skin. Oh, and Amikick's mom is a monster, but a nice monster, which is something that I hope she never repeats to a child psychologist.
Amikick was originally named Amika, but Bea spoke so often about Amika kicking her that the name eventually morphed into Amikick: Baby's first portmanteau. I've been riveted by the development of Amikick as a character. I've spent hours pumping Bea for more information on her (sometimes Amikick is a boy, but usually she's a girl). There was this one time when Bea was a baby and she went to Amikick's house and Bea said, "waah, waah" and Kasper was there and he said, "waah, waah" just like I did when I was a baby but now I'm a grown-up and then Amikick's mom said, "time to go" and then Bea cried, "but I want to play" and then we did until Bea got hungry. Peering into the crevices of Bea's batshit imagination is one of the purest joys of parenting I've experienced thus far.
It might be boring if Amikick were all sugar and spice, but no Amikick has a bit of an edge. She's the kind of girlfriend who pushes you around a little bit, but has your back when you really need it. If I don't turn on the right television program at the right time or provide the ideal snack, Bea summons Amikick for some good ol' fashioned band wagon appeal: "Amikick says that chocolate cookies are good for you" or "Amikick says it's good to watch Mickey Mouse Club House." Most recently, Amikick has seemed to acquire some medical expertise because often she deems Bea too sick to do things: too sick to finish her dinner, too sick to take a nap, too sick to play nice.
Other than the occasional disagreement with my daughter's imaginary frenemy ("Well, you tell Amikick that in this house we don't watch TV until after naps"), I was chill with all of this -- kicking and all. That is, until we attempted to go camping last weekend. We only lasted 24 hours, and though our fumbling of nature wasn't all Amikick's fault, she didn't make things easier. Apparently, Amikick says fire is too hot, marshmallows are too sticky, creeks are too wet, and night is too dark. About the hundredth time that Bea said, "Amikick says we should go home," I was like, "You know what, kid? For once Amikick is right," and we bailed on camping.
I told my mom about all this and she said, "One of you girls had an imaginary friend. I can't remember who. Maybe one of your sisters?" I'm pretty sure my mom remembers my sisters and my childhoods as one amorphous blond blur, which is fine, but I wish I knew if it was me who had an imaginary friend. (If so, was she anything like Amikick?) I can't do anything about that now, except make sure that we don't forget Amikick. My project for this week is to take down all of Bea's notes about her imaginary friend, maybe make a book about her. I'll call it Amikick, Bright and Dark.
P.S. A few notes:
- I'll be performing in Expressing Motherhood in late September and early October. Tickets are available here.
- I wrote an essay on The Nervous Breakdown about friendship and it's debilitated by compulsory positivity. Really, it's a defense of disagreement. Read it here.
- I'm contributing more to Huffington Post than I am my own blog. You can follow me over there by "liking" my contributor page here.
- In particular, I direct your attention to a story I put up on Huff Po about serving coffee to a then-pregnant Katie Holmes and her Scientologist entourage. Here it is.
- On Monday nights I've been going to the Happy Hour Story Experiment at Gower Gulch to practice performing my work. Angelenos, you should come!
P.P.S. A few pictures of Amikick's creator in that too-wet creek.