The first time we discovered Isaac had a dream life was over a year ago, when Isaac was just starting to become more verbal. One night, in the midst of night terrors, he cried “Isaac don’t want eye-fire, Isaac don’t want eye-fire!” Later on, while watching Lord of the Rings, we realised that eye-fire was… the eye of Sauron. (It was curious though, because until that nightmare, we didn’t think Isaac had ever seen a picture of the eye of Sauron nor other depictions of what would pass as eye-fire.)
Other than that early episode, Isaac seldom displayed signs of an active imagination. He did not pretend play at all until around a month or so ago, and even when he did, it was to pretend that a basket was a vacuum cleaner and the rope of my yoga mat was its wire. It is very amusing to watch him pretend to explain them as if he were on YouTube but hardly the sophisticated fare that his peers are engaged in.
Then around two to three months ago, we became acquainted with “Tiko and Tako”. The first time he referred to them was during bedtime, when after saying his usual goodnights to us, he added “Goodnight Tiko and Tako!” I asked him who they were but he mostly just found it funny that I was asking and kept laughing. Because he gestured vaguely at the ceiling when he said goodnight to them, I assumed that he had named the two lights in our room ‘Tiko and Tako”.
Tiko and Tako would continue to make random appearances. Sometimes Isaac would say goodnight to them. Sometimes he would repeat our whole conversation with him saying goodnight, me asking who they are, then going into laughing fits at the reenactment. (As I type this, I realise that this makes Isaac sound a little deranged! Perhaps all toddlers are.) Sometimes, he would answer my question of “What is your Chinese name?” with “Tiko and Tako!” So I never really thought very much about them. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if they referred to two characters or possibly one character named “Tikoentako”.
Then a few days ago, I came across the topic of imaginary friends in an early childhood article and it struck me that perhaps Tiko and Tako are Isaac’s imaginary friends! So I began to question him about their characteristics and antics and managed to surmise that they are two black-haired boys who like to “run and play around”. Isaac could also answer when I asked what they were doing at any given moment such as, “Tiko and Tako are just playing in the rain outside and getting wet!” (This was first said when it was raining outside our room fourteen levels up in the sky and slightly creepy to hear. Later, he would clarify that they were actually playing on the balcony.)
Because there were some inconsistencies and sometimes Isaac sounded like he made things up on the spot, it reassured us that they were products of his imagination, rather than um… ghosts hanging out in our house.
Anyway, last night, I thought of the eye-fire, eye-of-Sauron episode and decided to test if Tiko and Tako had literary origins as well.
“Are Tiko and Tako boys or girls?” Boys.
“What colour are Tiko and Tako’s hair?” Black.
“What colour are Tiko and Tako’s eyes?” Green.
“Do Tiko and Tako wear glasses?” Yes.
“Are Tiko and Tako taller or shorter than Isaac?” Taller.
“Can Tiko and Tako fly?” No.
“Do Tiko and Tako ride on broomsticks?” Yes.
“Can Tiko and Tako fly when they ride on broomsticks?” Yes.
“Do Tiko and Tako have lightning shaped scars on their faces?” Yes.
So Isaac’s imaginary friends are *drumroll* … … Harry Potter! 🤣
Of course, I think I asked a lot of leading questions to begin with, but it gave me a good laugh on a Sunday night!