If your child has an imaginary friend, you've probably wondered what he or she looks like. And what about that monster under the bed?
"One morning several months ago, Mia [my 3-year-old daughter] said to me, 'My yellow monster is kind of scary,'" Anna told me. "Later in the day, she told me, 'He's not so scary, he just needs a friend!' That evening when she was getting ready for bed, she exclaimed 'My yellow monster doesn't want to brush his teeth, he loves his cavities!'"
Anna says this was the first time Mia had talked about an imaginary friend, or monster. "It was so cute it gave me the idea of creating an image and adding her monster to it. At 3 years old, her imagination and creative play has really soared and I wanted a new photo series to capture this part of her childhood."
But when the Texas mom attempted to doodle a monster, she admits her drawing "was truly awful." So she reached out to her friend Amy, an illustrator. "Luckily for me she was excited about the idea!" Anna says, adding "We've brainstormed together and eavesdropped on our kids' playtime to come up with the other monsters."
Here's a sneak peek at some work in the ever-growing series, along with the story behind each image:
Evangeline, Age 18 months
What started as Evangeline shading herself from the sun with a leaf turned into an exciting day of play for some curious critters in the backyard. They were amazed at the size of the humongous monster that could pick up their home with ease. The monster had lots of squishy landings for sliding and jumping and quickly became their playground.
"I want to invite the moon to our party."- Mia, Age 2
New Years Eve 2014: When Melvin made it to Earth, he wanted to show his appreciation to the Moon for helping him find his way, so he was more than happy to assist Mia in inviting the Moon to her New Years Eve party.
"I don't like to get soap in my eyes when I wash my hair, but my monster makes it fun."- Mia, Age 3
Maximus never runs out of energy and is always on the lookout for fun, even at the cost of leaving mass destruction in his path. We've lost count of the times he's cannonballed into the tub and flooded the bathroom floor. Sometimes he forgets how big boned he is.
"The mama dragon is looking to see what I did to her eggs. I helped the baby dragon hatch, because babies are cute and I wanted to play with it."- Irelyn, Age 6
Dolores is an anxious first time mom, always checking on her eggs and her newly hatched baby. But once the rest of the eggs hatch, she'll be a seasoned pro. She won't even blink if one of the babies rolls out of the nest or accidentally burps up a fireball on their sibling.
"She is waiting for me to finish drawing her picture so she can see it." - Irelyn, Age 6
Wendolyn is trendy. She'll never be caught with a selfie stick, but she commissions artist to paint her. She's an avid drinker of Kombucha.
"My yellow monster doesn't want to brush his teeth, because he LOVES his cavities."- Mia, Age 3
Zasby can look a little smelly and scary at first. Even though he's a little shy from the beginning, he's always excited to make new friends. He'll explore your garbage can and jump in mud puddles with you, but he'll never venture near soap and water.
These images truly capture the amazing imaginations of kids. Thank you to these talented moms for sharing them with us!
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.