It’s fun watching Little Bean’s play habits change and develop.
Right now it’s all about the nurturing.
She feeds her doll, she gives her soft toys water, she takes her little plastic farm animals over to a little bowl to feed them, she holds her baby doll’s hand to wave bye-bye, she kisses and cuddles her toys, she rocks her doll and pats her on the back, she hugs the cat until she’s half-squashed, she insists on having a soft toy sit in the chair with her at meal times, she tries to brush her toy dog’s teeth, she puts toys in the basket of her trike and pushes them around whilst talking to them, she picks her up her doll and dances along with her to the music or makes her do the hand actions, she won’t leave the house without a soft little friend tucked under her arm, she tucks her doll into bed, she strokes her daddy’s head and plays run-and-hug games, and she kisses and holds hands with other children she likes.
Louann Brizendine would say this is all such a prominent part of her behaviour because her brain was ‘marinated in estrogen’ during her development and so she’s hard wired for social connection. I tend to think it’s beause she’s at the pretend-play stage, and she’s a sweet kid. And because adults coo and praise her for that very sweetness (very likely more effusively than if she were a boy, because that’s how these things roll). Truth be told, my little girl is also physically brave to the point of foolhardiness (I told her she could go down the big slide when she could climb the ladder by herself so she damn well learned to climb the ladder, of course) and when she’s not being affectionate with something soft and furry, she’s completing a puzzle, building a block tower or pushing a truck around. Even so, many people still point out how ‘girlie’ she is, what with all the kissing and hugging that goes on. We see what we expect to see.
Anyway, I don’t much care what the origins of her play are right now. I figure if she makes sure her doll is fed and cuddled and given lots of attention that’s got to be a good reflection on her father and me. And — this stage is totally frickin’ adorable.
In between tantrums, that is.