Having a child makes you accustomed to hearing strange noises – a dinosaur roaring in the middle of the night, breadsticks tumbling to the floor, milk splashing perilously close to the television. But some sounds still make you sit up, pause the television, and scramble to your child’s bedroom.
The other night we had one of these moments. The noise Little Bear made was like nothing I have ever heard from him. As I fell into his bedroom he was sat up on his pillow pointing down the bed telling me there were spiders.
The rational me clicked that this was just a dream, but a larger part of me wanted to emit the same terrifying noise that Little Bear had used! Tentatively, but feigning confidence, I pulled the duvet around and reassured him that there were no spiders, that it was a dream, and that he should go back to sleep.
Gripping tight to his favourite teddy, Teddington, he cautiously lay back down and settled back into far happier dreams.
The spiders may not have been real, but the fear was…for both of us. 🕷
If you ask Little Bear what he dreamt about he will, at least 90% of the time, say “Goldilocks”.
I’m not sure where this came from or how it started, but the stories he comes out with are great. Every dream starts the same, “I dreamt about Goldilocks, she went outside and it was raining…”
From here the stories start. So far she has jumped in puddles with her welly boots, tried some porridge (not that original Little Bear), fed porridge to a cat, and thrown a rabbit to the other cat. And they always end with, “And she was happy. The end.”
Whether these have any bearing on his real dreams or not is a complete mystery, it may well all be his waking imagination concocting these stories. Either way, I think it’s pretty cute and makes for a much better story time than some of the books he chooses!
Having trained in childcare I know he’s still young to be coming up with stories of his own, and to have an understanding of story structure. I know he has really good language skills and that this contributes to his imaginary play. So, does every child have the capability to understand and develop stories from this age? Is it just a case of unlocking the language to allow it?
I’m not sure of the answer, or even how you could test it. But does it even matter? Every child develops in their own way and in their own time. And whatever age they begin telling stories and adding narrative to their play it will be magical, absorbing, and, above all, hilarious!
Little Bear is loving tents and tunnels at the moment, and they really seem to be enhancing his imaginative play.
Yesterday he was having a great time with daddy just laying in the tunnel with a handful of PlayMobil men. They were going on a journey and Little Bear led the whole narrative. The tunnel was a rocket, they zoomed past stars and asteroids, and landed on “Sprags”. On Sprags everyone rides motorbikes and it’s very windy. It may not be much detail but I’m pretty impressed that he has the imagination to create his own planet!! He later told me there were also lots of cranes on Sprags building houses for all the children.
The only problem with this play is that you usually have to do it with him inside equipment made for children. Cramped isn’t even the word, it’s a skill to sit comfortably in the tent, and as for the heat…well they both turn into saunas after a couple of minutes of breathing the same air!
I find myself sending him on missions to collect more people just so I can take a gulp of fresh air before being squeezed back inside. And then at bath time I regret this decision as tidy up time takes twice as long!
And now he’s decided that sleep is for wimps so back to it, into the tent I go!
On Sunday we went for a big family meal which was lovely. Little Bear stole the bread from my charcuterie plate and then devoured most of his turkey roast…even more impressive when you consider he ate this at about 3 in the afternoon having already had a whole bagel for lunch.
When we eat out, he knows that, generally, he will have ice cream after. When the lady came to take our order his cousin ordered his ice cream first, followed by a few others, and then Little Bear piped up, “Vamilla pleeease!”…we hadn’t even prompted him, he just took his cue from everyone else!
So the ice cream came, he ate it all, and we came home. I thought nothing more of it until yesterday afternoon when he came running in from his bedroom with a pad and pencil.
He stood in front of me and asked what I would like. It took me a while to realise that he was playing waiter and wanted to take my order. I asked for a chicken stir fry (first thing I thought of, weird?) and he ordered himself vamilla ice cream, obviously! He wrote it down on his pad, went to the kitchen, made our order, then brought it back and we ate it.
This game lasted for about half an hour and with all the food I ordered I should have been stuffed, good job Little Bear was stealing from my plate…oh, and it was all imaginary so, calorie free!!
Apparently the toys were having such a nice time they didn’t want to go for a nap…Little Bear always wants his teddy bear so I’m beyond surprised that he was allowed to stay.
After lunch Little Bear wasn’t quite tired enough for bed so we hosted a tea party instead. He dutifully poured tea and milk into the cups then helped the toys to drink…none of them have fingers or thumbs which makes it quite tricky for them. We talked about what they would eat – cheese sandwiches, kiwis, and custard apparently, though hopefully not all at the same time. I had to sing “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” with alternative lyrics to satisfy all members of the party, and then Little Bear announced that he was tired now, and off he went to bed.
Two stories later he was fast asleep and I was left to admire the tea drinking abilities of stuffed animals…do you think they seek out the stronger stuff after dark??