Playing for real

There is so much talking from Bitti now that it can be hard to narrow down just one thing to focus on. Grammar-wise she is experimenting with pronouns now, using ‘he’ and ‘she’ instead of the generic ‘it’. And has even started using object pronouns correctly sometimes, last night saying, ‘you do that to me’. All these grammatical gains are important as she is trying to explain more complex ideas to me.

She is expanding her internal world and explaining her imaginary games (AKA the nutty contents of her brain) to me really tests her language skills. Pretending to be the baboon from The Lion King is a big one at the moment. I have to sit on top of Pride Rock being Mufasa. She lumbers towards me, holding the boon stick and saying ‘oh, ah’, climbs up my legs (in a not-at-all-painful way), and gives me a big hug. Then I have to hand her Simba, an imaginary bundle of baby lion, and she takes him off to show the other animals.


And repeat. Like, a lot.

This is an easy game to figure out the rules of because we play it a lot. But sometimes she throws a random game into the mix, like ‘spider on the wall’, and it catches me by surprise. She got up on the couch the other night, splayed her hands on the wall and said, ‘mummy, look. I a sisa.’ Hmmm, you’re a what? ‘A SISA!’. Hmmm, I wasn’t getting it. Big sigh. She came down, took me by the hand and sat me down. She concentrated really  hard on saying the words right, you could see the cogs moving in her head as she slowly enunciated each word.

‘Mummy, I a sisa. You put me outside.’ She pointed violently from the wall to the door.

‘Ah, you’re a spider!’

‘YES.’ Nodded her head and began the climb back onto the couch enthusiastically, satisfied that we were back on the same imaginary page in her book of bizarre games.

Other popular games are ‘shopping’, ‘doctor’ and ‘going to bed’ and pretty much anything where I am an animal. She is a baby monkey a lot, and makes her bed on the top of the couch, balancing herself along the cushions, and using a towel as a doona. The mummy monkey has to tuck her in, and turn off the ‘eyes’ (the lights) so she doesn’t get scared. She must be the only toddler who is happier in the dark than with the lights on.

These games can be quite fun, but my opportunity to make changes or additions is limited. Generally my ideas are dismissed immediately, although their re-appearance a few minutes later, this time presented by Bitti herself, seems to be more palatable.

Sometimes the games are fairly tedious, but I have to pay close attention still because the animal might get changed halfway through and if I keep calling Bitti ‘baby monkey’ when she’s changed herself to ‘baby baboon’, there will be hell to pay. Straight to the principal’s office for a lecture on animals.


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