Just when you think the kid's getting a bit wiggy, someone suggests it's possibly early-onset-Nobel Prize...
..get outa town?!!
..get outa town?!!
I was staggering up the beach, recently sprayed with wet-dog-shake, struggling to make it to our towels so we could head home.
The Orange Dog was dancing around us, so relieved we’d stopped swimming beyond his depth and therefore negating any impending lifesaving duties. He’d scratched us to pieces in the water with his claws doing his circling-shark impersonations; such a well-meaning and neurotic dog.
I was simultaneously tripping over our dry-land-circling-shark and dragging She-Who-Worships-Pink by one arm trying unsuccessfully to stop her rolling in the sand while she's still very wet.
Only moments earlier, when I’d told her we had to go, she’d shot off down the beach barking at seagulls.
I said; "Can you please stop being a puppy now and go back to being a little girl? You're not a very well trained or well behaved puppy and you do much better listening when you're a little girl."
She looked up at me and said:
I have this little girl Lulu. She is small and very funny.
I don’t know if you know the Charlie and Lola books and cartoons by Lauren Child?
They are wonderful. Non-violent, non-shouty, the music doesn't make you want to Van Gogh your own ears. Everyone speaks nicely (Even Marv with his East London accent) and everyone displays good manners and consideration for others.
I actually bought our first Charlie and Lola book because Lola reminded me of our girl; with her comical expressions and untidy blonde, sticky-uppy hair.
In one story, Charlie becomes concerned and then embarrassed that Lola won’t stop “being an alligator”. Well I’m waaaaaay past embarrassed, because my girl often finds it very hard to get ‘out of character’ too, but for her it’s mostly about puppies.
She turns doggy frequently and inconveniently and, as I told her this day on the beach, she’s not a very well behaved puppy. But you can rest assured she will stay a puppy for “completely ages”.
The pup-act usually comes into play when we’re trying hard to be somewhere on time. She’ll sit on the floor and wiggle her bum (pretend tail-wag), busy herself in a pretending-to-poo-squat or pretend-cock her leg on the furniture. Nice. And every pleading moment her response will be ‘arf’.
Am I worried? Do I look worried? Well I confess due to an increasing amount of time spend touring the realms of Imaginaria, I did what all parents do; I Googled it.
According to the experts, it’s not only normal, it’s desirable?!
That’s easy for them to say – they don’t have to drag wet and sandy pretending-puppies up to the beach showers for a hose-down. Or wait until someone’s taken an imaginary dump on the living room carpet then demanded it be bagged up, before you can leave the house.
Anyway they seem convinced by their research and there's sure a lot of it:
“An important benefit of early pretend play may be its enhancement of the child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and, ultimately, creativity (Russ, 2004; Singer & Singer, 2005).”
I take it that’s a good thing.
“The research reviewed by Berk, Mann & Ogan, (2006) and Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, Berk, & Singer (2009) suggest that make-believe games are forerunners of the important capacity for forms of self-regulation including reduced aggression, delay of gratification, civility, and empathy.”
My girl could do with learning a bit of delayed gratification – she’s already going on about next Christmas… But the really encouraging passage in this article (from Psychology.com) was this one:
“Root-Bernstein’s research with clearly creative individuals such as Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant awardees, indicated that early childhood games about make-believe worlds were more frequent in such individuals than in control participants in their fields (Root-Bernstein, 2012).”
So what they’re saying is that if we survive the pretend puppy phase, the imaginary pets; (lions, tigers, ponies and guinea pigs – because they all get along so well), the imaginary planets: (have you ever been to planet Biscuit? We have a resident of that planet living under our roof)..
… after all that, we could have a Nobel Prize winner on our hands?!!
OK. Cool I’ll look forward to that.
Today I happened to walk past the school ground at recess and I saw my girl alone with a skipping rope wound around one leg pulling hard on something that clearly wasn’t there. So I asked her about it on the walk home.
“I was having a tug of war with my Lions” “And I was winning mummy!!!”