LP has had a thing about nice animals and mean animals lately. In his pretend play he will have his stuffed alligator, or his plastic dinosaurs, and for a while they will be “mean” animals. These “mean” animals always have sharp teeth, and LP delights in telling me, the G-man and his little sister to go “eek” when the “mean” animal comes up to us. But then, almost as it is about to bite us, the mean animal becomes nice! It want pets and it wants to snuggle with us! Even the ugly plastic dinosaurs.
When this play first started, my thoughts went to it’s origin. Where did he learn about “mean” animals who might want to eat people in the first place? However, the origen of this pretend play, unlike some of the other scenes he acts out, is pretty clear. There are “mean” animals in his books, all the way from Frog and Toad to Oh Say Can You Say Dinosaur? And yes, sharp teeth are a unifying factor in mean animals, both in books and LP’s play.
What fascinates me most though, is the way the animals end up nice! I know it’s just all part of pretend play, and that acting out the things he sees and learns is part of LP’s development. But the way he plays mean animal/nice animal makes me wonder if LP is grappling with the nature of duality, or maybe even concepts about redemption. I wonder if he thinks about the mean animals turning nice when he accidentally hurts his sister because he is running around too much and needs to apologizes and hugs her, or when one of his friends at school is mean to him, but then let him join in with the play. I wonder if he is starting to grasp that people can choose their actions (which is difficult for all of us) but also that our actions may be “mean” or “nice” more than just US being mean or nice.
As usual, I’m probably reading too much into LP and his dinosaur’s attempts to eat my leg, but it is fascinating to watch him figure out the world through play. Makes me think I should play more and worry less, and I would probably understand the world better too.
While LP has been busy with his interesting play, his little sister has been working on her jumping! She can now jump on two feet, and she is very excited to practice and hone this skill. She jumps in the playroom, in the dining room, in her crib, etc.
LP and IP have also been playing together quite a bit more. They both helped Dad shovel dirt in the wheelbarrow to set up the garden. They both build legos next to each other. They both help with the salad spinner. And both are getting better about taking turns.
Both kids are also expanding vocabulary quite a bit. LP is constantly asking us what certain words mean, such as “optional” or”sensibilities.” Lately he has been playing around with the concepts of “any” and “none.” We he doesn’t want something he will say he wants “none of it” as in “I want none greens on my plate – I just want waffles!”
IP has tons and tons of words now, but she is always adding new ones. Now when she wants to learn what to call an object, she points to it and says “ba ba?” and looks at us. This is how she has learned “computer,” “compost,” “shovel,” “blini,” and “cat-in-the-hat.” She will proudly say her new words every time she “learns” them, again and again!