As of late, we have noticed Matthew has been doing more and more "pretend" play. This is a really cool development. Last week, I was spending some time with him one on one. He jumped on his little bike (the one w/o pedals so as not to be confused with his big boy trike) and wanted to ride that. I asked him where he was going and he shrugged his shoulders and said "Bloomingfoods" and rode off across the room. Then looked back at me like I was supposed to magically make Bloomingfoods appear. SO I said 'what are you going to get at Bloomingfoods?' He started to fill the front basket with pretend food. Once he was done, he rode back over to me and we "put the groceries" away. After we completed our shopping trip, I said 'where are you going now?' He looked at me expectantly so I said 'let's go to hardware store!' He rode off to do that. I said 'we need some wood, nails and hammer' which is selected off his pretend shelves and brought back to me. Then we made a pretend picture frame and a pretend wooden box. This went on for some time and a few days.
Then he was standing on his chair waiting for a meal yesterday and he started climbing the ladder. He now loves to pretend climb the ladder after our trip to the park on Sunday afternoon. He was pretending to climb the ladder this morning before breakfast as well when we mentioned he was going to school - he wanted to play outside so I think that is why he wanted to climb the ladder (or play on the playground.)
Who needs real toys when you have an imagination the size of Africa! I can remember playing pretend games as a kid - they are some of my favorite memories. I was not allowed to watch much TV so I think I made up for that by playing pretend like library and vet (our poor cat and dog probably hated to see me coming!) According to the developmental thing I am reading from my favorite magazine for parents, Wondertime (if you have not seen or read it, you ought to. I think it is the best on the market to date!):
"Two-year-olds dedicate most of their waking hours to play of one kind or another. Through some kinds of games — such as puzzles and shape sorters — they refine their developing motor skills. Through others — games of pretend with dolls and other children — they sort out emotional conflicts and make sense of their place in the world. Playing, like talking, is something children do without being prompted. It also does not require a pile of elaborate and expensive toys.
Most toddlers engage in what is known as parallel play. They stay close together and imitate each other, but their actual interactions are limited. Even if there seems to be little give-and-take in these sessions, they are valuable because they lay the groundwork for later, more cooperative play.
If your child is not regularly exposed to other children in a play group or day care setting, now is a good time to build his circle of friends. As you do so, aim to keep organized playtime short (an hour or so for younger toddlers; two hours for older ones) and be prepared for more than a little pushing, shoving, and grabbing of toys. These struggles are not necessarily hostile; toddlers have a limited range of social behavior, but they usually manage to work things out without much interference from parents — and learn valuable skills in the process."
I am fascinated watching all the little minute details of Toddlerdom. I am glad I have the time to do this. I used to think I did not but I realized recently that no matter what I have going on I am always in tune with what is going on with Matthew. His learning is so different from last year. It is like watching a caterpillar come out of cocoon. He was a rolly polly baby last year at this time but now he is a little boy who is still growing by leaps and bounds but in different ways. I am also amazed that I can stand back and provide him with an outstanding infrastructure to go on to become a wonderful person but by no means do I need to always hover over him and perhaps feel inadequate for the various and sundry things that come up in a day because this learning and growing up thing all comes naturally (of course, I still need to provide rules, safety and guidelines to life that are needed at this age!) He is truly climbing an imaginary ladder in more ways then one and I am glad I holding that ladder in place and allowing him the stability to get higher and higher.