Ellie has been playing make-believe a lot lately.
When she is not watching, I catch her feeding her baby dolls. She gives them bottles and pats them on the back to burp. She talks and reads books to them. She picks them up and hugs them all. And she sings to them too.
Sometimes I see her point her finger and tell them something repeatedly. I can’t understand a lot of what she is saying, but I know by her tone that she means business.
She can turn anything into a telephone and she likes to sneak off to her room alone. A lot of times, I find her snuggling her favorite stuffed animals and brushing their hair.
I like to watch her play. When I think back to where she was just a year ago, playing wasn’t something that I saw her do a whole lot. She mostly sat and watched the world pass by. She was observant but didn’t really participate. I worried that she would ever have any real creative thought.
Today she is the busiest occupant of our house and our world spins mostly around her. She creates games to play and loves to see people laugh. She makes jokes, which makes me and her father very happy. She has a great sense of humor and good timing. She seems to be able to read a room and she knows just when to plant a great big kiss on your cheek.
Watching her play by herself gives me a little bit of a peek into what is going on in her head. Besides the extremes of happy and sad, it is sometimes hard to understand where she is on the emotional continuum during the day. She does not talk very clearly so she cannot tell us about what she is feeling or thinking and that is frustrating for her.
When she is pretending with her toys, I get to see what she understands about what is happening around her. It makes me feel hopeful because it seems like she comprehends a lot of things that we don’t specifically talk to her about like social norms she picks up on by herself.
I love that she is sweet to her babies. I am always second guessing my job performance as a mother. I never feel like I am doing enough to give all three kids individual attention every day or plan activities that help them develop. But when I see her reading to or rocking her babies, I do give myself a little pat on the back for getting something right.
I know that the kids mostly see me cleaning up messes or putting together meals and getting frustrated because the work is never done. It is nice for me to see that she does notice the good things are happening around her. Thankfully I don’t see her groaning and throwing her hands up … too often.
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