Pretend play has been an integral part of Staley's playtime for the past year or so. Imaginary friends. Pretend adventures. Making up stories. These have all become part of our every day life with Staley. One of Staley's favorite activities is to have us make her stuffed animals or her princesses or her Dora characters or her Thomas trains talk. When playing together, she will hand us a toy and ask, "Can you make her talk?"
One of the perks of this favorite activity is that Staley is often much more receptive to suggestions from her toys than she is from us. So if Staley doesn't want to wear a particular outfit or isn't in the mood to take a potty break or is dawdling on her way to breakfast, having the suggestion come from her Emily train or her Yellow Bear can make her much more agreeable. And it's amazing how Yellow Bear and I are so often on the same page.
I do enjoy pretending with Staley and have fun making her various toys talk, but I am less enthused about another twist on this play activity. Lately, when reading books, Staley doesn't want me to read the stories. She just wants me to make the characters in the book talk. We have to go page by page, but instead of reading the story, I am in charge of making the character on each page talk to Staley. We do lots of reading, and I'll be honest. I consider reading time as down time for me. We can sit together on the couch and I can mindlessly read book after book after book without much effort. Making the characters talk requires considerable more thought and imagination. And although Staley doesn't seem to mind, I run out of things for the book characters to say to Staley and begin to feel redundant. It can be a nice way to reinforce lessons like being nice to friends or being proud of potty use or being helpful when the book characters are in sticky situations, but it can get a little old.
I love that Staley has a great imagination. I enjoy playing pretend with her. I don't mind making her toys talk. And making book characters talk isn't all bad. But sometimes, just sometimes, all I want to do is sit back, relax, and read the words.