Thursday, 13 September 2012

Playing Grown Ups

Earlier this week whilst Bean and I made a sunny day visit to the park (, Jake drove to a far away place to pick up a special surprise for Bean that I found for her on eBay...

A play kitchen!...

...With pots and pans...

...and wooden play food! :-)

I've been looking for one of these for ages (trying to find a wooden one at a reasonable price) and was very excited to stumble across this. I have vivid memories of playing with my own pretend kitchen as a child and how it made me feel so BIG, like I was a grown up too. In fact, as I got to thinking back I remembered that at a certain stage of my childhood "playing grown ups" was one my most frequently enjoyed games, both on my own and with friends. It's a universal truth that children learn the most from us by mimicking our behavior, that's how they learn the workings of things like relationships, roles, social situations, and how to relate to other people. It's also why when we parent with a 'do as I say, not as I do' approach, it often backfires. When my friends and I would play grown ups most of our interpretations of what it involved to be 'a grown up' were centered around performing chores such as sweeping, ironing, cooking, and taking care of our 'babies'.

These are, of course, the stereotypical roles that girls learn from their mothers. But there was also a more complex side to our play at times. For example we would act out how we thought a person would behave in order to get someone to do something for them, which generally involved using basic manipulation or bribery. Other times we might mimic a fight that we heard our parents have the night before, or a scene from an adult TV show (glimpsed surreptitiously from behind the sofa when our parents thought we were in bed).

Remembering this made me more aware of the fact that at even at 17 months old Bean is already picking up so many signals from our behavior, and particularly from how we interact with her, each other, and other people. I must admit I shudder to think what behavioral patterns of mine she might pick up in the future! But, at least being aware of the fact that it's going to happen has renewed my motivation to be the best model I can be for her. And for the moment I'll enjoy the fact that, at least for the time being, Bean's grown up play is as simple as trying to boil an orange... :-) 

B xx

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome! Looks like she already loves it. My two boys also love their kitchen...except they also love using the real pots and pans, and the real cooking utensils, even though they have their own play things. I'm forever losing tools I want to use for the real cooking! :)