For months now, the J-Man has carried two things – no more, no less – in his hands around with him just about everywhere he goes, nearly every minute of the day. For a long time it was two wooden, alphabet blocks, and often the same two blocks (K and D). Then it went back and forth between two flash cards or two blocks, but he doesn’t mix them (e.g., never one card and one block) as that would be a category violation of some sort I suppose.
Well, just a few days ago, he threw a surprise at us. We’ve accumulated enough stuffed critters over the past three years to populate Rhode Island, but he’s not cared one whit about any of them since the Glo-Worm days a long time ago. They sit piled up in his ‘soft area’ of pillows and bean bags where he goes to chill out, though he’s not used the stuffed animals and dolls for anything other than just being another soft thing to relax on.
Then, the other day he picked up the dress-me doll we got him for his birthday and a little stuffed dog I think he got when he was born. Then he ferried most of the other stuffed things from his soft area across the house into the living room, where they now rest patiently under the Christmas tree (yeah, I know we need to take it down) until he decides he wants them.
We count this as a giant leap forward for him. While he doesn’t exactly relate to them in a play-like way necessarily, he does show moments of relating to them in ways different from regular objects like blocks or flash cards. He even participated some in helping dress the dress-me-up doll! Maybe getting him a baby doll for Christmas (which is part of the process of helping him adjust to people holding something that looks like a baby) helped a lot more than we thought it would.
Plus, he’s just cute as all get out when he’s carrying them around. You can see what I mean.
For lack of most of these things having names, we’ve taken to calling them his ‘friends’. He got very upset when we took him to the car the other day, and I noticed he wasn’t carrying any of them. I said to him, “do you want to take some friends with you?” and he calmed down some, which is a clear sign we’re on to something. Mary brought two to him, and we were good to go.
Of course, the dress-me doll (we need to give him a name) he has in this picture is hanging by his feet with his shorts down around his ankles, but you go with what you got.
The pink thing is a little bear I got on my Boston trip many months ago. This is the first time he’s paid any attention to it at all. You can also see the other ‘friends’ piled up under the tree. The only one he refers to by name is Ming-Ming (the yellow duckling for you non-Wonder Pets people), though it’s pretty clear that he knows that ‘Glow’ is the Glo-Worm.
I have no idea what triggered his sudden interest in all of them, but we certainly aren’t fighting it. It’s quite an achievement! We’ll call it Mysterious Thing #3523 I suppose and see where it goes from here.