I remember, a long long long time ago, playing "store" with my little sister. One of us would go "shopping", and the other would be the cashier. We had a little toy register with fake coins, and when you open the register it would "ding!". We would take turns buying the items, and then running the register. I didn't know until I had my son, that this pretend play is actually a milestone for children. When they hold a pretend phone to their ear, or push toy cars around saying "vroom!", these actions show they are pretending, and it's not something you can teach your child.
I remember being at a doctor's appointment, discussing Logan's other developmental delays, and the doctor asked if he was pretending yet. I laughed, thinking he was just joking. But he wasn't joking, this is something they actually use as a milestone. I stopped laughing pretty quickly though, because actually, Logan wasn't pretending. We'd never seen him "talk" on a phone, or play with a toy car correctly. He didn't play much at all, actually. He preferred to just sit by his bookshelf, looking at book after book, turning the pages and looking at the pictures. He loved looking at any book, actually, and still does.
Like any other delay, it was hard to realize Logan wasn't doing something he was supposed to be. This was before we had the diagnosis of Fragile X, so we were still wondering why. Why he wasn't talking, or throwing a ball, or now- pretending.
Logan has been in physical therapy since he was 18 months old. One of the things we demonstrate when we're at therapy, is how to play with toys. This included a toy phone for awhile. He showed interest in it, but we realized it was just to push the buttons and hear the sounds. He never held it up to his ear to pretend, even when we did it first.
Around the same time Logan started preschool, when he was 3, he started carrying my purse around, sometimes putting random things inside. It was pretty cute, and we commented on how he was "copying" Mommy. He did this for a little while, then started waving bye bye when he was carrying my purse. Then it evolved to waving bye bye, and heading for the front door. Then he was putting on my shoes, or Daddy's shoes, and carrying the purse, while heading for the front door and waving bye bye. One day we realized, he's pretending to leave! He's pretending that he's the adult, and leaving with his purse and shoes. If he saw keys anywhere, he would have those out in his hand when he "leaves", like Mommy does. We think he's starting to pretend! He's reached a new milestone!
Recently, Logan has started grabbing our cell phones, putting them up to his ear and "talking"! We never thought we'd be so happy to see our child stealing our cell phones whenever he can! He is getting clearer and clearer. You can hear him say "hello", and he has a little conversation. He leans against the wall, crosses his ankles, and has a casual little phone conversation, it's the cutest thing. It never gets old, every time I see Logan "talking" on the phone I get all excited, thinking "He's pretending!". Love it.
One of Logan's favorite shows is Blue's Clues. If you've never seen it, the main character goes around collecting 3 clues, and has a little notebook that he draws these clues in. At the beginning of the show, he always has to get his notebook out from his side-table drawer. Logan has a couple little notebooks that he loves to scribble in, and we realized he is pretending to be on Blue's Clues! He sits down, "thinks" with his finger on his cheek, holds up the notebook and sometimes draws in it. The other night, I caught all this on video!
This was very exciting to see, because not only is he now definitely pretending (at one point he stops to answer his "phone" haha!) but he also is understanding what's going on in his favorite show. He's trying so hard to say new words too, we're so proud of him. Logan is making so much progress right now, and we're loving every minute of it!