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Old 10-22-2012, 07:15 AM   #1
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"Make him talk to me!" -- Inanimate object 'friends' and imaginary play

My 2 year old has started making every single inanimate object he encounters his "friend" and insisting that we make them "talk" to him in funny voices. Some examples...the typical puppets and stuffed animals we have around the house, but also sticks, rocks, leaves, and even yesterday a single pine needle from the yard have become his "friends" that must talk to him in funny voices, sleep under his bed, and be ever-present.

He doesn't want to talk to us, just these "friends" and if we get sick of making them talk constantly he has a meltdown. Of course we don't pander to the tantrums all the time, but we do make these objects talk for him quite a bit.

I know this imaginary play is normal behavior, and frankly it reminds me a GREAT deal of myself when I was little (I remember sleeping on the floor several times because I had so many stuffed animals on my bed that I couldn't fit, but I was afraid if I put the stuffed animals out of the bed they would get their "feelings" hurt).

My question is.... WHEN is he going to start making them talk instead of insisting WE make them talk? Quite frankly it drives us insane to make these objects talk 24 hours a day.

Anybody else have kids that make "friends" with every object in the house/yard? I'm interested in this behavior in terms of developmental stage, as well. It's a fascinating new development in his emotional maturity. He uses these objects to act out many emotions and to talk about a lot of things he won't talk about with us directly (e.g., getting a boo boo that hurts, or falling down in the yard, or being sad a friend wasn't home that he wanted to visit, missing his grandparents, etc...).

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:25 PM   #2
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Re: "Make him talk to me!" -- Inanimate object 'friends' and imaginary play

Sounds like a frustrating but normal stage that will pass! I remember babysitting a boy around that age and we saw a bug on the window. He told me it was his friend. I dont remember what i said but he could tell i wasnt taking him serious. So with the most deadpan serious delivery he informed he it was his best friend. Lol

Dh has always been super attached to inanimate objects. We found stories he wrote when he was a kid, and they described in great detail the emotions his stuffed animals felt. Even to this day he worries about the feelings of things. Do you know what the saddest thing in the world is? When you put something back on the shelf in a different part of the store. 2 reasons: its sad that you rejected it, and its sad to be away from its friends. This isnt a literal compulsion to worry about the feelings of things, but it is something he cant help but be a little concerned about.

as for your sanity now, i wish i had a great answer but i dont. thats gotta be frustrating, and hopefully he learns to create those interactions independently. i will ask dh if he has any suggestions tonight, he is really in tune with the emotions of others.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:38 PM   #3
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Re: "Make him talk to me!" -- Inanimate object 'friends' and imaginary play

My DS did this a little bit, but at 3 became very interested in making his "friends" talk more so than he ever was with having us do it.

He plays with his food and talks about his friends riding in the car to go somewhere, or makes acorns or pine cones do things like they are people. He doesn't think that they ARE his friends or treat them as though they are, but he really enjoys pretending when he thinks that no one is really paying attention. He happily drops it when it's time to do something else.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:44 PM   #4
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Re: "Make him talk to me!" -- Inanimate object 'friends' and imaginary play

I actually hated this stage. Really. It drove me nuts. I know that's bad, but it did. I almost always refused to play that way. But would suggest other ways we could play together when they really wanted to play.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:35 PM   #5
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Re: "Make him talk to me!" -- Inanimate object 'friends' and imaginary play

Thanks mamas. I can't wait to hear what your DH says! I would think I'd understand--and I do, I mean, I assigned emotions to things as well. Its the constant talking in a funny voice that drives me crazy. I get tired of being a rock instead of mommy lol, but I'm sure this too shall pass and I'll miss it in a few months, like everything else.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:41 PM   #6
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OMG - this was my favorite game when I was that age. Lol. I blame those "Indian in the cupboard" books, and velveteen rabbit, and any other movie that assigns feelings to inanimate objects. It still makes me all warm and fuzzy just remembering it.

And I sort of worry about their "feelings" - the few precious childhood toys from my youth. Blame Toy Story. But seriously... Would YOU want to sit in a dark box in an attic?!

Ok... I'm just being silly. My son loves this stuff but he's mostly over it. He thinks I'm a dork and he's only 4. I'm hopeless.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #7
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Re: "Make him talk to me!" -- Inanimate object 'friends' and imaginary play

My 3 yo is totally the same way. I usually chalk it up to her being an only child and wanting to diversify the "people" she gets to interact with- I think she gets bored with just me most of the time! She usually limits it to toys though, not rocks or whatever. I think it's normal, but yeah, it can get annoying.
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