Adrianna’s Quote of the Day: Playing Mommy (plus, Halloween pics)

Adrianna in the store holding "Melanie"

It can be funny how kids sometimes learn about the “norms” of how things are supposed to be in life, or how they are supposed to act. I mean, they aren’t born knowing everything about how things are supposed to be. They learn most things from other people and the world around them.

For instance, only recently did Adrianna, who is three, start picking up a pink plush baby doll and carrying it around with her. Until now, she didn’t seem to have much interest in being attached to dolls and stuffed animals. She hardly carried them around or held them and only played with them once in awhile.

While I observed this, I didn’t really think much of it — although it is the complete opposite of how I was as a child. I loved all my stuffed animals, gave them names, took them to bed with me, played with them and pretended (or, liked to think) that they were secretly alive. I even had a “blanky” that I was attached to when I was really little. Adrianna never did any of this.

But I realized that everyone’s an individual and didn’t put much more thought into it. So when she did start carrying the doll around for a few days, I noticed that too, but I assumed she got the idea from seeing me

Audgie in her ladybug Halloween costume

taking care of her baby sister Keira, who is three months old.

She would pretend to put the doll to bed in a canvas box that some of her books were supposed to go in (which were now dumped on the floor), and she and her two-year-old sister Aly would pretend to feed it using their play dishes. I thought it was cute.

Adrianna also started bringing the doll in the car with her, so when her eight-year-old brother Jaiden saw this, he asked her what the doll’s name was. She hadn’t thought of naming it. So, when prompted, she decided to name the doll Melanie, the name of my friend’s baby who is now two months old.


Adrianna in her ladybug costume, Halloween 2011

“You’re Melanie’s mommy and I’m her uncle,” said Jaiden, following suit with how you’re “supposed to” play with baby dolls.

“No I’m not!” she objected. “I’m just playing with her! I’m not her mommy!”

Aly in her super girl Halloween costume

Actually calling herself the doll’s mommy was another idea that had not occurred to her. In effect, “playing mommy” is not something that came naturally to her. Adrianna had to be taught the concept of calling herself the doll’s mommy and was naturally more realistic in her thinking, realizing that she was just playing with a toy and was not its mommy.

It was amusing how she so vehemently objected to the suggestion that she was the doll’s mom, knowing full well that it just wasn’t true. But once Jaiden explained to her how you’re “supposed to” play mommy, she came around rather quickly and did start roll playing with Jaiden, pretending to be the doll’s mom.

Although I never imagined that a child needed to be taught to play mommy, this made me realize how traditions get passed down, and even the most simple ways that children play don’t necessarily come naturally to every child.

The kids trick-or-treating

The kids dressed up for Halloween 2011


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