My two-year-old daughter still sucks her thumb when she is tired and drifting off to sleep. Lately though, she does it during the day, she’s sucked on a younger child’s pacifier at daycare, and she sucks on a toy pacifier that came with one of her dolls. Is she regressing developmentally? Could the fact that I am pregnant and talking about “the baby” a lot be making her want to do “baby” things?
Regressing to earlier developmental behavior, like thumbsucking and bottle or pacifier use, is a very common reaction to the news of a new sibling. (Just like increased beerbottle use is a common reaction to baby news for many first-time dads.)
This question wasn’t technically submitted to us, but rather to anyone who happened to see it posted on Facebook over this past weekend. But because it covers such an important issue for parents,we thought we’d go ahead and chime in about it anyway.
Today, Megan asks an important question for anyone who has kids, ponies or dragons at home:
My 36-month-old has gone from pretending she and her stuffed animals are cartoon characters (which gave us some laughs at first) to now assigning names like “Rainbow Dash” to handfuls of random kids she meets at the park, and then chasing after them screaming, “Hurry! Hurry! We have to save you from the dragons!” Is this normal imaginative play, or certifiably crazy? Should I intervene and bring her back to reality?
First of all, don’t worry about it. Andy’s grandmother used to call every single driver she saw on the road “George,” and that was when she was a 948-month-old. So for a child as young as your daughter, this kind of play is totally normal.
Marla asked the Doctor and the Dad the following question, and fortunately, we could understand every word of it:
Why does my 14-month-old sound like he speaks a different language? What is he saying? How can I know? Should I repeat the sounds back? Or just keep talking to him normally? Or both?
Well Marla, the easiest explanation could be that your child does, in fact, speak another language. Retrace your steps – did you recently adopt him from another country? Do the people in that country tend to speak a foreign language? If so, PROBLEM SOLVED.
Our longest “Ask the Doctor (or the Dad)” question to date comes from a shell-shocked guy named Gar:
My three year old is a terrorist. He cries to get what he wants (e.g., toys, a bathroom chaperone, cookies). Lately, we have started fighting terror with terror, putting him in timeout or threatening his beloved stuffed animals to force him to obey us and stop crying. As in the Middle East, This usually escalates the conflict and results in more crying before we exhaust him or a settlement is reached (sadly we do negotiate with terrorists). All of this feels wrong, is it?