Not at all. Dd is often a dog, somtimes a cat, a bunny, a frog or a lion. Her classmate was a macaw the other day.
Dd's almost 6.
Edited by Neera - 12/21/12 at 5:25am
My ds1, when he was that age, loved to play penguins...usually everyone had to play with him. He would put a stuffed penguin in his shirt and he was the mama penguin. After a while I got to be the mama penguin and he wanted to play leopard seal eating the penguins. I understand that would not be convenient in a structured setting, but it's way more normal and in my opinion, better for kids than the structured play at school or other places. I often wonder about other people's opinions, too, or worry if my kids are normal, although much less so with ds2 than with ds1.
Well my second grader still acts like a cat quite a bit - but like the pp pointed out - she knows when it's ok and when not - she loves to put on her cat outfit (leopard top/pants with matching tail and ears) and be a cat - Does she do it in school? maybe at recess but not to my knowledge? She's in tag and considered very creative by teachers and others that see her work - so I think your MIL is OVER GENERALIZING b/c she knew one strage kid that probably had alot of OTHER issues, but happend to act like a dog
Aside from not knowing when it was appropriate I'd only be concerned if he refused to 'come out' of being a dog even after long periods (hours)
just my .02
You also gotta think what are people who go on to become actors in theater and movies like as kids? Hard to imagine that they don't like to pretend more often and for longer time than other kids, right? I don't really know any actors in real life, but I can't imagine that they just wake up one morning as adults and become actors....I'd think the really good ones probably were really good and enjoyed pretending to be someone/something else as even older kids.
I think it's normal. DD (almost 7) goes through phases where she's a dog, or a cat.
<psst- big secret here> milk it for what its worth. my dd wouldnt ever want to leave the grocery store but the puppy would on an imaginary leash.
use this time to your great advantage. i got my 'puppy' but mostly 'kitten' to do a lot of things which dd refused to do as herself. of course the part "I" didnt like is that i had to deal with the puppy licking my face. the more i said ewwww the more the puppy shook her behind and licked me more.
That's hilarious! But only because I've dealt with it myself, so can also be sympathetic.
It sounds like seeing your little one pretending to be a dog just triggered an unpleasant memory of the 2nd-grader she mentioned (who perhaps was taking it too far), and she was unable to separate the issues in her mind.
But a 4-year-old pretending to be an animal? Yeah ... pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, I think. I'm surprised she hasn't encountered it often enough to know it's normal.
I posted this question a long time ago and the funny thing is that I can see now looking back it was totally a phase....and MIL has backed off and hasn't been mentioning her concerns anymore LOL. But I totally agree with you limabean - I think it did stir up some unpleasant memories of the student in her class and made her jump to the thought that it isn't normal and I shouldn't be allowing it nor finding it acceptable. I ended up just ignoring her criticism except for the few times that she tried to discipline him for pretending to act like a dog (that I didn't take to kindly!!). Nothing wrong with a child expressing their imagination....its just so hard as a parent when your child's behaviour is being brought into question!
I know this is months old, but it's brought up so many fond memories for me of my own childhood- I wanted a cat SO BADLY. I would pretend to be one for YEARS... my mom even went so far as to buy a litter box for me to pretend with- not filled with anything, obviously. I did this up until I was 9 or so... when I FINALLY GOT MY CAT!!! :) It was a great day.
My stepdaughter, who is now 9.5, pretended she was a dog named Sprint for many years as well. It tapered off, and the last we saw of Sprint was around 8 years old. I would give her bowls filled with water for her to drink out of, and "bones--" spaghetti noodles for her to crunch up.